Pro-Photographer Horror Stories, Let’s hear’em!

posted 8 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
Member
5977 posts
Bee Keeper

I can give a little bit of a story of a photographer I DIDN’T go with! He basically got lost coming to my apartment for our meeting and blamed me. He drove over an hour and a half out of his way, and every time I kept trying to give him directions, he misunderstood and would go south when I said north, east when I said west…etc. After he finally made it to my apartment, he told us that he should have just followed the way his GPS was telling him to go. (!) He had a GPS and still got WAY lost!!!

He was super confident that we would choose him. So much so that he was going to give us a discount if we decided to go with him right then and there. We’re not those people. We really like to think things through, and when he heard that, he basically stormed out of the apartment. There was no way that I was going to choose him now. Imagine if something didn’t go his way the day of the wedding and what a hissy fit he would’ve thrown!

The photographer I did choose was amazing. He was incredibly laid back which was exactly what I needed the day of. He put up with my crazy mom, got amazing photos of my late grandmother (and the rest of us), and he just kept me calm the whole day. At the reception, I barely knew he was there, but he captured all of the right moments. He was fantastic!

Post # 4
Member
1995 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

Not horror story but partial regret:

While we totally loved our photographer (he was a friend) I still wish we could have gotten more specific shots.  I still love the ones we got and am absolutely thrilled with our photos, rights, the price we paid, comfortability etc.  Part was not their fault – it rained.  Thus totally changing our schedule and throwing everything off.  I do wish we could have had more time and someone would have had more creative ideas.  With the 4 of us being really creative photographers it’s amazing we drew such blanks on our big day!  That was partial poor planning, lack of time and not speaking up enough with what I wanted.  I wanted the feet shot, me holding the bouquet (I lovveedd to death), specific close ups, shots with/without my train, this bridge (turned out to be under construction, no one’s fault).

Post # 5
Member
7695 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

The photographer I didnt go with did our engagement pictures. She was really nice, but I just dont think she knew what she was doing. We hired her through The Pros and right after we got our engagement pictures back I decided to go with someone else! Out of over 300 photos taken during the session I only LOVE maybe 5 and only like maybe 10. We look SO awkward in every photo! Although one of my favorite pictures of us (my icon) was taken by her, the majority of her pictures were taken at awkward times. She would tell us to do things and then take pictures from bad angles and while we werent even smiling….she also didnt have any sort of effects, different lenses or filters, lighting, etc….it looks like a mom was taking pictures!

I am SO glad I didnt go with her. The thing was all her pictures in her portfolio were amazing….these did not live up to it! I loved our wedding photographer and I am so happy I had e-pics to find out this first photographer wasnt for us!

Here are some bad examples…(and these arent as bad as the majority!!)

 

 

Post # 6
Member
7695 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

However, I LOVED our photographer (Tom Smarch) and was so happy I changed…

Post # 7
Member
381 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Oh I have a long rant, but not about my wedding. I was in a wedding over the weekend where I could not stand the photographer. She was terribly unorganized, didn’t listen to the bride and took quite a few shots that would have been more appropriate for a boudoir shoot rather than wedding day. Literally she did the “lay on the bed, feet up on the headboard and look back in a sexy way” The bride’s father verbally expressed concern about another set of poses that seemed a bit inappropriate.

She did a lot of poses rather than capturing organic moments. She didn’t seem to know where to be and wasn’t quick enough in changing the settings on her camera to get it right. I was so annoyed for my friend. The other terrible thing the photographer did was wasted day light.

The bride specifically wanted a beach setting wedding, the theme was beachy and it was at Spring Lake on the Jersey Shore. You would think that would be a hint to the photographer that she would want quite a few beach shots. We almost didn’t do them, partly because the Maid/Matron of Honor was complaining about being cold and the bride was going to give in to her and not make us go outside (a whole other story that I thought was crazy), the photographer didn’t get us outside quick enough because we were taking photos inside, as we watched the sun move rapidly. Finally I spoke up and told the bride that we would all go outside and take some photos (luckily the photographer did express concern about not having enough group bridal party photos) so we headed out. It was ridiculous. She didn’t scout the area, had us sit in the sand for really no good reason, and seemed to not really know what she was doing. I have to say that I went to school for photography so I do have an opinion about what looks good and what shots will work. I was also JUST a bride and had an amazing experience with my photographer. 

I think part of the problem with this photographer is that she didn’t have an assistant with her. I’m not sure if that just wasn’t in the budget or what.

I saw a couple of her shots on her camera and she clearly does a lot of editing rather than shooting really well and not relying on photoshop to cover up her mistakes. 

The other thing that annoyed me and the other bridesmaids is that she was actually a bit rude to the bride. She seemed judgy about the wedding being on Halloween, asked questions that you would imagine would be quite sensitive. I’m not sure if my friend met directly with her photographer beforehand. Anyway I saw a lot of that as being problematic on the day of. My best advice is always to meet directly with the photographer who will be shooting on your wedding day, ask about how they picture the day going, ask if they will have an assistant, when they plan to scout the area, if you can see proofs of previous weddings, and just make sure you like them as people.

 

Post # 8
Member
2373 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

This hasn’t happened to me, but it happened while I was interning as a second shooter. The wedding contract stated the couple was responsible for getting permission to use the wedding and reception for photography purposes (some churches have restrictions). I guess the couple decided this wasn’t a big deal and didn’t check with their church.

