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Do Not Reccomend ArtLynn Photography

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JodiMarie Posts : 185 Registered: 3/5/07
Do Not Reccomend ArtLynn Photography
Posted: Jul 31, 2008 1:40 PM

I wanted to warn future brides out there about ArtLynn Photography. They are a studio out of Lansing and Evergreen Par, Illinois.

They seemed good in the beginning however after the wedding everything went downhill. First of all we paid for our entire package in full per their contract 2 wks prior to the wedding.  It was a $2,100.00 package, however, after we handed over the check we were then told that we also needed to give our photographer an extra $250.00 on the day of the wedding for travel and expenses. This was $250.00 above and beyond our package price they never mentioned this in all the months prior to paying off the package. We said fine and paid it.

After the wedding when we went to pick up proofs we were then told we now owed a $80.00 fee because our ceremony started a 1/2 hr late. Even though everyone was at the church except for me and our photographer was working the entire time, doing the BM shots, GM shots, guest shots etc. They just said sorry, but that is our policy, period. We could not have our proofs until we paid it. I was also told that if I wanted to purchase my proofs that it would be $200.00, and they keep them for up to 2 years so I could purchase them anytime within that time frame. When we brought the proofs back, however the price suddenly jumped to $420.00 for the proofs, $420.00 that we had to pay right then and there otherwise the proofs would be destroyed the next day. We were also charged late fees of $125.00 for bring the proof book back late (which admittedly was our fault so we paid). 

We picked out our ablum prints and when they came in a month ago, they then said we could pick them up and pay off our balance of $250.00. Uhhh? We paid them in full for our extra prints when we brought back the proof book, so I called them to ask what the $250.00 was for, they would not explain it on the phone and were very evasive. They are insisting that we come up to their studio which is an hour away instead. Bottom-line is though unless we pay the $250.00 we are not going to get our album or our prints. Now they are calling to tell me that they are charging $2.00 storage fee per day until we pick up the album. 

My husband and I live paycheck to paycheck like any young couple and frankly don't have an extra $250.00 lying around, we do want out photos but these were suppose to have be paid up in full 2 wks before the wedding. Suddenly there are all these extra fees, upon fees which has turned our $2,000 package into more of an $3,000 package. Frankly, if I had known this in the beginning I would have gone with the photographer I had really wanted in the first place.

In addition to this our photos turned out average, I wanted something a bit artistic but instead got very average with a beginning photographer. The albums and prints we looked at from the studio were the owners work, but was not the work of the photographer we actually ended up with. I feel that it was really a bait and switch and now we are being fee'ed to no end. I was married Sept 29, 2007 and I'm still sitting here almost a year later with no wedding photos.

I would definitely not go with ArtLynn Photography again. You've been warned.

Jodi :0)

Married Sept 29, 2007, I am now Mrs. Pollack. 7 months of marriage so far and everything is great.

Nalamienea Posts : 2,924 Registered: 6/13/08
Re: Do Not Reccomend ArtLynn Photography
Posted: Jul 31, 2008 1:52 PM Go to message in response to: JodiMarie

That's a terrible story!  Have you tried contacting the Better Business Bureau? They are the ones that actually monitor customer satisfaction.  Also, you may want to contact a small claims lawyer and see what it is he can do.  If you can get a hold of the original photos you had and then show the ones you got, maybe you can at least get all the other fees back.

Also, have you looked at your original contract? were any of these mentioned? if not, you definitely have grounds to sue in small claims court for the money you've paid over and on top of the original fee.

Best of luck, that really stinks.

wedding ticker

MagicalMomentsP... Posts : 742 Registered: 3/6/06
Re: Do Not Reccomend ArtLynn Photography
Posted: Aug 1, 2008 12:39 PM Go to message in response to: JodiMarie


I'm sorry to hear of your experiences.  Unfortunately, it sounds to me that you are dealing with a studio which has several photographers and sales people.  At the very least you do deserve a written explanation  of all of the charges you incurred.  Personally, this is the first time I've ever heard of a client being charged for a late ceremony.  However, it is possible the photographer stayed later in the day than you originally contracted and therefore you incurred overtime charges.  But once again, when dealing with a photographer and a salesperson, the messages can get lost in the shuffle.  For with every situation there are two sides to the story and I'm sure they have their version too.

