Post # 1
Let me begin by saying I don’t think I have a feminist bone in my body. However, I will mention that I’m a wedding photographer and it’s an industry not really governed by the laws that usually protect pregnant women from being “fired” from their jobs for being pregnant etc. So since I’ve begun announcing the pregnancy to other photographers I have great relationships with (we refer weddings we cant work to eachother) I’ve gotten some pretty negative responses from some of them. It’s usually something like ::FAKE:: “Congratulations!” and then “Are you still going to be able to work this wedding I referred?! Because I can refer them to someone els…,” and lets just say since the first of my “friends” started finding out, new referrals have stopped all together. I’m so disappointed – I’m freaking pregnant NOT CRIPPLED, and this is my livelihood, not just some on-the-side hobby! There are plenty of safe months I can still work leading up to and following my due date.
Brides are in the same mindset. I can’t announce my pregnancy on Facebook AT ALL because I have a lot of brides as friends. I’m 15 weeks and still hiding it from most. I’m at the point where if brides don’t need to know (i.e. I am certain I will be absolutely 100% fine to work their wedding) I don’t WANT them to know. This is based on the negative and insulting reaction I’ve gotten from some of the other brides I’ve told – even with the preface that this wasn’t a planned pregnancy bc we tried for over a year and finally gave up thinking would couldn’t conceive. The brides who were on the later end of the 7.5 months along I had still planned to work their weddings and they have been informed and given them the option of keeping me on as their photographer in case they were uncomfortable with a preg woman shooting (I would hire a 3rd shooter/assistant for those as well at no extra cost to them) or alowing them to take a full refund and find another photographer. I had great relationships with these brides going in and I was literally beside myself as one after another opted for the refund as opposed to having a pregnant woman shoot their wedding. On top of it a few have sent me nasty emails about the terrible position I’ve put them in and I should refund them for their completed engagements and other services already rendered as well! What about my terrible position!? This baby, though I love it, could not have had worse timing and we’re going broke with refunds!
I feel hurt and discriminated against – in no other industry are you allowed to be fired for being pregnant, yet I’ve had to refund almost $10k in payments and my husband and I are really going to struggle financially this year now, I’m not even sure we can afford to really put together a nursery :(. But I guess it’s my fault for being a good person and not wanting to surprise the brides on their day by informing them in advance/giving them the option of the refund. I was under no obligation to do so, and starting to wonder if I should not have even offered that courtesy.
I guess I was just wondering if anyone else had experienced any kind of discrimination in the workplace for being pregnant? Or are really going to struggle financially now due to lost income? I feel like I’m the only one because of the nature of my industry and again I just feel really hurt by some of these brides that are so self absorbed right now they think I owe them the shirt off my back bc I went and got pregnant on them. 🙁
Post # 3
That is awful 🙁 I’m so sorry people are being so nasty to you about this. If I had been one of your brides and knew that not only did you plan to stop at 7.5 months AND hire a third shooter, I would have stayed with you. I think that’s beyond ridiculous that some brides want you to refund them for pictures you’ve already done, like what – that fact that you were pregnant when you took them means they aren’t as good? How greedy of those women.
Post # 4
I think a lot of people have a concept of pregnancy that would impede being successful at your job – like you’d always be uncomfortable, morning sickness, bed rest, etc. Even if that’s not always true and you have zero complications, I guess some people don’t want to take the risk that you’d be incapacitated, even if it’s unlikely?
No matter their reasoning, it’s absolutely unacceptable for them to be so hateful about it. The refunds for previous services are ridiculous and it sucks that instead of being pleasant about your pregnancy, even if they did decide to go with others for the wedding event, they’re being so hostile. That shouldn’t be ok in ANY professional setting, regardless of government regulations.
Post # 5
ekkk that is so sad! sorry to hear this 🙁
Post # 6
The mean comments are really un-called for from them. But I can see why they would decide to take the refund and it wouldn’t at all reflect you and your talent. It would be out of the seer fear that you would need to be on bedrest or have some kind if emergency.
Post # 7
I am SO sorry that this has happened to you. I think brides have the reasoning capability of peanuts sometimes. All they think about is themselves, they freak out over the tiniest thing, and rather than be reasonable, they just scream and yell and freak out and make bad decisions (I work at a fancy hotel with my fair share of brides, I sympathize).
I don’t know what to say or suggest to make this better for you, but I wish you best of luck with everything going forward. I think the solution that you came up with is more than acceptable, and that those brides can’t see that is just crazy.
