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Lack of pictures and quality from wedding photographer***Resolved** *


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Hi all,

 

This is on behalf of a friend who got married just over a year ago and has had really bad experience from her photographer.

The photographer himself / company was a recommendation and all the usual steps were taken in vetting him and his team, seeing is work, talking to a few others etc before the contracts were signed.

 

On the day, he was really unprofessional demanding extra money or his departure nearing the end due to the wedding getting a little delayed - not something a bride wants to hear on the her big day. In contrast, my own wedding with another photographer stayed almost 5 hours after the event for free!

 

It was later found out he was also very loud and shouting to guests in trying to get photographs etc.

 

Fast forward to last Jan, the bride received her first draft of pictures. According to the contract, she had a year to vet them and so in November 2015, they were vetted only to find a huge section of the event was missing.

This included all the lunch/dinner photos but more importantly, all the group shots with the bride and groom (50+ images minimum here). What was more distressing is her father in law had passed away soon after the wedding and these images would have been the last ones to have been captured.

 

Despite it being within a year, the photographer tried to use this as an excuse that he no longer has the originals and would not be able to get them back - Something just not done by a good photographer - most keep all their photos as part of their portfolio!

He then offered a £100 refund out of "goodwill"

 

His actual response was as follows:

I have managed to locate the master back up images in finalised JPG format and I have reviewed and taken on board your comments in respect of the missing group shots. Having looked through everything I hold, I have come to the realisation that there are approx 50-60 group images missing. Unfortunately I am unsure why/when or how these are missing, whether they have been deleted after the completion or when original transferring the images from my camera onto desktop.

 

"Due to the above and complying with my terms of contract, I can agree that I am happy to compensate you the pro-rata fee for the missing images as you have requested.

 

In accordance to the fees paid, the pro-rated compensation is £42.63 however I am happy to round this up to £100.00 as a gesture of goodwill.

 

Breakdown of the £42.65 is £4450.00 fees paid for 5219 pictures handed over x 50 missing images = £42.63"

 

A letter was sent back demanding an explanation on

1. how so many images were "lost"

2. As a professional photographer, surely he would have noticed in the 6 months+ of vetting/sorting, that such as major part of the wedding was missed out?

3. Apparently "some" images mysteriously re-appeared during the back and forth of emails and messages - how?

 

With a concluding line that a part so called goodwill gesture refund is not enough if anything - it does not reflect his integrity at all.

 

His response was simply:

We were surprised by the complaint raised considering the images were provided to you approximately 10 months ago and to date you had given no indication of your dissatisfaction.

 

As a result of our services over 5000 images were provided to you which covered the entire occasion. We have looked into and considered your various points raised and I must advise our original offer of £100.00 in respect of the missing images remains.

 

For the reasons set out above we feel that we have performed our contract with you in the terms set out therein and we therefore consider this matter finalised. To enable us to make payment to you please arrange for supporting bank account to be forwarded so that we can arrange an immediate bank transfer to you.

 

 

 

 

So where do they stand?

I think they've accepted the photos and memories are lost forever and it was never about the money itself.

But now that he has accepted that the photos are lost - why should they not go for a higher amount?

Or are they contractually bound by the amount stated?

 

I see two parts - the service was not delivered as per what was discussed and signed off despite the clause that missing images would = x * £x.xx

 

Thanks in advance!

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I think you (we) would need to see the precise terms under the contract that was signed before commenting too much. On the information given there are certainly some grounds to explore further action, but as stated much will depend on the nature of the contract.

 

Some questions though:-

 

A year to vet the photos? Most brides (and a good number of grooms) are keen to see the images as soon as possible and to share with family and friends. Taking 10 months does seem rather a long time, especially as there should have been some particularly treasured ones in there so it should have been fairly obvious that a chunk of them were missing.

 

Over 5000 images? Seriously? I shoot weddings and will typically take around 2,000 maximum of which I would edit down 400-500 of the best for the final album. The remainder would be duplicates as I would take several of each image to avoid closed eyes etc. The couple would be asked whether they wanted to see any more but they wouldn't usually ALL be included in the final selection

 

Any professional photographer would - or should - have backed up every wedding photo, even the poorer quality ones and a year after the event should certainly still have them available. Online storage is very cheap and convenient, but there should also be a local backup available. I still have all photos of every wedding covered. To not have a backup might be considered negligent for a 'professional'

 

Once again a 'professional' should have noticed that a significant part of the wedding coverage was missing when editing the photos.

 

£4450? I need to increase my fees! Seriously though, when charging that much you are entitled to quality and professionalism. The latter seems to be lacking

 

Any professional photographer should have professional indemnity insurance to cover events such as equipment failure or negligence in fulfilling the contract. Look at the contract again and work out where he has not met his own conditions. Then consider asking for details of his professional insurance, or whether there are sufficient grounds for small claims.

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Thanks for your response. I will try and get the contract tonight/tomorrow and post it up on here. It was a pretty basic one from memory but was a while back !

 

To answer your questions:

 

1. Agreed but with the quantity + a number of changes in their lives (death + funeral, sister in law had a baby, honeymoon, house moves etc) they know they had time so left it to November when both were off. Sure they glimpsed at them but its very time consuming. I'm in the same boat - we got ours 2 months back and only just glanced at them!

 

2. I should have mentioned- this is an indian wedding and believe me, 5000 is nothing! My own one we are close to doubling it bearing in mind that while a traditional church wedding/vows last an hour end to end, a traditional indian wedding is around 5 hours not including all the games, lunch, etc

 

3. You hit it on the nail here. This is exactly what I raised that even an amateur backs up.

 

4. Another argument I raised that as a professional photographer for indian weddings, he should have been more than "qualified" to find he was missing a large part of the function.

