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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> S.I.L. unhappy with wedding pics
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09/06/2007 06:14:59 PM · #1
OK, the issue here is that I recommended a photog to my sis in law for her wedding and she saw his portfolio etc and hired him. No problem.

They got the DVD of the pics and don't like ANY of them. They're OOF, badly composed (people in groups cutoff) yet the photog says they're his style. What style is that cuts off half a groom's head in a bride/groom shot? Even more odd is that over half were taken in B/W at the wedding and so there are no color versions of many of the "better" ones and the B/W had a grain/red filter on during shooting.

Anyways, for those that have had seriously unhappy clients, what has been your process to resolve it? I just want to make sure sis gets what is fair and that I don't burn bridges with this photog. He is a friend after all!
09/06/2007 06:19:04 PM · #2
Best advice is stay as far out of the middle of this issue, as well as farther away from either side.

They saw his port, and agreed to his services.
Question is, does his port miss-represent what he shot, or did they expect something different?

Granted, I think the guy was a fool for the couple bits you said. However, if you try to solve this, it most likely will turn the most ugly for you.
09/06/2007 06:22:03 PM · #3
Were the results equal to and of the same quality as his portfolio?
The same style? Sounds like you may have a problem with this friend.
If the quality is not equal to his standard as advertised in the port., I would wan't a total refund.
09/06/2007 06:36:44 PM · #4
Care to share his website? Would love to see his `advertised` work as opposed to some real-life examples.. can we see any of the rouge shots from your SILs wedding?

are they really that bad? from past experiences and stories if the B+G looking at them as non-photographers think they are bad, then more than likely they are (B+Gs generally dont give a hoot about tings such as noise, grain etc).

Message edited by author 2007-09-06 18:38:15.
09/06/2007 09:09:25 PM · #5
I've heard of similar things a few times in the past - one never knows the outcome unless you're directly involved of course.

Did he shoot digital or film? From what your saying (so many are B&W only and the filter bit) sounds like he shot film. So who did the scanning then?
What I'm getting at is what are they getting - the orignals, an album after edits or what?

I offer to show brides as many complete weddings - in proof form, as shot, on the web and 3 more in prints - as they care to look at. I tell them to ask other photogs to see the same thing from them - just to avoid such nightmare scenarios.

I've seen proofs from other photogs...some are REALLY bad, but their albums turn out decent.
09/06/2007 09:38:06 PM · #6
Originally posted by littlegett:

Best advice is stay as far out of the middle of this issue, as well as farther away from either side.

They saw his port, and agreed to his services.
Question is, does his port miss-represent what he shot, or did they expect something different?

Granted, I think the guy was a fool for the couple bits you said. However, if you try to solve this, it most likely will turn the most ugly for you.


I concur. This is solid advice. Involvement for you means ultimately being blamed for all this from both sides. At best I would be an ear for your sis in law & friend. Listen without speaking, that is.

Good luck. This one's a dousy!
09/07/2007 12:56:43 AM · #7
How come you recommended him? Do you know him or saw his work? Did you tell your SIL to "check this guy out" or tell her "you got to use this guy"? While it's good advice to stay out of it, unfortunatelly it's too late for you. Since you recommended him, you own a piece of it... it just depends on how you recommended him to them on how much of it you own... and how thick the blood is in your family.

As for what to do with him... did they sign a contract? Did the contract have anything in it about "satisfaction"? How much deposit did they put down? Have they paid for everything yet? Was there anything in the contract about "non-refundable"? These are going to be important questions and will play a large part in what your options are.

Of course the first thing is that your SIL and husband need to sit down with him and tell him why they don't like the images and compare them to what they saw of his work. If you are the one that knows what is work is like, then you are going to have to be involved in this and tell him that you recommended him based on the style that you had seen.

You also have to see if any of the images are worth keeping. If they are, then at least some of it can be salvaged. If they are all basiclly a waste, then if they paid money, they need to work on getting as much of it back as possible. If the guy won't cooperate, then you very well might have to go to small claims court. Try to keep everything as civil and professional as you can, not matter how he acts. Keep notes of everything you do (this is usually the advice the photographer gets from a bad couple) and seek legal advice. A couple hours talking to a lawyer about your legal options could be well worth it in the long run.

It could turn out to be eaily resolved if everyone stays polite. Or it could turn nasty no matter what you all do.

