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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk 
Thread started 27 Oct 2011 (Thursday) 00:16
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I need some advice on what to do about my wedding photographs.

 
S.E.V.
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Oct 27, 2011 00:16 |  #1

So I recently got married on 09-10-2011. We had locked in wedding photographer about 3 months before our date. I don't want to say the guys name right now but have no issues letting you guys know it. Okay so here we go.

He had gave us a package that we liked. It included an engagement shoot and a 6 hour wedding time with an assistant! He said during the e-mail that his assistant a HE and HE also is a photographer and not just a gear holding assistant. The package included all the photos on a DVD edited. So we asked if he could drop the engagement half and do 8 hour at the wedding instead of 6, he said yes but it would set us at $2,150.00 for the entire package, we said that's fine. We also asked roughly the amount of shots he takes per event he told us between 1,500-1,800. We paid him a half via paypal and the other half just before the wedding. He shows up the the wedding and does his thing him and the assistant. Now the guy sounded nice and excited and what not and the images on his website made him look pretty damn good. So the wedding flew by fast and in about a month or so we get out DVD with all the images edited.

Now we look threw them all and we both are not happy at all, lets put it this way, the image quality of the shots were probably what I could of done and for less then $2100.00. I am not good at shooting events, and am not a wedding photographer but I know what a good and bad photo looks like. This is one of the shots the assistant took. here it is.

IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6225/6284810869_d8f5086984_o.jpg

Seriously WTF!?!? And that's the only one the assistant took of that. That's great if I were Kevin's Jewelers. Now another month go by and my wife finds out from her cousin that the photographer was a total a$$, the photographer told my wife's niece not to pursue this field cause A: He doesn't get paid enough B: It's a thankless job and on and on. First of all you set your own prices, not my problem so stop crying about it man! I don't get it.

So after looking at his photos We write him an e-mail and asking If we could get all the RAW images, he said I normally do not do this but since I'm a photographer he understands I would like to edit my own way. So I get the hard drive back and there are 1024 RAW files, on the DVD we initially got from him there was 894 images edited. No where near his 1500-1800 quote. Still, after looking at all the images i am still upset!

Now my wife had lunch with our friend that shot the video of our wedding and we see the assistant during the reception hiding most of the time, playing with one of the flower girls and the flower girls mother, the photographer looking like his was miserable. Also during the ceremony they both were shooting from the far back, I mean from behind the last row of chairs, and from the side but never coming up front on the steps, in the middle of the isle, behind us around us, NOTHING, it was almost like they didn't want to get in the way of the guests. WTF! I am paying you good money, you better be where you need to be to get the shots! Right? I had Maureen and Skip Souza (moderators on here) at my wedding as quests and they both were all over the place getting shots and they did it for us out of the kindness of their hearts. To tell you the truth their images turned out way better then our paid photographers.

The last rants I promise!!! LOL The flower girls got more shots then me and my wife, and that his package included an online gallery for our guest to view and purchase any images they please. Still to this day NO Online gallery! Now I don't want him to host one cause I don''t want him to rip off any of our friends and guests.

So my question finally is, what can I do? I would at least like to get half of the money we paid him back, due to the fact of the assistant being his girlfriend with photography skills less then my girlfriend, no online gallery, about 500-800 shots less then quoted, horrible out come on the edited images, acting full of himself, not moving to the right spots to get the shots at the angles needed and so on! I mean he barley moved the grooms men and best man around in the shots they all took the same places and they all look the same, I mean you could of switched them around and moved us to a different location and back ground. ERRRR!!!

Here are a few more examples:
This is the only image they have of me giving my mother inlaw the rose during the rose exchange.
IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6054/6285395246_b21c725c3f_o.jpg
Seriously WTF, where is the assistant when needed!?

The dress hanging up. What he couldn't of found a better place?
IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6057/6285395188_ba8c0f445d_o.jpg

It is this little kind of stuff that really disappointed us, nothing like what we expected from viewing all his images on his site. I understand the location has a part in the outcome if the images but I don't think he actually put forth the effort to give it 100%.

So all you wedding photographer please chime in, I will answer all questions asked. He shot with two 580EX II on stands with soft boxes using the PW TT1 and TT5 triggers, and indoors switched to the gary phong light spheres, 5d2, 85f1.8, 24-70f2.8, 70-200f2.8L IS. I think his girlfriend/assistant shot with a nikon and I don't know what lenses she had.

Thank you for taking the time to read this long a$$ rant, I am just soo frustrated I don't know what to do now.

Sevan :)

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picturecrazy
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Oct 27, 2011 00:45 |  #2

What you went through sucks. I feel for you. But to be honest, the outcome of the $2000 range wedding photographers are pretty hit and miss. You can find a gem, or you can be sorely disappointed. It is a risk that you took and it didn't turn out. It's always a risk no matter the price point, but I'm just saying the $2000 area is crazy oversaturated with amateur level photographers... less so than the $4000+ group.

