Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The biggest let down from our wedding: Need your advice

It has taken me a while to write this post.  And I honestly don't even know where to start.  Just thinking about sharing my frustrations and disappointment right now is making me nauseous and sad.  But I figure the best thing to do is to try to get it out honestly and then take it to you wonderful ladies and fellow brides-to-be or recently marrieds to tell me if I am off my rocker or not. 

So, I have had my professional photos back from my photographer for over a week now.  I shared a little sneak peek of the ones my photog posted on his blog here about 12 days ago.  The unfortunate thing is, I feel like the sneak peek he shared was the best of what we were going to get.  I received over 1000 photos from my photographer (something he repeatedly told me on the wedding day is 'way more than he usually takes at a wedding').  This surprises me because my sister got like 1300 pics from her wedding day and her photographer was there for three or four hours LESS than I booked mine!

Before, I start my reasons for my dismay, I'll share these photos from our photog with you.  I want to save a lot of them for my recaps (even though I feel like I don't have nearly what I was expecting to be able to share with you), but I'll give you a few to view for now:

Remember, that these are the *best* shots I have of our 'formal portrait' session.  This is the best shot I have of me with the ring bearers and flower girl. 

These aren't that bad, right?  Well, check this is one of my favorite pictures of the day:

Notice anything wrong with this photo?  How about the fact that Mr Fix It's tie is hanging over his arm?  Um, shouldn't a photographer be looking for things like that in a photo?  Yeah, maybe it slips past them once in a while, right?  So I'll let it go for now.  But what about this?

I made these little DIY signs to take our photo to use on our thank you cards...look at the few that he got of us holding them:

Here's the best shot he got of us holding these:

I love this photo, but notice that in BOTH of these, my sign is covering Mr Fix It's sign.  The bottom shot, which is the best one, is pretty far away, too for me to be able to use it on a Thank You can barely see the words unless I crop it in real tight.  :(

I have been in a few weddings over the past years, and in today's digital age, you see photographers constantly looking back over their image they just shot in their LCD screen to see if they got the shot.  Shouldn't he have noticed that the fact that we are taking a pic holding signs means he should make sure the signs are visible in his shots?!?

Two weeks before our wedding, I sent my photographer the following slideshow I created.  Almost all of these photos are from other weddings at our venue (Rancho Las Lomas).  We paid BIG BIG bucks for this venue specifically because of it's beauty, unique grounds (a zoo!) and the huge amount of photo opportunities and locations it offered. 

I did get some shots from some of these locations for sure.  But there are a TON of shots that I didn't get.  That is what I am most disappointed about.  For example, he didn't get a shot of me and Mr Fix It standing next to each other displaying our shoes!  The bright red ones I was so excited about.  He did get some shoe shots that were cool, like these:

He also got 30 shots of my dress along with another 8 shots of my shoes.  Yep, 40 shots of just my dress and shoes hanging.  That sounds cool.  Except for one little thing...I only received 17 photos of our entire family! 

I have a sister (who's married with 2 kids), my mom, my dad, his wife and of course my daughter, Little Miss as my immediate family.  Mr Fix It has 4 siblings (all married) and with 7 children between them plus his parents.  Out of an immediate family of 25 people, I have a TOTAL of only 17 pictures of us with the family.  What irritates me more than anything is that I do not have one single shot of me, my daughter and Mr Fix It together on our wedding day.  The only photo I have with the three of us in it, is this one with my mom, dad and sister in it:

How can a photographer who photographs weddings for a living and has been doing it for YEARS, NOT realize that he didn't get a shot of the bride and groom with their (my) children!?!  On top of that, I have no individual shots of me and my mom or me and my dad with me!  The ONLY photo I have from my entire wedding day with me and my mom is the picture above of us with the family.  How is that possible?

At my sister's wedding, we had like 10+ shots of the bride with each individual bridesmaid, our mom, our dad, even my Aunt who was just hanging out while we were shooting got into a few pics with just her and the bride!  We had enough pics of the ring bearer and flower girl to create a mini photo album of the two kids (our cousins) for their parents!  I have not even a handful of pics of me with the flower girl, ring bearers and bride and groom. 

See that cute little shot of the couple sitting on the bench swing in the slideshow?  Well, we sat on that bench with my bouquet sitting next to me and Mr Fix It standing behind me.  You can see it at the very end of the video trailer I shared last week.  Well, you know what the only TWO shots I received from our photographer were of this location?  Mr Fix It sucking on my neck!  And you can't even see my bouquet or the fact that I am sitting on the bench swing!

And here is the best shot we got of us on the balcony.  The rest of the 10 or so pics he gave us are of us totally laughing and goofing off...though funny, nothing that could be blown up to be a gorgeous keepsake or portrait.  And though I know you can zoom in on photos to get a 'closer' shot, look at how far away we are in this!