Now from a practical standpoint, it will be very tough for you to win the argument of this is the work we saw but not what we received.  The studio can always claim you did see the photographer's work or your scheduled photographer had quit/was ill. Next, from a contact standpoint, it is impossible to list the price for every single possible service and fee.  My studio actually has very few additional charges and I don't even list them all on my contracts.  Basically, when a price is listed in the contract, you are price protected.  But when it is not, you are subject to the current price.  That is just like walking into a store on Monday and saying how much for the TV.  Three days later you walk into the same store and they've raised the price.  Now had you paid at the time you were asked, then they should not be changing the price.  Which brings us to the additional $250 when you picked up the album.  That makes no sense to me.  

My advice to you is don't waste your time at the BBB.  Believe it or not, they are not a government agency but a local franchise of a national company!  In the course of 7 years in business, I've had three "unhappy" clients who complained to the BBB despite all of my efforts to resolve the issues.  Here's what happens, you complain, photographer responds, you rebut, they rebut.  As long as the BBB thinks the company has made a reasonable effort to resolve the complaint, the complaint will be closed as resolved and not affect the company.  If the company does not respond, then they get a black mark.  These boards and other like them plus word of mouth are much more effective.  I do caution you to make sure you don't slander or libel them.  

In the end, if you want to try to get some of your money back, then I urge you to consult with a lawyer.  If Mr.  John Early is still a practicing attorney in the Big Timber area, I suggest you call him.  He's filed my studio's state incorporation papers.  I know most lawyers will provide a reduced rate or free initial consultation.  Then I suspect he will advise you on how to file a small claims case against this studio, should you desire.  I wish you the best of luck.  Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Howard Kier, Certified Professional Wedding Photographer

Magical Moments Photography

eekgeek Posts : 5 Registered: 3/4/08
Re: Do Not Reccomend ArtLynn Photography
Posted: Aug 1, 2008 1:05 PM Go to message in response to: JodiMarie

Hi Jodi, this sounds like a scam alright. Did you sign any documents in the beginning of the process? If so, and the new charges were not listed you probably have a case to at least get your photos if not have your money returned. I am a photographer and ALWAYS have a clear written contract as well as email trail of everything I provide and how much it costs.

Definitely contact a lawyer...... 


karen e. evans 

IrishPrincess Posts : 3 Registered: 2/27/08
Re: Do Not Reccomend ArtLynn Photography
Posted: Oct 6, 2008 2:18 PM Go to message in response to: eekgeek

My wedding is this weekend and I hired them.  THEY LOST MY CASHIERS CHECK!! THey are lying too saying I gave them the info over the phone for my wedding day back in March... well back in March I had no time or place set.


People also told me that my enagament annoucement photos look unprofessional... I can tell you they act unprofessional. UGH.  

MagicalMomentsP... Posts : 742 Registered: 3/6/06
Re: Do Not Reccomend ArtLynn Photography
Posted: Oct 6, 2008 2:44 PM Go to message in response to: IrishPrincess

If they lost your check, you don't like the engagement photos, and think they are unprofessional, you should realize it is NOT too late to get another photographer.  I'm busy putting together the emergency photographer list and can help you find somebody else.  The important thing is to not have to worry about your photographs.  Please let me know if I can be of any assistance and good luck this weekend.


Howard Kier, Certified Professional Wedding Photographer

Magical Moments Photography

IrishPrincess Posts : 3 Registered: 2/27/08
Re: Do Not Reccomend ArtLynn Photography
Posted: Oct 7, 2008 2:25 PM Go to message in response to: MagicalMomentsP...

Thanks for the offer, but the guy scared my mom I think, cause he said "were in contract".  So she went and cut him another check. Now we have to wait 90 days form the date the check was made out to get a refund on the other cashiers check the bank said.... ughhh.


I'm sooooo annoyed.  Seriously ugh.

