Fab Weddings on a Budget (Photography) Vendor Question-MN

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ValParm Posts : 3 Registered: 7/5/09
Fab Weddings on a Budget (Photography) Vendor Question-MN
Posted: Jul 9, 2009 12:44 PM

Hello,
I'm getting married in July 2010 and have found a photographer I like on budgetweddings.info. The company name is called Fab Weddings on a Budget and she is Cindyrella Studio. I can't find a ton of information about them online. I found their grade on Better Business Bureau and they've had 1 complaint issued in 36 months. I love the photos she has posted and, obviously, the customer reviews online are all glowing.

Before I make a commitment I was wondering if other MN brides out there have used this service? If so, was it pleasant and what you expected? Should I be worried about the B- grade on BBB and the 1 complaint in 36 months? (1 complaint in 3 years doesn't seem overwhelming to me, but I've never had a wedding before! :D)

Thanks so much; I'm looking forward to bouncing ideas off other brides to be!

--Val

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Fab Weddings on a Budget (Photography) Vendor Question-MN
Posted: Jul 9, 2009 2:48 PM Go to message in response to: ValParm

Dear Val,

I'm hoping that Howard will see your message and respond. He is a professional wedding photographer and offers good advice on this message board.

My only suggestion would be along the lines of avoiding any outfit where you don't meet with the actual photographer ahead of time. From what I understand, some places assign photographers at the last minute, which means you won't have time to talk about what is important or not important with the person actually behind the camera.

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MagicalMomentsP... Posts : 742 Registered: 3/6/06
Re: Fab Weddings on a Budget (Photography) Vendor Question-MN
Posted: Jul 9, 2009 6:45 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Hello,

Congratulations on your engagement and upcoming wedding. I took a couple of minutes to take a look at the web sites you mentioned. There are some things which do concern me but in the end you are the consumer and the one who has to make the best choice for yourself. From the website (http://www.cindyrellastudio.com/about.html), I found this:

Sister Jenna is our weddings planning specialist & customer service
manager and she coordinates several wedding ministers and photographers
who work hard to deliver really nice wedding ceremonies and wedding
photo albums at very reasonable prices.

Notice they state there are several photographers. Yet, there only seems to be one photographer's work shown on the site. The work in the gallery is not consistant with some of the photos shown on the site itself. In fact the photo on the "about page" seems to have a cyan cast on my color corrected monitor. Do you have a chance to meet your photographer? Will they attempt to substitute another photographer for your wedding?

Next, you ask about the BBB rating and complaint. Personally, this does concern me. A review of the BBB profile states the rating is due to a failure to provide requested information to the BBB. Of even greater concern is the complaint resolution "adminitratively closed" because they were not able to resolve the issue using the BBB resolution process. To give you a reference point, I've had three BBB complaints lodged against me over the last three years. Despite disagreeing with the validity of those complaints, I did work to resolve them and I have an A- rating. My gut is telling me these folks just don't care about responding to the BBB.

Going through their web site, I discovered "page not found" web site errors and other formatting problems on the website. I checked in both Mozilla and IE. Between this and the cyan cast previously mentioned, I see a lack of attention to detail. I also noticed the packages were fairly limited. Upto 7 hours. The rate works out to about $200 per hour which I think is a little high. What happens if you need them for 8, 9 or 10 hours? I'm also concerned about the level of duplication of images in the image count. For instance, in one gallery I saw the groom and one groomsman in three similar looking photos. This would count as three photos. Personally, I would provide only the best of the three and then give you two other unique images.

Do you know what the travel fee will be with these folks? After all they are charging you $1/mile if you are over 20 miles. (FYI, the IRS mileage allowance is $.555 per mile). Then what about an album? If you want one, then I'm sure they will charge you more to design and print the album. I'm worried about the hidden charges you might incur. In the end, this is your choice, But personally, I suspect there are better values of similar quality in your area within your budget range. You may have to look hard to find them. Once you find them, you will be able to compare them to this studio to make your final decision. Your wedding is not until next year and you do have some time to search and not be rushed into a decision. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Howard Kier, Certified Professional Wedding Photographer

Magical Moments Photography


P.S. I'm also very put off by the Google Ads along the right side of the web site. IMHO, just plain tacky!

