Post # 1
Hi ladies, I’m new here and wanted to get your advice….
My photographer just e-mailed to say that he’s going to have to cancel on me because he made a mistake. Another couple had apparently also sent in a contract for my date and he didn’t realize it. I had interviewed him and sent him my contract and deposit, but because he had met with them first, he said he had to give them priority according to his policy.
Do you all think I should argue that I should have priority? It’s not clear that the other couple sent their contract in first, it’s just that they met with him first. I wasn’t told anything about another couple who were considering that date. He said that they initally said no because they initially couldn’t afford him but they changed their mind. I think if you say no initially, you don’t get priority if someone else seeks that date in the meantime.
Do you think I should even want this photographer anymore? It may just cause more stress because i will be worried throughout the process that he will be flaky again. My wedding is not for seven months so I have time to book someone else, but I’m frustrated because I spent quite a bit of time looking at photographers and his work was head and shoulders above the rest and his prices were reasonable. Now I’d have to start over at Square 1. It’s really making me angry today….
Post # 3
I wouldn’t fight it and stress too much over it. maybe just float it past him how disappointed you are about it and that you were committed to him the entire time. But again, please don’t let it get you too stressed out.
BUT I would contact him and see if he has a photographer he can recommend.
Also where are you? I’m sure this board can also recommend oodles of photographers.
Post # 4
I agree with beesknees on this. Each photographer has their own policy, and if he feels that it is his obligation to go with the first couple, then let it be. I’m sure you’d want the same if you had been that couple. Still, I am sorry that this happened to you.
There are typically many wonderful photographers in every city. If this photographer can’t recommend anyone that is within your price range and your standards, always consider asking your reception venue contact. I have used my coordinator twice now for references, and I’m very happy with the people she sent me to.
In any case, you’ll forget all about this soon and get caught up in the excitement. Good luck and keep smiling!
Post # 5
From what I understand about the basics of contract law, the contract that was signed and posted by the offeree (you) is the one that’s valid. So, even if he signed and sent out two contracts to two different parties, the one that is signed and posted (by the cancelled stamp on the envelope) is the one that’s valid first. So, if you really wanted to make a stink over that, you could try that one. A meeting that happened first isn’t a valid reason for negating a contract.
Post # 6
Correction: So, even if he signed and sent out two contracts to two different parties, the one that is signed and posted FIRST (by the cancelled stamp on the envelope) is the one that’s valid.
The order of the time when the contract(s) were put in the mail by the offeree(s) (again, you) is what matters here, not when the offeror (the photographer) met with or created contracts for anyone else.
Post # 7
what Alissa says is correct. If you were in the situation where he was refusing to do the work and also not giving your money back, you would be in a good position. And technically, yes you could go to him and say by law he is required to complete your contract. But, that is going to cause tension and unhappiness. Chances are, he is choosing the other couple over you. Whether they are willing to pay more, he knows them, whatever reason, he is not working for them because he met with them first. When we met our vendors, they told us they would hold the date for so many days until we decided, and also would tell us if someone else inquired for the same date before we decided. If he made any promises to them, he would have made the same to you. If they said no, or even didn’t respond for so much time, and you hired them, he is not obligated to work for them unless they had a contract before you. This is all the point of contracts! Honestly, I think what he is doing is shady anyway, and thus you are better off. You’ll find someone else – don’t stress about it.
Post # 8
I was going to say the exact same thing as dreambml. It sounds pretty crappy that he’s chosing them over you. But for whatever the reason, he’s not honoring your contract so I’d say forget him, find someone better and move on with your life (and wedding planning). Sounds like you have plenty of time to find someone perfect for you. I second that you should check out the local boards for your wedding location and see who’s recommended on there. You could also ask the photographer, but do you really want the recommendation of someone who screwed you over? I wouldn’t. Good luck and don’t stress… you’ll find a great photographer!
