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Thread: Complaints in the wedding photo business

  1. #1
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    Default Complaints in the wedding photo business

    Recently, i noticed more and more "scams" floating around which is related to the wedding photo business. i put the word "scam" in inverted commas because i am not pin point 100% sure whether its unethical, but personally i felt that its a clear case of misrepresentation.

    My frend recently had a wedding but then on the actual day itself, it turns out that the photographer wasnt the same person who showcased his portfolio when he is at his shop. when my frend is at the shop, the guy takes out many portfolios and claims all these are shot by him, and he went on and on how good is he, then also shows his photography education certs etc. then at the end of the evaluation, my frend thought he's pretty credible and trustworthy, so he engaged that guy.

    But to his horror, the actual day photographer turned out to be someone else! Its really wat the FISH right? And now that the photos are back, and i have a look at them, I found them to be so-so only. I really feel sad for my friend which I really felt that he's being misrepresented and "cheated" terribly!

    If not because I have an overseas assignment during his wedding period, I would have covered for him. Personally, when I showcased MY portfolio to MY clients, I would go down to the whatever event and shoot the event PERSONALLY. This should be ethical way of conducting a photo business. In my 3 yrs of event photography business so far, I have never heard of such "Scams" floating around... This is an eye opener for me..

    Now my frend and I are considering legal actions against them for misrepresentation, but I think its gona be a tough fight. And I know what you wanna ask. I can answer u now "the contract between my frend and the guy doesn't stipulate who should the photographer be". But the fact is, since you are there at the shop evaluating the portfolio of that guy, rightfully that guy should be one to help you shoot your event isn't it?
    09 Oct 09 officially marks the date I become a canon convert.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    luckily no screw up happened i.e. the actual day photographer and videographer equipment didnt spoil, and at least the basic stuffs are there. If not I really feel sad for my frend.. but btw, the actual day photographer only brought one set of camera and lens = 5d2 + 24-70 + 580exii. I seriously wonder if any of the item fail on the day itself, how's he gona explain it?

    For myself, I always make it a point to bring 2 sets of equipment for any event shoots, no matter how big or small the client is. Isn't this the proper way?
    Last edited by kcuf2; 7th July 2011 at 08:47 AM.
    09 Oct 09 officially marks the date I become a canon convert.

  3. #3
    Senior Member blueskye168's Avatar
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    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    Hmm...and rather disappointed to hear that...!!! This should NOT be the ethical way of conducting a photo business!!!!!

    What worst was when you mentioned the phgr only brought along 1-set of Equipment...and should anything happen during the event he/she sure kena !!! Of cause, nothing to do or related with Big or Small scale events/assignments, as No-Guaranty that one's Equipment/s won't "FAIL" eg. if it's a small event...

    Btw, the one who Presented ...to the client ( in this case, the client is your friend...) should at least, make known to the client who (as in Name - declared to client/s...) will be their Actual-Day of the Event/Assignment...Mr/Ms abc-photographer &/or videographer, will be your photographer &/or videographer...you all see that...!!!
    Last edited by blueskye168; 7th July 2011 at 09:17 AM.
    Anything that can take pictures...happy already lor...(..but...Hasselblad_H5D-50 as my Workhorse)

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    Senior Member Nikkornos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    Hello

    I am not in the wedding photo business, but have been an indirect victim and also heard of many horror stories.

    Prior to the digital camera age, wedding photography requires the photographer to posses good skills as the equipment require the photographer as an integral part of the process. (it still is) As automation become more and more convenient, the statement 'anyone who has a DSLR can be a wedding photographer' start to float around. This means there are wedding couple taking a lot of risk engaging such service.

    Anyone can make up a portfolio and convince a stranger. A prudent couple who wish to have their precious moments properly recorded must be careful in choosing the service. Imagine going thru all the pose and sweat and time, the photographer tell you 'sorry, no pictures'.

    My sister went thru this sort of nonsense. I introduced to her a professional photographer who shoots film, and has a proven track record. His charges were very reasonable, but compared to some freelance (not saying freelance is no good), the charges are definitely higher. So my sister wanted to save cost she opted for the guy with a DSLR (impressive equipment though). To cut a long story short, she ended up with NO USABLE PICTURES for her ROM and NO USABLE PICTURES on the dinner from that photographer. And she already paid that chap 50%. Do you want to have tonnes of badly composed, wrongly exposed and bad small file JPG for your wedding? I guess not.