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HappyGirl13 Posts : 1,298 Registered: 4/21/08
Re: Fab Weddings on a Budget (Photography) Vendor Question-MN
Posted: Jul 9, 2009 7:45 PM Go to message in response to: MagicalMomentsP...

Wow, Howard. You rock.

preview image

 

 

 

 

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Lilmisssouthern... Posts : 658 Registered: 8/12/08
Re: Fab Weddings on a Budget (Photography) Vendor Question-MN
Posted: Jul 10, 2009 8:39 AM Go to message in response to: MagicalMomentsP...

Howard,

Good investigation work!

As we grow older, as we continue to change with age, there is one thing that will never change about me, I will keep falling in love with you all over again every single day

Executive Recruiter and Quality Control Specialist of E.N.E.M.A A special division of P.O.O.P

http://www.mywedding.com/shannonandbrandon<magicalkingdoms.com Ticker
Free Disney Tickers

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NuggetBrain Posts : 10 Registered: 3/25/09
Re: Fab Weddings on a Budget (Photography) Vendor Question-MN
Posted: Jul 10, 2009 9:20 AM Go to message in response to: ValParm

I'm also a Minnesota bride who was looking for a great inexpensive photographer. If I could ask - what is your price range? Looking at the website you gave I also have some concerns about this particular photographer.

We are using Imagen International (http://www.imageninternational.com/). Currently its been renamed to Imagen by Alex Del Toro. They offer only one package ($1,077) but it includes the following -

Unlimited time shooting (he was at one wedding from 7 in the morning at the hair salon to 4 am the next morning after the after party)
2 photographers
All rights to print
All images on a DVD
Retouching and special effects (so if you have a picture you want in black and white, or black and white with just the bouquet in color they can do that free of charge)
2 other sessions (an engagement session, a trash the dress, boudoir photos, rehearsal dinner, etc)
A $100 credit towards prints or albums

Their album pricing is good too - from $95 for a coffee table book to $400 for a leather bound album. We met both of the photographers and they are a ton of fun and very professional - they also have albums and slideshows and photos you can go through at their studio. If this is within your price range, I would recommend going through Imagen rather than the one you're looking at.

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StaciiSanDiego Posts : 7 Registered: 5/21/09
Re: Fab Weddings on a Budget (Photography) Vendor Question-MN
Posted: Jul 10, 2009 2:42 PM Go to message in response to: ValParm

The whole site seems sketchy. I'd personally be uncomfortable.

1. The layout is very ugly.

2. The Google ads, really?

3. The photographer is shooting with both eyes open. ???

If you really want to shoot, ask to meet with the photographer before the wedding. I also suggest meeting with one or two other photographers just in case.

www.Luxe(Budget)Bride.com Smile

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soukouslover Posts : 1 Registered: 7/17/09
Re: Fab Weddings on a Budget (Photography) Vendor Question-MN
Posted: Jul 17, 2009 11:06 AM Go to message in response to: ValParm

To address the concerns expressed:

Do you have a chance to meet your
photographer?
A: yes

Will they attempt to substitute another photographer for
your wedding?
A: no - you choose who you book from day 1;

A
failure to provide requested information to the BBB.
A: the BBB in MN wants us to become a member to the tune of $500 per year; if you do not do that, they do not have sufficient information; I do not see the value of joining an rating organization that gives higher grades to its members - that is what happened in the financial industry when rating agencies got paid by the banks and kept rating CDOs as AAA. You've seen the work, the prices and the hand written thank you note from brides.