Here's another example of my disappointment.  He only took a handful of photos of me with each of my individual bridesmaids and of Mr Fix It with his individual groomsmen.  Here's some shots of Mr Fix It with the groomsmen:

Is there ever a time when a guy looks good sitting in a tuxedo or suit?  Look at how wrinkled they look!  And how do you get any type of personality or fun/cool poses while sitting on a ledge?  Look at how Mr Fix It's shoulder is up in his ear in this one with his brother!

I don't even want to know what's going on in Groomsmen J's pants in this shot below!

The only photo he got of my groom standing with a groomsmen during this little shoot with each of the guys was this one with his brother in which Mr Fix It is not even smiling:

He did the same thing with us ladies...he had me sitting on a ledge in my beautiful gown to take photos with each of my maids.  I don't know why it didn't don on me to say something at the time!

This shot I do love but it was actually taken by his assistant, NOT our photographer!  And it is the only one we have inside the quaint little cafe with all the little tables and windows.  One shot!  That's it!

If you know me at all, you know I have been all about the details of this wedding.  I was aching for photos of the flowers, the guest book, the escort cards, the table numbers, the centerpieces and tables all set up.  My photographer once mentioned that he is 'a details guy' and I told him that was good because I wanted pictures of everything I had worked on for 16 months.  Especially because I did not get to see most of it all set up on the wedding day.  What upsets me the most are all of the pictures he did *NOT* get...some I mentioned above, but here is a list of many more pictures I did not get from our wedding day:

*  A photo of my bouquet all by itself (showing off the brooch that belonged to Mr Fix It's mother).  This is the *only* photo I got which showcases my bouquet by itself (notice my flower girl running through the background)

*  A shot of the memorial table.  I did not see the memorial table the entire day!  It had 2 vases on it (one with a floating candle, one with white tulips) that were engraved with the names of Mr Fix It's mother and my grandparents and Aunt.  It also had votive candles on it and a digital frame scrolling with photos of our loved ones.  Finally, it had a poem on the table commemorating our love for those relatives.  Here are the only two photos I got of the table/items:
(This tulip bouquet is on a reception table as the memorial table wasn't set up yet)

Now why in the heck would you take a photo of a frame on a table that did not even have the linen on it yet?  Why would you not come back to this table once it was set up? 

*  He also did not get any pictures of the reception tables all set up.  Rather, he took photos of items on the tables as they were being set out.  So there is not one shot of an entire table set up with the linens, favors, centerpieces, glassware, table numbers, etc.  The shot I got of my escort card table, which I envisioned like this:

This is what I got (after half the guests had hit the table and the sun had pretty much set):

*  Apart from all of the bridal party and family photos I feel were totally lacking (or missing!), I don't feel he was able to 'direct' us much through the photos we took of me and my groom and the family and bridal party.  Most of our photos he would direct us by telling us to 'look stoic' or to 'play with his ear.'  How is that good direction to get emotions of love, joy, laughter, romance, etc out of someone?  When I would ask him in our meetings how he got a certain shot, he would tell me "I don't give away my secrets."  What secrets?!?

I had many meetings with him and showed him many photos of the style and shots and locations I wanted.  He said I had an eye for 'good photography' and he was excited to work with me.  His website and his albums in his office resembled what I wanted.  So I don't know what went wrong on the wedding day.  My cousin (Bridesmaid A) told me that she repeatedly would tell him that he needed to get a shot of the escort card table or the bouquets or the bridal party and he would put her off.  She said he and his assistant were referring to her as the 'trouble maker' because she was interrupting them. 

Mr Fix It repeatedly told him that we needed to get out of the ceremony area and go take photos in some of the other locations on the property.  I have no pictures of us on the beautiful bridges, or near the coy pond, or the animals, or on the walkways or in the orange orchard or near the fountains...none of those locations!  We wanted a shot with this antique car:

But we didn't get it...even though we were standing 5 yards from it at one point!

My photographer asked me during the family photos "Are you absolutely sure I got all of the photos you want before I dismiss your family?"  I told him "I guess so."  Looking back, why the hell was he asking *ME* (the bride) if I got all the photos I wanted?!?  It's my wedding day!  I am paying YOU to get all the photos I told you I wanted so that I don't have to think about it on this day! 

I had given him the slide show and showed him photos from my sister's wedding.  I had filled out a short form that had a few 'must have' one of Mr Fix It with ALL of the men on his side of the family.  Yeah, he didn't take that shot.  :( 

I am now kicking myself that I didn't make a specific list of locations, poses, and people that I absolutely must have from our photographer.  I didn't want to 'restrict' him or bind him to looking down at a list, but I realize now what a mistake this was to not have this part planned out more specifically.  I thought we were on the same page, I thought some shots (like one of the bride and her mother) were obvious shots that any wedding photographer would know to get.  Apparently not.