    Luckily there were others shooting so it was not a complete wash out. I have friends who took the risk and also ended up with no pictures, or very poorly amateurist pictures.

    Back in the old days, wedding couples require the photographer to shoot with medium format (12 or 16 shots per roll only). Pictures must be like 'good painting' that is, well composed, nicely focused and well presented. Look at our parents days, those days in the 50s/60s. Aren't those Black and White pictures 'GOT STANDARD' ?

    I am not saying all freelance or starters are bad. Reputation, proven track record is very very important, its like any other business. So the couple must be very careful. Just my 2 cents.
    MF Film user. Nikon D800 works too.

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    Senior Member Nikkornos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    Quote Originally Posted by kcuf2 View Post
    luckily no screw up happened i.e. the actual day photographer and videographer equipment didnt spoil, and at least the basic stuffs are there. If not I really feel sad for my frend.. but btw, the actual day photographer only brought one set of camera and lens = 5d2 + 24-70 + 580exii. I seriously wonder if any of the item fail on the day itself, how's he gona explain it?

    For myself, I always make it a point to bring 2 sets of equipment for any event shoots, no matter how big or small the client is. Isn't this the proper way?
    Back up bodies and system is a must of course. But for such people there are 1001 things they would omit. I have heard of wedding photographer 'out of memory' or 'battery went out', can someone help go buy a SD card please?
    MF Film user. Nikon D800 works too.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    Quote Originally Posted by kcuf2 View Post
    luckily no screw up happened i.e. the actual day photographer and videographer equipment didnt spoil, and at least the basic stuffs are there. If not I really feel sad for my frend.. but btw, the actual day photographer only brought one set of camera and lens = 5d2 + 24-70 + 580exii. I seriously wonder if any of the item fail on the day itself, how's he gona explain it?

    For myself, I always make it a point to bring 2 sets of equipment for any event shoots, no matter how big or small the client is. Isn't this the proper way?
    I think such photographer who only bring 1 set of camera + 1 lens + 1 flash to shoot weddings have never treated it as a profession, but rather a hobby. As a hobbyist, people are usually not willing to invest too much in the camera gear(at least to sufficient backup level) and just shoot to cover their equipment cost or for some pocket money in addition to their daytime job. Remember wedding photography is a business, rather than a hobby. Setting up a business do require certain amount of capital.

    As a professional photographer, one must take into account everything that may happen during the actual day and should not omit the risks of spoilting the wedding couples' once in a life time event. Hence, if one is stingy to invest certain amount of money in camera gear, one should not come out to shoot any paid assignments, especially actual day weddings, which cannot retake after all.
    Last edited by kentwong81; 7th July 2011 at 10:28 AM.
    Kent Wong Photography |Leica Q & Leica M-P 240 | 75 & 28mm Summilux

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    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    I personally went down with my frend and his wife to the photographer's shop, and when i myself was looking through his portfolio, i myself also felt that the pics are rather decent and good. Then my frend and his wife also liked the guy at the shop, as he really seemed like a decent chap too.. So I agreed with my frend and his wife to engage that photographer...

    but now that the wedding is over, and he complained to me what happened on the actual day itself, i feel like giving a punch in the face of that shop owner...

    seriously, i myself really dunno if this is the norm in this wedding business, and whether i myself have been conducting my event photography business in a wrong manner. Should I also be using my own good pics as a portfolio, thereby giving the impression that I am going to produce such shots for you? Then on the actual event day, I outsource to cheap photo hobbyists for them to help me cover events? In this manner i can clinch a lot a lot of assignments without me even sweating over the actual event shooting?

    Am i stupid to cover all events by myself for the past years, and which is why i am still not doing exceptionally well ($$$ wise) in this photo biz?
    09 Oct 09 officially marks the date I become a canon convert.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    Have you seek explanation from that shop owner?
    Kent Wong Photography |Leica Q & Leica M-P 240 | 75 & 28mm Summilux

  9. #9
    Senior Member Nikkornos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    Quote Originally Posted by kcuf2 View Post
    Am i stupid to cover all events by myself for the past years, and which is why i am still not doing exceptionally well ($$$ wise) in this photo biz?
    Like what Kent pointed out, a proper business requires capital equipment, effort and ethics. A hobbyist with a one camera, one lens one flash daring to cover a job is not a responsible person. There are many hobbyists I know who own sufficient, well maintained equipment good to cover major event.