Adminitratively closed case - this means, the customer never agreed to anything, they just want the complaint to stay open - the case was rather simple, they booked us at a time of day other than the one they actually needed us, because our online calendar would not allow them to book us when they needed us - we realized the timing problem just weeks before the wedding - so we offered to send someone else at the time they really wanted - that was not acceptable to them, we offered some perks, etc. but to no avail - please read BBB's comments about the case:

"BBB
determined that despite the company's reasonable effort to address complaint
issues, the consumer remained dissatisfied."

My gut is telling me these folks just don't care about
responding to the BBB.
A: this is just a mean comment born out of ignorance

...formatting problems on the website.
A: Howard, we are a photography studio, not a web site design company - stay on target; yes we are rebuilding the site, but that is not what we do - evaluate the work

packages / prices / hours
A: all these are in plain sight

image count:
A: we generally deliver about 100 images per hour - this can be 80 to 120 or so; do consider that this means one good photo every 36 seconds - consider how different is a wedding scene every 36 seconds; so sure, there will be many similar images - truth be told some 30-50 photos per hour would give a sufficient variety, but most brides ask how many photos will they get, and most photographers, us included, feel the need to give more, so we get to 100 per hour... any more it would be a movie :) I am quite skeptical that Howard would be able to come up with more unique photos in that time- I mean how can any person do radically different things every 36 seconds for hours and hours throughout the wedding day?

$1/mile if you are over 20 miles. (IRS
mileage allowance is $.555)
A: The IRS is a tax deduction that is meant to cover vehicle expenses - gas and wear and tear; our fee covers the time of the person driving to your location. Consider: From Minneapolis to Duluth are 150 miles. When we do a wedding there, we charge $150 to travel there and we tell you about it before you book us. That takes 2.5 hours to get there and 2.5 hours to get back... $150 to drive 5 hours is not a lot of money - try to get a plumber or any other professional for hire to go that far and see what they charge. BTW, The IRS allowance of $0.555 is per mile driven, meaning that driving to and back is $1.110 which is still less than our fee, of just $1.00

hidden charges
A: there are none - everything is on the site, including album prices

research:
A: please do - and stop by for a free engagement photo session so you can evaluate our work

Finally, why are the negative comments from other photographers? Do they have an agenda I wonder?

George Maverick, President
Fab Weddings on a Budget

Edited by: soukouslover on Jul 17, 2009 12:31 PM

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MagicalMomentsP... Posts : 742 Registered: 3/6/06
Re: Fab Weddings on a Budget (Photography) Vendor Question-MN
Posted: Jul 17, 2009 1:10 PM Go to message in response to: soukouslover

At 10:07 AM EDT, a Mr. George Maverik called me. He stated he represented Fab Weddings on a Budget. Then he proceeded to give me an ultimatum. I had two choices, I could either remove/edit my post or he would sue me. Needless to say, this was not a very pleasant conversation and unfortunately, I lost my cell phone signal before we could conclude our conversation.

Just to give readers a little background, I've long felt that wedding photography is one of the hardest wedding purchases you will ever make. This lack of general consumer education, the current economic condition and the ease of people becoming wedding photographers, has led to customers (and some photographers) making mistakes. Meanwhile after years of working for both IBM and Disney, I've developed a sense of customer service and sort of a Miracle on 34th Street mentality. I want brides to have the best photography they can afford (or want). However, before they make a decision I want you to be educated. Now I won't lie, I do get some business (not much) from my volunteer efforts on this board. I really do try to provide an honest and fair reporting of the facts and a fair opinion. I work to make sure you, the reader, can tell what's fact and what's opinion. When the truth hurts, I try to be sensitive to the situation. Sometimes to the point where I will send a private message rather than address the matter publically.

After getting home from dropping my kids off, I've spent the morning reviewing my previous post in this thread. I've read it several times and thought carefully about what, if anything, I should change in the post. Perhaps there might be a word or two that I could change to clarify a statement as my opinion. But in the end I decided to leave the post alone. After all, does Leonard Maltin change his reviews?

