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

posted 10 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 32
Member
404 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

My photog was cheap and I found her on Craigslist.  She is a university student and is building her portfolio. Her price was $500 for 6 hours plus all digitial photos and full rights to print on my own. Honestly, photos were not a huge budget priority for me and I was happy with the price more than anything else.

A week before the wedding, she asked me if she could substitute a different photographer because she had something to do for school on the day of our wedding.  I was a little pissed, but let her off the hook (even though our date had been booked 9 months in advance!!). What I didn’t want was a pissed off photog who would rather be somewhere else working our wedding.

The photographer she subsituted was great- really nice, unobstrusive, I forgot he was even there.  He is also a student and because the lighting was so dark at our wedding 10 weeks later I still don’t have photos as he’s had to adjust every one by hand.  Crossing my fingers they arrive before Christmas!

Post # 33
Member
2187 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

@buttontoes: I actually agree with you, that is a lot for someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience. I’m going through school to be a photographer and a part time nurse since photography is something I love to do but it just doesn’t pay well.

I think $2500 is a total rip off, my cousin offered to do my wedding free (when he usually charges 5-7k) but I didn’t quite like his style so I told him I’d rather have him as a guest at my wedding.

And I also contacted a photographer who is fresh out of school and who never did a wedding, and she only charged $100 an hour.

But in my opinion, I always think the best photographers are those who have been doing weddings for at least 5 years and of course have true talent, creativity, and the ability to make their clients feel at ease!

I’d keep searchin’ 🙂

Post # 34
Member
19 posts
Newbee

I have a photographer’s horror story.  At my last wedding, as I crouched down to grab some close up photo of the rings, my pants rips in the middle seam, just an hour before the ceremony starts.  I had to cover my butt w/ a sweater that I had with me for the rest of the night.  It was incredibly embarrassing taking photos in front of 200+ guests with a sweater wrapped around my waist, looking like a preppy w/ bad fashion sense.   By the time the reception was over, the rip was all the way down to my knees.  But I was happy that I finished the job, and the photos actually came out wonderful. 🙂

Post # 36
Member
739 posts
Busy bee

@bomphoto That is my biggest fear, that and dropping my camera into the cake.

This summer it was super hot and my husband was shooting formals. I finished up the details inside so I brought him out a glass of ice water. Trying to make my way around the bridal party and staying out of the shot I somehow missed my footing and I went flying through the air. Landed face down in front of a 20 person wedding party. I had water in one hand and my camera in the other so it was face or brake gear/ cut hand. I was ok but the it was pretty embarrassing esp having everyone come up to me all night asking if I was ok when I just wanted to be a fly on the wall.

Post # 37
Member
205 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

yeah… this post has made me nervous. The subject does say “horror storries,” so I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I’m super glad we are doing an engagement session!

Post # 38
Member
45 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: October 2011

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@Theresa90405:

 

That sounds like the guy my Fiance and I were trying to use for our engagement photographer in NYC.  We found him on craigslist, his pictures looked amazing.  It was a free shoot because she just started.  He was completely organized in all the emails he sent back an forth and insisted we meet up with him the week before the shoot so he knew what to expect. 

So, the day we were supposed to meet him, he hadn’t said where to meet, so I called him and he acted totally surprised we wanted to meet that day, despite the email where he suggested it.  So, we meet up with him, and he was completely shocked he wanted the pics done the next weekend, which was also something HE suggested in an email.  So, we talk to him for about a half an hour, and schedule a time and place to meet near Central Park.

 

Two days before the shoot I emailed him directions, and i didn’t get a response, so I texted him.  He responded back in an email asking if it was ok if we could postpone until the next weekend, because he was hoping to have a new lens he had just ordered, and he couldn’t get anyone to help him with his equipment.  My Fiance actually responded saying no because he lives two hours off on Long Island, and he had plans for the next weekend, but the photog just ignored that and didn’t respond.  We kind of took the hint that he wasn’t going to show, so we changed our plans and emailed him saying the next weekend would be ok.  He emailed back (way after we were supposed to meet) saying “great! see you next weekend”

 

Hey guess what? He was a no-show this weekend to.  No reponse, no apology, nothing.  I mean, it was a ‘free’ engagement shoot, so I guess we got what we paid for…it just seems ridiculous that people can act that way at all, especially when they’re trying to start a business

Post # 39
Member
45 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: October 2011

View original reply
@Theresa90405:

 

That sounds like the guy my Fiance and I were trying to use for our engagement photographer in NYC.  We found him on craigslist, his pictures looked amazing.  It was a free shoot because she just started.  He was completely organized in all the emails he sent back an forth and insisted we meet up with him the week before the shoot so he knew what to expect. 

So, the day we were supposed to meet him, he hadn’t said where to meet, so I called him and he acted totally surprised we wanted to meet that day, despite the email where he suggested it.  So, we meet up with him, and he was completely shocked he wanted the pics done the next weekend, which was also something HE suggested in an email.  So, we talk to him for about a half an hour, and schedule a time and place to meet near Central Park.