    The market now is not leveled anymore. There are hobbyists entering the market because the hurdle is lowered. And there are customers been taken away by these new players. The main reason is many couples these days are very cash strapped (ridiculously high cost living etc) and will try to save as much as possible.

    Sounds like the shops are taking up the 'sub contracting' practices?

    I am sure you will be a lot better focusing on the higher end of the market.
    Last edited by Nikkornos; 7th July 2011 at 11:58 AM.
    MF Film user. Nikon D800 works too.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    Wow.. I never realised that there were such photographers. Totally irresponsible. Considering the amount they charge. I guess minimally would bring extra memory. Just shooting my friend's engagement for fun nearly filled my SD card. (I was shooting in RAW, but still..).

    I guess a lot of people out there think they can earn money just by buying a DSLR.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    Unfortunately, this type of dishonest (over promise and under deliver) business happen everywhere and it is not unique to be in wedding industry.

    Many prefer easy way out when come to making quick bucks and don't care about the result and what most people do is just change business name and start the cycle again.

    Being honest make you work twice as hard and not many would do that.

    That is better to make an inform decision and consider everything before signing up for anything. Google that particular business before deciding.

    Sometimes, when a photographer is expensive there is a good reason for that, but some are just plain expensive without a good reason.

    I do find unethical business effect the industry more then anything else... It's sad but it's fact of life.

    Regards,

    Hart

  12. #12
    Senior Member blueskye168's Avatar
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    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    Well, that's I heard two days ago at a..."Foodcourt..." a group of three said : "Nowadays can easily be and form a group of photographers very easily so long as we go and buy DSLR and we surecan have 'jobs' since ppls know we all (the three of them...) used DSLR...!!!

    Tell you all lah...quite shocking to happened to over-heard their conversation and was rather loud-speaking partly due to the 'noisy' environment of...as usual foodcourt noise-level mah...hahaha...!! what to do manzz
    Anything that can take pictures...happy already lor...(..but...Hasselblad_H5D-50 as my Workhorse)

  13. #13

    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    Quote Originally Posted by blueskye168 View Post
    Well, that's I heard two days ago at a..."Foodcourt..." a group of three said : "Nowadays can easily be and form a group of photographers very easily so long as we go and buy DSLR and we surecan have 'jobs' since ppls know we all (the three of them...) used DSLR...!!!

    Tell you all lah...quite shocking to happened to over-heard their conversation and was rather loud-speaking partly due to the 'noisy' environment of...as usual foodcourt noise-level mah...hahaha...!! what to do manzz
    I have heard that to similar effect before. But anyway for the original poster, that is rather common and I can give you quite a few examples of brand name service providers who do this (but I can't coz this is a forum). However what I know is that during meetup this would be put across to the couple and later signed off, that the "master" is not available and will be covered by another guy, usually at quite a lower fee. Editing may or may not be done by the "master", but usually it is because he can earn more money.

    As for misrepresentation - pictures different from the portfolio etc. Well photographers always showcase their best works. Actually for me I do put in some "mistakes", and along the way some couples do point out the mistakes like 1 or 2 faces being partially in group photos. And some pictures would be particularly yellow tinted, I mean some ballrooms are like that. During meetup or actually during the call before meeting up, most times I would ask if they like my style and pictures, some even say they have just cursorily flipped through, or wife gone through but husband has not seen them. Then those clients I usually would not take or i'll tell them to go through again. (So bro Agetan, I do "choose" clients this way....esp if they are non-referral cases).
    As you know, the question "How many pictures will you be returning" is a pretty normal question that they ask, i tell them a ballpark figure of a certain range, but also make it a point to say that it really depends on the events happening on the big day, sometimes its a lot and sometimes its not so many, the pictures you have seen in the portfolio is really selected highlights, and the other pictures would be pretty mundane stuff.

