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Wedding photographers - Complaints :(


LauraDaura 4 15
5 May 2015 4:57PM
Hi All I'm new here and looking for some advice from Wedding Photographers on how to deal with complaints?
I have in total photographed around 15 weddings over the past few years and do it as a side line to my day job. It's usually been friends of friends or family and I have had nothing but great feedback and praise on my work up until now.
My boyfriends Mum recommended me to a colleague of hers.
I went round to meet them and showed them my portfolio which they loved, we agreed on a price and I asked them to provide me with a list of which formal shots they wanted before the day which they did.
On the day I arrived in plenty of time, photographed the room before they arrived and introduced myself to their friends and family. Once they arrived I photographed non-stop paying special attention to the list they provided me with and taking plenty of informal shots as they had requested. When I came to leave they couldn't be happier saying I had worked really hard and thanking me profusely.
I took in total 600 RAW images and a week later these were processed and ready to be dropped off. I popped around to the house and gave them the USB and again they couldn't be more appreciative of me saying how hard I had worked and that there guests had commented on how lovely it was that I was interacting with everyone.
A week or so after I dropped of the USB I got a text to say the images weren't what they expected and could we meet up and discuss it. I was heartbroken as I was very pleased with the images. I apologised saying how upset I was that they were unhappy and went round the following day to discuss things.
When I went round they said how some of the photos were stunning the bride even said they took her breathe away but they didn't think the images were of the same quality of those in my portfolio, they said they felt moments were missed and complained I had shot them at the "alter" from the side and behind despite the fact this was in the corner of the room and that it was physically impossible for me to be anywhere else. They complained the informal shots were mainly of work colleagues not close friends. They also complained that I didn't capture groom spinning her round at the first dance which they admitted was a spur of the moment thing and said that there friends had said it was as if I didn't want to be there. Completely contradicting what they had said previously about me being brilliant with guests.
I apologised to them saying I was sorry they were unhappy, explained that it was physically impossible for me to take the alter shots from anywhere else and said that one reason that might make the photos slightly different from the ones in my portfolio was the poor lighting. Some of the images in my portfolio were taken outside on a summers day in beautiful settings where as there's was at night in a pub function room and yes I used a speed light . I agreed to have a second look at the photos to see if they was anything I could do to improve the photos. When looking at the photos the second time round I thought I would be disappointed but I was still very very pleased with how they had turned out. I went through the photos and spent another day reedited some to create some they may be more happy with.
Almost 2 weeks after dropping of a second USB of images I had a text to say they are very disappointed and they want to meet again to discuss it. They have agreed some are stunning, that all the shots they asked for on the list are included but they still insist they are unhappy.
Personally I am very pleased with the images and feel as if they are completely acceptable. As mentioned I have had nothing but fantastic feedback in the past. And feel as if this couple are after nothing more than a free ride. I worked incredibly hard on the night and over the following week editing the photos and have been back and fourth to their house 4 times in total.
I have explained the situation with the layout of the room and lighting and also told them I have used the same equipment and techniques I used to capture all my other images. They have agreed that all the images they asked for are there. I know the photos aren't of poor quality and feel I have gone above and beyond what is expected and am reluctant to give them money back when I know the imsges are good.
Sorry that I have waffled would really appreciate some advice. Thanks Smile

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keithh 15 25.5k 33 Wallis And Futuna
5 May 2015 5:02PM
First thing is to ask what they want? What do they want you to do, because the wedding day has gone?
thewilliam 10 6.1k
5 May 2015 5:08PM
The most constructive advice would be to urge you to do some training.

A little knowledge and planning can save you a lot of heartache. Like most things, it's easy when you know how!

