Photographer woes

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oduchica02 Posts : 2 Registered: 10/20/08
Photographer woes
Posted: May 24, 2010 10:39 AM

I am getting married in June and had put a deposit down for a photographer last summer. Since then she did our engagement photos and they were very poor quality. I have also been reviewing her website and her photos are all out of focus and blurry. Is it wrong for me to break a contract? Photos are the 1 part of my wedding that will be seen forever and I would hate to lose out on that date! Also, can you get out of a contract for poor quality?

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Photographer woes
Posted: May 24, 2010 10:44 AM Go to message in response to: oduchica02

Dear OD,

I hope Howard sees your message and replies.

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FutureMrsDJLeo Posts : 615 Registered: 2/26/09
Re: Photographer woes
Posted: May 24, 2010 1:18 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I'm with AOTB, as Howard would be able to help you out more. I'm just wondering if you saw her work before you booked her, because from your post it seems like you didn't, and if that is the case I'm just wondering why you would book someone with out seeing there work. If you did see her work, and you noticed her style has changed, I would talk to her about it. Hope something works out for you!

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oduchica02 Posts : 2 Registered: 10/20/08
Re: Photographer woes
Posted: May 24, 2010 1:53 PM Go to message in response to: FutureMrsDJLeo

When I saw her portfolio the pictures looked really good so I booked her. When we received our engagement pictures they were out of focus, blurry, etc. There were only 2 decent pictures out of almost 200. Most of the pictures were not even centered. I have been viewing her other work online since then and her quality and severaly declined since we booked her. I don't want to be rude to her but I don't want to risk the chance of my pictures looking horrible.

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MagicalMomentsP... Posts : 742 Registered: 3/6/06
Re: Photographer woes
Posted: May 24, 2010 2:26 PM Go to message in response to: oduchica02

Hello,

Wow! I'm not even sure where to begin. The most important thing is that you've discovered the problems before your wedding rather than after your wedding when it would be too late. Before I go any further, I have to let you know that I'm not a lawyer nor is this meant to be legal advice. You may actually have to consult with a lawyer in your area to determine all of your options.

I too have to wonder if you actually saw the portfolio of the photographer you hired before you signed the contract. There are several ways this can happen. The first is when the bride does not excercise due diligence and conduct the proper research. That is, look at a complete wedding and look at the web site to determine the quality of the work. Another way you might not have seen the photographer's work is when they work for a multi-photographer studio and the work shown is representative of the studio and not any individual photographer.

Finally, the last scenario is actually outright fraud. The photographer knowingly showed you work that was taken by other photographers and did not properly represent their skill level. I have seen cases where some photographers have stolen images from the web for their own websites. There are also some album companies that provide manufacturers' samples without clearly marking them as such. Some unethical photographers will show those as their own work.

If you are dealing with a multiple photographer studio, your options
are much easier. You'll just need to speak with the manager and
explain you are not happy with the assigned photographer and want
another one. It will be upto the studio to be able to provide you with
an acceptable studio. They are just as interested in making you happy
as you are. They don't want a bad photographer causing them trouble.
It could cost them a lot more money on the back end than it would to
replace the photographer.


If you didn't check out the photographer before booking, then clearly you share some of the responsibility. However, if somebody markets themselves as a professional photographer, then you have a reasonable expectation the work will be of a certain quality. There is also the issue of the price vs. quality. You can't get a new BMW for the price of a Hundai. You can't get a penthouse condo for the price of a studio apartment. You have to pay for quality. So another factor we have to consider is how much were you paying for your photographer and what does quality cost in your area?

When dealing with a photographer who is not upto your expectations or has lied to you, you actually have the same options. First talk to the photographer. Tell them you are not happy with the photos and why. See how they respond. Ideally, they should offer you an option to retake the engagement session. If the photographer is defensive or make excuses, then this photographer really doesn't care. They are just in it for the quick buck. At this point tell the photographer you'd like them to hire a photographer who is capable of photographing your wedding to an acceptable quality level. Your photographer will most likely tell you to get lost. BUT THAT'S THE POINT of this little exercise, giving your photographer the chance to rectify the problem.

Now this is important! After you hang up the phone, send an e-mail to the photographer confirming your understanding of the conversation, both what you said and the photographer's response. It would be most helpful if you took notes during the phone call. Given that your wedding is less than a month away, tell the photographer you want a response within by close of the next business day.

