A&P A few questions for Wedding Photographers

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by JBunni, Feb 14, 2010.

  1. JBunni

    JBunni New Member

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    My husband and I got married about 3 months ago, and well...we had some issues with our wedding photographer. I'm just want to know from other people in the business, if I am being unreasonable, or she is.

    I suppose we started off wrong by hiring a 'friend of a friend'. We sort of knew her. I had seen her pictures, and they are great. I loved them. And we wanted to throw the business to someone we knew rather than a stranger. I was hoping for a discount of some sort, but it wasn't necessary. We wanted to pay her well for her time/effort. Plus she had been jipped out of money by previous customers who were "friends", and we did NOT want to do that to her. We were her first customers that she had a contract for, and I knew she wanted to cover herself, so we looked it over and signed.

    She is a student photographer. Not professional, but has great pics.

    Our package was $1600 for
    6 hrs of wedding
    30 day online gallery
    CD with proofs
    2 -4 week grace editing period
    8x11 hardcover album
    Engagement session

    She had agreed to not charge us for extra time (since we were "friends")

    Complaint 1. She took almost 3 months to get us our engagement pictures. There were not as many as I had hoped. And she gave them to us on an unorganized thrown together CD. I had hoped for prints. Also, there were a few shots I thought were missing, but she REFUSED to do any extra or re-shoot work.

    We paid her in full a few weeks before the wedding, as signed in the contract.

    Complaint 2. Before the wedding she starts asking for money because she says the schedule I have for her is too long, that she will be working 11 hours. I gave her MY schedule for the day so she could see where/when she needed to be. Also, I had intended for her to eat dinner with us, lunch or whatever. Again, because I was viewing it as a 'favor' from a friend. She eventually backed down from asking for more money for this.

    Complaint 3. She extended the 30 day online gallery to 60 days without asking me. No one in our families had money to buy prints from her offline. She extended the "deadline" to try to get more money. In some of her last correspondences to me she made it a point to note how no one had bought anything from the galleries.

    Complaint 4. It has taken over 3 months for us to get our pictures. We STILL do not have the CD with our prints on them.

    Complaint 5. She NEVER ONCE contacted us about ANYTHING. No updates on the pictures/progress, nothing. Anytime I wanted to know something I had to chase her down with calls and e-mails.

    Complaint 6. She is not getting us actual prints, at all. I find this ridiculous and offensive when we paid so much. Not even a print credit. The only thing was she offered to discount some pictures if we bought them from the gallery.

    Complaint 7. The contract says 8x11 hardcover ALBUM. Perhaps I am wrong, but I was expecting a PHOTO ALBUM. Instead we got a 20 page photobook.

    Complaint 8. She did not tell us we were getting a Photo Book, not an album, and she did not discuss with us AT ALL about its design. I am not really happy that it is a black book with mostly black and white pictures.

    Complaint 9. SHE SPELLED OUR NAME WRONG ON THE BOOK!!!

    Now some/most of that I could overlook or forgive if she had worked with us on anything. But every time I go to deal with any of this, she is only out for herself and not willing to concede anything.

    I suppose my main issue is this: As friends, I am willing to overlook and expect maybe a few "extras" to make up for "complaints". I feel if I hired a professional, several of these things would not have been a problem or handled in a professional way, instead of just brushed off. I feel she has not been very professional, or given good service in anyway.

    Really the only good thing I can say about our experience with her, is that the pictures are good. I dont feel we should have had to pay as much as we did, when that was all we were getting out of it.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. JBunni

    JBunni New Member

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    Also, she added a print credit to the contract after we had signed, and will not give us any credit.

    We were also the first ones to pay full price for her services and NOT just pay her as a "student" or hand her a couple hundred to shoot as a "friend".
     
  3. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    Hate to say it but there's your problem.

    Bottom line, you admit you got some good photos for a pretty good price. Live and learn.
     
  4. EWhytsell

    EWhytsell New Member

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    Well first off your entitled by law to anything in the contract.

    2. Yes she should have been much more professional especially in the communication dept. Unfortunately lots of people even business owners don't understand this. She should have contacted you especially for approval of the album before printing.

    To defend the album a little bit, the term album can be interchanged with photobook from some photogs. I offer cheaper albums and photobooks as a way to keep cost down over buying a FINAO album.
    Also a 20 page album or photobook isn't uncommon at all these days.
    Its easily enough space to show off the main points of an average wedding.

