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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk 
Thread started 07 Jul 2009 (Tuesday) 18:48
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Lost Wedding Pics-compensation?

 
Bride'sMom
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Jul 07, 2009 18:48 |  #1

My daughter was married about 2 weeks ago. We hired a reputable photographer (or so we thought) and paid $2700 for the package (payable prior to the wedding). When the thumbnails were posted to his website, we started to notice that pictures were missing. Most noticeably, no pictures of the wedding party as a group, along with a few family pictures and the pictures of the wedding party and family as they entered the reception, and a few others,etc. When I emailed to ask the photog. if he still had more pictures to download, he said no and that if the pictures weren't there, then they didn't turn out. When I replied that I was sad that these pictures didn't turn out, he responded "I have no record of any pictures of the wedding party together". Now, isn't the wedding party sort of one of the important pictures to take during a wedding?
So.....son in law calls photographer, and he admits to a slight memory of possibly taking the pictures, but has no idea what happened to them. Says he will try data recovery. We hear nothing for a week, and when son-in-law calls back, he says he still doesn't know what happened....now says maybe he misplaced a memory card. Maybe he should check his bag (you haven't done this already?). Meanwhile during all these conversations, the photog. has never apologized or even sounded the least bit remorseful about the situation. The son-in-law finally got him to say (more or less shamed him )he was sorry about this, and he would keep looking.
My question is......I doubt we find these pictures.....what would be considered fair compensation for loss of these pictures and his attitude. I will say that we do have about 790 very good pictures, but it seems that a group picture of the wedding party ranks high on the importance list.
Thanks for any advice as to how you think we should proceed with this.




  
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tim
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Jul 07, 2009 19:36 |  #2

Most contracts will say no individual photograph is guaranteed, that it's a best effort service. Sometimes photos don't turn out, but losing cards and not knowing what's going on isn't very professional The only photo you've listed that sounds particularly important to me is the whole wedding party together, but sometimes this shot can't be done with difficult customers, so if it's missing it's not the end of the world.

Without knowing more of the circumstances it's hard to say if any compensation would be due. Really missing a few photos isn't a big deal if you have 790 very good photos that show most things, including the wedding party even if it's in a couple of photos. If i'd missed a couple of family group shots but had gotten most, and had forgotten to take a whole wedding party shot, i'd probably offer a little extra such as an extra couple of album pages or some prints. I wouldn't give a refund.

I have to say though after photographing around a hundred weddings i've never forgotten any of those photos, but it could happen. Wedding days can be quite chaotic, and disorganised or uncooperative wedding parties can make some things difficult or impossible.


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Bride'sMom
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Jul 07, 2009 20:31 as a reply to  @ tim's post |  #3

We are thinking it may be close to 50 pictures. We have the pre-wedding photos of bride and bridesmaids, groom and groomsmen, but nothing with everyone together. While not happy, we would be understanding if he would just admit he screwed up and apologize, but his attitude has been that he can't remember and maybe possibly these pictures are missing. I would think that at the very least, he would be concerned about his reputation and future recommendations that we would give.
I know that he took a lot of pictures, but as a photographer, do you review them and wouldn't you notice that there were no group pictures?
The way the timeline seems to go and what is missing, I think that it probably is a missing memory card.




  
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tim
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Jul 07, 2009 21:04 |  #4

It sounds like his attitude is what's mostly annoying you. I understand that, but don't turn a small omission into a massive disaster. It's not. It's a minor annoyance that a few photos have been missed. Perhaps you need to send him a polite letter explaining that you're disappointed with the missing photos and his attitude, and what you'd like him to do about it. Don't email, and be polite not hostile as you'll get much better results that way. Or you could sue, that's the American way.

If all the "lost" photos are sequential it could be a missing memory card, but given the different photos you think are missing that doesn't seem likely. Family groups and wedding party, sure, but people coming into the reception is usually quite a bit later. Personally I don't take photos of people walking into rooms.

Check the list of group photos you gave him to take against the photos he took. If there's no list then you don't really have any comeback. Even if photos are on the list it's not always possible to get them all if people have wandered off or aren't being cooperative. Then again if you gave him a huge list he probably just threw it out, as it's not practical to look at lists all day as you miss what's really going on.


