Monday, April 13, 2009

Trash My WHAT?!?!?!

If you have ever commented on here, on facebook, in person on my wedding pictures- I will say Thank You (as I truly am grateful that you think they are gorgeous) and then I tend to follow that with my annoying rant and whine regarding my photographer the day of the wedding.

You see- when we initially met with our photographer, he promised this, and showed me that, told me this and confirmed that. Yes he would do artsy-fartsy..(not all of them, but some). Yes we would have pictures of our rings with my bouquet. Yes Rob would have pictures with all of his groomsmen individually. Yes we would get tons and tons of pictures of everyone getting ready. Pictures of the brand of champagne we drank with our gorgeous toasting glasses next to it with bubbles floating from the bottom to the top of the glasses. Some candid, Some not. Some artsy and abstract, some not. Yes we would get pictures of Rob and me out on the golf course right after the ceremony with me holding the flag on the green, and him putting a ball into the hole. You bet Amy....absolutely.

As I sit here right now typing, tears brim my eyes 6 months and 2 days after that day. Do I have any of those pictures mentioned above? No. We have about 3 pictures of me getting ready and ONE, count them, ONE of Rob getting ready (and it's the picture I posted about 3 posts down when he is buttoning his cuffs). No pictures of rings laid within flowers. There is a picture of Rob with his Best Man (brother) but do we have pictures with him and the other Groomsmen? No. Pictures of our bubbly and flutes? No. Pictures on the golf course, what???? NO.

I know my husband reads this blog, and I know he thinks that all I do is talk about our wedding, and that I need to have more interesting things to talk about- but this is still so raw on my heart, ladies. It breaks me every time I think about it. All, All, ALL I have to remember of regarding that day are my own memories (which are a blur) semi-etched into my mind as well as about 200 lousy photographs.

Now before you say anything- YES, my photos are real. They aren't overly-edited and they did capture the special moments of that day. Rob and I are real people. We aren't fancy, we aren't showy- we are just simple people...and in fact the song we performed our first dance to is called Nothing Fancy (and as I found this link and put it into my Blog I have it playing in the background and the tears have now flown past the barrier of the brim of my eyes). We are just us. Don't know what tomorrow holds- but we will hold each other through it.

As I look at some peoples' photos from their weddings recently, I think they lost focus of the day- and there was too much focus on making their pictures look "magazine worthy" or "portfolio worthy". They are over edited or too posed. So that is not what I am looking for.

But I do feel cheated. I do feel that our photos were over promised and under delivered. When it comes down to it, I feel guilt. I feel guilty for cheating myself and my family and my husband and his family out of what "was supposed to have been."

I know pictures aren't what makes the day. I KNOW THAT.

But I am so sad. I haven't even begun to put our album together because I feel like we don't have adequate pictures. My photographer sent me his "idea" and "preliminary" cut of our WEDDING ALBUM and yall, 2 of the pages are full of our Engagement Pictures. WHAT??? This is our WEDDING ALBUM. When I saw it, I emailed him back and told him I was too busy right now to focus sufficient attention to the album process, but in all truth- I was hurt. Are there engagement pictures in the album because even YOU, YOURSELF, THE PHOTOGRAPHER couldn't find enough good pictures to make a full album???

Here I thought I was going to have to ADD pages (and $$) to the cost of our album, and now- I'm going to have a hard time filling the standard amount of pages.

Yall, I need advice. What would you do in my situation? I turned down 2-3 other photographers who were in the same price range because this man pretended he had a passion. I fell for it. He pretended that he would do this and that and I believed him. And now, when I want to physically look back on my day- I only have one shot here and there to look at. I have tried to look through the pictures and see into the people inside of those photographs. I have tried my hardest. I have like I said, the faint blurred memories in my head as the day went by in a FLASH.