MagicalMomentsP... Posts : 742 Registered: 3/6/06
Re: Do Not Reccomend ArtLynn Photography
Posted: Oct 9, 2008 10:44 PM Go to message in response to: IrishPrincess

It scares me that they scared your mom.  If they lost the check, then it should be their responsibility to wait.  You paid them.  What if you had given them cash?  Would they want you to give them more cash?  Unfortunately, it would be unethical for another photographer to interfere with their contract with you. 

Please understand that what I am about to say is not with the intent of rubbing salt in your wounds but rather to inform others who might be reading this.  It pays to read your contracts very carefully.  You should be a little suspicious of any studio that only accepts secured funds (cash, cashier's check, money order) before the wedding. This prevents you from stopping payment or disputing a charge should a problem occur at the wedding.  Also, by reading your contract, you should be able to determine the cancellation procedure and any costs you might incur to cancel your contract.   

I think a there must be a trust relationship between the photographer and their clients.  A photographer that threatens "we're in contract" no longer trusts the client.  I wish you the best of luck.  Should you need any assistance, please let me know how I might help.

Howard Kier, Certified Professional Wedding Photographer

Magical Moments Photography

IrishPrincess Posts : 3 Registered: 2/27/08
Re: Do Not Reccomend ArtLynn Photography
Posted: Oct 20, 2008 1:58 PM Go to message in response to: MagicalMomentsP...

The wedding is over.  The photographer himself was strange as h*ll.  OMG, he was licking his knife up n down at the table where my friend was sitting and the bowl to his soup she said.

I kept calling him crazy eyes, (the guy from Mr. Deeds).  The guy didn't get that many pics he didn't even take one of our rings together or put it by the ceremony program.. which I've seen many photographers do. Was I suppose to direct him? I mean I thought that was his job?

I get to see the proofs tomorrow I believe... 


He was totally old style, I wanted someone that would put fun different things into play... hopefully they'll do some cool photoshop pics with like black and white and some color etc.. 

Message was edited by: IrishPrincess

ArtlynnInc Posts : 1 Registered: 12/29/08
Re: Do Not Reccomend ArtLynn Photography
Posted: Dec 31, 2008 11:59 AM Go to message in response to: JodiMarie

As one of the posters clearly and accurately replied, there
are two sides to every story. Our
contract with Jodi clearly stated how all payments were to be made. Jodi’s
initial contract was for $2125.00, which was for our services, our largest
bridal album package and a parent album.
She made a $100.00 deposit to contract our services. 2 weeks before the
wedding an additional deposit was made of 1800.00 and her final $225.00 payment
was made to the photographer on the day of the wedding. The above payments equal the amount of her
original contract.There was no extra fees.

As stated in our contract and again in a verification letter
that we send out 1 month before the wedding, our package includes 2 hours
before the ceremony. Additional time is
available for a small time charge. We do not charge per hour and therefore the
photographer will serve them for an unlimited time once we start. Again this is in our contract, in our
verification letter and in a separate letter that includes tips to make the day
run smooth. Her ceremony was scheduled for 45 minutes later than stated on her
contract with us. She paid $45.00 for a time charge because we were not given
the correct time of the ceremony. This
amount was due when she picked up her proofs.

When she picked up her proofs she signed an agreement which
stated that the proofs were to be returned in 60 days. It also explained that she would be entitled
to 3 extensions at no charge, which in total would give her an additional 56
days in extensions. If the proofs were
not returned by the 3rd extension, late charges would apply. In addition we mailed out 3 letters each
notifying her as to the status of her time remaining. Jodi used up her initial
60 days, her 56 days in extensions and an additional 40 days, thus incurring
late fees. Again she signed an agreement
with all of this information in it and was sent three reminder notices.

When she returned her proofs once again it was explained
that the finished order once completed must be picked up within 60 days, or storage
charges would apply. This was printed on
her estimate bill and she initialed this.
Before storage charges apply we make several phone calls asking them to
please pick up their order before the charges apply. Jodi’s finished order was
complete on April 29th. She picked it up on August 5th.