So now here is my dilemma...what do I do about it?  I have discussed it with family and Mr Fix It.  I have talked to the other photographer, Jordana Hazel of Hazelnut Photography who was the runner up to my photographer selection.   There is nothing I can do about all the shots we didn't get with our family.  But the shots of me and Mr Fix It, the ones around the venue, I *CAN* do something about those. 

I have made arrangements with our venue, my hair stylist and my dry cleaners to go back to the property in our wedding attire for free (or with discounts - to have my dress cleaned again), and take a 'day after' shoot around the grounds.   Mr Fix It has reluctantly agreed because he knows how sad I am about all this.  But he said the only way that he will agree to it, is if we can get our photographer to give us a refund to cover having Jordana shoot the second photo session.  Mr Fix It says I should be thankful we have an amazing video showing most of what our photographer missed.  (I am waiting for it to arrive any day now.)  My mom and others have said I should ask our photographer to go back and take more photos free of charge.  But Mr Fix It and I don't feel like we would be very comfortable with him because of our frustrations right now.

Do I go ahead and try to contact my photog to let him know how disappointed I am and point out all of these issues?  Do I go ahead and plan to do another shoot in my gown and a suit for Mr Fix It and go more artsy and get those cool shots?  Or do I mourn the loss of what I don't have, be happy with what I do have and let it go as a lesson learned?

Has the wedding industry and blogland jaded me into being overly critical of my photographer and therefore holding him to unrealistic demands and work?  Or am I justified in my frustration and disappointment? I know that lighting can often affect where you shoot and if time runs out, you can't hit all the locations you want.  I know that people don't pay attention and are uncooperative and not models and so with those uncontrollable variables you can't always have a guarantee on gorgeous, artsy photos.  But shouldn't my photographer have said "Hey, we are running out of time or I don't have the light, so I need to know what your top priorities are for shots and locations?"  He didn't do any of that. 

What are your thoughts girls?  Help me out!  Give me back my sanity because I have been fighting back the tears and mulling over this trying to see it rationally for over a week now!

TODAY'S WEDDING TIP:  If there are specific locations, poses or people that you absolutely want to capture in photos on your wedding day, be sure to make a list of these (with samples if possible) and give them to your photographer clearly communicating the importance of these shots.  Don't worry if they are offended or feel like you are telling them how to do your job...this is what you are paying them for!


JEM - Aqua Bride said...

Oh i'm so sorry that this happened. I agree with you about the detail shots and I think you have every right to be upset. I mean the thank you sign was ridiculous. You'd think a pro would be more observant of these things.

Having said that, a day-after shot sounds like a good idea except that I don't think you should have to pay someone else to do it. The original photographer should be notified of your displeasure/disappointment and he should make up for it. I'm pretty sure you paid this guy a pretty penny and you should get your money's worth. I mean who doesn't know to et a shot of mom and bride for goodess sakes.

Nicole-Lynn said...

Oh sweetie, so sorry you're feeling frustrated and sad about all of this. I can understand why you would. I honestly think from the pictures you have shared so far, they are wonderful. You and your hubby look awesome and there are some great pictures of the bridal party etc. As an outsider, I don't think you're being overcritical, but maybe you just had high expectations and were let down some. I would recommend going with another photographer to do a day after type session and get the pictures you want.
Honestly, I'm not sure if this will make you feel better but I have seen and heard of weddings where the photographer didn't get any good pictures or something happened to their camera, etc. Look up Mrs. Shortcake's wedding on Weddingbee. Talk about a horror story! Keep your head up! :)

So for those of us not married yet, do you recommend I bring a list of the shots I would like my photographer to take and give them a copy the day of and also maybe give it to my coordinator? Any tips?

Patience said...

So sorry this has happened to you. The same thing happened to a good friend of mine and she tried to get a refund, but they wouldn't budge. I would contact your photog and let them know how disappointed you are with the photos and your suggestion on how he can fix the problem. I can see them agreeing to retake the pictures for free. I would ask to view each and every shot after they are taken to make sure they are up to your standards. Good Luck girl, I hope everything works out.

Em said...

I'm so sorry for all of this. I'm a busy lil bee right now so I had to skim some of your post (I promise I'll read it thoroughly soon) but ugh, I can only imagine how frustrating this is for you. Clearly photography was HIGH on your list of priorities (as it should be) so I can definitely see your disappointment. It's completely justified, in my opinion. You had expectations, he confirmed that he could meet them, yet he did not.