I first saw my photographer going downhill in my bridals when he was "placing" me in the same spots at the Arboretum that I saw other brides' on his website being placed in. I called and explained that I felt he needed to photograph me in ways that reflected me as the bride, and my personality. I told him I needed him to fall in love with me as his canvas and show off who I am through the photos. I'm not like "every other bride" he may have had. He knew I was silly, and giddy, and happy go lucky. He knew I'm not fancy really, but I'm not boring. I cried on the phone after my bridals were up to view, and I explained to him that I expected more. He had promised me more. We talked and I thought we had a great understanding of what the wedding day would bring and what photos would come from that day.

After our wedding, once I saw the gallery- I was in tears. I called him again bawling and this time some of my frustration was shown. I asked him where my pictures were like the ones he showed me that day in the coffee shop. He said "Well Amy I spent a lot of time thinking up those pictures and then editing them". Um, OK- GREAT. Where are mine????? He had no answer. He simply said he was sorry. Well thank you for taking THOUSANDS of dollars and providing me 200 photos to show from it. 2 of me getting ready. Not one of my mother coming down the aisle. ONE picture of Rob and I together right after the ceremony. ONE picture of Rob getting ready. Thank you for all of that.

Some of you may be reading this and saying "she is nuts, who cares..there is so much more to it, and be thankful for your life." I know this. Believe me, right now Rob and I are in the toughest spot we have been in as a couple with me being a student and him being laid off as of February 10th. 6 Months married...and they have been the toughest 6 months ever. And when I look back on this event it just tears me up inside.

So I have some questions. I'm asking the regulars and the "lurkers" to come out come out wherever you are and provide me some support.

What would you do? Do you think I should just let it go and build the best album that I can? Try and capture the day with the photos he took? Do I get my parents involved since they are in fact who he (I like to say) stole from? Is it wrong of me to feel like he owes me something??? Do I just pray for peace in my heart that only the Lord can bring?


And on the flip side...I've been contemplating a trash the dress session with my husband. I have a couple of photographers in mind that I would like to use, to do this session, and would love to have this done for our 1st Anniversary and I want to have myself in my dress and my husband in a nice shirt, pants, tie and jacket (not a full blown tux). I have thought about my dress and I'm not going to make it into a bassinet or christmas tree skirt. I don't know if I will ever have a daughter, and I want her to pick her own dress. I'm not preserving mine...so it hangs right now. I think a trash the dress session would be fun, and a way to get some passionate- wonderful photographs of us. Let me say that this session is in NO WAY trying to represent anything in regards to my wedding day, or how I feel about the other pictures in my dress. It's simply something I have thought about and I am determined to get some phenomenal pictures in my dress.

So I have questions and I really really need yalls help. Would you say anything further to my previous photographer....and what do you think about my ideas for a trash the dress???

And lastly- If you are in the Texas area (even states surrounding it) and have recommendations for photographers that you know have done a Trash the Dress shoot, could you direct me to their website or leave me their information??? I really want to make sure I find just the right person to possibly do this for us in 6 or 7 months.

I know this post has been a bit all over the place, but when this subject rears its head in my heart, my feelings and emotions overflow all over the place.

Thank you for listening, reading, and providing advice.


13 talker(s):

JohnandBrandie said...

I'm sorry Amy. You were promised photographs and you deserve to have them. I'd get ahold of him and tell him you want what your were told you were going to get.

And I think Trash Your Dress photos are awesome. If you can do it, do it! :)

Christina said...

Aww Amy, I know how you feel. Some of my guests got better pics than our photog. I definitely think you should do the trash the dress!

Cally D said...

I would say something. You are NOT paying for his album of Ephotos. Not acceptable.

If he did not deliver on his promises WHY should you pay full price??

Tell him he has to offer you a partial refund and he cut his losses and know you would not recommend him ever

Also WTF is with his BS about how he spent hours editing the photos that basically BOOKED him as your photographer? Was your wedding not worthy of his editing time? That is complete and utter BS. And you opened your mouth. It should not be a surprise to this guy that you're dissatisfied since you basically gave him many a headsup as to your expectations.

