Response: In every business or idustry, there are those 'professionals' who can ruin whatever they touch. Unfortunatly, it happened on your special day, and the images cannot be replaced. In this case, I might have completely refused her services when she arrived after the ceremony rather than let her 'bad day' turn into yours. I would certainly try to warn other local brides about the issues you faced. Just remember to keep your comments fact-based, to avoid any potential problems she might claim against you if you choose to pursue other legal remedies Ive seen some photographers try to intimidate clients into accepting bad work.
Perhaps, if your photographer does the right thing and refunds your money, you should invest in a romantic photography session for the couple. While it will never make up for the images you dont have from your wedding, done well these images will show the love and committment you share as a couple - and thats whats truly important. Every wedding has some issue, large or small, but happy brides take things in stride and adapt, knowing thats not the important part of the day. Someday perhaps, youll look back and tell your kids the story, and just laugh that someone could actually try to get away with 'professional' behavior like this.
For those other brides reading this post, however, who may now be concerned because their photographer is working without a studio -- this should not be your primary concern despite what other photographers may tell you. From experience, this is often only a SCARE TACTIC to get you to pay more for their services. For many quality photographers, a studio is nothing but overhead that must be paid for by somebody.
For example, I pursue wedding photography because it is my passion, not a job. I have been a life-long photographer, a wedding photographer for over 6 years, and run a very professional business. Because I dont rely on this for my living, and I dont have extra overhead, I am able to offer my services to brides at very reasonable rates . And Ive found that often the 'big guys' with studios often end up sending out an associate instead, or have terrible attitudes, focused on their own needs, rather than those of the couple.
Bottom line - do your research, take your time 30 to 60 minutes minimum to interview should give you an idea about their professionalism, quality and most importantly attitude/personality, perhaps most importantly, be sure you have a PROFESSIONAL contract with terms/conditions clearly defineddetailing everything, EVERYTHING! This protects not only the photographer, but you as well.
Prior to the wedding, contact all vendors to make sure they are clear on what YOU want and expect. And on your day, if a vendor is not performing, take charge - you have the right to tell them what they can do to meet your expecations then and there so dont wait and be dissappointed later.
I wish you the best in resolving this conflict with your photographer. I hope your friends and family were able to capture and share some images from your special day.
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