 

5. Price actually is quite cheap :- ) Again its down to the duration and other bits around it. For instance, ours starts back at home so there is various travelling etc. Then the pre-wedding stuff, the main event, the afters, and I think in their case, the reception part which then would have been another 5-6 hours.

 

 

I'll try and post the contract shortly which should shed some light all being well

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Ah - an Indian wedding explains a lot. Unfortunately I have not done one personally but know people who have and I do understand that they are spectacular, extremely long and photos of absolutely everything are a must.

 

The key word here is Professional. What is reasonable for an amateur is not acceptable for somebody earning a living from wedding photography. It is one day to create memories that should last a lifetime and everything should be duplicated to avoid missing out on the important elements of the event. That means for an occasion such as this, shooting with two cameras, even two photographers, and backing everything up - even mid-ceremony to avoid deleting files.

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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Here are extracts of the contract

I've left the name out for now and also taken out the top parts 1-19 which are more about the event such as making sure there are people to help, itineraries etc

 

20. LIMIT OF LIABILITY: In the unlikely event of severe medical, natural, or other emergencies, it may be necessary to

retain an alternative photographer. Photography will make every effort to secure a replacement able and/or willing to

provide a similar package as chosen in this contract at the same/similar tariff. If such a situation should occur and a suitable

replacement is not found, responsibility and liability is limited to the return of all payments received for the event package.

Photography takes the utmost care with respect to exposure, transportation and processing of photographs; including using

professional grade equipment and professional grade backup equipment. However, in the unlikely event of THE CLIENT’S

photographs being lost, stolen or destroyed for reasons within or beyond Photography’s control, the latter’s liability is

limited to the return of all payments received for the event package. The limit of liability shall not exceed the contract price

stated herein. The limit of liability for a partial loss of originals shall be a prorated amount of the exposures lost based on the

percentage of total number of originals.

 

21. NON-GUARANTEE: Although every possible care will be taken to produce photographs of all important and special events

during the wedding, Photography cannot place an unconditional guarantee on the above. Photography will not be held

responsible for any ruined photographs due to guests’ (or any other) flashes; or any other ruined photographs due to any other

cause in or outside of Photography’s control. ..

 

22. PERFORMANCE: The performance of this contract on behalf of Photography shall be contingent upon acts of God,

flood, fire, warfare, government laws or regulations, electrical failure, strikes by suppliers, and/or conditions beyond its control.

23. SEVERABILITY: If any provision of this agreement is held to be invalid or unenforceable under the law, the validity of this

agreement as a whole shall not be affected, and the other provisions of the agreement shall remain in full force and effect.

24. AMENDMENTS: This contract has been freely negotiated and shall be recognized as the entirety of the agreement. Only

those changes or modifications specifically placed in writing, attached, dated and signed by THE CLIENT and Photography

at the time of acceptance of this contract shall be recognized as amendments to this contract..

.

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Once again, hit it on the head - I call myself an amateur photography and I was even to the point that during my honeymoon last month, I was backing up on the fly on a portable machine AND uploading to the cloud.

I just did not want to lose those memories - and thats for a holiday that could be done again. A wedding...you just can't re-do that

 

Contract bits are above - see what you think and once again, thanks for your response!

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  • 2 months later...

After a lot of emails to each other - the couple in question were ready to go down the court route as most things were looking positive for them rather than the photographer. They took some legal advice from a solicitor and worded the final letter accordingly.

He did offer a small amount back to which we advised them to decline simply because of the puny amount and complete disregard of the reality of the situation - Eventually they were only a couple of steps away from finalising the small claims court forms and on mentioning this, they got a revised offer of refund which was much better. Obviously no amount of money gets back the pictures lost however it does put everything to rest with a small amount of cash being back in their pockets.

 

Unfortunately the refund was worded as part of a letter from the photographer in question that there would be no name/shame of the company - although I'm sure others who have had issues with them and were not as "lucky" as this couple hopefully would name/shame.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've just had my attention drawn to this thread.

 

I'd like to comment on the disclaimers and say simply that although they might be effective in terms of purely accidental loss of the photographs, I think the disclaimer would have absolutely no effect against a failure to keep backups.

 

I'm quite sure that a court would have no problem finding that at the very least there was an implied term that backups would be kept and that they would be stored securely for a reasonable period of time – and maybe even until the winning couple gave their written approval that they were no longer needed and they could be destroyed.

 

I don't believe that a contractual disclaimer can have any effect against negligence/failure to carry out the basic contractual terms.

 

I think that any professional photographer will not be able to disclaim liability for failure of photographic equipment where he or she has failed to maintain it or has failed to carry backup equipment, for failure of photographs because of poor professional technique, or as here, failure to keep backups.

 

I have no idea what the confidential arrangement was but I would have thought that it would have been possible to recover a substantial sum – maybe even more than the contract price for taking the photographs because of the very real loss of the special value of those photographs.

 

Additionally, I can imagine that the photographer felt under intense pressure because I would also expect that a photographer who is providing a service to Indian weddings is probably somebody who gets his work by word-of-mouth throughout that community.

 

I can imagine that if people within the community got to find out how badly he had conducted his side of the bargain, that his workload would take a long time to recover.

 

Once again I have no idea what confidential arrangement was but I can imagine that some ordinary solicitor would have put his hands up simply to get rid of file and I would expect that the confidential settlement was probably far less thing could have been achieved either by negotiation or eventually by court action.

 

I think the photographer had a lot more to lose than simply the price of the photographic session.

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