- 5 years ago
- Wedding: July 2012
There is really only one word to sum up our experience with Alicia Cohen: NIGHTMARE. It’s hard to know where to even begin. To sum it up, Alicia was completely unprofessional, sloppy (both in dress and her work), unresponsive, and rude. Although she did manage to capture a handful of nice pictures, the overall quality, creativity and variety was very poor. And more than anything, her customer service was downright appalling! There hasn’t been a day that’s gone by since our wedding in July that I’ve regretted my decision to go with Alicia Cohen Photography. TO ALL BRIDES: PLEASE READ THIS AND DO NOT BOOK WITH ALICIA!!!
It was a few weeks before our wedding that I started to hear some crummy reviews about Alicia. I tried to stay positive as she had seemed friendly and professional when we met her in fall of 2011. Since she hadn’t shot a wedding at our venue before, I asked if she could meet my mom and I there to check out the grounds and familiarize herself with all the amazing photo opportunities. She told us she’d charge $50 to make an on-site visit, but I figured it was worth it. Turns out she took barely any of the photos that I had requested. Furthermore, she locked her keys in her car, and I willingly offered to call AAA on her behalf so that she wouldn’t have to call an emergency locksmith. I, of course, had to wait around with her as the account was in my name. You’d think that she may consider waiving the $50 fee since I spent an extra hour there waiting for AAA to arrive. Apparently not – our card was charged within hours!
Then we get to the wedding day. We had previously been told that the assistant who would be shooting our wedding with her was her brother, who had photographed many weddings with her and therefore had experience. Well, she showed up at my parents house the day of the wedding day and the first words out of her mouth were that her brother couldn’t come because “their dog’s eyeball had fallen out the day before”. Seriously – that’s the best she can come with?!? I was speechless. So instead of her brother, she had brought along a friend who clearly had no experience not only shooting weddings but using a camera at all! Alicia was seen in the kitchen showing her “assistant” how to use a camera!!! It wasn’t until after the wedding that I found out that her “assistant” wouldn’t take any pictures requested by my bridesmaids or other guests unless she had “approval from her manager.” Clearly it defeated the purpose to even have a second shooter if she wasn’t willing or able to take any pictures!!! Alicia took a handful of very poor quality pictures of the bridal party getting ready. My parents have many beautiful gardens and a large pretty property for pictures, however the only photos taken outside were along the concrete poolside with the shed directly behind all photos! Alicia then left the house a half hour before we did to go to the church to photograph the groom and his groomsmen. I later found out that she didn’t take one single photo of all the groomsmen together prior to the ceremony. Instead there were only about 10-12 pictures of a few of the groomsmen standing around waiting for the ceremony to begin. What a waste!
During the ceremony, Alicia took very few zoomed pictures. We were married in a gorgeous church, and she didn’t take a single picture of the exterior of the church or any photos of my husband and I outside the church.
The real nightmare started when we arrived to the venue. We had previously decided to extend the cocktail hour to 90 minutes instead of 60 minutes, with the hopes of taking photos during the first hour then joining our guests for the remaining half hour. Well thank goodness we had a 90 minute cocktail hour because when we arrived to the venue, Alicia and her assistant were nowhere to be found! We spent 30 minutes standing around waiting and searching for her. My dad was literally running all over the place trying to find her. When she finally arrived, she nonchalantly said she got lost and provided no apology or explanation for wasting half of our picture taking opportunity!! So of course we then spent the entire remainder of the cocktail hour rushing around to take pictures, and so my husband and I missed the entire cocktail hour. Despite our meeting beforehand to learn the grounds and discuss the various photo opportunities that we wanted, we missed most of them! During photos, Alicia was very abrupt, rude and unprofessional to the wedding party and our families. She was also dressed very unprofessionally – she was wearing baggy black cotton pants that could have easily been pajama pants! While taking photos of the wedding party, she provided very little direction to us as good photographers do. Instead she’d say “just go stand over there however you want”. The real kicker that left me completely speechless was when she told the wedding party to sing Happy Birthday to my husband and I so that they “looked like they were having fun.” If it wasn’t for her, we would have been having fun! Alicia had asked me to complete a wedding worksheet before the wedding day that outlined all the people that I wanted in formal shots, and she completely disregarded this. She never took a single photo with me, my husband and my grandfather, who was our only grandparent at the wedding. Such a shame. As we were walking over to a beautiful barn where I had wanted some photos taken, I asked if she could take some pictures of us in front of the pretty wooden doors – she told me “No I think that’s ugly.” During the reception, she took 115 photos during the toasts, many of which were terrible quality and duplicated about 15 times! I would have preferred additional photos from other moments throughout the day instead of 115 crappy photos of the same 15 people during toasts. She also spent about 20 minutes sitting in the middle of the dance floor during first course taking photos of our dancing flower girls. We had paid for an additional half hour of coverage so that Alicia would be at the reception until 10pm and could capture some fun, dancing party pics. Well she definitely left before 10pm as the only dancing photos she took were during a slow song which kicked off the dancing. We had an incredible band and the dance floor was packed the entire night…but you would never know that from our photos.
