Post # 1
Well, where do I start. By reading another post, I found out that my photography company I was using for my August wedding is now going out of business. The water works began shortly after discovering this horrible news. We were so excited to be using them as our photogs… we got such a good deal!!!
This is what we were going to receive in our package…
6 hours of photgraphy
unlimited images and locations
online image viewing
image disc included
200- 4×6 print outs
1 10×10 Digital Flush Album
6 hours of videography coverage
true slow motion highlight
your choice of music
all raw footage on a mini DV included
All for 3,400!!
I’m so upset… This is the link to their website, which contains a letter explaining the MESS!
@sonj818 Thank you for your advice. I was curious to hear what other bess thought….
By the way, I don’t want to continue working with their photographers (even if they say they will complete the terms of the contract) It all seems kind of flaky to me! I may ask a family friend to take our pictures now…
This kind of stuff always seems to happen…. UGH!
Post # 3
I hope you haven’t put much of a deposit down. I hope you can find someone to take their place.
Post # 4
@SandyThePoet: That is the ting that gets me… we put 1,000 dollars down to reserve the date. I don’t know if I will ever get it back. Maybe I should just continue with them…. ugh, I’m not sure.
Post # 5
@MSomar: i dont know, maybe i am too trusting, but i thought they seemed serious about keeping their clients that they already promised. and if you are not getting your money back, then what do you have to lose? what if you keep their photographer, but ask a family member or friend like you said as a back up if these guys dont show or something. and maybe ask if you can pay the rest at or after the wedding (just not before!)
Post # 6
I am really confused by their letter and don’t understand this at all.
Let’s say you agree to work with your contracted photographer apart from Celebration.
Will they accept less money? Because I don’t think Celebration will be paying them the $1,000 you already put down. And why on earth would they be willing to do this rather than just swoop up the client for their own personal business, if they have one.
Okay, so maybe they will still get $2400. But then they will need to make you a disc, an album, and a video. One person cannot do all this, doing both photo and video at the ceremony and then all the editing and then all the designing. And that’s IF the associate photogs even have the skills/ability to do this.
Often, when people work for other studios, they get to just drop the images off with them and not do any of the post-work. So these associate photogs may or may not have the equipment, time, or inclination to do all of the work required.
Ultimately, if you go with their associate, you need a brand new contract with that person. You will need to pay that person a deposit. Maybe you can get a package similar to what you already were getting for that price, but you’ll have to look into that.
I think you need to consider the associate AND other outside photographers. It makes no sense to me that their money may have been stolen and they can’t refund deposits. There is fraud protection and business insurance for this reason-did you check to see if the photog was insured before booking with them originally?
Perhaps see if you can issue a chargeback on your credit card if you paid by credit card and get them involved.
Post # 7
OMG! That is terrible news! I have no real advice. Just wanted to let you know that I wish everything works out for you and that you at least get your deposit back in full.
Post # 8
Oh man, I remember you on that post another bee made. Well, why don’t you try and see if they give you a specific photographer and videographer and see if you can work with them since you already put a grand down.
Post # 9
Funny, a celebratino studios near me went under a few years ago and screwed a lot of brides. A few brides never got images…..
Here, why not work with the photographer directly? Most likely they are freelance photographers, and you are cutting out the middle man, which in my opinion is a good thing. Get a new contract, and move forward.
Post # 10
This is an email I received from the photographer scheduled to shoot my wedding…
As you’re aware, Celebration has gone out of business, leaving upcoming brides, existing brides, photographers and other vendors wondering what happened and scrambling to find money, albums and photographs owed them.
I’m one of the photographers (we were all independent contractors) and (judging from the fact that (Owner) has forwarded your information to me) may have been scheduled to photograph your wedding.
I’d be happy to share with you any information that I have.
So I called him… He pretty much stated that he doesn’t know much. The owner has told him that the money is not available to refund. The owner contacts him on a restricted # and states that he can only be contacted by email.
Then I asked, “What happens with my deposit… does it go to you?”. This is where he replied that he didn’t know if and when we can get it back. So if I wanted to continue with this independent contractor, I would have to sign a new contract and give a new deposit. I DON”T THINK SO!
I am thinking about taking the company to Small Claims Court. That is more money we have to give up… money that we don’t have.
At this point, I may just look into another photographer. He is a family friend but just started in this field. He has taken photography classes… We would be his first wedding. Well, we really don’t have a choice. Without that money, I can’t really get what I want in a photographer.
I wish I could find other brides that are going through the same thing. Any other brides sign contracts with this company???
Post # 11
Wait – why aren’t you willing to sign a contract with the independent contractor??
The independent contractor hasn’t been flaky or screwed you at all and seems to be very willing to work with you. He may even be willing to lower the cost of his package or something to make up for the deposit you already lost from the company that is probably screwing him just as much (if not more) than you!
Post # 12
As I posted in my original post, yes, you will have to sign a contract with the new vendor as an independent contractor. Your deposit probably is lost, I am sorry to say.
There are many bad reviews on the company. Did you check and see if they have insurance prior to booking? You may be able to recoup some losses from the insurance.
You probably won’t be successful in small claims, since it appears they are bankrupt. I would try to get my name on the bankruptcy list so that if any money is available, you might receive a *partial* repayment.
Your original budget for photography and video was $3400. Take out the deposit you lost, you are left with $2400. Your new photography and video budget is $2400. That’s tight, I won’t lie to you, especially for SoCal. You may need to forego video all together, have a friend do it, use a student, etc.
You can find something for $2400 that’s decent in the photography world. Either sign with the independent contractor and see if he will work with you, or do your research and homework and find someone new. Photographers are a great bunch and will probably discount and try to fit within your budget once they hear and confirm your story. I know I would try to help a bride out if this happened in my coverage area.
Post # 13
@Mrs.KMM: I was just going to suggest that. Sounds like the photographer is getting the run around also. He may be willing to work with you about the deposit.
Post # 14
Oh, and I wanted to add, I know you are overwhelmed and mad right now and you have every right to be.
However, your wedding is soon (for wedding world) and many low-priced photographers will be booked. It is a popular Saturday.
Your first priority is to take your remaining $2400 and find another photographer. Worry about the lost $1000 later, pursue it later, etc. Just don’t wait to get the old $1000 prior to getting another photographer.
And don’t add any more stress or heartbreak to an already tough situation by using a family friend who has never done a wedding. I understand you can’t get what you want in a photographer for $2400, but you probably weren’t going to get what you wanted from your original company either given their reviews. I’m a newer photographer and wedding photography is hard. I’m upfront with what I can give a client.
For $2400, you can get great images from someone that has done weddings before. You may not be able to get the bells, whistles, and extras, but good images are a foundation. Albums and prints can be made later.
Post # 15
Thank you ladies for your advice!
Yes, I did see some of those reviews. However, two of my cousins used them in their weddings and had good experiences… and well the price was right. I guess I just thought “Nothing will happen to me”. I’m somewhat stupid and apparently naive… At this point, I just don’t want to go with the independent contractor… He sounds sketchy too. The whole thing is a mess :/
I want to email the owner, just not sure what to say or how to approach it.
Post # 16
@kwynn: I am definitely going to look around… We are probably going to cut back on a few other things. No limo, less decor, and cut the guest list. Thanks for the advice… I know that if we ever get that money back, it won’t be ANYTIME soon 🙁