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Bride'sMom
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Jul 07, 2009 21:47 as a reply to  @ tim's post |  #5

The missing pictures were sequential. There wasn't a list per se, but there were plenty of people who remember them being taken. I don't know if this means anything, but when you look at the thumbnails online, they are numbered sequentially. His wife was also photographing and you can follow her pictures sequentially, then see the switch to his pictures (beginning with the groom and the guys). All the numbers go in order, and then there is a hole of about 100-120 numbers and then the numbers pick up again. I don't know enough about how these memory cards number the pictures to know if this is significant or not.
We are going to give him a little more time......hopefully he searches his car, the pants he was wearing, all the bags he carried, etc. Then we plan to meet with him at his home and discuss what he plans to do about this. I am trying to get a feel for what would be considered fair compensation, as I really have no idea. My gut instinct is to ask for a complete refund, but that won't happen. If I were this guy, I'd be more concerned about what we say to our friends, family, etc. It was a pretty big wedding, and my son-in-law works at our church, so word will get around. While he takes great pictures, he seems to be careless and doesn't really see his carelessness as a big deal. His wife is a lovely person, and feel really bad about all these issues.




  
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tim
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Jul 07, 2009 22:01 |  #6

File numbers aren't useful, they will change at random as different cards are used.

Asking for a full refund because of this is like asking for a full refund on dinner because there was no cherry on your dessert. You seem to have blown things out of proportion. Like I said i'd offer you a little extra product, but i'd never have let things get this far. The photographer sounds like an idiot.


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mattograph
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Jul 07, 2009 22:11 |  #7

True that, Tim. A wise man once told me to act like I'd been there before. There's a ton at play here, especially at the $2700 price point, which should buy you something more than a guy with camera. Im a guy with camera, but I shoot to multiple cards, and back up all my files in field before leaving the site.

This does happen -- sometimes things just don't come out. However, if you have some good images of everyone involved, its not too much of a stretch for a clever composite to be put together. I'm not talking about photoshopping everyone together, but rather a composite based on some common theme in the images.

I think you would feel tons better if the shooter was upfront about the error and ommission, and took Tims advice.


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sodalis
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Jul 07, 2009 22:27 |  #8

I understand you being upset, and it sounds like the photographer could be handling things better on their end. Really though, it seems like there is only one photograph missing that you feel was truly important vs. 800 photographs that you say are very good; and based on that your "gut" tells you to ask for a full refund? Seriously?



  
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DennisW1
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Jul 07, 2009 23:08 |  #9

BridesMom wrote in post #8241687 (external link)
=Bride'sMom;8241687]My daughter was married about 2 weeks ago. We hired a reputable photographer (or so we thought) and paid $2700 for the package (payable prior to the wedding). When the thumbnails were posted to his website, we started to notice that pictures were missing. Most noticeably, no pictures of the wedding party as a group, along with a few family pictures and the pictures of the wedding party and family as they entered the reception, and a few others,etc. When I emailed to ask the photog. if he still had more pictures to download, he said no and that if the pictures weren't there, then they didn't turn out. When I replied that I was sad that these pictures didn't turn out, he responded "I have no record of any pictures of the wedding party together". Now, isn't the wedding party sort of one of the important pictures to take during a wedding?
So.....son in law calls photographer, and he admits to a slight memory of possibly taking the pictures, but has no idea what happened to them. Says he will try data recovery. We hear nothing for a week, and when son-in-law calls back, he says he still doesn't know what happened....now says maybe he misplaced a memory card. Maybe he should check his bag (you haven't done this already?). Meanwhile during all these conversations, the photog. has never apologized or even sounded the least bit remorseful about the situation. The son-in-law finally got him to say (more or less shamed him )he was sorry about this, and he would keep looking.
My question is......I doubt we find these pictures.....what would be considered fair compensation for loss of these pictures and his attitude. I will say that we do have about 790 very good pictures, but it seems that a group picture of the wedding party ranks high on the importance list.
Thanks for any advice as to how you think we should proceed with this.