The nightmare didn’t end on the wedding day. In fact, it really was just beginning. It was after the wedding that the issues with her horrific customer service began. About 5-6 weeks after the wedding, my mom and I both began to try to reach Alicia to discuss the timeframe of when photos would be available. Despite multiple phone calls, voicemails and emails, there was no response. After leaving yet another increasingly frustrated voicemail, she finally called back 7 weeks after our wedding. It was then that she admitted that zero work or editing had gone into our wedding photos. She then asked asked me if I “wanted to know the truth” and she proceeded to tell me with her voice cracking that her boyfriend had dumped her and she’d been having a rough time picking up the pieces, acknowledging that her personal issues had interfered with what should be a professional business, and a service that we spent thousands of dollars for! I was appalled. Our wedding day was a once in a lifetime experience, and she dropped the ball because her boyfriend broke up with her?!? So unacceptable and unprofessional!!! She told me that she had no idea when our pictures would be available. When I reminded her that she was contracted to provide printable proofs no more than 8 weeks after our wedding, she suddenly changed her tune and guaranteed that I’d have pictures by the following week. At this point I knew that she was planning to throw together our photos with little work or effort just to meet her contracted date. Sure enough, she posted our unedited photos to her website 8 weeks and 1 day after our wedding, and it was obvious that little effort went into them. It wasn’t until 9.5 weeks after our wedding that we actually received a disk with photos, which then gave us the rights to printing and sharing the photos. Alicia did manage to capture some nice photos (as did many wedding guests with no photography experience who were using digital cameras!) but overall the photos were a huge disappointment. The only photos that would be edited were those that would be put into our 45 image album, which of course I was eager to start and complete so that I could put this nightmare behind us and never deal with her again! Well Alicia then told us (via email) that she wasn’t available to meet to begin album design and editing for another 2 months! When I requested to speak by phone about our frustration, she sent an email back directing us to call and deal with Zachary H., who we had never heard of or worked with up to this point. We eventually learned that Zachary is Alicia’s ex-husband and apparent business partner. This is also the same guy that she trash-talked when we met before the wedding (again, so unprofessional). If she can’t manage to deal with her ex-husband why should we?! In the end, we never spoke with Alicia and instead dealt with Zachary. We demanded a partial refund in lieu of completing our album with Alicia. This of course left us with unedited wedding photographs and even worse, seriously jaded memories of our wedding day. Fortunately all of our other wedding vendors were incredible, but our photography experience with Alicia Cohen was a tremendous disappointment and unnecessary frustration. I’ve beaten myself up over how I could have possibly picked such a terrible and unprofessional photographer. I hope that our shared experience sheds some light onto Alicia’s true quality of work (or lack thereof), and that no bride or groom have to go through what we went through! I wasn’t going to let Alicia ruin our wedding day, but she easily could have. I really can’t imagine how anyone had a good experience with Alicia Cohen, and I’m convinced that she has posted all of the positive reviews on wedding boards. Alicia – I’m sure you’ll read this, and I hope you do – you really need to consider a different career. Please don’t ruin anyone else’s wedding day!