Post # 9
If he is pulling this now just imagine what he could do on the day of or with your photos. If someone is unprofessional I would move on.
Post # 10
I also think it sounds not only unprofessional, but also as if he either doesn’t understand much about contract law, or he’s just telling you a story. Our photographer actually let us know that some friends of the family had enquired about our date before we did, but that they had not signed a contract or given him a deposit. We asked on the spot if he preferred to reserve that date for his friends, or if we could book him if we signed and wrote him a check right away. He let us know that of course, if we signed a contract and provided a deposit we would have booked him. And he told us laterthat while his friends were disappointed, he had explained the contract process to them when he met with them – so he just recommended another good photographer for them.
I kind of wonder if your photographer didn’t really prefer to work for these other people, and that’s why you’re getting the shaft here. I mean really – if nothing else it’s just not great business practice to "reserve" a date for one customer (who is not sure they want to pay your fee, and therefore not sure they want to book you at all) and not let anyone else to enquires about that date know about your prior booking. If he considered that he had any obligation to this other couple just from meeting with them, he should have told you up front. That’s what makes me think that maybe they came along after you, and the whole thing is a story. And that’s the main reason I would just look for another photographer if I was you.
Post # 11
Thanks for the advice everyone.
I agree with the general concensus to let it go. Alissa07 are you a lawyer? I am one too, and I agree with your analysis under contract law! But it is not clear who signed their contracts first. The photographer seemed to base it on the who met with him first, which legally is incorrect, but I’m not going to press the issue. Like all of you, I agree that it is not worth strong-arming him into picking me. I don’t think him photographing a wedding that he doesn’t want to be at would make for a good atmosphere or good pictures!
I sent him an e-mail letting him know that I was disappointed in his behavior. It was not nasty, but it got my point across. And certainly I would not recommend him to anyone I know. It’s back to the drawing board on this one. Darn, I thought I had this to-do checked off the list!
Thanks again for the advice. And I feel better after having vented.
Post # 12
Sorry to hear about your situation. Looks like you got it sorted out and will look for another one. In the end, it’s all about who you are comfortable with and like others have said, it’s probably best if you just look for someone else and not have to worry about this one being flaky. As a photographer myself, I can’t imagine double-booking…All he had to do was check his calendar!
Goodluck with the new search! Perhaps someone here on Weddingbee can recommend another good photographer in your area 🙂
Post # 13
No, not a lawyer, just a student who’s taking a basic b-law class right now. It’s funny because the "mailbox rule" was one of the main topics on my midterm a few weeks ago! It’s so interesting that they use the post office to determine validity of contract, not who signed the contract first!
Post # 14
hey there..sorry to hear about your situation..a similar situation happened to me recently..there was a photographer ive been wanting to use for the longest time, i met him at other people’s weddings too and i promised myself i would use him at my own wedding…so after interviewing him, i emailed him and said i wanted to book him. he wrote back saying he would love to do my wedding, however two days later he emailed me and said someone else who he met before me had sent a contract in for the same day. i ended up not getting my wish… it is disappointing and i know exactly how you feel.
you will find another good photographer who will do a good job as well. All that really matter is that you will look totally fabulous that day and any photos you take will look amazing! good luck!
Post # 15
I’ll answer this from a photographer’s point of view.
This is never a good situation for a photographer to be in because there is no way around having an unhappy couple. Had you been the "winner" the other bride would posting the exact same thing here (or somewhere).
Many photographers, myself included, do not hold dates and will not notify couples of other inquiries. They’ve been accused of hard sales tactics to pressure couples into booking. But more often, there are so many inquiries for a date that it’s not practical to contact everyone.
I don’t see anything in your posts to suggest the photographer has been unprofessional, or any sort of flake. Be glad he contacted you to let you know. When I was engaged, our reception venue/caterer went out of business 3 months prior to our wedding. That is stress! I also lost a house this way. Anyway, I doubt that he did not want to photograph your wedding, but he had to make a choice.