Honestly, I don't even know what I would do in your situation. I would contact him and let him know your disappointment and frustrations. Some of the things he missed (TY card shot and escort table come to mind) are inexcusable. And he needs to know that.

Again, I wish I could write more but I'm on a time crunch w/ moving. If you need to vent more...passionately (lol) you have my email :)

Amy said...

I am so so so sorry about your photography fiasco! What a nightmare! I say contact the photog ASAP. Especially since your venue and hair stylist are willing to let you recreate your wedding day look for free! It is the least your photog can do for not living up to your expectations. You never know what he will say until you ask!

PartyPlannerGal said...

Awww, Stacey, I'm so sorry to hear about this :( I know there is nothing you could have done differently - you researched the heck out of every single one of your vendors, and I'm sure you would have known about this if it was something that happened to another bride.

Right now, I think your best bet is to do the day after shoot and try to get at least a partial refund from your photog. He knows about your blog, and he should know about weddingbee, weddingwire, and yelp. It is in is best interest to fix this the best he can. Hang in there, and know that you are not the only one who has had to deal with this :( I think it happened to Mrs. T too, so maybe you could chat with her privately about it.

Catherine said...

I feel so disappointed for you!

Honestly, I think you should send him the link to this blog posting! By reading it, he should be able to feel your emotion AND you explain it very logically with excellent examples of all your complaints and disappointments. I think it's great that you've taken a little time to process the reality before reacting out of emotion, but it's clear he didn't fulfill what he promised you. Good luck, honey!

SG said...

Oh man I'm so sorry you are disappointed with your photos. That was/is my biggest fear is that I will hate our photos. I've seen a few on their website and so far love what I see but until I see them all I'm still worried. And of course on the honeymoon I realized there were a few family member shots that we forgot to one of us with his grandmothers!

I do like the idea of doing a "day after" shoot with you and him and even your daughter around the property, no one but you guys will know it wasn't from the actual day.

I would definitely express your disappointment/concerns to the photog and write a review on wedding wire about him. Hopefully he can offer you some kind of discount or money back.

Lastly I do think you got some beautiful shots so try to focus on those as much as possible :)

Ghenet said...

So sorry, Stacey! To be honest, all (but maybe one or two) of the shots you posted here look really good. But I totally understand your disappointment, especially considering your photog promised you something and he didn't deliver. I agree with everyone that the day after shoot is a great way to get the shots of your venue and hubby that you missed out on. In the meantime though, focus on the pretty shots and try not to be so down about it. The important thing is that you're married and you had a wonderful wedding.

Mrs. Lopez said...

First let me say I love these pics. Secondly I understand your frustration and i would have been mad about the Thank You pics. I agree that if they are a professional photogpher and you paid a lot of money then you should have gotten the shots you wanted.

We didnt have the money to hire a professinal photog so my mentor who takes great pics as a hobby took them for us for free and was there for the whole time (9 hrs) to take pics. We gave her a pic of the family members we wanted to for sure get but that was it. I havent got my pics back which is the only bad thing b/c its just her working on editing them.

Alicia said...

Oh Stacey - this post makes me want to cry for you. :(

I can't even fathom what you are going through right now - hating my photos is something I'm TERRIFIED about (mainly because I'm not very photogenic!). I will say that while I see where you are coming from in some of those photos - I think for the most part they are great.

Of course - with that being said I understand that they aren't YOUR vision of what the day was supposed to be of. Not having the detail shots (something that you specifically requested) is insane.

I also agree that it's the photog's job, NOT the brides job to ensure all the photos are taken. How on earth are you supposed to be paying attention to that when you have EVERYTHING else going on that day??

Once again - I'm so sorry. I had initally not planned on giving my photog a shot list and of course your post is making me reconsider. As much as I love her (my photog) there are certain shots that I'd be devastated if I didn't get.


mrsmaysonetxo said...

I am so sorry you are so dissatisfied with your pictures, especially because it is such an important part!

It is definitely a good thing for you that you spent the money to get the wedding video.

I think the pictures you did get are really good, and some of the details you didn't like I couldn't even notice without you pointing it out.

In regards to taking pictures over again, I totally think you should. But not done by the photographer because you might end up with the same pictures you are unhappy with. You seem to have a good sense of what photos you want so I think doing it over you will be more relaxed to take control yourself and direct someone else to get the photos you want.

I do think you should talk to the photographer about your disappointments though.

PMerr said...

Awww! I'm so sorry that you're not completely happy with all of your pictures! My photographer said to put down all shots I wanted, no matter what they were (if they were obvious, like with parents, or anything), and even though she may not get to them all (the "extra" shots), she would feel better having them in front of her, especially if it made me feel better.