I don't think you'll be able to get your money back. The quality of photography is one thing that can never really be guaranteed. Not even the number of shots taken or delivered can really be guaranteed. It's brutal as a client, but with no professional photo standards organization, any idiot can claim to be a pro photographer. That leaves the burden upon the client to research and find someone who will deliver the level of photography they want.


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S.E.V.
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Oct 27, 2011 01:14 |  #3

picturecrazy wrote in post #13313296 (external link)
What you went through sucks. I feel for you. But to be honest, the outcome of the $2000 range wedding photographers are pretty hit and miss. You can find a gem, or you can be sorely disappointed. It is a risk that you took and it didn't turn out. It's always a risk no matter the price point, but I'm just saying the $2000 area is crazy oversaturated with amateur level photographers... less so than the $4000+ group.

I don't think you'll be able to get your money back. The quality of photography is one thing that can never really be guaranteed. Not even the number of shots taken or delivered can really be guaranteed. It's brutal as a client, but with no professional photo standards organization, any idiot can claim to be a pro photographer. That leaves the burden upon the client to research and find someone who will deliver the level of photography they want.

But the quality of the images he is capable of taking was way higher then what we got. All the images on his site are way better then our results, so what you are saying is that he priced us low so he is gonna shoot a poor quality, but if had priced higher the image quality would be better? If I am capable of shooting a high quality image, for my high paying client then shooting a low quality image for my lower paying clients would instantly give my name a bad wrap. You don;t switch from high quality to poor quality, that's like Ruth Chris Steak house having two completely different menus, one for the high paying client using the best meat, and the other for the low paying clients using all the left of meat. I doubt the place would stay in business.

I get the price range can be filled with noob photographers and that a higher price range would yield a better photos, but this guy is capable of a higher image quality.


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TheBurningCrown
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Oct 27, 2011 01:22 |  #4

S.E.V. wrote in post #13313344 (external link)
I get the price range can be filled with noob photographers and that a higher price range would yield a better photos, but this guy is capable of a higher image quality.

...then sue?

I, for one, am baffled that a $2000 range photographer who shoots for eight hours (and with what looks like no PP) is somehow a market saturated with amateurs :shock:.


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tim
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Oct 27, 2011 03:02 |  #5

Did you ask how many photos he takes, or how many he delivers? I usually deliver around 1/4 of what I take.

I feel for you, but other than telling him your concerns and asking him to address them there's not much you can do.

There's a lot to be said for meeting people before you book them.


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Oct 27, 2011 06:39 |  #6

What does the contract state... that is your starting point to any claim you may make.


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Oct 27, 2011 07:19 |  #7

While I feel compassion for your disappointment, I'm not sure I fully get it. Maybe your expectations were misguided?

I'm sure the images he features on his site are the best of his best. Not all of the 900 images he gave you would have been of that quality.

It's not uncommon to take a picture of jewelry or even the shoes and focus on the label. That said, assuming the focus was deliberate, he should have taken a second shot focusing on the ear rings, too.

With our limited mobility during the ceremony and the nature of some moments, it's very hard to get a good shot of something like you giving your mom a rose. Or the father giving the bride away, for that matter. It's your mom that's holding the rose in front of her face; what was the photogarpher supposed to do? Where was he supposed to have been to get a better shot for you? And still get one of your wife doing the same thing at the same time? And still be in place to get the moments before and after?

And while he could've maybe done something more creative with the gown, that's not an awful shot. It's just not a good one. I've worked weddings where the bride's dressing location couldn't be more plain and it's a real struggle to find something creative and interesting to do with the gown.

And what about the contract? What did it say about any assurances of image quality?

At the end of the day, it sounds like you booked a lower end photographer who's work is a little spotty. I've known couples who went with the least expensive limo company and were upset because their car was late or the driver was a little gruff. It doesn't help when it happens, but the likelihood of that outcome seemed obvious to me.


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nicksan
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Oct 27, 2011 09:02 |  #8

^Pretty much what I was going to say.

I'm sorry that you went through this. What are you looking for? Your money back? An apology? What's the end game? If you are looking for money back, then talk to an attorney.




  
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Numenorean
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Oct 27, 2011 09:19 |  #9

Did you communicate what was going to happen in the wedding to your photographer? If I was just there, I'd have no idea about giving a rose and that being an important part. I would be worrying about the bride coming up the aisle, with your reaction to seeing her. Then the father giving the bride away. After that, I'd probably be getting out of dodge to the back of the church or whatever so I'm not standing out like a sore thumb up there during the actual ceremony part.

Did you specifically tell him that you were doing a rose thing and you wanted it captured?

I agree with Peacefield.

