Post # 1
We got married last April and hired a friend to take both engagement and wedding photos. We didn’t sign a contract with her but I did look into her portfolio to make sure her skills and style were something I’d be happy with. Since the wedding we’ve recieved around 150 wedding photos and maybe 30 engagement photos. I know that sounds like a lot but a good portion are repetitive so it’s really just a sample of the two events and there’s big chunks of the days that are missing. Is 6 months a long time to wait for photos or am I being unreasonable? We did pay her what she asked (and a little extra). I messaged her a couple months ago asking about progress and was left with the impression that progress was going to be made. 2 months later and nothing so I messaged her a couple weeks ago but now shes not answering. I tried again like 3/4 days ago and still nothing which is weird because shes always responded to me super fast. I wasn’t rude or anything, just a “hey how are you, hows the photos coming?”. Apparently she’s struggling currently with depression or something (it’s not clear exactly whats going on but its health related). I think whats frustrated me is that she’s taken the time to do other projects but im still waiting on mine. How do I approach this without sounding like a jerk?
Post # 2
Do you have a contract with this friend wedding photographer? If your contract doesn’t specify when the photos have to be delivered, then you have to wait.
Post # 3
db24: Since you don’t have a contract there isn’t much you can do aside from wait.
Is the delay because she is editing the images? If so – it is very easy to transfer unedited images from a hard drive to a disc or flash drive – maybe you could ask her to do that?
Post # 4
Yet another “we hired a friend!” horror story! Sorry you’re going through that, but like everyone says, that’s why you hire pros, and that’s why they charge what they do.
In any case, if she is your friend (not just an acquaintance), I’d stop by her house with a basket of muffins, or some yummy treat, see how she’s doing and face to face talk to her abou the photos. If she’s just an acquaintance, I’d still casually drop by her house “OH HEY! I was in the neighborhood, you haven’t been answering your emails so….” and see how she’s doing. If she’s really unwell, and unable to finish editing, I’d ask to get the photos right then and there (bring a USB key) and hire someone else to edit.
For anyone else reading this – if you care about your wedding photos, saving a few bucks means nothing in the long run if you end up in this situation.
Hoping for the best for you! Seriously though, sometimes communication is lost in internet/emails – show up at her door with a smile and a treat – she wont’ be able to ignore you or the situation… Good luck!
Post # 5
Hi everyone! Sorry about the late response! I just kind of sent her a text saying, “hey i hope you’re doing ok. If you could please send me the photos asap I would really appreciate it.” That finally got her to respond and she told me that she was finally coming out of her depression and able to work again. She lives over an hour away so stopping by is both odd and unrealistic. I asked her to just send me the raw files of both the engagement and wedding photos. I told her it would just be faster for me to sort them but in reality i just wanted a copy before they were lost in time and space. So I mailed her a thumb drive and she put the photos on it and mailed it to me (we set a deadline of a week and she stuck to it). Unfortunately, i got the wedding photos but not the engagement. Now shes gone MIA again for the past 3 weeks. She gave me a response that she forgot, was frazzled at work, and would mail me An sd card with the files on it. When I tried to confirm a date…nothing. And the texts say read so shes getting them. Ultimately, I’m just going to get more persistent until i get the photos and then I’m going to hire someone I know better thats just as cheap and good quality (but im out an additional $150-$300 for a job i already paid for).
So here’s my advice for anyone who must hire friends. With the high costs, sometimes its a necessity to hire friends. Here’s where we went right: we had several conversations about what kind of photos we wanted, I sent her examples of photo styles i liked, and i took a thorough look at her portfolio. I also made sure she had some kind of experience doing weddings and that she understood (and was ok) with working and not partying (but she got the same meal as the guests). We made sure that we were on the same page with the cost and I was involved in all transactions (equipment rental). Ultimately we paid $1000 for the whole shebang. Thats incredibly cheap (in our area, this kind of work would cost about $3k-$7k). So, yes, our mistakes lead to a bigger headache but at the end of the day I walked away with great photos and $5k back in my pocket. Here’s where we went wrong: we operated on trust. Let me rephrase that better, we didn’t leave an incentive to follow through. We didn’t sign a contract (and even if we did are we really gonna sue her for a $200 job?) and we paid her in full, upfront. She’s got the money and she doesn’t rely on online reviews for work so why would she finish the job? She moved on to other projects and put us on the back burner (ive seen her posts). What I recommend doing is paying the labor in pieces. Half to show good faith and the other half when the job is done. That way theres motivation to follow through. If your friend wont agree to that, find someone else because thats a reasonable (and common) proposal. We just assumed shed follow through so we didnt think to ask. Anyway, so don’t get discouraged about hiring friends/family. They’re invaluable resources when the budget is tight but, if youre not willing to be thorough and persistent with them then hire a pro.
Post # 6
Astra: There was a delay because she took on other projects, got depressed, and put us on the back burner. She’s played around with the photos but i think in 7 months ive seen her post like 1 or 2 edited photos one I asked her to edit, the others were her own doing.