Wedding Photographer experience - need advice

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Patty Smith, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. Patty Smith

    Patty Smith TPF Noob!

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    I would really value experienced photographers' input on my situation.

    I got married early October this year and found a new photographer starting out and LOVED his work and loved how he could make me relax in front of the camera. I loved the sample shots he took for us. I thought if I gave him the contract for my wedding, it would help him out and I would get the style of photography I liked. We negotiated a contract where I would get all of the files, in high resolution and I could print them out myself. i paid $1000 for 7 hours of coverage.

    The rest of the story unfortunately did not go so well. He ended up being rude to me during the day, interrupting with annoying comments when I was speaking to others and yelling at me in front of the guests to get into shots, when I was greeting them. He ended up stressing me out on this day. I also found out later he had posted rude comments about me on a professional photo forum and found all of his "friends" writing negative things about me without even knowing me!

    When I emailed him a week later asking me when I could see the a few sample shots, he wrote back a very rude email. I only got a preview when he posted them to his blog. I finally received the photos, much later than expected, and to my surprise, they were extremely small in size and I am having trouble even printing out 3 by 5s! We have emailed him asking him if he has bigger resolution files with no luck. I am at my wit's end about what to do.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  2. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    With the photos you received, it sounds as though you received lo-res proof type files. Does he consider this a completed transaction or are you waiting for further images? Also what does the contract say re timeline for delivered CD/DVD and what is included?
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hi Patty, I'm sorry to hear about the trouble you've had.

    Do you have a signed contract that states what you were to receive? A good contract can protect both the client and the photographer in cases where there is a disagreement or unsatisfying situation.

    I would suggest remaining civil and only contacting the photographer in a polite manor. Document your communication. If things do not get resolved, then you may need to take more serious action.

    Having heard only one side of the story, we can't pass judgment...and we aren't in a position to do that anyway. I think that the best way to proceed is, would be to keep as professional as possible for the time being.
     
  4. TheOtherBob

    TheOtherBob TPF Noob!

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    That's unfortunate, certainly, and you may eventually need to consult an attorney -- hopefully not.

    One tip before you get there, though -- e-mail is great, but easy to ignore and to misinterpret. Call him instead. Don't be accusatory, and don't get into whether he was rude or annoying or anything else. None of that matters, because you don't need apologies, admissions, or anything else along those lines.

    What you want is your pictures -- so call with the attitude that there's a problem and that you're hoping the two of you can resolve it together as professionals. Your goal isn't to find blame or to correct his behavior in any way (you don't care, because you're never hiring him again). Instead, your goal is to have the contract honored so that you can both move on.

    Good luck.



    (Standard Disclaimer: This is not legal advice and you're not my client. If you need legal help, please contact a lawyer in your area.)
     
  5. Patty Smith

    Patty Smith TPF Noob!

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    Thanks to everyone for their advice. I really appreciate it!

    The contract only states that I will receive a CD, but later on I had him guarantee in an email that I would receive full-resolution files. From what I have read, this constitutes as an addendum to the contract. I also think that he thinks that giving me the low-res files is his fulfilling her end of the contract.

    I would like nothing more than to get my pictures so I can use them. I REALLY would not like to use legal action, being that it will be expensive, but so far, each time after the event I have tried to communicate with him, he has responded in an unprofessional manner.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I agree with Bob. To get sound advice, it may be prudent to contact a lawyer in your area. Hopefully, legal action won't be needed but they could look over your contract and E-mails and give you advice from there.
     
  7. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As the email states that you are to receive high resolution pictures, maybe find some good sources that describ what high resolution actually is (size, dpi, etc..) and forward that off to him.

    Definatly keep it civil with him. Harsh words and actions only come back to haunt you if you end up in court. Keep things documented, use read receipts on your email to track things and for more serious things, send a registered letter that requires a signature.
     
  8. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are TPF Noob!

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    The amount of money being just $1000, this is a matter for small claims court. I've gone this route and it was inexpensive, relatively painless, and productive.

    Of course, it's much preferable to resolve it without legal action, but sometimes that is what is required.

    Just keep all your documentation and your facts organized. There is no need to consult with an attorney.

    Best of luck,

    Jon
     
  9. Patty Smith

    Patty Smith TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone! I am going to try to reach out to him again, but in the meantime start looking at small claims court procedures just in case. Hopefully it won't go that far.

    I am also looking into bigwinky's suggestion (thanks!) to find a definition of high resolution. Does anyone here have any suggestions on what this can mean? From my searches so far, it seems to be the consensus that high resolution file should be able to create at least a 16x24" print.
     
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's probably hard to define. Different cameras put out files with different resolutions (basically Mega Pixels)...and there is more to image quality than just pixels. You can make 16x24" prints from a good 8MP (or even 6MP) camera.

    In your case, I would be looking for files that are at or close to the maximum resolution from the camera that the photographer was using. You could call that 'full resolution'.
     
  11. astrostu

    astrostu I shoot for the stars

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    I agree with Mike that a "high-resolution" file is difficult to define. I don't think that legally you'd get any farther than a resolution suitable to print 3"x5" or 4"x6", which at 150 ppi ("acceptable" resolution, 300 ppi would be standard) would give you 450x750 px or 600x900 px.

    "Full-resolution," as Mike said, would be the original resolution of the camera.
     
  12. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    I would not consider files at 150 ppi and 6 x 4 or 5 x 3 to be acceptable in your case, this was your wedding and a minimum file of 10 x 8 at 300 ppi is what you should at least expect. Personally, if I have offered a CD at any price I include files at full print res both in 10 x 8 & 7 x 5, anything bigger I supply as prints, I also recommend a pro lab for the printing.

    This rude ignoramus needs a wake up call for ruining your day, if you dont get satisfaction on your next contact get a lawyer on the case, then go about getting local media on your side and ruin his business, name n shame, if he does find more work he may think twice about being such a tw*t in future. H
     

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