Request for Wedding Photographers' Professional Feedback

Started Dec 25, 2016 | Discussions thread
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EJY77 New Member • Posts: 8
Request for Wedding Photographers' Professional Feedback
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Hi,

I am on here to get some professional feedback regarding my experience with my wedding photographer and how best to proceed. I was married in October, was not pleased with my photographs, tried working with her to resolve the issues and it has finally came to a head. Here are some of the major grievances:

1) We took our formal shots on the front lawn overlooking a boat harbor. Missing from my gallery were shots of: B&G, B&G with bride's parents, B&G with groom's parents, B&G with bride's immediate family (parents & siblings). I, along with others, are confident these were taken. When I showed a picture of me and my husband on the lawn taken by my mom, she said she only had us stand there to "test her lighting" and don't worry because there are plenty of other pictures of us. For all others, she takes no responsibility but brushes it off because I didn't provide her a photo list (more on that later). Note, we had almost 2 full hours to take formals before the wedding. We had about 45-60 minutes of down time between formals and the ceremony so by no means were we rushed.

2) I paid $2,250 (the cost after a 10% military discount) for 6 hours of photography from her along with 3 hours of a second shooter to receive high resolution, professionally edited photos. This package did not include any prints, books, etc. I therefore felt that the editing of the photos should have been top notch as that was essentially the only product I was going to receive. Until I sent a formal complaint letter, I don't think the majority of the photos were edited at all. Upon receiving feedback, she did go back and edit the reception photos so they were more cohesive and sharp. My original complaints on the formal photos (as well as those of another professional wedding photographer for whom I asked for feedback) were that they were washed out, out of focus and basically horrible. They were not tack sharp at all. The formals actually came back worse. She edited these by simply "using a filter on the entire image to smooth things" thus giving any faces a very "waxy" look. This was the specific feedback I received from a professional photo editor who I gave a few pictures to in an effort to see what, if anything, could be done.

I hired this photographer because I loved the pictures on her website and blog. They were in focus, sharp, well lit and creative. I truly feel I was misled as the quality on her website vs. my photos are professional vs. amateur, respectively. She disagrees and all I'm getting from her is excuses. The #1 being that I didn't have a photo list. Her pre-wedding questionnaire indicated to make a list "basic and short". I therefore simply listed the 9 family members and 4 wedding party attendants. I figured that, as a professional, she would be able to shoot the basic combinations of people that any bride would expect. I would have gladly written down specific combos for her but she never asked for this level of detail. Her other excuse has been that people were taking photos behind her. My FIL and mom were the only ones with cameras snapping a few pics. They were being discreet and not at all in her way. Yet when I ask why a picture is missing she says "why don't you ask someone else who was there taking pictures" to which I politely remind her that I hired her and only her so it is only her pictures that I care about. Finally, she implies this all could have been avoided had we had a face-to-face meeting prior to the wedding but I had never booked that appointment. I told her prior to even booking her service that I lived out-of-state and wouldn't be to the wedding destination until just a few days before. She didn't seem to have an issue with it then but now that I'm an unhappy client, she's using it against me. We did speak several times via the phone.

My #1 goal was to get great pictures and I offered her the chance to go back and edit them which she did but, for the formal pictures specifically, not to the professional quality I expected. This, along with missing VIP photos, led me to request 50% of my money back. She refused citing the reasons above (no list, other people taking pics, no meeting). She's essentially claiming that I breached her contract. At this point I've tried working with her and have not yet given her any negative online reviews but am at the point where I am considering a formal Demand Letter (required by the state of MA before any small claims filing).

I would welcome thoughts from this community. I know y'all are professional photographers so I understand if your first thoughts are to side with her but appreciate your openness and thoughtfulness in giving constructive opinions on my experience and how to successfully move forward. Thanks!

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