You couldn't wait to get a first look at your wedding photos, but now that you have, you wish you hadn't seen them. Whether you fear you're making a funny face in all your portraits or you can't find a single snapshot of your first dance, you're anything but happy with what's in your hands. Is there anything you can do?
"I have — fortunately! — never had clients who are unhappy with their images, but I can imagine how disappointing that'd be as a bride and how uncomfortable that would be as the photographer," commiserates Rachel Whyte, photographer behind Rachel Whyte Photography in Waco, Texas. Before you approach your photographer, she suggests, determine if there's anything he or she could do to actually rectify the situation. Many wedding moments, such as a first twirl on the dance floor, simply can't be recreated, she points out.
But, if you're unhappy with the portraits of you and your groom, this may be able to be rectified, Whyte says, as their poor quality could be due to time restrictions. "In this situation, the photographer could offer to do a free portrait session of you and your groom in your wedding attire. This could be a great compromise, and you will most likely get those stunning images you were hoping for."
You also shouldn't expect to have your payment refunded. "If the photographer is a reputable professional, they probably have this covered in their contract," explains Whyte. "After all, you paid them for their work, and photographing your wedding was absolutely work for them."
And that's really the key to being happy with your wedding photos: Picking the right photographer in the first place. "One of the most important elements of your relationship with your wedding photographer should be trust and open communication," explains Jennifer Gaudreau, photographer of Jennifer Kathryn Photography in New York and Chicago. "From your very first interaction, it's crucial you feel comfortable voicing your ideas and concerns with your photographer. It's your day, and the better you're able to communicate with one another, the better your photographer will be able to serve you and execute both your vision and his or her artistry so that you are thrilled with the end result."
Whyte recommends selecting a photographer based on friends' and family members' referrals, as well as logging serious time with potential candidates before you make a choice. "Lastly, ask to see complete wedding galleries from the photographer," she says. "This should be anywhere from 400 to 800 images. Keep in mind that every single image is not going to be award-winning, but you will be able to get a good idea of the photographer's style. You will also be able to see how the photographer handles various lighting situations, and if they capture the details and moments that you would want captured."