The major professional bodies do suitable workshops or you could go to a trainer like Terry Hewlett who does workshops for the RPS as well as running his own programme.
altitude50 14 15.2k United Kingdom
5 May 2015 5:15PM
It sounds as if they are after a freebie! Difficult situation to deal with. Do you think that the B&G are likely to take the case to court?
collywobles 15 4.0k 10 United Kingdom
5 May 2015 5:49PM
What was in your contract with them.?
ikky 4 88 United Kingdom
5 May 2015 6:42PM
If you had a contract with them then the only way forward is to mention court action and see what they say as it sound as if they are trying for a freebie.
If you did not have a contract then unfortunately walk away.
They have almost certainly already down loaded the photos they want from the memo stick you left with them so they have what they want and you are out of pocket
LauraDaura 4 15
5 May 2015 7:00PM
Unprofessional I know but there was no contract in place I'm afraid as I am only really starting out. And no I don't imagine they would take me to court.
LauraDaura 4 15
5 May 2015 7:04PM
Also I must add that I have already received payment in full am just reluctant to give any back as in my opinion the images are great and of the same standard if not better than those shown in my portfolio
collywobles 15 4.0k 10 United Kingdom
5 May 2015 7:05PM

Quote:They have almost certainly already down loaded the photos they want from the memo stick you left with them so they have what they want and you are out of pocket


NEVE EVER EVER give clients a copy of the files. They will copy them and tell you they are not happy with them, upload them to Photobox and leave you with nothing
keithh 15 25.5k 33 Wallis And Futuna
5 May 2015 7:15PM

Quote:NEVE EVER EVER give clients a copy of the files. They will copy them and tell you they are not happy with them, upload them to Photobox and leave you with nothing

Unless your fee includes them.

Laura - just ask them what they are unhappy about, what they expect you to do to rectify it.....and then when they ask for a refund (even partial), tell them that in your opinion the photos they have received are as good as the ones they have seen before booking and if that is what you believe then politely but firmly walk away.
mikehit 9 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
5 May 2015 7:27PM
I agree with Keith in that they need to be more spcific about that they are not happy with but I would also add to explain (again!) the challenges and ask what do they expect you to do to resolve it.
If their immediate idea of resolution is 'refund us' then it is clear (to me) what their motive is and I would refuse (but then I am a grumpy old sod) but if you are worried about future business I would agree a small refund as a token of goodwill (make sure your actual costs are covered: pertrol, food, blank discs etc).

My additional thoughts are that if they are compllaining you took photos of work colleagues and not close friends, did you agree a shot list beforehand? And as for not catching a spontaneous action - did they buy a psychic service??
Also, if you shoot 600 photos then of course some will not be up to the standard of the best (which they are happy with) and this is why some pros will not hand over all files, they will only hand over the very best even if this reduces the number isgnificantly. We got married in the days of film and got 30 photos - I can't imagine subjecting anyone to 600 of them.



Quote:The most constructive advice would be to urge you to do some training.

This is a very odd comment - what evidence do you have that any training is needed?
LauraDaura 4 15
5 May 2015 7:27PM
Also I must add that I have already received payment in full am just reluctant to give any back as in my opinion the images are great and of the same standard if not better than those shown in my portfolio
Andy_Curtis 5 808 United Kingdom
5 May 2015 7:30PM
Sounds to me like they are fishing for a freebie! If they have agreed that you got what they asked for on the list... then walk away and have no further contact with them. If you have them agreeing, in writing, that you got everything on the list they supplied, then even better (email or text)
Might have been silly not to get it written up in a contract, especially as you said this is not your first wedding gig.

LauraDaura 4 15
5 May 2015 7:31PM
Thank you Mike... The bride is a "spiritualist" whatever that means so asked for ever single image as supposedly dead relatives have shown up on their family photos before???!!!
Maybe it's just but I'm not a psychic nor a miracle worker!
LauraDaura 4 15
5 May 2015 7:36PM
I will be sure to make sure a contract is written up for all future weddings... Guess I learnt the hard way and some good will come from this. Bearing in mind there is no contract in place what is the worst they can do? As I find it very unlikely they want the hassle or expense of taking me to court. The more I think they are after a refund the more determined I am not to give one especially as I have gone above and beyond the norm.


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