While awaiting the photographer's response, you should also be setting a backup plan in motion. Don't just sit there, start looking for another photographer. This way if you should decide to part ways with your old photographer, you've got some leads on a new photographer. You will need to speak to a local lawyer but you might actually be able to sue the first photographer and obtain a judgement to pay for the second photographer. Personally, I hope you can sue, and then win to put people like this out of business and serve notice to those fakers. If enough of those stories get out, people who buy a camera and then call themselves a professional photographer will think twice before doing so.

Please understand, I've given you general advice without knowing all the facts of the situation nor do I have any knowledge of the contract you signed nor your local laws. I'm taking you on your word as to the quality of the photographer. If you send me a private message with the photographer's web site, I would be happy to give you my professional opinion as to the quality of the work. Finally, nothing in this post is to be considered legal advice. For that you must consult with a lawyer. Please llet me know if I can be of further assistance.

Howard Kier, Certified Professional Wedding Photographer

Magical Moments Photography


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MagicalMomentsP... Posts : 742 Registered: 3/6/06
Re: Photographer woes
Posted: May 24, 2010 2:40 PM Go to message in response to: oduchica02

When I saw her portfolio the pictures looked really good so I booked
her. When we received our engagement pictures they were out of focus,
blurry, etc. There were only 2 decent pictures out of almost 200. Most
of the pictures were not even centered. I have been viewing her other
work online since then and her quality and severaly declined since we
booked her. I don't want to be rude to her but I don't want to risk the
chance of my pictures looking horrible.

Hello Again,

Our posts crossed in the internet. Anyway, I question if you saw an actual wedding, her website, loose photos or an album. Photographers work is usually fairly consistant. It should not decline. What did you see (web site, loose prints, album, on-line wedding) that convinced you to book her?

Howard Kier, Certified Professional Wedding Photographer

Magical Moments Photography


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JenniferBischof... Posts : 1 Registered: 5/24/10
Re: Photographer woes
Posted: May 24, 2010 3:16 PM Go to message in response to: oduchica02

OH MY GOODNESS!!! don't hesitate to find a new photographer. you are RIGHT! the pictures is all you will have to look back on after the flowers have wilted, the cake has been eaten, and you are a newly wed. i just got married last summer and the photos are already so meaningful. i JUST joined brides.com. i'm a photographer but i only booked one wedding this summer because i'm expecting our first little one at the end of this summer and i didn't want to be stuck on bed rest or something and have to worry about breaking contracts. but everything has been so PERFECT...if you are in a bind and need a photographer...i'd love to help. i truely believe that EVERYONE deserves beautiful wedding photos.

good luck! and don't worry about not being polite (i have the same problem)...this is YOUR wedding!

:D

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jmd22 Posts : 125 Registered: 7/17/08
Re: Photographer woes
Posted: May 24, 2010 6:04 PM Go to message in response to: oduchica02

If it were me, I would start looking for a new photographer. I'm sure that in the contract you signed with your current photographer, there is something in there about canceling. You will probably lose your deposit, and depending on how close you are to your wedding date (and the contract conditions) you may owe additional fees as well for canceling. I would find a new photographer BEFORE I fired the old one- just in case! If you can't find anyone else you are happy with, then would be the time to have a conversation with your current photographer and ask her what the heck happened. Actually- I would have that conversation anyway! You do not want to risk having crappy wedding photos!! Can't get those memories back!

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MagicalMomentsP... Posts : 742 Registered: 3/6/06
Re: Photographer woes
Posted: May 24, 2010 7:01 PM Go to message in response to: jmd22

I would find a new photographer BEFORE I fired the old one- just in case!

I would too. But don't hire your new one until you have taken the required steps to fire your old one. Otherwise, you could end up on the hook for two photographers. Although rare, there are some photographers who will sue a bride for breach of contract should she cancel the contract. They feel it is one thing to have the wedding called off and a whole different thing to just change your mind. That photographer will be especially angry if you tell them the wedding is off or rescheduled and it was really just a changed mind. The first thing most photographers do when they are told a wedding has been canceled is to check with the other vendors. A client who is found to be lying will be treated much harsher than one who tells the truth.

Part of the reason you need to speak with your current photographer is to protect yourself from any potential liability. Remember contracts protect both you and the photographer. In addition, they spell out the responsibilities of both parties. Depending on the contract, you will need to either cancel the contract as specified or possibly set up an anticipatory breach situation. Hence the reason for talking to the photographer. But once again, you're going to need to talk to a local lawyer to make sure you are properly protected from any future liability.

Howard Kier, Certified Professional Wedding Photographer

Magical Moments Photography


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