Lost or missing images, or important ones that just "didn't turn out" are one of the nightmares of any reputable wedding photographer.

Of the ones you mentioned, yes, photographs of the wedding party are definitely on the "must get" list. Family photographs are equally as important, especially any taken at the request of the bride and groom or their families.

790 "good" pictures is a hell of a lot for a wedding, but if they're not of the ones that are important, what's the point of having them?

What really irriatates me about this is the photographer's attitude and responses or lack of them. I'm just guessing but I suspect he either really blew it with the "missing" shots and doesn't know how to 'fess up to it or someway, somehow he really did lose a card with a number of images on it. Either way he's handling it terribly.
"....A slight memory of taking the pictures but has no idea of what happened to them..."? WTF kind of an answer is THAT?

What to do now doesn't have an easy answer, IMO. You can ask to have the bridal party photos re-taken, but that may not be as easy as it sounds. Unless all the people in the wedding party are local, getting them back together at one time might be either extremely difficult or impossible. While the bridesmaids will probably still have their dresses the men are going to have to get tuxes again and IMO, the photographer should eat that expense. Family groups are the same problem, unless once again everyone is available locally.

So then do you ask for some sort of monetary compensation, free or substantially discounted re-orders, or future sittings? I guess that's up to you and what you really want. The important and unfortunate point to remember is that unless these "missing images" suddenly turn up, there's no way of bringing the exact memories of that day back, so anything from here on out is going to be damage control at best.

Like I said earlier, what bothers me the most about this whole thing is the terrible way the photographer is handling it. I can't imagine blowing someone off like he's doing over what are important and missing images of someone's wedding day.

Good Luck.




  
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Bride'sMom
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Jul 07, 2009 23:13 as a reply to  @ sodalis's post |  #10

Not really 1 picture, but there is nothing with the entire wedding party together and many were taken. We haven't talked to some of the groom's family yet, to see how upset they are that several of their family pictures are missing. The total refund thing was more of a knee-jerk......I'm really ticked off reaction.
Supposedly this guy is an "award-winning" photographer, but I had some concerns in the beginning when we met with him and his wife at their home and discussed the date, deposit required, etc. The kids really wanted this guy to do their wedding, so I sent the deposit about 2 weeks later. He calls our house and asks, "have we met?" He had absolutely no recollection that we had ever sat in his living and discussed things with him. I guess we should have run in the opposite direction. He also doesn't use contracts and I had to really push to get him to mail me one (2 weeks before the wedding). My biggest fear was a no-show by the photog. and I would have nothing in writing.
We also have the option to purchase a CD of all the photos....he's quoted us 3 different prices....$200, $300, & $500 in various emails.
Question: does the purchase of a CD of this sort give us the rights to have pictures printed? or does it vary from one photog. to another.I wasn't quite sure.
It is just so disappointing that the entire wedding day was absolutely perfect....then a week later we find that after spending thousands of dollars on pictures, we are missing pictures. It sounds like from the couple of responses that from a photographer's standpoint, we shouldn't be so upset that there are absolutely no pictures of the bride, groom and attendants together as a group.
His reluctance to own up to his mistake really makes me question his integrity.




  
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Bride'sMom
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Jul 07, 2009 23:21 as a reply to  @ DennisW1's post |  #11

Thank you....and yes the shame of it all is that this was a one-time opportunity. I don't really know how this will turn out. I don't see retaking the pictures as an option....it would be a huge inconvenience for everyone involved. At the least, I think he should offer the kids some free extra pages in their album or maybe a larger portrait for their wall which wasn't included in the package....not sure where we're going with this. I even called the reception hall to see if anyone had found a memory card , but haven't heard back from them.
I appreciate your response, and I agree....the crappiest thing about this is his attitude and nonchalance about the whole thing.




  
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tim
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Jul 07, 2009 23:27 |  #12

CD prices vary hugely. You should definitely be concerned that the photos are missing, what we don't really understand is exactly what you do have. For example is there a photo of all the women in the wedding party together? All the guys? Are there individual shots? Are there good photos of the B&G together? Until we really understand this it's hard to give advice.

