Wedding photographer concerns

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by mrackleff, Mar 5, 2006.

  1. mrackleff

    mrackleff TPF Noob!

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    Hello. I'm not a photographer, but I hope that someone could answer a question anyhow. I'm getting married this October and I hired a photographer who happens to be a distant relative. She has been the photographer at two of my cousins' weddings. I recently took a look at the pictures of my cousins wedding and they are terrible! Most are off center and the background is dark so that you cannot see the church. I've already given her a downpayment and signed the contract (my fault - I should have waited to see the other pictures). They look like snapshots that could have been taken by my six year old niece.

    This photographer has some of the cheapest rates around (I guess you get what you pay for!) I expressed my concerns to her and she said that since they were taken at a dark church, the pics came out darker. My wedding will be at a dark church as well. Are there any measures I can take to assure that my pics will come out half way decent? My cousin commented that she didn't bring a light, only a flash. What should I do? Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    Darn, that sucks! Maybe you could insist that as many shots be taken outside of the church as possible? (That obviously won't help with the actual ceremony stuff). If she's that cheap, perhaps you could try to work it in your budget to hire someone else to just do the indoor stuff? And then you could just say that you felt more comfortable having more coverage? Or if you are brave and she is as distant of a relative as you say she is, you can just say "I think these are crap and I'm hiring someone else for the indoor shots because I don't trust your skill." and maybe she'd be embarrassed enough to work out some sort of deal?
    I don't know what other advice to give. Perhaps some of the other more professional wedding pros have some advice? I'm interested to hear it too!
     
  3. photogoddess

    photogoddess TPF Noob!

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    It is completely possible to get photos that actually have detail in them in a dark church and there is NO excuse for bad composition when dealing with a 'professional'. Does your contract have a clause for cancelling it? If she is ethical at all, she'll refund your deposit regardless. Please don't put good money after bad and let this person shoot your wedding. It's a once in a lifetime event and although you may complain a little bit if she doesn't return your deposit, you will complain for a lifetime about the terrible photos she took. Hire a competant pro or at minimum an advanced ammie that has shot weddings with success consistantly. If you post your location, there may be someone here that can shoot it. Good luck!
     
  4. Alison

    Alison Swiss Army Friend Supporting Member

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    Wow, I'm sorry you have to deal with this situation. I agree with photogodess here, don't waste money! Read through the contract and see what her policy is if you cancel her services. Even if she does retain the deposit at least you're free to hire someone who you know will produce the results you're looking for!
     
  5. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    I agree 100% with photogoddess, for the very reason that I'm weary about wedding photographs: Wedding photographers set out to capture one of the single most important days of your life. Find yourself a new photographer, even if it means losing the deposit.
     
  6. walkerworldofphotos

    walkerworldofphotos TPF Noob!

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    All photographers begin somewhere - suggest to her buying used lighting as a start. If she refuses - in a nice way...tell her that when you signed the contract you were under the impression she was a professional with proper equipment - if she can't perform the job as you request - she should refund your money.

    Here is a link to some wedding shots I had to do with my backup light because my main lights malfunctioned this day. I purchased my backup lights for under $200. Shots turned out decent and the bride was happy!

    http://www.walkerworldofphotos.com/mp_client/pictures.asp?action=viewphotos&size=thumbnails&thumbpagenum=1&eventid=5181&categories=no&keywords2=no&groupid=0&bw=true&sep=true&ckw=false
     
  7. 'Daniel'

    'Daniel' TPF Noob!

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    Tell her the wedding was cancelled and don't invite her :lol:

    Seriously thoguh you could try and pull out. If that doesn't work you could tell her to make sure her shots are better than at the other two weddings. tell ehr you want good composition and she should be able to get better pictures than she has been getting.

    if you can't pullout and get money back and the photos really matter then just pullout no refund and get soemone else.
     
  8. Oldfireguy

    Oldfireguy TPF Noob!

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    Be honest with her and tell her your concerns. Show her the examples you looked at. If she holds you to the contract let her know you expect good photos. If she won't agree to good photos, better than what you have seen, get someone else. I would think a contract is binding on both ends and you should expect good photos.
     
  9. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait TPF Noob!

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    Agreed 100%. When we made the decision to 'turn pro', we carefully appraised our work quality, our workflow, our business model, our photography style, etc. It really is a case of 'get what you pay for' though...there's usually a reason why some people get $6K a wedding.

    Here's where I have to disagree. From a business person's standpoint, there's a reason why a deposit is paid, and why a contract is signed. Here's a quote directly from my contract: " SECURITY DEPOSITS: In the event of cancellation, the security deposit paid is non-refundable. It shall be liquidated damages to Whiteshark Photography in the event of a breach of contract by CLIENT. The CLIENT shall also be responsible for payment for any Whiteshark Photography materials charges incurred up to time of cancellation."

    Granted, this person doesn't sound like she has tons of bookings to worry about, but if a client wanted to opt out of a date that I had reserved for them, there's no way they're getting their deposit back, as we've probably turned away other clients for that date. Now, if she's nice, she'll give the deposit (or a portion of the deposit) back, but esepcially if it's in the contract that the deposit is considered liquidated damages in event of breach of contract, then there's no legal obligation to give back a penny.

    That all being said, even if you have to lose the deposit, I'd pull the plug on this photog, based on what's been said.


    That's VERY well said, and something we emphasize to clients when we meet with them. The catering, the dj, even the ceremony location and flowers--all of that is over the day after the wedding. The photography though is something that you will have with you for the rest of your lives. You must be comfortable with not only the photographer's style and work, but with the photographer as a person. It doesn't sound like that comfort and trust is there in this .

    -John
     
  10. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait TPF Noob!

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    While I agree that it's important to express those concerns to the photographer, odds are there's no contractual obligation to get "good photos". That's way too subjective a topic to make it into most contracts.
     
  11. cbay

    cbay TPF Noob!

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    Yes, there is always a problem when you ask relatives as its harder to say "no" whereas with a company you sorta can. Couldn't you offer her a payment to cancel and then find someone else? or isnt there enough time? Just ensure she uses a light reader correctly and sets the camera to correct settings. Also if she slightly under exposes them she can bring them back in photoshop, that is if she is using digital if not it has to be slightly perfect :S Good Luck! Hope it goes well!
     
  12. Lucie

    Lucie TPF Noob!

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    After you're married you have a dress in a box you'll never wear again, the top of a wedding cake that won't last a year in your freezer and your photos. The day is going to be such a whirlwind that you won't have time to remember all those little details that you spent months planning. If you're pictures suck you'll be unhappy everytime you think about your wedding. You won't even want to look at them because you'll be so upset.

    Bottom line, get out of it. Even if you lose your deposit, it's not worth having awful photos.
     

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