I have also had some unfair expectations from couples or brides. If you're getting ready in a room at a Motel 6, don't expect me to take your dress over to the Four Seasons to get a good shot of it. There are some limitations to what we can do with shots like that depending on what the venue is. I've had a bride put her dress on in a restroom in a church....I mean seriously what kind of shot can you get there? You can't pack up a better venue with you as a photographer and bring it along.

Why don't you post some more photos? Some portraits, etc. Are there any you do like? I'm guessing the portraits you can have a bit more creative control if you do them outside at a nearby park or something.


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Oct 27, 2011 09:48 |  #10

I'm afraid of every post that encourages people to SUE THE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER. It's a bad habit that's growing because we are such a sue-happy country.

Rules of different venues vary and some (especially churches) won't ALLOW photographers near/behind the wedding party. Environment is highly variable and not every place has a good spot to hang a dress. Photographers are not always in perfect position to capture certain shots during ceremonies or receptions in large part because of movement limitations or spontaneity/randomness of the direction that people may face when they do things. When I do formals, we tend to do them in the SAME SPOT because it's faster and the photos look more uniform. Formals are formals, unless the couple specifically wants more fun/creative stuff. Only the uninformed person oblivious to common sense cares about the number of photos as long as they tell the complete story of the day.

How do you know he does a better job than your photos show? Did you ask for recent samples of his full wedding sets? Were you an informed consumer? Seems something went wrong with your information gathering beforehand...

Honestly, if people used good common sense these days they would have far fewer problems...research vendors carefully and thoroughly.


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Oct 27, 2011 09:49 |  #11

It's usually a big no-no to be hovering around the couple during the nuptuals, so both photogs being at the back isn't uncommon.

The ring shot is unfortunate. Do you have another one that the main got? Something creatively cliche perhaps.

The dress? We don't touch the dress. Ever. If we move it and something happens, we're double f*cked oreos. Whoever hung the dress on the mirror - it's on them. Since it's a mirror, the photographer had to shoot an angle of some sort to keep themselves out of the shot. They chose the left side. It's not what I would have done but it worked.

As for the roses/hug, that's also unfortunate but I consider it a win if I get anything from that moment. Back of the heads, whatever. It's not an "epic" moment that you see coming a mile away and it's also not something you can reposition for because some the stuff you'd really be **** about the photographer missing happens right before and after that.

I think, without seeing the rest, that the real problem is that the photographer didn't cull enough. Giving 800+ out of 1500 is too many and I'm sure the so-so stuff is overpowering the good/great stuff.


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Oct 27, 2011 10:02 |  #12

Sorry to hear about your frustrations Sevan. Hope that Maureen and Skip Souza shots could make up for it.


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Oct 27, 2011 10:10 as a reply to  @ Numenorean's post |  #13

i feel for ya. i had a sh*tty experience with our photographers too.
my expectations were also too high, and we got burned. But there isn't much we could do. Just be happy for the photos that they got that you do like, i'm sure some of them you will cherish.

i completely agree with what everyone has posted ahead of me here


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Oct 27, 2011 10:15 |  #14

cdifoto wrote in post #13314722 (external link)
It's usually a big no-no to be hovering around the couple during the nuptuals, so both photogs being at the back isn't uncommon.

yeah, it drives me nuts when i'm at a wedding and the paid photog acts like they own the place during the ceremonies.
my wife and i stay out of the way too. i'll use longer lenses if i have to. but i typically don't go down the center aisle.

cdifoto wrote in post #13314722 (external link)
The dress? We don't touch the dress. Ever. If we move it and something happens, we're double f*cked oreos. Whoever hung the dress on the mirror - it's on them. Since it's a mirror, the photographer had to shoot an angle of some sort to keep themselves out of the shot. They chose the left side. It's not what I would have done but it worked.

funny, i move the dress all the time. usually with assistance from a bridesmaid or someone too.
but often there really aren't ANY good options on placements.
sometimes i wished i carried a hammer and a nail with me.. :)

cdifoto wrote in post #13314722 (external link)
As for the roses/hug, that's also unfortunate but I consider it a win if I get anything from that moment. Back of the heads, whatever. It's not an "epic" moment that you see coming a mile away and it's also not something you can reposition for because some the stuff you'd really be **** about the photographer missing happens right before and after that.

completely agree here

cdifoto wrote in post #13314722 (external link)
I think, without seeing the rest, that the real problem is that the photographer didn't cull enough. Giving 800+ out of 1500 is too many and I'm sure the so-so stuff is overpowering the good/great stuff.

yeah, often my problem as a photog too :)


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cdifoto
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Oct 27, 2011 10:29 |  #15

Yeah I've had the dressed moved but after a scare I won't touch it myself anymore.


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I need some advice on what to do about my wedding photographs.
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