    Usually they are ok, but actually as I have recently found out, some clients forget even though its clearly stated in (1) emails, (2) quotation, (3) receipt/contract.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    What I did was to compile all the best shots, and compile them into a slideshow/montage. which can be used as a screensaver or just something to watch. Which is actually quite simple to do. In that way even a small number of good pictures is "value-added". LOL!! And I do receive great comments. (But of course, I do it for friends and i charge cheap cos they need help.)

  15. #15

    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    @2100 - I am sorry if I come across as telling you about client selection.

    I was meant to say that in more generally terms but since you quote that, I simply quote you.

    I don't ask my clients if they like my style or not, as one should be able to tell if they like or they don't.

    My booking rate for wedding enquiries remain at 90%. Most of the time, I know they come to me because of my style of photography and not for the pricing. Those people don't really ask for price until they have seen through my work together as a couple and generally, price will only briefly mentioned and I do ask them to go and look at other Photographers before deciding. I don't book on the spot and I will send them the contract a few days after to read through.

    Maybe I only do 5-8 weddings a year, I have not met any clients of any concern yet. So count myself lucky?

    I do show them the best from each wedding as a whole wedding coverage and I will show them about 4-5 latest weddings so that represent my current work.

    I rather reserve in selling myself, so I tend to undersell but over deliver to make sure 100% clients expectation because I don't really do wedding.

    Regards,

    Hart

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    anyway, getting hobbyist to shoot isnt the main issue... the main issue is, if lets say this person called John shows you HIS portfolio, you would expect that John shoot for you in actual day so that ur actual day photos would have the portfolio standard right?

    kns ended up turn up another photographer who u dunno simi sai.. and u haven even see this photographer's portfolio to know whether he is able to make it in the 1st place... really kns... and really cant help but say that this guy cannot make it when u dun even have spare set for such a important actual day date.

    a few of u have asked but i wont reveal the name of the shop, but its one of the shops in marina square..
    09 Oct 09 officially marks the date I become a canon convert.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    Quote Originally Posted by Agetan View Post
    @2100 - I am sorry if I come across as telling you about client selection.

    I was meant to say that in more generally terms but since you quote that, I simply quote you.

    I don't ask my clients if they like my style or not, as one should be able to tell if they like or they don't.

    My booking rate for wedding enquiries remain at 90%. Most of the time, I know they come to me because of my style of photography and not for the pricing. Those people don't really ask for price until they have seen through my work together as a couple and generally, price will only briefly mentioned and I do ask them to go and look at other Photographers before deciding. I don't book on the spot and I will send them the contract a few days after to read through.

    Maybe I only do 5-8 weddings a year, I have not met any clients of any concern yet. So count myself lucky?

    I do show them the best from each wedding as a whole wedding coverage and I will show them about 4-5 latest weddings so that represent my current work.

    I rather reserve in selling myself, so I tend to undersell but over deliver to make sure 100% clients expectation because I don't really do wedding.

    Regards,

    Hart
    That's the advantage of staying clean with what you would charge and not negotiate after any assignment. The high fee also keep the consumer in making the right selection instead of looking for prices, so on statistic based, there is lesser chance to meet with stuck up customers. Anyway, it is hard for TS to get legal with the PG unless there is concrete grounds from his web that he is misusing others work.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    does the shop TS refer to as bridal shop?

  19. #19

    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    Quote Originally Posted by soeypixels View Post
    does the shop TS refer to as bridal shop?
    Got a feeling that it most likely is. Heard of some bridal studios who use portfolio of their best photogs but on the wedding day itself just send anyone, and very often the good photogs already long gone due to low and late pay. The cycle then repeats coz bridal studios attracts a lot of newbie freelancers starting out on AD. Thats why people sometimes get inconsistent standards with bridal studios operating on such business model.
    If the wedding happens in typical environment then fine, but if it's challenging venue that good luck to the couple.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Complaints in the wedding photo business

    And nowadays many thinks that any Dump S with a dslr can be a wedding photographer worst thing is that couples are too often uninformed or misinformed, opting to save a few bucks on a very important aspect of their wedding day.

    Old fashioned good service is honest and reliable. Honesty and reliability means working twice or even thrice as hard than those fly by night photography businesses. And the price rightly reflects so. Even more sad when some tried to pass off as the legit ones.

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