Help! Photographer lost our reception photos!

posted 3 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 2
1168 posts
Bumble bee

I think the excerpt from the contract means that she must return your money.  I read it twice and it clearly states that she must return your deposit and do anything in her power to rectify the situation.

Post # 3
3048 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

 Oh no! I’m so sorry, Bee!

Hopefully she will be able to recover the photos. It seems strange to me that they wouldn’t be backed up SOME place..?

Post # 4
97 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

The clause makes it appear that your legal recourse is limited to getting your deposit back. However, you might be able to make an argument that if you only have pictures from half your wedding, she has only completed half of the contract and thus is only entitled to half of her payment. Contracts can be interpreted a number of ways, and courts can act unpredictably in deciding damages for contract breaches. If it comes down to it and is worth the cost/potential benefit, I’d look into hiring an attorney.

Post # 6
7564 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

If the photos were lost due to a computer crash, she may be able to use a data recovery service to rescue them. I would suggest to her that she look into using one.

Post # 7
305 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

I read This limitation on liability shall also apply in the event that photographic materials are damaged in processing, lost through camera malfunction, lost through computer malfunction  to mean she is NOT liable for this loss.  

Difficult to be sure without seeing the whole contract and definitions – ie, what exactly does the “Agreement” refer to?

Post # 8
5663 posts
Bee Keeper

How weird they should be backed up prior to being uploaded in the editing program for this very reason. Or at least in the cloud or still on the card. 

Post # 10
4509 posts
Honey bee

I am so sorry that you are going through this.

I would argue that the limits on liability do not apply as she failed to back up the raw images before starting to process them. That is photography 101 and a failure caused by her (not a computer or a camera malfunction). 

I would send her another email now requesting an update as promised; it has been 4 days and this should be her priority (no weddings Monday through Thursday). I would also ask her if she has involved a professional recovery service yet. 

If she does not have a backup, then I would start from the position that she owes you damages. Don’t start negotiations where you want to end up. 

Be polite but firm in all your communications. Keep everything written, not oral. And feel free to DM me any drafts of your correspondence. I am not an attorney but pretty good at this stuff.

Post # 12
1470 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

That contract clause is quite unclear. It seems to say that the extent of her liability in case all these things go wrong, is returning your deposit and “find a replacement Photographer equal to them”. But the replacement photographer part makes no sense in the context of lost photos that have already been shot. 

If it sees the inside of a courtroom (and of course that is a very big if), then ambiguities in a contract will usually be resolved against the party that drafted the contract.  Because the drafter of the contract is usually viewed as having more “power” than the non-drafter, so should bear more of the risk. 

Practically speaking, I doubt something like this will end up in front of a jury as that is a long long road and probably not worth the time or the expense to pursue. I would try to work something out with her first if the photos are indeed irretrievably lost. That has a high chance of working. I have a friend who is a wedding photographer and she and a lot of folks in her circle seem more afraid of a negative review than anything else. 

Post # 14
4509 posts
Honey bee

I strongly recommend asking for more than the deposit back so you end up there.

Post # 15
378 posts
Helper bee

I’m a photographer and the language of this contract IS clear, whether some people want to try to read between the lines or not.

You’re liable to receive your deposit back. That is IT. It would not be in your best interest to sue the photographer because, according to the contract you signed, the photographer is NOT liable beyond the deposit.

I’m so sorry this happened, though. Things DO happen, and if she’s maintained consistent communication up to this point, and the quality of her work of the other photos is consistent with her portfolio, then you should chuck it up to that she really is apologetic for the mishap, had no control over it, and is trying to remedy the situation by recovering the photos. It doesn’t make up for the loss of the pictures, but it doesn’t look like she has to offer you anything else other than your deposit to rectify the situation if she’s unable to recover the images, so at least she is trying to fix it.

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