    3. The taking to long is inexcusable, give me her number I'll tell her a thing or two about customer service myself. She is basically in violation of her contract and demanding heavy discounting would not be out of the question. For me if I ended up getting delayed that long due to some unforeseen reason you'd be getting your money back.

    4. If its a verbal promise ie the extra time at no charge, its not really binding, but its very bad form to want money for it after making the agreement. This is why I DO NOT limit the time I'll be at the wedding. IMHO you've booked me for a Saturday and if its 6hrs or 16hrs its still the only wedding I'm shooting that day.

    5. Most photogs don't give you prints anymore like 300 4x6's of the day. At the most you might get a proof book, or set of proofs, but your more likely to just get a CD. I give a DVD with both HI RES and 800pix wide ones for easy viewing and it comes in a custom DVD case wrapped in a photo or two from your wedding day on metallic paper.

    There I think I defended you both a little bit.
     
  5. Wobistdu

    Wobistdu Guest

    My 2 cents. You are not being unreasonable. I would personally never talk to this person again. It borders "being fucked over."

    1) $1600 is a little cocky to ask being a student photographer, unless her work is amazing.

    2) 3 months to get you pics? That is wayyyyy too long.

    3) Asking for more money is completely ignorant and amateur. The contract was signed. Dealerships like to sometimes call people and say come back to sign a new lease, cuz they fucked up. No... too late.

    4) Crying over no one buying prints? Again, sounds totally unprofessional

    I don't know I was going to go on, but it's not worth it. She sounds like a moron. She may want to drastically change a lot of her shit if she plans on continuing in the business.

    Do you have any examples of the pictures?

    I'm only an amateur hobbyist in this, but that is how I feel.

    Lessons to learn: Make sure everything is in writing. Assumptions don't get you anywhere. I usually stay away from business with friends/family/etc. Try to make the best out of the horrible experience and move on. You can't do the wedding again.

    If the pictures suck, you'd be surprised how they can be saved. I've seen terribly shitty pics on here be converted to look better.
     
  6. Wobistdu

    Wobistdu Guest

    yeah i kind of laugh at photographers that have detailed packages :rofl:

    package 1 and 2 are bla bla bla and 6 hours of shooting. package 3 is 8 hours. package 4 is 10-12hrs

    i mean really... if there is a delay you are just going to walk out at the cake cutting? idiots
     
  7. Girth

    Girth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ OT Supporter

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    first mistake, IMO.

    Just because someone takes great pictures, doesn't make them a good business person.

    With my engagement sessions, the clients have their CD within 2-3 weeks of the shoot... and pics are up on the blog within 2-3 days after the shoot. This gives them enough time incase they'd like to order prints.

    Again, being very unprofessional. No matter what business you're in, you NEVER talk about money on the day of your contract. If someone forgets their final payment, their deposit gauranteed me to take their pics on the day of. Anything money related can wait until after everything is done... preferably a few days after.

    :uh:

    If she's relying on that... she's never going to make it as a photog. She's always going to be a "student".

    she's a classy photog, ain't she? :hsugh:

    Complaint 6. She is not getting us actual prints, at all. I find this ridiculous and offensive when we paid so much. Not even a print credit. The only thing was she offered to discount some pictures if we bought them from the gallery.[/quote]

    You didn't pay "that much"... you paid below average. Might seem like a lot of money, but there are a lot more expensive photographers that don't offer prints as part of the package. Everything I do is a la carte. Shooting the wedding, buying prints & albums, additional hours, additional days, etc.

    Again... :uh:


    extreme case of unprofessional business!

    Thats what you should've done... hired someone w/ a little more business history. The pics are good, and thats all that matters at the end... just make sure AFTER you get all your issues resolved, you let her know that you didn't appreciate all the hiccups, the misspelling, or the lack of business professionalism. Not to mention, she won't be getting any recommendations to anyone else from you.
     
  8. EWhytsell

    EWhytsell New Member

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    If she's a "student" meaning college age then that could also be how you ended up with that level of unprofessional service. She's been in school, not in the real world providing great customer service. Unfortunately college cannot teach this.
     
  9. mikmit

    mikmit :o? OT Supporter

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    sorry to hear about this situation. i maybe the the opposite...i dont htink i take great pictures, but i have great customer service. lol. its true that communication is keyyyyy especially if someone is paying you for a service. sucks that you had to run into this.
     
  10. JBunni

    JBunni New Member

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    Yes, I believe so. What you said makes sense. I still feel if you pay for a photographer, you should get pictures/prints, but I realize the industry does not agree.

    She almost did this to us. She did rush our cake cutting a bit because "they had to leave", and as soon as we finished the left.

