Thanks Colin & Cuba
I agree there does appear to have been some kind of card or equipment failure, or perhaps he had a stroke that morning and hadn't realised. Perhaps he's just plain lazy. The original photographer returned my call last night and I asked if he had seen the photos (the same ones I've sent to those on here - all of them) and initially he said they looked great. This wasn't what I was expecting and clearly he either hadn't looked at the properly or perhaps not at all. I've left it with him to have another look and hopefully he will call back.
We chose the original photographer because he did a wedding that I was best man at a few years ago. I saw how he worked on the day and his final images were great, even the ones that hadn't had any major editing was great. His use of lighting was flawless, I mean flawless. When I went to see him before Christmas to book I explained we were having a mid week wedding, pretty standard registry office, quick visit to the river bank and then down the pub for a BBQ. It was going to be around 4 hours work "on site" plus his time editing. I didn't ask for prints or an album as I have all the equipment to print what we need. He quoted me £250, when I questioned this he explained that it was a small job and was happy with that price. To put this into context my friends wedding he did he charged £1200 for but this was a FULL day 0800-2300 with an assistant/second shooter plus it included albums and prints. Now he is/was an LBIPP and LMPA and his results matched those qualifications. I've honestly never seen an image from him I didn't like.
When he called several months ago to say he couldn't do our wedding due to family commitments he was originally going to just refund us, but he called a few days later to say he had arranged it with another photographer and paid him. I almost jokingly asked at the time if this guy was as good or nearly as good and he said he was. Now when you have someone capable of an LMPA and having recently been a regional winner in The English Wedding Awards 2016 saying he has confidence in someone I have no hesitation in believing that. As it turns out this was not quite right and he may well be sh**ting himself now.
The first thing my Dad said on the day of our wedding was "who's the bloke with the Nikon"! And when he was pointing the flash directly at things yes alarm bells were ringing but at that time I had to trust what he was doing. He was chimping on his camera at a lot of images, checking the histogram - as it turns out he may have just been checking the time. He had two Nikons with him at all times, not sure what they were or what lenses he had as I'm not into Nikon. If the size of his files are anything to go by (3596x2400 = 8.6MP) then perhaps they're not very good Nikons but I think it more likely he's resized them for reasons only known to him. The biggest alarm bells rang when he delivered the USB stick on Friday saying there were two sets, one at 72dpi and one at 300dpi. What affect dpi has on a JPEG is completely unknown to me. 300dpi is certainly not what I would class as full resolution.
Cuba's summary is pretty spot on with what I thought plus a few things I hadn't even noticed. We will have to see what the original photog says, but the biggest joke of all and the reason I had very little sleep was I got the following email from him last night. To say I am angry is an understatement:
"Hi Tom and Jo
I forgot to mention when I saw you the other evening if it would be Ok with you if I used some of your photos for my Twitter/Facebook/website? Would that be Ok?"
What do you say to that - if you find any worth posting let me know which ones they are!
I think possibly the only resolution I am going to accept is that he hands over all of his raw files in return for me never telling anyone who took our wedding photos. There are some salvageable ones but with JPEGs of less than 100% quality they are unworkable. I know some people are precious about their raw files but I think I would be justified to have them in this case, if he took them in RAW at all that is.
One of the biggest reasons I am kicking myself about all this is because it was due to rain on our wedding day, all day. We weren't sure how he was going to handle that as it can be tricky, so as a precaution I took my 5D4, 24-70 and 70-200 in my car and then if we had better weather later in the day we could re-shoot. I could easily have setup the camera and given it to someone and gotten reasonable/acceptable results. What happened was that after the ceremony, at the river bank and at the pub for the garden photos the sun came out. I thought he must have nailed it, my gear stayed in the car.
Now if we had invited "uncle jack" and he had sent me those 135 photos I would thank him and be grateful a few were printable, but anyone calling themselves a professional photographer, wedding or otherwise, shouldn't be sending out that quality of work.