Post # 8
I feel hurt and discriminated against – in no other industry are you allowed to be fired for being pregnant,
I don’t think it’s the industry so much as the fact that you’re self employed.
I can understand the brides being fearful – they are under a lot of stress already and are probably not thinking rationally. But no vendor can guarantee perfection. What guarantee do I have that my officiant won’t get in a car accident on the way to our ceremony? What if my venue loses power?
I’m sorry this happy time has turned out to be so stressful for you.
Post # 9
To request a refund for work already done is ridiculous. Those people are just looking for free services. As far as being booked for the future, this is my perspective… my mom has been a NICU nurse for 20+ years, so anytime I have a friend or coworker that’s pregnant, once they hit 22-23 weeks I always start thinking “okay, they could go at anytime and have a viable birth.” Plus, you never know what complications can come up: gestational diabetes that gets out of control, hypertension or pre-eclampsia, etc. I have a friend who just hit 15 weeks and is on the border of being put on bedrest already due to hypertension!! I’m not sure what I’d do if I had you booked for a future wedding, but I’d definitely want a backup plan.
Edit: btw, I seriously hope you have a healthy pregnancy with a healthy baby!!
Post # 10
I’ll start by saying that it definitely sucks that you’re in this position and I’m sorry that it’s putting a lot of unneeded stress on you but unfortunately these are the kind of things that happen when you’re in the wedding biz. While you may be 100% positive that you’ll be able to work all of these weddings, the truth is anything can happen. I’ve never been pregnant but I know that every pregnancy is completely different. One of my friends had the worlds easiest pregnancy while another was in absolute hell for 9 months. She would be completely incapacitated for days and her work suffered. Thankfully her office job could wait until she felt better but when you’re dealing with peoples weddings, there’s no do over. Obviously you would make every effort to fullfil your obligations to these brides but I can’t really blame some of them for being extra cautious, especially those scheduled for later in your pregnancy.
As for discrimination, I don’t really think you have a leg to stand on. You’re your own boss. It would be one thing if you worked for someone else and they were treating you poorly but these are paying customers who are opting to protect themselves against the possibility that you may not be available to shoot their wedding. You offered the full refund and they took it. Honestly, I may have as well if I were in their position. It wouldn’t be anything against your work, I just wouldn’t want the extra stress of the possibility that my photographer may not be able to be there on my wedding day. Now, obviously anything can happen and a vendor could be killed on the way to an event but situations like that are totally different than pregnancy related issues.
I hope my post didn’t come off as insensitive because I genuinely do feel bad that you’re in this position. I guess I can just see both sides and I can’t really place a ton of blame on these brides.
Post # 11
Being rude about it is absolutely unnecessary, I agree. And I speak from experience because something similar actually happened to me. The photographer I booked actually ended up canceling on me because she got pregnant and was due about 3 weeks before my wedding and she wasn’t sure she’d be back in action yet.
That being said, I think if you try to think of it from their side you wouldn’t be so upset at them canceling. Again– being rude is totally wrong. But to be honest I would probably do the same (nicely). Maybe your pregnancy will be great, you’ll feel fine, and you’ll be up and around just as much as you ever were right up until 7.5 months when you quit. I really hope that is the case for you!! But the truth is that is often NOT the case. Most pregnant people I’ve known experience serious sickness. If not the kind that would completely prevent them from working, at least the kind that would be very distracting and be causing them to have to run to the bathroom to puke intermittently. And this isn’t just at the end, this is starting immediately and lasting throughout the pregnancy. Not to mention the loss of mobility, inabilitty to “get low” for shots as you get bigger, and the possible complications you might face. I know two women who were put on bed rest starting at 5 months. Another that was restricted activity after 6 months (no long hours on her feet). I also know two people who were intructed to stay off their feet as much as possible from 15 weeks on! Again– I really hope none of these things happen to you. But they are very possible and being pregnant means that there is a much bigger likelihood that you will either not be able to peform you duties as well as when you were not pregnant, or not be able to shoot the wedding at all. And yes, I know you have a second (and third even) shooter, and/or would get a friend to cover for you if you were too ill to work. But in my mind– photographers are not created equal. Two photogrpahers might be equally “good” but they are different. I hired my photographer because I loved her specific style, and so I would not have been happy if she’d jsut subbed in someone else in her place if she couldn’t make it. I was grateful that she knew the risks/possible complications in advance and bowed out gracefully, giving me the chance to search for another photographer that i absolutely loved.
