Photographer holding photos hostage… need advice please!

posted 3 years ago in Photos/Videos
  • poll: Should I send the email?
    Yes, absolutely! : (16 votes)
    31 %
    Only if you're okay with not seeing your photos for the next year.... : (24 votes)
    47 %
    No. : (11 votes)
    22 %
  • Post # 3
    Member
    10748 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: February 2014

    That sucks, and is a pretty stupid policy. I would email/call him again and say you understand his contract wording, but you would really appreciate even just seeing A FEW of your pictures. Didn’t he give you a sneak peek? Seems like most photographers do that. If he still says no, then I’d consider sending a longer email. It might not get you anywhere though, but maybe it’ll make you feel better.

    Post # 4
    Member
    10748 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: February 2014

    Also, just to be clear – when you say negatives, I’m assuming you mean digital copies of the pictures? Or is he truly an old school film photographer?

    Post # 5
    Member
    1013 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    @FiddleSticks:  If you are supposed to get your album and the digital negatives 4 months after the wedding, I would just wait and then go crazy if he doesn’t deliver at that date.

     

    I got my images about 1.5 months past the wedding date, and I was astionished that they were done so quickly. I was expecting to wait at least 2 months for the editing process to be completed, the album created, and the cd of images delivered.

     

    His reason for waiting to send is probably that he doesn’t want any of the photos in the album to look different than the ones you receive as digital copies. You would be paying him extra to prioritize YOUR images over other clients who may have been waiting longer already.

     

    I think 4 months is the longest I would want to wait, but 6 months is not unheard of, depending on the quality of the work, the quantity of photos delivered, the amount of editing/retouching done (and to what % of images it is done), as well as how busy of a wedding season it was for the photographer(s).

     

    Does your contract specify that the delivery will be within a certain time frame? My photographer promised the album and cd within 8 weeks, and delivered faster. Sadly, if it is not in the contract, there is not much you can do but be irritated with him for leading you to believe it would be a faster turnaround time.

     

    Sorry you are going through this! I would advise not sending an email or otherwise harrassing him (however he might deserve it) because he is the one who will be making you look amazing in those photos and getting every detail just right. Or, he could get them to you immediately and half-ass the editing of some of the images. The conversation you’ve already had is plenty to let him know you are impatient and feel he is not holding up his end of the deal. likely that is enough to get him motivated to deliver soon!

    Post # 7
    Member
    11668 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    @FiddleSticks:  has your album been paid for iN full? If not i see why he wont release them. My photographer releases the cd with images once a deposit has been made on an album to ensure  people buy albums which is where thy make their money. Otherwise she charges $1500 for the cd. If your album has been paid for in full or deposit made I would bring this to his attention and see if he will work with you. Either way it’s in the contract so if he doesn’t want to work with you legally he doesn’t have to. 

    Id ask if he could send you an image of your choice for thank you notes if you really want to use a photo for them.

    Post # 10
    Member
    11668 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    @FiddleSticks:  that is whacked then! You paid for it so technicall you own it. It sucks that is in the contract because you really have nothin now to get them. So frustrating. I say just get nice monogrammed thank yous and get started anyways If you’re anxious to get them out. most of them are going to end up in the trash anways unfortunately 

    Post # 11
    Member
    631 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2014

    @FiddleSticks:  I’m a full time wedding photographer, and honestly I would rather know that something is pissing my client off than read about it in a review later. I would be professional and not emotional about it but definitely get in touch, explain your feelings, and see what happens. If he doesn’t make the situation right for you then you can leave a review, but it would be nice for him to have the chance to make you happy and avoid that. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that these are terms you agreed to when you signed the contract. Many photographers have something similar to this in place (not releasing files until 6 months or a year after the wedding) to generate print sales they wouldn’t get once the files are sent out because people will just print them off Snapfish and they’ll look terrible.

    The quandry for your photographer, if he is in fact delivering completely unedited, RAW files (which is nuts), is that he is going to need to edit the thank you card image before sending it to you and it sounds like his fee is $150 to do that. There’s no way he wants a RAW unedited file being sent out to all of your guests representing his business. So it’s not unfair of him to charge for that. Maybe you could offer to purchase a print or canvas of the image, asking him to include the file so you can use it for thank yous? This way at least you’re getting something tangible out of it. If he’s not willing to do that . . . he deserves the bad review.

    Post # 12
    Member
    1013 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    @FiddleSticks:  Okay…. there is either 1 of 2 things going on, based on your reply:

     

    1) He is giving you the RAW* images as you said… as in, straight from the camera, no editing. Professionals don’t do that. Even the best photographers do a little editing, cropping, and global adjustments to color. If he’s not doing that, he is not a professional, and doesn’t care how his images represent him once they go to the client.

     

    *Sidenote: if he actually giving you RAW images, as in the RAW file format… there is not much you can do with those. They have to be at the very least converted to another file format to be edited and printed.

     

    2) He is not giving you actual raw, completely unedited images straight from the camera. He is doing basic photo editing/adjustments and not in-depth, detailed retouching. He probably had a “natural” style that does not appear immeditely or to an untrainted eye to be edited. Even this type of almost invisible editing take time and expertise, especially on hundreds of photos, culled from over a thousand images taken. He is certainly not giving you the mess ups, such as photos with people’s eyes closed and whatnot… so at the very least he has to go through and eliminate those.

     

    And finally, if he really is not editing at all… then he is probably delaying sending the album in hopes that some of your relatives will order prints from him online. Once you get the negatives, you are likely to either go to wal-mart and print them or have an online print service print them for you. He will lose the potential to make a little money off his work. Not saying that is a good reason, but it could be part of the reason for the delay.  Back in the day (like, my parents wedding day) all photography was analog and the photographers made most of their money from the prints the family bought from them… that is why before the advent of sharing photos online/digitally nobody would give you the negatives unless you paid a pretty penny for the rights.

     

    Post # 13
    Member
    1013 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    @MrsWBS:  I’m not sure what you meant by “you paid for it you own it” but that is actually not true of creative work. You paid him to do the creative work, and create an image, which you pay an agreed upon price to use, and agreed in the contract in what ways the images can be used by you, but the photographer still owns the work.

     

    If a “professional” is giving away the rights to his/her work, it means they can’t profit from it ever again. No real professional will do that.

    Post # 14
    Member
    395 posts
    Helper bee

    I’m confused. You paid 7000 and you’re getting in edited RAWS? That does not sound right. 

    Post # 16
    Member
    11668 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    @MsBlackberry:  yes I’m aware what I meant is tje services and rights to images have been paid for so they should be delivered to her. It’s obnoxious that he has a silly stipulation like that when giving them to her now won’t affect him receiving future payment from her.

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