Not cool. Don't settle.

Kelly said...

I have been in your shoes...yet my situation is a little different. Our photographer took the pictures and non of them were acceptable. They all turned out horrible! We did not order one picture from our photpgrapher. We spent a lot of money...well over $1000.00 and never got anything or ordered anything.
They sent out a survey about a month after we got married and I let them know a piece of my mind. I then called and "ripped them a new one." I wish I could tell you it helped (it didn't besides knowing that I tried) We spent a lot of money and to this day I am very upset about the whole thing. I wish I could walk into that place and demand my money back and tell the photographer how horrible of a job he did. It was 4 1/2 years ago, so I don't think they would do anything now...but it was supposed to be the most important day and I feel I got screwed.
Good luck, but it doesn't hurt to call them and explain your situation. I would at least do that.

Undomesticated Newlywed said...

I had the exact same situation with my photographer. I was promised one thing and then given another. Our photographer seemed to be in a bad mood all day and just didn't "get" the look I wanted...even after I gave her sample photos and plenty of ideas.

At this point I'm just going to try and make the best of it, put my album together and be done with that photographer.

I'm also having a "Trash the Dress" shoot with the photographer that I wish I had chosen! A and I already met with her and I am so excited...she "gets" it.

You don't have to recreate the entire day...We're going to make it look like a "day after session".

I say go for the TTD photo shoot and have fun with it! And, you don't have to actually trash the dress...

Christine said...

It's so sad to see how this is tearing you up, and yet i totally can understand your absolute frustration and "what the crap do i do now"position... I say forget the photographer... post his name on your website so everyone can be aware and try to tell everyone to stay away from him/them,etc. You can't reinact your amazing/meaningful day just for photos and you shouldn't have to pay for what he didn't deliver....

is say... make an album with everything you have and ask family/friends to send in photos on CD or whatever to add to it or make another one.

As for your dress... if you want to trash it, i have a fabulous photographer who we love who is up for anything and he is a ton of fun.... i know he would love to make that session work for you and i am sure he would be sympathetic to your story...

ps...when can we get together over drinks and laugh and cry and catch up?

Angie said...

That post really made me sad for you. I agree with everyone else, if there is a BBB website or any other website I would state what happened to you and warn other brides so that the same fate doesn't befall them. I would def tell him that engagement pix don't belong in a wedding album.
Here's something that I did. I made a second non pro wedding album on shutterfly and included pix from my friends, and also we had disposable cameras on the reception tables that captured alot of cool pix. I included pix from the bridal brunch the day before and the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. I love that book just as much as my pro boo, and it was only $50 on shutterfly.
I would def address him in a well written letter stating all the meetings you had and all the things he promised and how he did not deliver and how unhappy you are. That way also you have written proof of your communication for your records should you need it later.
Hang in there chica!

Lara said...

Wow, that's a really hard thing to be faced with, especially when you spent time shopping around to find the best package.

I agree that it's important to feel like you've got the best possible deal from your photographer, and I think that if there's still something he can do, then he should do it. A wedding is the most important event you photograph, so he should understand that a simple "sorry" doesn't cut it.

I worked as a photographer until 2008, and photographed a few weddings during this time. In the UK you have to have insurance against this sort of thing, in case something does go wrong, and you can't deliver. Have you asked if he does have insurance? If so you might be able to claim compensation, or if you took out insurance yourselves, then perhaps you can claim on this too.

I think if he hasn't delivered, then you should definitely seek compensation of SOME kind, if not a full refund. A sorry is NOT good enough, and he knows it. You can ask your family what they think too, but it may be that you're the only one willing to go forward. You and your husband are the only ones it REALLY matters to, so you may need to be prepared to fight for this.

I think a trash the dress is a great idea. I think it would be amazing to have some photos taken of yourself looking great in your dress, since your photographer didn't deliver. And i know it's not about recreating the wedding, but it can give you a totally different experience, and I think it would be well worth it.

