I don't want to post the name of the photographer/company but would it be inappropriate or illegal/slanderous in some way if I have a few of the pro photographers on here PM me for the website and passcode so that they can validate or refute my opinion on these pics? I would like someone to take some time to browse through the pics in each category on the site and give me an honest opinion.
I'm trying to be reserved and not jump the gun, but I can't help but feel very disappointed with the pictures. My wife and I went through 600+ pictures, after about 50pics I was starting to get a pit in my stomach, but didn't want to say anything to her. We got to about 200 pics and I can tell she was thinking the same thing. Half way through she looks at me and states "These are terrible."...And she has no clue about photography in any sense.
I would estimate that maybe 60%-70% of the images are significantly underexposed, out of focus, grossly unleveled, or noticeably noisy. The remaining pics are average at best IMHO. Furthermore, some of the most important pictures from the ceremony and bridal party/family group shots are simply unacceptable to me. Not to mention, there are family group shots that I specifically requested, they took these pics at the wedding, but are nowhere to be found in the proofs. These photographers have shot at this location many times, so lighting should not have been a surprise. I didn't see any other means of lighting other than camera mounted Speedlites, which obviously is the root cause for many of the poor images. Camera's were 7D's, I noticed them using a 50 1.4 and some version of a Sigma wide angle zoom. They did have other lenses, but I didn't really catch a glimpse of what they were.
I sincerely don't believe I'm being over critical considering we paid just over $3800 for 6hours, 2nd shooter, CD images, and one printed album.
Wanted to update everyone on this situation...
My wife and I decided to wait until we had some printed pictures in our hands to make our next move. We were hoping they were going to perhaps re-edit before print, even though the contract says we were to receive ALL proofs, fully edited, on CD.
Well, our chosen prints (150 4x6 proofs, no watermark/logo) arrived about a week ago and they were actually as poor as we expected. Same issues (white balance, exposure, unintended camera tilt, etc) were present in these final prints.
What REALLY has us fuming, is one of the emails they sent to us just prior to the pics arriving. Essentially, the email said "we realize some of the printed proofs appear a bit dark, but don't worry, they can be fixed so they won't be like that in the printed wedding album."
This is completely outrageous to me. Basically, you're telling me that you were too lazy to properly edit the printed proofs, but you are going to do it for the album!? That's NOT what I paid for and the contract states "will provide all proofs edited".
And on top of that, I went back and looked at a few of the pics they edited and printed AT THE WEDDING to leave at our table during the actual wedding...a few of these pics happened to be ones we chose for 150 printed proofs. The ones that were at the wedding had exposure and white balance correctly adjusted, while the IDENTICAL proof did not. So again, laziness as the corrections were feasible since they were made in a matter of minutes on-site at the wedding.
***(Company Name) shot our wedding on 11/4/11 at the ***(venue). My name is Mark, and I'm writing to you on behalf of Erin as well. I hope things are going well for you and ***(2nd photog), and ***(Company Name) as a whole. We've been quite busy with plans to move back to CT from North Carolina, which is partly responsible for the delay in composing this email. As you know, we received our printed pictures about a week or two ago. After finally getting a chance to sit down and sort through them, we find ourselves left with some concerns.
To summarize days of discussion between Erin and I, we have recognized that there are several fundamental issues that repeatedly present themselves throughout our images. These problems include underexposed images, inaccurate and inconsistent white balance, unintentionally misaligned/crooked images, and finally, what seems to be a failure to consistently edit the proofs and prints. Overall, we feel as though the quality of the images we received is not comparable to (company's name) online portfolio, and subsequently, not on par with the quality we were led to expect.
In order to further clarify our concerns, I would be more than willing to go into detail and provide specific examples to support our rationale as it relates to each of the topics highlighted above. Ultimately, we are contacting you to determine what we need to do in order to work towards a resolution. We look forward to your response over the next week.
Short version email sent
No response from photographer. Email re-sent with additional note requesting a response within 24hours.
Hi Mark and Erin.
Thank for taking the time to contact us regarding your concerns. The email we received last night was the first email.Your other email had no content. Simply put, we don't edit our proofs. We only edit images that are ordered for print or images that will be used in your album design. In addition, you will receive the corrected digital files of any image that has been corrected for a print or that you choose to use in your album. The high resolution digital files that you received on DVD are unedited/untouched. All of this information was covered in great detail at our first meeting. If you would like to send us image numbers of some images that we can correct and reproof so you can see the difference, just let us know. Keep in mind, even the paper quality is different on a proof. The images we have online are completely color corrected, edited, and cropped/straightened. This is part of the process, and we assure you that all images selected for print and for your album will be edited as needed according to our professional evaluation of each image. We couldn't possibly offer our clients an affordable wedding package if we had to factor in time to edit/correct each of the 700+ shots taken at each wedding.