I think right now, the day-after shoot is going to be your best idea, and like Catherine said, make sure he sees the blog post.

megan marie said...

I am so sorry that you have to deal with this! I like you, did not make a list of shots I wanted. Luckily, I got all except one shot (a photo of me with just the flower girl & ring bearer) but that's the price I paid for not worrying about things like photo lists! That being said, the amount of shots you have missing, and the quality of the ones you got back, is totally unacceptable. I really do think you should forward this post to your photog, let him know that negative reviews could be coming, and that you demand a partial refund to pay for your next photo shoot.

BTW, I think doing a day after shoot with Jordana is a great idea! She is an amazing photographer and I am glad you will be able to recreate some of the day with her :)

Jillreigh said...

I am so upset for you. I think doing another shoot with a different photographer is a great idea. Also you definitely need to let your first photographer that he screwed up. He obviously didn't represent himself truly to you during your initial meetings before the wedding, and I'd hate for him to keep doing the same thing to future brides.

That being said, you do have some absolutely stunning shots from your wedding. I hope you'll be able to get everything he missed with Jordana.

Salt said...

Awww honey. I'm sorry you aren't happy. :( Unfortunately I think this happens way more than people think. I've heard of so many having similar experiences. Our wedding pictures SUCKED. There's nothing that we could have done about it. We couldn't even bring our own photographer to the resort.

Of the ones you posted here, some are very beautiful and some are very awkward. He probably should have made some better decisions with the way he was having people stand and the lighting of course.

I hope you get this resolved! When you pay a lot of money for something like this, you should get results you are happy with, ya know?

LauraLou said...

I'm so sorry! That is so incredibly frustrating. We as brides put so much emphasis on a great photographer to capture all of the moments of our big day and he definitely didn't. I can't believe that the only picture you have of your bouquet has your flower girl running through the back of it - That's just ridiculous! I wish there was more I could do to help. :( But thank you for posting this. I wasn't sure if I wanted to make a list of 'must have' shots or not, but I'm definitely going to now!

Laura Lewis said...

You know I know your disappointment... I think you read my post. I was extremely disappointed and there were TONS OF PICTURES I didn't get as well... I could go on and on about the shots I didn't get... like pix with my dad... solo bridal shots... NO DETAIL SHOTS HARDLY... I still don't know what my escort card table looked like, my centerpieces, nothing... I do know what my cookie bar looked like -- once all the food was gone! Ugh, I could continue... this post just got me so fired up again about my photography and how disappointed I am. Jordana is amazzzing and I think you would be so happy with her!! I'm doing our "day after" shoot on June 13 and I can't wait... I def think you guys should do a day after shoot if you feel there were shots you didn't get!

A Los Angeles Love said...

Aw Stacy, my heart goes out to you. I know how hard you worked on all the details and, more importantly, that your family matters so much to you. I will say that all of the photos you showed us are great, though, even if they aren't what we see on blogs. As I discovered when talking with more photographers, many of their blogs only highlight the *best* photos and the rest of the day's images are normal. Like some of the ones you showed here. So, to that extent, perhaps some letting go is okay.

As for the specific photos he missed, talk with him. Express your legitimate frustration. And if it's still bothering you, schedule a day-after shoot with your husband and your daughter. (and you know I love Jordana. She would be an excellent family portrait/day-after option.)

Also, start asking friends if they have personal photos. Some may be surprisingly great, and some might just need a bit of color correction or editing to be what you'd hoped for.

As someone once told me, these photos are very important now, but less important in the future. You'll frame a few and put the rest in an album you'll look through every so often. So long as you got *that* photo that you want to frame, consider yourself blessed. My parents have that once iconic shot from their wedding that I LOVE, and the rest were so-so. But that one shot captured the essence of the day, and it was enough. So try focusing on your "essence of the day, framable shots" and maybe that will help. Because you'lre going to fill your walls with a lifetime of framed photos, of which the wedding, ultimately, will only be a small piece.


Christin said...

I'm so sorry!!! I would definitely let the photographer know how disappointed you are. Point out everything you did in your post. Maybe he will offer a partial refund that will help in covering the second shoot. But I agree with you-- after these frustrations you probably wouldn't be comfortable using him again. Use the other girl and get the shots you want. Keep your chin up :)

kjpugs said...

I really, really feel you. Luckily I became good friends with my photographer and she REALLY got to know me. But some places I didn't speak up and didn't get my pics - like me alone with each bridesmaid. Luckily I am 100% on par with her creative instincts and am like 97% overjoyed with my 2,226 pictures.

And yes- we had that many. She flat out told us what # to expect per hour and really took charge. I think that's important to ask photographers... for example, mine had two photographers and an assistant photographer taking pictures! Every photographer is different.