Perhaps as well as actually trashing the dress in the sea, or in mud or whatever, you could also recreate some nice poses in the church grounds and the golf course (before the mud and sea obviously).

And for the wedding album; unfortunately there's not much you can do, other than the obvious - blowing up photos so that you're having one image per page, or editing the images and creating similar yet slightly different ones (eg sepia, B&W, watercolour effect).

But also, perhaps you could talk to your friends and family and pull together a selection of THEIR photos to add to the album. It might not look as fancy as you wanted it to, but you could make it into a sort of scrapbook effect, or just have a much smaller wedding album for the pro shots, and then keep the larger one for the other shots.

I know it's not really the same as having the selection you wanted, but it's something.

I understand how you feel, because I@m obsessed with photos, and I Know how I would feel to have the same hting happen. I also know that it's not the main point of the wedding (as you said). There are more important things, I agree, but the photography is one of the things you will use to look back on; to show your kids and your grandkids.

I really hope that in time you're able to look back on it without wanting to cry. That's the last thing you want from your wedding day, and the last thing you deserve.

Let me know if I can help at all. I have Photoshop on my laptop and I can edit photos (all part of my experience as a photographer) - I'm Eloise1984 on WA if you want to contact me.

Trisha said...

Coming from both perspectives, considering that I am a photographer now, and have been a bride as well. He DEFINITELY needs to know your true feelings!!! If I screwed up royally on someone's pictures, I WOULD want to know. As many times as I have heard someone say that they love the pictures I have taken for them, if I messed up, I would want to know that as well. It would help me grow, it would be something I learned from experience, and hopefully would never happen again!!!

I think you should travel to Chicago Memorial Day weekend and have me do your Trash the Dress session! ;) ha

No really, you should DEFINITELY do a Trash the Dress session. I can only guarantee that it will make you feel a LOT better, especially if you choose a great photographer! :)

I will do some research on some photogs in your area! :)

((((HUGS))))

Wendy said...

That was exactly my first thought "Trash the WHAT"! Girl, I have never even heard of that!!!!
I did have a similar situation with my pictures, but it was my bridal pictures. I chose a local guy that I knew was "the best" but I had seen his work and went with it. My first indication that things would not go right--he shot all of my pics with FILM. LOL. I wanted bridal pics with B's bunker gear, so we took some and guess what..........he RUINED them when he tried to develop them. I was FURIOUS!! And he acted like, "oh i'm sorry" was good enough........
Anyway, the day of the wedding came and he is nowhere to be found.......we call and call and call and he finally shows up and says her fell asleep!!! Ugh.
So, I feel your pain sister!!!

MELISSA said...

laurenclarkphoto.com

she is awesome!

Stephanie said...

I wouldn't bother anymore with the photographer you hired. If you weren't happy with him them he probably won't do anything now to make it up to you.

I would see if there is some way you could warn others about him. Maybe post a comment on some wedding bulletin boards? Hopefully you can help someone avoid having the same thing happen to them.

We (yet again I feel like we are living the same life) had very few shots of the two of us from our wedding. We aren't unhappy with what pictures we have, we would just like more! So we decided to get more pictures done on our honeymoon (which we haven't taken yet! Ah the joys of being a teacher!) I don't have the guts to do a trash the dress, but we are going to have some pictures of just the two of us on the beach. I think it will help us feel better about what we feel is missing from the "big day". Hopefully your next set of photos will give you some peace about this whole thing.

Hang in there!

amy said...

oh girlfriend. i'm so sorry. i TOTALLY know how you feel by the way. similar situation here... is there a gallery, i would love to see them! and i would love to do a TTD session, but who knows if i will ever make it back to tx! ha. but for real, you're beatiful. and i'm sure that your beauty was captured, even though maybe not how you wanted. but i totally get it. you haven't seen my pics, but wow.