If the photographer isn't taking this seriously then perhaps he deserves a lawsuit. But my opinion is all other avenues should be explored first, especially the polite and reasonable letter expressing your concerns, delivered to him ASAP.


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Bride'sMom
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Jul 08, 2009 08:29 as a reply to  @ tim's post |  #13

Yes, we have Bride and Groom. We have the girls all together and the guys altogether. So we have all the pieces, just not together. I don't know if there's any way to splice them together.....probably not. We would never sue him.....too many people jump to that these days. If he doesn't offer, we will probably suggest some additional pictures or a discount of some sort.
From a business standpoint, I would think he would be concerned that his reputation would be tarnished. My daughter is of the age where all her friends are getting married and up until now, could have recommended him to others.
Everything will be very polite unless this guy gets ugly. We will be very firm about our disappointment and his apparent lack of concern and ability to own up to his mistake. We would have taken this so much better if he would have been upfront and apologetic. No one is perfect and mistakes can happen......you just really don't want mistakes to happen when it's your big day and you only have one opportunity to get it right.
Even though his contract said that there was to be no one taking photos of his poses, now I wish I hadn't told our guests not to take photos. We will be contacting others to see if anyone might have possibly taken any group photos that we were unaware of.

A photgraphy question: There does not seem to be many of any bride groom closeup pictures.....all seem to be from a distance. (There were pictures at the grand piano, but these are also in the missing pictures). Can photographers zoom in on pictures and print close ups?




  
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FZ1
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Jul 08, 2009 09:44 |  #14

BridesMom wrote in post #8244778 (external link)
=Bride'sMom;8244778]
A photgraphy question: There does not seem to be many of any bride groom closeup pictures.....all seem to be from a distance. (There were pictures at the grand piano, but these are also in the missing pictures). Can photographers zoom in on pictures and print close ups?

Depending on the resolution the original shot, it can be cropped but it won't be any "closer" than how it looks on the original. However, I'm guessing you are looking at lower-res proofs so likely they can be made to appear as more of a close up than what you are seeing but it may limit the print size depending on how much crop is needed. I hope this made sense.


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pixelharmony
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Jul 08, 2009 10:19 |  #15

BridesMom wrote in post #8244778 (external link)
=Bride'sMom;8244778]Ye​s, we have Bride and Groom. We have the girls all together and the guys altogether. So we have all the pieces, just not together. I don't know if there's any way to splice them together.....probably not. We would never sue him.....too many people jump to that these days. If he doesn't offer, we will probably suggest some additional pictures or a discount of some sort.
From a business standpoint, I would think he would be concerned that his reputation would be tarnished. My daughter is of the age where all her friends are getting married and up until now, could have recommended him to others.
Everything will be very polite unless this guy gets ugly. We will be very firm about our disappointment and his apparent lack of concern and ability to own up to his mistake. We would have taken this so much better if he would have been upfront and apologetic. No one is perfect and mistakes can happen......you just really don't want mistakes to happen when it's your big day and you only have one opportunity to get it right.
Even though his contract said that there was to be no one taking photos of his poses, now I wish I hadn't told our guests not to take photos. We will be contacting others to see if anyone might have possibly taken any group photos that we were unaware of.

A photgraphy question: There does not seem to be many of any bride groom closeup pictures.....all seem to be from a distance. (There were pictures at the grand piano, but these are also in the missing pictures). Can photographers zoom in on pictures and print close ups?

Sounds like a frustrating situation, I would say that @ $2700 I would expect a professional producing professional work.

So during the whole wedding process the photographer never posed the group and took pictures?

I would review the contract and see if a settlement can be reached. Also with the zooming in of pictures, it all depends on his image size, quality, and how far you want to zoom and crop in. Ideally I would never want to crop in to get detail, typically I crop to remove unwanted items in the photo.

tim wrote in post #8243162 (external link)
If the photographer isn't taking this seriously then perhaps he deserves a lawsuit. But my opinion is all other avenues should be explored first, especially the polite and reasonable letter expressing your concerns, delivered to him ASAP.

Well stated Tim.


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