And I’m sure you don’t want to hear this and I know you can make the argument that ANYONE can get sick or have an accident and have to cancel on a wedding. But really, it is much much much more likely that it will happen when you’re pregnant BECAUSE you’re pregnant– and so I think you should give these women a break for not wanting to take that chance. I’m sorry that you’re going to have a rough year but maybe you could focus more on trying to do portrait shoots? And in a year’s time after your baby is born you can go back to working just like normal.
Post # 12
I want to say that I would have kept you on as my photographer if I were one of your brides, but honestly I remember how crazy I was planning my wedding and I just can’t say that with conviction. My photographer was the most important vendor because of obvious reasons, but I also felt like all of the money I spent on everything else would have been wasted if he wasn’t able to do his job that day for any reason.
Still, what’s happening to you really stinks and I’m so sorry to hear it. You are doing the right thing by giving them an option though, definitely don’t stop doing that just because some of them are flighty 🙁 Oh and def don’t refund them for work already completed!!
Post # 13
This is terrible! I had two vendors that were pregnant at my wedding and didn’t think 2x about it. And the fact that you are offering to have an additional shooter to ensure these brides that not a single detail will be missed, seems liek you are going above and beyond your expectations.
Post # 14
@MrsWrangler: I agree with what you said. I’ve seen it enough in my workplace (an office) to know that some (not all) women experience discomfort during pregnancy that could impede on your ability to do what they hired you to do. I’m only saying this because I’ve seen women in my office demand to be able to work from home because they needed bed rest after 4 months or come in late every day and claim morning sickness, have to leave early because they are tired, etc. Again, I’m not saying all pregnant women act like this, but if it’s all you’ve witnessed, I could see how some brides might panic.
Now, that being said, their rudeness is totally uncalled for. They should not treat your pregnancy as if it is a burden on them nor should they give you hell about it. However, I can understand how some of them would take you up on your offer to refund their deposits (not for the already finished products though). They are probably not willing to take the chance of anything happening with your pregnancy (which would OBVIOUSLY take precedence over any wedding) which may affect their day. Not saying this is right or wrong, but it is unfortunate.
I am truly sorry you are experiencing this during what should be a joyous time.
Post # 15
Thanks for all the comments everyone! I totally understand what some of you are saying about some of them wanting to not take the risk, but I really think at 7.5 months and less (WITH a viable backup plan and a replacement photographer on hand just in case) the chances of me feeling less than 100% for their wedding is about the same chance as another photographer would have of being sick for their wedding. I’d still work it if I felt like crap, and I’ve pulled out some amazing photos working a wedding where I had heavy food poisoning. I’m a tough cookie and they DO have a backup in the ulikely possibility I become COMPLETELY incapacitated. I still understand what those of you are saying though, which is why I gave them the option, I just did not expect so many of them to bail on me, like being pregnant is a death sentence or something.
Then it was this email that REALLY got me yesterday … I literally went from angry to tears to acceptance and general disappointment with the whole situation. Here are some excerpts:
I have decided to go with the full refund, and to be honest, I think that should include the $XXX for the engagement session. I realize that you already completed those pictures, but that was supposed to be included in my wedding package, and if it was up to me, I would still be having you complete my wedding and fulfill that package. (EVEN THOUGH I CLEARLY OFFERED TO WORK HER WEDDING STILL?) I am a little surprised you would even ask for that money considering the position that you put me in…
(I have been looking around at new photographers and …) the few that were not booked were terrible, and when I finally found a decent photographer that I am going to go with, she was much more expensive … so to suddenly find out that I am going to be spending thousands more than I originally had budgeted with you, sucks to be honest, and I don’t think after putting me in this situation that it is fair or right to ask for payment for something that (should) be free. I don’t have the luxury of shopping around for another photographer … and no one is available. This was extremely stressful and upsetting, and I would hope you would do what is right in this situation.”
ETA: I forgot to mention that I am part of a husband/wife photographer team, and all these brides would still have my husband, who is half of my company and every bit as capable as me, shooting their wedding with the other photographer(s) we hired, so worst case scenario they aren’t even getting a completely different photographer – I’m only HALF the company.
Post # 16
@PandasWifey: I think she is out of her mind. I would ask for any pictures you took-books, prints, discs back. Charge her your hourly rate for your time, but give her the money back for the pictures. If she wants her money back then you should absolutley keep the pictures. I know this is not good busines advice, but I am ticked off for you.