This is all my opinion of course and none of it may help you in this situation at all. But good luck. Next time, no matter how many blue ribbons they have from some challenge site, check a little closer. ;)

Mike


09/07/2007 11:56:51 AM · #8
Thanks everyone for the replies.
Some more details...I recommended 3 photogs and gave them the portfolio links for them and contact info. I personally know and have worked with all of them so I felt confident that any of them would be suitable. That was the grand total of my involvement. The guy they hired they liked the shots in the portfolio and he was the right price for their budget. As for contract and what they worked out, I don't know, didn't ask and don't want to know. Just like if they'd done all this on their own.

While I haven't seen his pics from the wedding yet, according to them the quality and style isn't even close to his portfolio. And having talked to both sides about it, I've managed to keep my nose clean and both sides do want to work it out.

What the B&G received was just a DVD of finished, printable jpg's. He shot fully digital, in jpg. And yes, with one camera set to B/W with a red/grain filter!

I guess it's a good thing I shot as a second the entire day (plus the prep and reception) with him. Even MORE of a good thing is that I did't do the wedding myself! That's advice I've picked up here. DON'T SHOOT WEDDINGS FOR IMMEDIATE FAMILY!

So yeah, there's some more.
09/07/2007 12:01:36 PM · #9
Originally posted by sea2c:

He shot fully digital, in jpg. And yes, with one camera set to B/W with a red/grain filter!

That's ... surprising.
09/07/2007 12:16:13 PM · #10
Yah, when he told me that I had nothing to say back. I was literally just stunned.
09/07/2007 03:31:24 PM · #11
Shooting a wedding - in JPG!

I attended a wedding a year or so ago as a "guest with a camera" (Commonly known as "Uncle Bob" I believe!).
The Pro's shots were not very good at all. After seeing my shots, the couple stated their dis-satisfaction and negotiated a large proportion of their money back.

I imagine this is actualy quite common?
09/07/2007 03:37:58 PM · #12
Gary Fong shoots weddings in JPEG :-)
09/07/2007 03:38:46 PM · #13
Originally posted by pix-al:

After seeing my shots, the couple stated their dis-satisfaction and negotiated a large proportion of their money back.

I imagine this is actualy quite common?


I would hope not. If I'm playing "Uncle Bob" at anything with a paid photog at, I try and make a point of not showing my pics to the couple/client until after they're finished with the paid photog. Of course, if they specifically request them it's a bit different or if it's been like 6 weeks. Then it's not really infringing. Is it?

And if someone got money back because MY pics were better than the paid photogs, I'd better get that money! Or a large portion of it!

ETA: In response to foto... I imagine that those photogs that come from the film world and have more experience than I have breaths in my life can actually take pics consistenly enough to do that. I've done it, but not for a wedding. I'm not quite confident enough for that yet. Besides, I have way too much memory, why bother.

Message edited by author 2007-09-07 15:40:30.
09/07/2007 03:40:20 PM · #14
Just to clarify... shooting in jpg doesn't make someone less of a pro. When I shoot weddings, if the light is consistant and good, I will shoot in jpg. If color balance isn't going to be an issue it really makes life easier. Jpgs don't need to be converted so it cuts down my PP time.

RAW is great when the lighting is tough and their are color issues. I always test shot and make my decision. Usually I will do the ceremony in RAW just to be sure and then switch.

Also, if you shoot entirely in RAW, you need more memory cards, more cards mean more chance of cards failing, being ruined, lost etc...

-----

Getting money back is not that cut and dry. Just to play devils advocate, if you signed a contract after viewing his work, you have no reason to get anything back. You not liking the photos doesn't mean he didn't fulfill his end of the deal. If he misrepresented himself with the portfolio, that is a different story and now we are talking about fraud.

Problems arise when the wedding isn't up to par with the weddings in the portfolio. My wedding portfolio has the nicest weddings Ive done for obvious reasons. If I agree to do a wedding and its in the back room of a restaurant and the guests aren't in formal dress and the cake is small and their is no dancing, the pictures are not going to be nearly as nice as the $10000 venue from the previous portfolio pics. I can only work with whats in front of me.
09/07/2007 03:44:11 PM · #15
You mean my camera will shoot raw? HMM I just thought jpeg was the thing to do. :D

MattO
09/07/2007 03:44:46 PM · #16
Originally posted by Jmnuggy:

Just to clarify... shooting in jpg doesn't make someone less of a pro.


Exactly, although using a red/grain filter in B&W mode was kinda dumb, IMO.