You look BEAUTIFUL in all your photos and I wouldn't stress. I know you don't want to hear that you'll get over it but eventually you'll have more fun things to take pictures of and will just use your favorites all over :) For ones like the tie- see if you can pay someone to photoshop them! Things like a tie on an arm can be fixed by professionals in many cases.


Chichi {From Now Till I Do} said...

How frustrating! I would definitely voice my concerns to your original photographer and see what he says. A lot of the 'errors' are basic!

Still do the day after shoot, but see what your guy says.

Good luck x

Amberdawn said...

Okay, to be perfectly honest, at first I thought you were being a little overly critical because I thought that the photos of you and your family and friends are great :)

But when you started showing the pictures of the frame on a table with no linens, and the favors that were half taken, that's terrible, and there's no excuse. I mean, it's one thing to not want to take up people's time celebrating by saying "move your arm 2 inches" and that sort of thing. But when it comes to inanimate objects there's no reason to take extra time and care. And that list of things he missed, that's terrible. Shame on him.

Anonymous said...

I am a florist and we just did a weddng in Napa

it was so amazing
then the following day the Bride had hair and makeup redone with the groom

I will tell you that those photos were some of my true favorites and so romantic they looked much more relaxed
it is unfortunate about your photos
treasure the family ones they got
Just remember the ones you most likely will frame are the tight shots of the both of you

Morgan said...

Oh no, I'm so sad for you!!! I agree with everyone else who also thinks doing the "day after" shots are a good idea. Oh, I really hope it all works out! You look just gorgeous in the pictures you do have, but I can completely understand being upset with not getting everything you expected.

happynappybride said...

Just letting you know that I totally used your chalk tip from your wedding planner! I was telling my sis-in-law that I'd read that and wouldn't you know it? I got makeup spilled on my dress later.

No big deal though...had the chalk.

Thanks for the tip!

Sarah Ann said...

I am SO sorry that this happened to you hun. You are not being overly critical at all. He did not do his job to the standards that you hired him on and that alone is enough to ask for a refund to pay the other photographer- which by the way I think is a REALLY good idea to go back and do photos with her. Don't waste your time and effort on someone who is giving you C grade efforts. And even if he won't do the discount do it anyway! Don't just settle, you'll regret it.
All that said, I want you to know that I didn't even notice the minor details in the photos right away. And I'm like you- critical and perfection oriented. So those who aren't that way? They probably won't even notice at all. I don't know if that is of any comfort to you but I just thought you should know.

Nicole said...

THIS HAPPENED TO ME! i got 1 shot of me and the bridesmaids...ONE! and most of our bridal party shots..looked horrible...cause you couldn't see everyone..and they don't know how to line up...THATS YOUR JOB! omg..i am soo with you on this..TO THIS DAY..1 year later i am upset..and now we are trying to do our wedding album..and im so pissed off about it..cause he sucks at it.. its like..he had photos..and work he has done in the past..and i asked him soo many questions... and looking back i should have had a LIST! and gave it to a friend to be right there.checking up on him... i totally suggest a list! we did a bridal shoot the day after..THANK god we did this...also, i recommend have her to your new pictures!!! tell her Nicole Stefan sent you! She will take care of you!

Bicoastal Bride said...

I felt so sad reading your post, because I can imagine how you must feel. Like you, I focus a lot on details, and though you have some truly gorgeous shots that I think you should be very happy about, I also think you're completely justified in feeling disapoointed about the photos you didn't get or that didn't turn out the way you hoped. I guess sometimes, it's so hard to truly know whether a vendor's vision matches yours until it's too late. I think you're making the right choice about doing the day-after shoot, and I also think you should be fully honest with your original photographer about the way you feel, in hopes of getting at least some of your money back. Let us know what happens, and try to savor the beautiful shots that you do have. I guess that's all you can really do for now. So sorry! :(

Mrs T said...

Oh Stacey. My heart hurt reading this post. I felt EXACTLY the same about our photos as you know. I could write an essay about all the shots we didn't or the shots we did get that are just plain terrible.

Our photographers three annoying posing things he would say were - look serious (all these photos look like everyone is sad), smile (these are the good ones) and laugh (these again are terrible as everyone has their mouth open).

Ok, so moving forward - what to do?

I emailed our photographer. He took SIX weeks to respond and pretty much said - too bad so sad. I was and still am very angry. People said we should dress back up and have him take more shots - But there is NO WAY I would want to see him again (awkward after complaining) and I don't trust that he would get what we want after he couldn't do it the first time. So I would say NO to him doing more shots for you.

I very much doubt he will give you money back either - but it is certainly worth an ask.

If you do want more photos with a new photographer - I say go for it. Whatever makes you feel better.