 

Two days before the shoot I emailed him directions, and i didn’t get a response, so I texted him.  He responded back in an email asking if it was ok if we could postpone until the next weekend, because he was hoping to have a new lens he had just ordered, and he couldn’t get anyone to help him with his equipment.  My Fiance actually responded saying no because he lives two hours off on Long Island, and he had plans for the next weekend, but the photog just ignored that and didn’t respond.  We kind of took the hint that he wasn’t going to show, so we changed our plans and emailed him saying the next weekend would be ok.  He emailed back (way after we were supposed to meet) saying “great! see you next weekend”

 

Hey guess what? He was a no-show this weekend to.  No reponse, no apology, nothing.  I mean, it was a ‘free’ engagement shoot, so I guess we got what we paid for…it just seems ridiculous that people can act that way at all, especially when they’re trying to start a business

Post # 40
Member
3176 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

My cousins wife wanted $500 for an engagement session. I actually had a post about how freaking crazy she was. She had just decided to open a photography business, she literally bought a camera and set up a website. Yes she takes good pictures of her kids and family events but thats all she had done by that point. I wanted some pictures in my home town so I thought it was a great idea to hire her and I didn’t want to cause problems by hiring another photographer when she really needed the money. After I said no to the 500 she said she’d cut me a deal and only charge 250 and that she would email me the pictures. That would be a no thank you considering thats what a fabulous photographer would cost for an hour and a cd of images. She’s still asking now if I’ve reconsidered…um no.

I guess thats not really a horror story, more of an unfortunate annoyance…

Post # 41
Member
1844 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

  Mine didn’t happen to me (I’m in the process of booking a photographer), but rather to my friend. She and her now husband had recently moved out of town, so her mom was doing a lot of the planning.

  The photographers were a husband and wife team. The bride is a big photography enthusiast and she had a lot of shots she wanted. She did give the photographers a list in advance and they said they would get those shots in, no problem.

  Anyways, when the pictures are published online, they had misplaced half of the shots–including ones of the bridal party walking down the aisle. During the reception, they only did a photo booth-type set-up, no pictures of the reception! My friend was really upset. I definitely will not be using them for my wedding.

Post # 42
Member
40 posts
Newbee

I have a kind of awkward story from a photographer’s point of view – over a year ago I was helping a photographer as a second shooter. My whole thing has always been to get the shots but stay out of the way. So I was mostly doing shots in the back of the church or on the sides (of the guests, favors, programs, etc.), while he covered the ceremony details.

The photographer and videographer knew each other and were working together. Well, during the entire ceremony, both of them were standing only a couple of feet away from the bride and groom, BLOCKING the view of the ceremony for everyone in the church!!! When they were exchanging rings, the photographer actually stuck his lens in between the bride and groom to get a close up shot. When we were at the reception hall, we had several people literally yell at us for ruining the ceremony. I was so embarrassed to be associated with that kind of behavior, especially since I was trying personally to be as respectful as possible. PLUS the “pro” photographer I was working for was completely unapologetic and kind of gave attitude back to the guests. I can understand wanting to get the shot, and know it’s important, but you can’t ever forget these are memories you could possibly be ruining.

Now as a result of that experience I’ve become hypersensitive of that. At a wedding this summer some a guest told me I was like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” because I would get the shot and recede into the shadows. LOL.

 

Post # 43
Member
814 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

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@PitBulLover: Your wedding photos look beautiful!

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@Belle2Be: Well said. I think a lot of the time people don’t really understand what goes into photography or why it’s so expensive.

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@buttontoes: $2500 is a lot for someone who’s got no experience, but it’s perfectly reasonable for a professionl. I’d never do an entire wedding for $900 (it’s work out about $60 p/h including editing time, but not including any prints/digital copies)

 

When I was starting out I worked as a second photog at a few weddings and had to deal with a lot of pretentious photogs. Many who cared more about getting the most amazing shots than about the guests and the couple getting married enjoying that day.

On the other hand, I”ve also had to deal with some horrible brides and their families lol. I know it’s your big day and everything must be perfect, but some of the brides I’ve had to put up with have made me want to delete their photos out of spite (not that I ever, ever would!) haha. Be nice to your photogs ladies, I know I’ll be nice to mine 😉

Post # 44
Member
38 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: October 2014

Wow. Scary stuff!! Too many newbie wannabee photographers not knowing their craft and all too willing to take our money. Actually, I have a college friend works in a big name studio and he even tells me to stay away from where he works! But he gave me a list of photographers they know are the best. All of them have lots of experience.

Post # 45
Member
18 posts
Newbee

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@buttontoes:  I live in Northern Michigan and when I was looking at photographers for my nuptials most photographers were at least $2000. But I do think that $2500 is a lot to ask for a first wedding unless she had to rent her equipment.

Post # 46
Member
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

This is a really old thread… seeing it be bumped I wanted to add a couple things I thought when reading it.

First of all, a lot of the horror stories in here are not PRO photographer horror stories which is what’s in the thread title.  If you hire a friend or a really cheap “building my portfolio” photographer they are a lot more likely to make mistakes and that should be expected.  I’m glad to see there aren’t too many stories in here from people who hired legitimate professionals… though I have seen those stories elsewhere and it makes me nervous for my wedding… eek.

My other thought on the $2500 for someone who’s never shot a wedding… I’m really sorry, but that is RIDICULOUS.  I can’t believe anyone thought that is in any way justifiable!  Yes, shooting and editing a wedding is a LOT of work, and on the whole, wedding photographers are probably underpaid for the amount of effort and skill that goes into it (for those that actually put in effort and have skill… but that’s another story).  You don’t start at the top.  Most photographers get their start by shooting weddings for $500 while they gain experience (or by second shooting with a pro).  If you want to start a business you do not go into it expecting that you are going to make money on the first thing you do… that is arrogant and outrageous.  If you rent equipment, you take that as a LOSS if that’s what you have to do.  What happened to the idea of sacrifice to make your dreams come true?  And by the way… it does not take $2500 to rent equipment.  I rented most of my gear before eventually purchasing it.  Probably spent $150 per wedding on rented equipment when I started out.  But then I already owned at least some of it.  If you don’t even own some decent equipment already…. why are you thinking you should be shooting weddings in the first place??

I don’t mean to be unpleasant!  I think stories like this just make me so unhappy because they give new photographers such bad name/rep when there are some out there (myself included) that are actually willing to work to build a business rather than thinking we are entitled to it from the start.

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