The best advice here has already been given and you seem to have done so... is to keep out of it as much as possible. And as far as getting paid yourself for your images... hell yeah, I would. Ofcourse my camera stays home if I'm not paid to be shooting.
09/07/2007 03:50:05 PM · #17
filter was kind of a strange method. maybe a little seperation anxiety from the days of film.
09/07/2007 03:58:45 PM · #18
Did the unhappy couple pay a reduced rate? If so, then cutting corners may have cost them some quality memories. Regardless, they have grounds for complaint and a refund in my view no photographer in their right mind can call themselves a pro and mess around with once-in-a-lifetime opportiunities. He should have turned it down if it was beyond him.
---
As an aside, I think shooting JPEG is a little foolhardy if your camera shoots RAW. Why waste the opportunity to refine an image significantly further than the instant of capture? Weddings are quickfire at times and rescuing a shot surely is not out of the bounds of likelihood. Black and white is a key reason to shoot RAW. Why shoot your bolt with digital? Film is understandable.
09/07/2007 04:08:24 PM · #19
Originally posted by Imagineer:


As an aside, I think shooting JPEG is a little foolhardy if your camera shoots RAW. Why waste the opportunity to refine an image significantly further than the instant of capture? Weddings are quickfire at times and rescuing a shot surely is not out of the bounds of likelihood. Black and white is a key reason to shoot RAW. Why shoot your bolt with digital? Film is understandable.


I shoot RAW exclusively at weddings (actually never had the cameras out of RAW mode), although many times I wonder why I did. But we should probably not turn this into yet another RAW vs. JPG debate, because that was completely out of the OP's control.

Message edited by author 2007-09-07 16:09:07.
09/07/2007 04:16:25 PM · #20
This is my style //www.weaksauce.se/viktor//andersen/images/liten-bra-5529.jpg

Slanted, oof-object in foreground and quite grainy. Although this is only a rough edit meant for proofing you can still see the composition. On the otherhand, I tell people that I shoot like this and if they don't like it they can go somewhere else(I'm not very good with customers or people in general).
09/07/2007 04:18:37 PM · #21
Yeah, I think for what it's worth here I got my questions answered so as Leroy said, let's not turn this into jpg vs raw. My only statement towards it was the fact that the pics were taken in BW jpg.

For the rest, the general consensus seems to be that the couple should get somewhat of a refund as the pics given didn't come close to being acceptable (to them), didn't compare at all to the portfolio (though I would exactly go as far as calling it fraud) and paid a full rate, just for a shorter day.

So, I'm still clear, they have proof versions of my pics and I'm still speaking with the paid photog. Now, whether they decide to give me anything they get as a refund remains to be seen. I won't persue it. I do still have to sleep with the bride's sister after all!
09/07/2007 04:21:20 PM · #22
Originally posted by xantangummi:

This is my style //www.weaksauce.se/viktor//andersen/images/liten-bra-5529.jpg

Slanted, oof-object in foreground and quite grainy. Although this is only a rough edit meant for proofing you can still see the composition. On the otherhand, I tell people that I shoot like this and if they don't like it they can go somewhere else(I'm not very good with customers or people in general).


That's still good though. Now, take your pic, cut the guy on the right in half, crop the top down to just below the top of the door and make it REALLY grainy.

If he'd shown them something like this I'd understand his argument more, but he showed them a pretty traditional set of pics. And for the record, I'm not going to share the link just because he is still a friend.
09/07/2007 04:23:05 PM · #23
Originally posted by sea2c:

I do still have to sleep with the bride's sister after all!


I tried that once... LOL j/k
09/07/2007 04:42:39 PM · #24
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

I tried that once... LOL j/k


We know you did. We heard you were trying to be all romantic and stuff but she just turned to you and said "You're sooo cheesy!"

The rest as they say, is history.
09/07/2007 04:51:45 PM · #25
Originally posted by Imagineer:

As an aside, I think shooting JPEG is a little foolhardy if your camera shoots RAW. Why waste the opportunity to refine an image significantly further than the instant of capture? Weddings are quickfire at times and rescuing a shot surely is not out of the bounds of likelihood. Black and white is a key reason to shoot RAW. Why shoot your bolt with digital? Film is understandable.


I would agree wholeheartedly here. I have not shot weddings before, but I have shot similar gatherings where there were both adhoc and posed setups. I always feel safest shooting Raw+Large Jpg. If the Jpg is good, great. If it's not, I have the Raw to fall back on. It's the best of both worlds. And as you say, the Raw is a lot better to work from for a BW conversion.

With the cost of CF cards being so low now, it seems like a small amount to pay for quite a bit of insurance.
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