I still sometimes think about it - but I worry that I would look at them and know they weren't really from our wedding.

The one thing that made me feel better was making up my wedding album. I picked out all the best shots (photographer and friends shots - even took some of the details myself), edited and tweaked them for weeks and then had them printed up professionally. If you want to see what I came up with email me and I'll shoot it over. I could do it for your shots too - I am the queen of editing - for real.

Also my best words of advice - print out your top two photos. And then DO NOT look at the rest for at least a month. AT ALL. I still feel like I want to cry when I look at all the crappy photos on our disk and it is five months later.

SO sorry this has happened to you too Stace. So sorry.

P.s. That photo you love with the tie - please email the full file to me - I will photoshop it so the tie will be gone - I would love to do it for you.

HUGS - longest comment ever - sorry!

Anonymous said...

That's a total bummer. And it's sad that your photographer treated your BM like that when she was trying and was there to help you out. That is very unprofessional IMO.

I understand your frustrations but agree with what someone wrote previously. Wedding pictures are great but will they forever adorn your walls? No. There will be so many other great pictures that will come and be perfect and slowly a lot of those wedding pictures will be replaced as time goes on. I understand wanting them for scrapbooks and everything...but isn't that what you took small personal pictures for and what you have this awesome blog for?! :)

If you decide to email your photographer about your concerns, I wouldn't expect much. It sounds like he's lacking a bit in the professional area and why would you want to work with him again anyways? And if it really bums you out and you want to do another wedding shoot, then I say go for it. Maybe you could do a little more casual "Trash the Dress" shoot (without trashing the dress of course, unless you are very risque) where your husband is dressed nice in a suit and you (and maybe some of your BMs too) are all prettied up and get some amazing creative shots that you wouldn't have gotten and didn't get the day of your wedding. Good luck!

Mrs T said...

P.s. I forgot to say - I adore the shot you used for your header. Love the shoe shot on the railings. Think the umbrella shot is really cute and fun. I also kinda love the shot of you two on the balcony. I really wish we had a shot that was of us far away like that from our wedding - it's the kind of shot that I'd blow up and put on the wall.

The Pink Bride said...

Talk to that photographer, girl! Start off by saying "You got some nice shots we liked like (x, y,z). But overall, you really missed some important things. I know you pride yourself on customer satisfaction and I was wondering what you could do about this? For example (show him the things you showed us.)"

I felt EXACTLY THE SAME WAY you did when I got back my e-pics. So we moved on to a different photographer. I think photographers who are not good at taking direction are the absolute WORST and a sign that they are not doing a good job.

Honey, I completely understand where are you coming from. I love the pictures of you and Mr. Fix It against the brown wall, on the balcony, and in the cafe (taken by the assistant! Ha!)

I LOVE the idea of you doing a day after. Now you can also do a trash the dress at the end of it too (If you want)!(Or bring another dress, if you want).

You should take theses steps first, and THEN "get over it." But if you opt out of talking to photog #1, and don't do the second shoot, I don't see how anyone could expect you to just get over it and move on.

Kristal said...

Oh my goodness girl, I am soo sorry to hear about this mess! I do recommend that you let your photographer know how disappointed and frustrated you are. You were under the impression that he understood exactly what you wanted but he completely failed to deliver the day of! He needs to do something to amend his mistakes! If he won't do anything, contact the BBB!

Rachel said...

Stacey! I have been screaming at my computer while I read this! I am just totally appalled and saddened for you. I would have to agree with all of your captions on the photos. The first several are beautiful, yes, but the escort cards photo? The "bouquet" shot with someone walking in the background? Shockingly unprofessional!

I guess the biggest question would be how much you paid for the photography. Generally you get what you pay for, but not always. I'd say if you spent under $1,000 or so on the photography, then many of these pictures should have been expected. BUT if you spent quite a bit of your budget on these photos, then you definitely did NOT get what you paid for. If I were you, I would NOT go down with these photos without a fight. First, I think you need to be honest with the photographer and tell him ALL of the concerns you addressed her. They are all very valid points. I would tell him you are definitely owed some sort of refund for the simple fact that he had a "must have list" of shots that HE agreed to take and did not deliver on that promise. You also have the slideshow that you sent, and clearly NONE of those photos were taken. Those two things are your best proof to show why you did not receive the product you paid for. However, I would certainly not entrust him to take any more photos of you. That would be very awkward, I would imagine. So I agree that you should take photos with another photographer, but you are certainly owed compensation from the original photographer for them not providing the service they agreed to. My mouth literally dropped open when I read that he asked YOU if he got all the shots you wanted. How are you supposed to know? You're not the one looking at the photos being taken! Unbelievable! Again, I am soooooo sorry this happened to you, and I thank you for sharing this story because I will certainly be creating a list of shots now and will demand my photographer carries it around as a checklist!!! lol. Let me know what happens, but I would definitely pursue a partial refund!!!!!!! And don't forget to leave horrible reviews all over the internet... people need to know what this photographer really does with the time and money a bride and groom trusts them with.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that you were so unhappy with your pictures. However, it is NOT the photographers job to ensure that he got all the various family members and other important people for the formal shots. You said yourself that you should have made a list of all the specific shots with the correct people groupings. The photographer does not know all the members of your family, that is up to you to be in charge of. I agree that he totally missed out on the "obvious" shots of you with your mom and dad and with your daughter and Mr. Fix It. I would contact him and calmly talk to him and ask for a day after shoot to get some of those cool shots that you really wanted. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