   The day of the wedding the minister didn’t make an appearance until the actual ceremony (we looked for him, but he was in a back room somewhere- the church was huge) so neither of us had the chance to speak to him. The bride walked down the aisle and we’re snapping photos- as soon as she hit the altar the minister looks up and says something like, “This is a holy event, we do not allow photography during the ceremony.” I froze. I could see the blood drain from the other photographer’s face. We both headed to the back of the church, and stood there for a few minutes not knowing what to do. We ended up putting on our long distance lenses and discreetly took a few photos of important moments (in hindsight we should not have done this, and I still feel bad). Legally, we were off the hook and the couple shouldn’t have any ceremony photos.

  The morale of this story is take your photography contract seriously. 

Post # 9
Member
7695 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

@maureen9004: THat is awful!! That poor bride 🙁

Post # 11
Member
2373 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

@PitBulLover:  It was a crap situation for everyone. They still got 15 awesome photos of the ceremony, they just weren’t as creative as everyone would have liked. Sooo important to read and follow through on contracts.

@hardypooleparty: They reacted poorly. They were supposed to pay the remaining balance of their package the day of the wedding, but never did (something about a purse being misplaced). The photographer wouldn’t release the images until he was paid in full. It was back and forth for awhile, but eventually payment was recieved and the images were released.

Post # 12
Member
447 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

I just saw some pics from someone I know who got married. They are by far the worst pics, ever. He kept cutting people’s heads off, he had pics with sun glare..bad sun glare..nothing artsy. The lighting, horrible, everyone was so disappointed. And he wasn’t doing anything artsy with the heads being cut off, they would be cut off at an angle or something. People at the wedding took much better pics. They looked like they were taken from a cheap disposable camera and were nothing more than really crappy snapshots. Nothing at all professional. He was horrible!!! Glad I didn’t pay the 800 bucks for that dude.

Post # 13
Member
5093 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2012

A friend of mine just got her pro pics back, and I literally cringed when I saw them.  I only saw two that I liked.  The rest were at bad angles, cut people off, etc.  The photographer showed up 45 minutes late, too, so she missed lots of the iconic photos of the bride getting ready.  I would have been so mad.

The best photographer I’ve ever worked with was actually my BFF in Japan.  She and her husband work together; she’s the assistant and he’s the main photographer.  They got some AMAZING shots at my friend’s wedding a little over a year ago.  I plan to invite them to the wedding, and if I didn’t think it would be such a huge deal for them to bring all their equipment over, I would totally hire them (even despite the language gap between them and everyone they’d be photographing).  I guess I’m just going to have to be happy with her as a bridesmaid and their little girls as my flowergirls, though!  😛

The thing I learned from working with them: make sure you’re comfortable with your photographer, they come with a recommendation from someone you trust, and the photographer has an assistant!

Post # 14
Member
1115 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

I’ve got one!

I found a photographer through Craigslist and loved his website. His pictures were beautiful and the color in them was amazing. We set up a meeting with him and drove a half hour to his neighborhood to meet with him at a Starbucks.

He was a bit odd on the phone but we still went through with it. He showed up late. And then tried to blame it on me because I was supposed to call him when we were getting close. (I had specified I would call him ONLY IF we got lost or ran intro traffic.)

His books looked great and we had a decent, though slightly awkward conversation with him. I chalked it up to it being a first meeting.

We decided to book him and met up with him one day for our free engagement shoot. He had suggested a few locations and we chose Union Station in downtown L.A. He was late to that as well.

On top of that, he hadn’t secured permission to shoot there so we were forced to shoot outside in the garden and then do a few on-the-sly shots indoors.

He was awward the whole time. Very odd personality. Almost confrontational. He had no idea how to get us to relax or get good shots. Most of his go-to poses were of us kissing which was just weird.

After this experience, we were really starting to get an uneasy feeling about him. Which was made worse by the fact that it took him forever to even get any previews of the shoot up on his website, let alone send us the disc he promised. We wanted to fire him but didn’t want to lose our $600 deposit. So we went ahead with the plan. But we were worried that his socially awkward/confrontational personality would put a damper on our big day.

A WEEK AND A HALF BEFORE THE WEDDING, he e-mailed (!) me to tell me he just realized he had accidentally double-booked our date and tried to recommend a couple of other photographers he had worked with on occasion. RIGHT! Like I’m going to trust anything out of his mouth at that point.

So we parted ways. And while most brides would freak out having to find a new photographer a week and a half before the wedding, I looked at it as a blessing in disguise. I found another photographer who was FABULOUS. And it all worked out in the end.

Luckily, the original photog did send us our deposit back. But weeks after the wedding, I still hadn’t received the disc of e-pics. I send him several e-mails and called, leaving messages about how after what he had put us through, it was the right thing to do.

He responded all snotty about how he had tried to rectify the situation for us and in his whole career as a wedding photog, this double-booking thing had only happened a few times. (Really?!?! It has happened more than once?!?!)

Anyway, like I said…the photographer we ended up with on our wedding day was amazing so it all worked out.

Post # 16
Member
150 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I knew who I wanted as my photographer before I was even engaged.  She did a few of my friends, some that I was in and when we went to the studio she was exactly what I was hoping.  I know she might not be the only one that can snap the perfect photo but since I have worked with her and know plenty of people with personal experience with her I went with her. 

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