This is my first post on the forum but I've been a long time lurker.
I want to tell you guys what just happened to me in an attempt to A.) Get it off my chest, and B.) Hopefully gain some back-up by having people tell me I've done nothing wrong.
Okay, here it goes.
I've only recently (as in the last 2 months) started to take on photography jobs in a professional sense. Up until this point it's been a hobby but now I feel confident enough in my own abilities to start charging for my services.
I advertised myself as a second shooter for weddings and said I would do it for quite cheap, just so I'd have more of a chance to get hired which would allow me to build up a portfolio to land future work.
Soon enough I had an offer from a local wedding photographer who said he had a wedding coming up but couldn't make it because he had to undergo surgery. He asked me if I'd do it instead and I agreed. We didn't sign any contract (Always will in future now, lesson learned!) but had a verbal agreement that he'd pay me X-amount for the day. Now I'll admit I was jumping into the deep end but I was grateful for the big opportunity.
The photographer told me he had contacted the Bride and Groom to tell them the situation and they were both happy with me filling in for him. I even called them up myself to introduce myself and to make sure they were comfortable with me. No problems there.
The wedding comes and goes, and on the whole I feel for a very first wedding I did the best I could. I was happy with my work. It was a massive learning experience but I coped well with the pressure. I did a good job.
However, this is where the trouble starts.
I met up with the photographer earlier today to pass over the images to him and to receive my payment. He then told me he called the Bride and Groom yesterday to ask them how the day went, and he told me that they absolutely trashed me.
They disliked me so much apparently that they want a FULL refund from the photographer, which meant (surprise surprise) he couldn't pay me for the work I've done.
This is where it gets ridiculous though. I asked him what the specific complaints they had about me were, and they are completely unreasonable and in one case a complete lie.
The first complaint was that I didn't shoot the Bride in the morning having her hair and makeup done, as this was in the shot list they had provided. And yes it's true, I did not do that. I didn't do that because on the day, I asked the Bride if she was ready for me to take the pictures and she replied to me with "I've changed my mind with that, just wait till I'm completely ready before taking any of me". So there we go, case closed.
The second complaint was that I spent some time throughout the day changing and alternating lenses. Yes, that's how photography works? I don't have two bodies and the time it took for me to change to suitable lenses for certain situations in no way delayed the day or disrupted it. Most of the time I let the couple know I was going to change a lens and they were totally fine with it. In fact the only time I did several lens changes was when I was taking "artsy" portraits on the couple in the local park, again I explained why I was changing them and they had no issues.
The best complaint of all though is this. According to the photographer, the couple had told him that there was a period of time during the day on my break where I went to the bar inside the venue, ordered a drink and proceeded to fall asleep. They even said that they and other guests started clapping their hands together in front of my face in an attempt to wake me up! This is a complete and utter lie. There are no two ways about it, it is a lie! I barely had any time to sit down for 5 minutes during the day never mind take a relaxing nap. They also told the photographer that they have "witnesses" who can back up those claims which is also not true because I have people AND evidence that proves I was awake and functional for the whole time. My alibi is my mother, who happened to be in the local area at the time of my break, so I called her up to come sit with me for a while. My evidence is that I have saved sent and received text messages between myself and a photographer friend of mine discussing how the day was going. So in essence, these people don't have a leg to stand on whatsoever.
Keep in mind that the Bride and Groom have yet to see a single photograph of the day, yet they have apparently decided to ask for a full refund.
The photographer who hired me has shown a huge lack of professionalism by not paying me for doing the job he requested me to do, and for hiring a rookie in the first place to do a big wedding alone (Although as I said, I wasn't going to turn the work down)
And yes I did inform him I hadn't shot a wedding before, so he cannot claim I mislead him into thinking I was a seasoned pro.
Since I didn't receive any payment today, I kept all the images, so unless the photographer used some sort of secret RAW-file acquiring spell, I'm the only person with the image files from the wedding day.
He did look at the pictures today though (I watched him flick through them) and he said I had done a good job (Ignoring a few technical details here and there) and he claimed he could easily deliver the wedding album to the clients at the quality they requested.
So in summary;
I did a good job, took quality pictures, but I'm not getting paid and the Bride and Groom are making up stories about me. Strange, non?
Are the Bride and Groom trying to get out of their contract with the Photographer, or is the Photographer screwing me around trying to get work done for free?