We do understand that we were unable to meet in person until the day of the wedding and if we had perhaps you would have a clear understanding on what to expect as far as the proofs.
In addition, we shoot in Raw, which allows white balance to be set after the actual photo has been taken. You are seeing Raw white balance which uses a broader range of colors so we are able to make the best edits in post production. If you have a professional version of Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, we will send you those files as well. The Raw files allow for greater editing flexibility, however without the proper program to edit them, they are useless to our clients as they are often 3x the size of the high resolution JPEGS and can not even be viewed without the programs mentioned above.
We look forward to hearing from and please feel free to contact us at XXX-XXX-XXXX at any time.
Thank you for your response.
In regards to the digital proofs:
We certainly did not expect complete editing for all 700+ images, however, we also didn't expect the exposure and white balance to be so far off. I'm curious as to why the temperature settings couldn't have been adjusted in camera to somewhat better approximate the actual lighting on a room-by-room basis. As the digital images were received, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for the proper corrections to be made using these JPEGs. Therefore, I would very gladly accept your offering of the RAW files so that I can proceed with the necessary adjustments. As far as alignment issues, I'm much less concerned about this with the digital images as alignment is easily rectified. Regardless, the exposure compensation that many of these images are going to need is going to introduce a significant amount of ISO noise as the exposure is pushed in post-processing. So overall, it's obvious that the potential for these images to be converted to high quality prints will be much more limited than if an adequate exposure was recorded at the time of the capture.
Moving on to the actual prints we received:
Again, the same exposure, white balance, and even alignment issues are very much present. Surprisingly, some of these photos were even taken when the bridal party was getting ready, in a room with standard lighting conditions not far from the equivalent of a typical indoor room with an incandescent light source. Yet, we are seeing skin tones that are yellow, and borderline orange in some cases. Obviously this is unacceptable for print, but correctable with the RAW files. If I wasn't familiar with Photoshop and Lightroom, and without having the RAW files, there would be an overwhelming number of images that would simply not be usable.
In regards to the exposure seen in many of our prints, we simply will not be convinced that the images are acceptable. Of course, disregarding the intentional silhouette style images, there are photos suffering from strong back-lighting without any fill lighting, resulting in dark, significantly underexposed faces. There are examples throughout the event that don't fare well, but possibly the most disappointing images come from the ceremony and bridal party/group sets; there are photos so grossly underexposed that individuals are literally unrecognizable.
Moreover, what makes these issues more problematic for us, is the fact that several images we chose for our final prints had actually been printed out and placed on our table the night of the wedding. Those same images were indeed edited that night to reflect a proper white balance and exposure before being displayed. However, the printed counterparts we received did not have the same, or comparable corrections applied in some cases.
Within the next several days, we will follow-up with specific photos attached to the email that exemplify the above issues.
-Mark and Erin
I then received an almost immediate reply:
We would like to discuss this over the phone instead of via email. Do you have a contact number that we would be able to call you. Clearly we need to start this process on the same page. We would like to get this settled.
Sent an email with 20-25'ish scanned prints to illustrate my complaints. Also quickly browsed through the CD images and pulled out about 50 file numbers to illustrate how significantly inconsistent white balance and exposure are in these jpgs, proving my point that RAW files are going to be necessary. Asked the photog to review the samples and call me Mon-Fri anytime after 6pm.
Essentially today's phone conversation resulted in the photog's agreement to mail the RAW files for all 700images within the next 1-2weeks and take it from there. I restated my concerns and she really didn't disagree with me on any of the issues. Apparently the printed images received were NOT edited, which results in me still not understanding the purpose of providing these printed images. Didn't want to press further before I actually have all the RAW images in my possession.
It has now been 36 days since the phone conversation with the photographer and I have yet to receive the RAW files. Sent an email just a few minutes ago asking for an update. This is likely going to be my last correspondence with her as I'm not sure I'll be able to stay civil for much longer.
Received an email on 6/6/12 stating that they were waiting for the prints to come in so they could send prints and RAW files in one package. I was told to expect the package sometime this week.