Next, I noticed that an anonymous poster (I'm going to assume it is George) provided a rebuttal. I'm glad he did. For it gave me an opportunity to revisit his website. I'm happy to see the Google Ads have been removed from the site. Our poster stated:

Howard, we are a photography studio, not a web site design company -
stay on target; yes we are rebuilding the site, but that is not what we
do - evaluate the work

Once again, I'm happy to say I also noticed the web site has been updated to remove/change the 404 page not found errors. So somebody is able to make the required web changes. But regardless of whether we like it or not, we are judged by our storefronts. In this case our storefronts are our web sites. True story, years ago a friend of mine was part of a team interview. In walked this stunning blond. During the interview she dazzled the guys. Meanwhile, the women in the interview noticed her chipped nail polish. Small detail but noticed none the less. Over the objections of the women in the interview the candidate was hired. Just before her probation period was over she was let go. The reason -- lack of attention to details. Errors and problems on a web site are the details.

Now let's get to the BBB issue. As I mentioned, I've had dealings with the BBB too. On the off chance the Twin Cities, Minnesota BBB operates differently than the Chicago BBB, I spoke with Dana Badgerow – President / CEO of St. Paul BBB (dbadgerow@thefirstbbb.org
651-695-2464). The grading formulas do give a little bump to accredited members. She explained it is a difference between an A+ and an A or a B and a B-. As with my BBB, they send out questionaires on a regular basis seeking updated information. Failure to return one of these forms will result in a significant grading hit. However, I can certainly understand how these forms can be overlooked.

MS Badgerow, also informed me the complaint from Budget Weddings occurred in 2007. From my own experiences, when a customer does not accept the settlement, the case will be "Administratively Closed, the business made a reasonable offer but the customer did not accept." Dana did not have the case notes available on this situation and said she would look into the matter. But once again, I and the rest of the public, can only go by what the BBB reports. I form my opinions based on my experiences and what is reported. Had I known the comnplaint was in 2007, it would have seriously changed the tone of the conversation.

we generally deliver about 100 images per hour - this can be 80 to 120
or so; .... any more it would be a
movie :) I am quite skeptical that Howard would be able to come up with
more unique photos in that time- I mean how can any person do radically
different things every 36 seconds for hours and hours throughout the
wedding day?

Please don't bring me or my style into the conversation. I never said I shot or delivered more per hour. In fact, I state I deliver about 60 per hour. BTW, a movie is 24 frames/ second or 86,400 per hour!

When we do a wedding there, we charge $150 to travel there and we tell
you about it before you book us. That takes 2.5 hours to get there and
2.5 hours to get back... $150 to drive 5 hours is not a lot of money -
try to get a plumber or any other professional for hire to go that far
and see what they charge. BTW, The IRS allowance of $0.555 is per mile
driven, meaning that driving to and back is $1.110 which is still less
than our fee, of just $1.00


I apologize, I mistakenly believed miles charged were actual miles traveled.

Despite our uncomfortable conversation, I believe George is truely, concerned with running a reputable business. While the truth hurts, it seems to me that Mr. Maverick is taking my comments and those of the other brides as a chance to make improvements. While we may have stylistic or differences of opinion on how to run a business, I believe that if you like his studio and they are the best you can afford within your budget, you shouldn't rule them out.


Howard Kier, Certified Professional Wedding Photographer

Magical Moments Photography

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ValParm Posts : 3 Registered: 7/5/09
Re: Fab Weddings on a Budget (Photography) Vendor Question-MN
Posted: Jul 22, 2009 3:41 PM Go to message in response to: ValParm

I didn't mean to create any discord with my post and I want to sincerely thank everyone for their replies. It's been a tremondous help and I appreciate the community atmosphere that is here.

I'm keeping my options open right now and would like to keep my photography budget uner $2k but closer to $1000-1500.

Thanks again to everyone for their help; and I'm sorry I didn't come back to the thread sooner to see the responses. (I incorrectly assumed Brides.com would email me if there had been a response. Guess my next order of business is to bookmark this forum to more easily see the responses! )

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