If you had paid under $2k for a photographer I would expect what you got, if not you need to tell the photographer to seriously reconsider the line of work he is in.

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

I feel your pain Stacey and that totally sucks. I do love the pictures with the umbrellas and quite a few of your shots. Cherish those shots, even the imperfect ones with the tie (Photoshop is amazing too) As Mrs. T and Los Angeles Love know, I've totally been there and they said what I feel quite eloquently.

1. Do the reshoot if you need it. See how you feel.
2. The idea of having your families there is quite perfect - like a new family shoot.
3. Pictures from family could be surprisingly amazing. Hound them.
4. Speak to the photographer but I'm not sure if you can get anything out of it. You've reminded me to email my own photographer though it's been so long. They are professionals and ought to know they are delivering quality for the prices they charge (and we probably paid something similar living in the places that we do)
5. As the two aforementioned ladies said, take some time, pick out some of the best photos, and step away. The constant analysis and regret will get you nowhere.
But those key few photos will be amazing. Hold those photos dear to your heart.

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

P.S. *Hugs*

Katie said...

Oh lady, I am so sorry to hear this :( This definitely highlights the absolute need to provide a list to the photog of what you want. It was a pain in the butt for me to do so, but in the end it was a life saver, because his assistant had it with him the entire "portrait" part of the day, and he was constantly checking it off/checking it over to make sure that we got everything I asked for. When I was making the list for him, it was a bit of a pain, but it did pay off, because I assume I did get all of the photos that my family wanted (I still haven't seen the photos yet though).

I would definitely try to do a "day after shoot" type of thing with a new photographer to capture the shots that you were missing! I wouldn't go with your main photog, especially if you were a bit uncomfortable with him because of what happened with the wedding day. You wouldn't want to be disappointed twice.

I feel for you though; you really shouldn't have to do this in the first place....ugh!

LuvBeingMrs.Grimes said...

Your photographer truly got some gorgeous pictures. The details and the great expressions he captured are priceless.

Don't worry about the ones where Mr. Fix It is looking like a dork. Delete them your hard drive and forget they were ever taken.

Our photographer (Jack Randall Photography) got gorgeous shots of our wedding and a few we were disappointed in too. I created three stacks of pictures---ones I absolutely loved, ones that were good and ones that were not so great. Guess what? The stacks of great and good ones dwarfed the few we weren't happy with. Every great photographer is going to take some not so great shots. Remember they are dealing with uncooperative guests, cranky kids, timelines that aren't being followed and videographers and amateur photographers getting into their way. A wedding is not like a controlled studio shoot on America's Next Top Model.

Treasure your pictures, they are awesome.

Gaynor said...

So sorry you arent happy with some of your pictures; I would be so upset too. You did get some fantastic shots.

I would do a day after shoot if you think it would help.

I was really lucky and happy with all of our pics; there are a few i wish now we had got but that was me not thinking before hand etc. The photographers managed to get all the shots I had asked for I think.

{so sorry it has taken me so long to catch up with your posts too!}

weedee4 said...

I'm really sorry to hear about this. My photographer had the sheet with him on the day of our wedding to make sure he got all the correct family shots that we wrote out. It's really unfortunate but you do look gorgeous in the photos he did get!

Anonymous said...

I can see why you are angry and I think he did actually fail many times... I would be upset too if my husband and daughter and myself were not photographed in a picture, just us. I have to admit though, I had to kind of "art direct" things to get the shots I wanted. I was doing lots of fast thinking all day. I got my husband daughter shot because I literally had to chase her down, grab her and hold her! I'm sure she looked crabby too. I don't know if your photog had the presence of mind to think that way but I was dead set on getting the pics I wanted and wasn't taking no for an answer. I have not seen my wedding pics yet but I know they are cool. However - the rest of my wedding was totally disappointing, pretty much EVERYTHING else went wrong and I am devastated so I know how awful you feel but just about other things. I feel like I need therapy because it was so bad!

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