We are a family owned and operated company that has been in
business for over 48 years. If we did
business as Jodi said, we would have been out of business a long time ago. As
several of you have replied she would have been able to take legal action
against us if the facts would have allowed her to. She was unable to do so
because all of our paperwork is very detailed. We want all of our customers to
understand everything completely. We also
want our customers to receive their album in a timely fashion and we can only
accomplish this with our customer’s cooperation. Jodi had up until 2 weeks
before the wedding to choose a less expensive package which would have still
included all the same photography coverage, with a smaller final album. Had the
amount of money been the issue, this would have easily resolved that.

As for Stacey’s issue with the certified check, which we
would have gladly taken a personal check at that point, we gave a courtesy call
to tell her we hadn’t received her payment which was due two weeks before the
wedding. Since it was a cashier’s check
had she brought us her copy of the check, which is always given with a
cashier’s check we would have proceeded without any further instance, even
though we did not have the second payment.
The USPS did not deliver her check to our studio until October 6th
for her wedding on October 11th. The day it was received, it was posted to her
account. In the mean time we had already put notes on her contract to proceed
with the photography as if we had already received the payment. We have always been a company that will work
with our brides with reasonable requests or to make a situation better. Many studios have come and gone, but we are
serving third generation brides. This does not happen by purposely harming our
customers or being unwilling to help them whenever possible.

The internet is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately the down
side is that people can freely slander other people or companies without
repercussions. Anything can be said whether it is true or not. Please when
reading posts about dissatisfactions keep in mind that that is only one side of
the story. We would be happy to answer anyone’s questions or comments regarding
this situation or any other. We look forward to preserving our good name in the
wedding photography industry. We have been able to work with over 38,000 brides
and can happily say that the majority of them were very satisfied. For the few
who weren’t, we have always done our
best to come to a reasonable mutual agreement.

Thank you for your time.

Denise Chakinis

Artlynn Photography

MagicalMomentsP... Posts : 742 Registered: 3/6/06
Re: Do Not Reccomend ArtLynn Photography
Posted: Dec 31, 2008 2:52 PM Go to message in response to: ArtlynnInc

As I mentioned in my earlier post, there are two sides to every story. I'm glad to see the studio has posted a reply with their versions of the events. While I don't think that either complaitant intentionally libeled the studio, I do think that in the chaos of wedding planning, some of the details were over looked or misunderstood. I can easily see how somebody making a payment two weeks before the wedding might think that was full and complete payment, no matter how many times the studio told them otherwise. While I may not personally agree with all of the fees a studio charges, as long as they were properly disclosed to the client, then it is their choice on how to run their business. In this case, it does appear those charges were properly disclosed.

For a studio that expects to recieve the proofs back, a significant amount of labor can be spent recovering late proofs. Hence the late fee for returning the proofs. As I mentioned in my earlier post, the client does deserve to fully understand the charges they've incurred. While I don't know if that occurred directly between ArtLynn Photography and Jodi, I do believe they've explained the additional fees here on the forum. From what Denise said, the studio did attempt to make sure Jodi understood everything. However, only Jodi can say whether or not she comprehended or remembered what was said to her. The only thing I see lacking that might have helped in this case, would have been a written invoice detailing the additional charges.

On the issue of the lost check. Once again, this seems to be a matter of perceptions during the last minute wedding chaos. In addition, without knowing the organizational structure of ArtLynn Photography, it is possible that Denise is saying they would have gladly taken a personal check but the employee handling the collection was just following what they thought to be standard procedure. Next, AutumnBride stated the studio lied when they informed her they had her info from March when there is no way that could of happened. With a larger studio with several employees, it would be very easy for somebody to pull the wrong file and write incorrect information in it. It would also be pretty easy to put the wrong info sheet in the wrong file or even get confused when talking to various clients. Another explaination is that an employee failed to do their job and make sure the information was there, so they found a way to cover up for themselves.

However, if you were not happy with the photographer's behavior/manners (and it sounds like you weren't) and possibly the photos taken, then I would have a discussion with a studio manager or owner. It is impossible for the people in charge of a business to keep track of all of their employees/contractors especially in the wedding industry. The only way they will know a problem exists, is if you tell them. Hopefully, they will work with that individual to allow them to improve their behavior. If that was me, I would be appalled that somebody was representing my studio in such a poor manner.

Howard Kier, Certified Professional Wedding Photographer

Magical Moments Photography


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