    I wrote her an e-mail about a week ago, and let her know in no uncertain terms how dissatisfied I was with her service. Basically listed everything I put here. She didnt seem to hear any of it, mostly said "sorry for any mis-communication" and made excuses for the rest.

    Also, as another point. For our DJ, we went to a guy my mom used to work with. I would venture to say a friend, but not as close as I would have said our photographer was. We did not have any problems with him. We wanted to pay regular price, but he insisted on giving us a discount. He worked with us where we had special requests, and overall was great experience. :dunno:
     
  11. JBunni

    JBunni New Member

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  12. Perkwunos

    Perkwunos Dog Bones OT Supporter

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    Actually a pretty good photog as far as pictures go...
     
  13. Wobistdu

    Wobistdu Guest

    i'm not digging them at all. her style of desaturated shit doesn't really do it for me.

    and she sure does like sun flare
     
  14. tenplanescrashing

    tenplanescrashing Active Member

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    I think for an engagement shoot, wedding, photobook, + CD and the photos you're going to get, I think you paid about right.

    Pick your battles and go from there. Just remember, you paid $1600 for this, which I feel you got what you should have. But things like the name being wrong and such are bad bad bad.

    Sidenote: Editing photos sucks. I took damn near 700 photos for an engagement session and am only giving them about 100 or so. It's pretty standard. And waiting at least 1-2 months for wedding photos seems pretty standard too...that is what i'd tell my clients (but then again, I also wouldn't shoot a wedding)
     
  15. jared_IRL

    jared_IRL OT Supporter

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    99% of the problems here are mis-communication.

    lets review:

    1. you signed a contract for 6 hours of work, but needed 11. Both you and the photog were not happy. MOST, if not ALL classic wedding packages dictate an hourly time frame. A longer day SHOULD cost more money. Most newer photographers are starting to get away from this, which isn't necessarily better for the bride and groom, because now you're paying for a full day no matter how long your day is.

    2. Wedding Album - Photo Book = Potatoe - Potato. I'm curious as to what you thought you were getting vs what you actually got. The coffee table book is a more than acceptable wedding album for the contemporary bride and groom. Most of my weddings actually prefer a nicely designed coffee table photo book to a more traditional photo album. With that said, I personally know photographers who charge more for their photo albums than you guys paid for your total photography services.

    3. You're not getting prints... because you didn't buy prints. the details of the contact you signed clearly states you'd receive an online proof gallery, a cd and an album. It's also pretty clear that your photographer expected that if you did want prints, you would use their gallery service to purchase them. I've shot 2 weddings that wanted printed proofs instead of online proofs. Both times, prices were adjusted to reflect the cost of these prints. Also, any terms for prints are discussed before the contact is signed, and if they do have any special requests or desires, I make sure i'm aware and capable. Prices again, are discussed beforehand.

    4. Students != professionals. I guess this one is pretty self explanatory... She's not a professional. Typically, the business side is the hardest part to get down. This is why students function as 2nd shooters/backup shooters for years before becoming successful on their own. Her lack of communication, slow time frame, and especially her screw up on the album are completely unacceptable. You should demand a new, corrected book immediately. Call her every day until it's done, post on her blog, send her emails, mention it to the people who recommended it, etc. What the fuck good is a wedding album if your name's aren't right...



    It may seem like i'm bagging on you here a little, but i'm not. I'm trying to be as completely neutral as I can, especially considering that I consider myself one of the good guys in the business side. I'd never let any of those issues surface with a couple I sign. It's definitely the photographers job to explain and clarify any and all stipulations in their contract. But, on that same note, you do appear to have some very specific needs and wants out of your wedding photography, and you signed a contract that's the complete opposite of that. I can't imagine why you'd sign that - which leads me to believe you went with the lowest bidder. and you got the lowest bidder...

    Sorry to hear you had to go through all of this. You shoulda came here before your wedding and signed with one of us... :p
     
  16. EWhytsell

    EWhytsell New Member

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    I like editing and can typically complete culling and editing for a wedding shots within 4-5 hrs.
     
  17. Drunken Karnie Midget

    Drunken Karnie Midget In Yeo We Trust, All Others Pay Cash OT Supporter

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    Difference was, the DJ was an actual pro. Not some kid in college learning to be a DJ. :hsd:
     
  18. Perkwunos

    Perkwunos Dog Bones OT Supporter

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    I have seen people pay much more for allot worse, she is not bad, her lack of professionalism is shitty though, and inexcusable. I agree her work is not spectacular, but good for a "Student"...
     

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