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Sam
Curious December 2023 Essex

Photographer regrets

Sam, 26 of February of 2024 at 01:40 Posted on Just Married 0 3

I am recently married and have finally received our 550 image wedding photo gallery from our photographer. I'm ashamed to say that I have been in tears most of the day. I'm really here looking for opinions on whether I am completely over reacting and to give me some perspective before addressing my concerns.


It is important to know that of the album, despite my concerns below are some really stunning images we are lucky to have. I have asked immediate family for their opinions and they agree that the problem is more the 'what isn't there' than what is.
We chose a reputable competitive local photographer who knew our venue and had great reviews and online portfolio/ social media pictures/tags. She described her style as casual candids but displayed loads of examples of more classic posed shots too. We spoke on the phone once before the day (unable in person as she was unwell), sharing the tineline and discussing essential group shots we wanted. We advised on some key moments and VIPs to focus on.
On the day she was great however raised small flags when saying she wouldn't usually take detail shots of the rings when I'd prepared details and allowed a guest control of her 2nd camera and flash which ended up getting out of hand and I had to ask her to take back her camera as guests were complaining. She apologised immediately.
During our couples photos it was very evident that she was after a candid moment which we found quite difficult to produce, resulting in barely any shots looking at the camera and smiling. She also preferred a wide angle perspective which did mean taking in details like the car park in the background and not showcasing faces and details in our outfits. Once getting cold and unfortnately a bit miserable we decided to conclude our photos and she commented that many of the shots on her social media took 2 hours to achieve. Before the photos I had pressed that we don't need loads of different pics, just the 'money'/'mantlepiece' shot of the 2 of us. Group shots seemed rushed and little direction was given on things like spacing/arrangement of subjects. Not 20mins after concluding and going to enjoy our reception she offered another photo session for sunset despite being due for the wedding breakfast which we had to decline.
So today we receive our online gallery and I immediately had some concerns both as the bride and an amateur photographer.
1) There is no individual full body shot of me in my dress/veil/flowers etc. At all. I had assumed this was a basic shot I didn't have to request that she must have caught candidly. I think this is the thing I find most upsetting bearing in mind how much time, money and effort went into my look.
2) I am looking at the floor in all pics of me walking down the aisle with my dad. I had to look down to ensure he didn't trip on my dress as he walks with a walking stick but made a conscious effort to look up knowing the photographer was there as well as to see my groom.
3) photos of me during the ceremony are very over exposed due to sunlight through a window, and the shadows (I believe due to editing) make my face look dirty on 1 side.
4) we had an owl deliver our rings which was a huge highlight. We posed for photos with my husband holding it on a glove afterwards. The trainer coaxed the owl to look at the camera for the shots but in the image shared it was looking away and we are out of focus (I don't think as a deliberate style choice). There was also the end of the bar in the background which I found very distracting for an important photo. We assumed she got the shot and that's why we stopped taking the photos.
5) as previously mentioned, this 'candid' and wide angle approach didn't give us the desired 'money' shot for the mantlepiece we so wanted. We also did not feel comfortable and honestly just wanted it over with. This is where I started to worry we had chosen the wrong style photographer.
6) group shots are very wide with a lot of empty space around making them look flat. People are sometimes oddly spaced and the usual some eyes closed/unflattering faces (of course a risk of group shots but was upsetting in important family portraits I would have hoped would have been checked before moving to the next shot).
7) very few shots from our first dance including any twirls or full body shots.
8) given the percieved shortfalls in some of the more 'essential' moments, the fact we were provided so many either candid or silly posed shots of guests over shots of immediate family and bridal party was disappointing. I have multiple photos of the best man's mum and dad and barely any of my own as well as multiple of a certain friend with his tongue out yet not a single bridal portrait.
Overall I think that despite the photographers portfolio and all our dudiligence, we were not suited to her candid preferences. On the day I felt understandably pretty overwhelmed for most of it and am generally quite shy and non confrontational. I was so over having my photo taken at one point I was starting to really not enjoy my day. It was also December, and although the weather was excellent, I was getting cold and just wanted to go inside and see my guests. Maybe I could have insisted on the shots I wanted looking at the camera smiling but was trying to trust her process and my mind was set on getting this over with. I still see this as the worst part of my day.
So, am I completely overreacting or rightfully upset? How should I move on from this? Currently I'm devastated I will never get this opportunity to capture my one in a lifetime moments again. I'm also feeling anger towards the photographer who I trusted and paid to capture our day.
Thanks if you got this far, I needed somewhere to get this off my chest!
(I do not plan to post my photos out of fairness as I am yet to discuss with the photographer)

3 replies

Latest activity by Ivana, 27 of February of 2024 at 16:45
  • PhotographybyBillHaddon
    Super January 3000 Leicestershire
    PhotographybyBillHaddon ·
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    Tricky one for me to comment on without seeing any photos, no need to post here.

    Some general comments, I have seen a lot recently of "wedding styled shoots" theses are workshops run by people for wannabe wedding photographers who pay to practice shooting. Models are hired for the shoot dressed as a bride and groom. The shots are then posted on social media/ used on website without necessarily saying that they are actually a fake wedding. Along with the post may be something like "loving the bridal colours here" These shoots could last a couple of hours or a whole morning or afternoon. Sometimes they may mention a whole list of the other suppliers on the shoot which is a good giveaway. Or there are no guests anywhere, table settings set up for 12 people rather that a whole room. No registrars seen anywhere, another strange one is the grooms always seem to be wearing dickie bows when I almost never see them in a real wedding.

    Now I can not comment about your shooter as it would be professionally wrong but they did say that "many of the shots on her social media took 2 hours to achieve." I have to say that there are no real wedding scenarios where I would get 2 hours with the couple, 99% of the time there will be 1.5 hours for everything including groups during the drinks reception so typically I would get just 20 mins or so with the couple many times it will be less. But just like your shooter though I would take the opportunity for some extra shots at sunset. Its unfortunate that the sunset fell at the wrong time for you.

    You said that Group shots seemed rushed and little direction was given on things like spacing/arrangement of subjects.

    This sounds very much like someone who is not experienced in shooting groups and is a "risk" when someone advertises themselves as a "documentary relaxed shooter" Actually just about everyone says they are a non posed relaxed ECT shooter.

    Eyes shut, odd faces on family groups is unavoidable but I can swap shut eyes on one open and put them on another if needed. Same with odd things in the background.

    Maybe after living with your photos for a while you can come to concentrate of the good ones as out of 500 there are bound to be ones that you do not like but you commented that it is more the ones that are missing than ones you do not like. Winter weddings are very challenging to shoot and I recommend anyone having a winter wedding to ask to see samples of other winter weddings they have shot.

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  • R
    VIP July 2020 Monmouthshire
    RomanticGreenStationery27135 ·
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    I wonder if she is either new or a hobby photographer. I've never heard of any wedding photographer needing 2 hours to get a photo, and it seems odd that she would let a guest play around with her camera too.

    You don't actually need a huge number of photos to give an accurate picture of your wedding day, so instead of looking at all the ones you dislike, I would go through and pick out the ones you do like. That will give you a better idea of any gaps to try and fill.

    It might be worth asking if she has any alternative photos of key moments such as the owl, in case there are ones that you prefer compared to the one she has shared. Also, you could ask guests if they have any photos they would like to share - I've more than once ended up providing a photo of a detail at a friend's wedding that the official photographer missed, and while amateur pics aren't going to match the official photographer's ones, they'd be better than nothing.

    If neither of those produce results, then you could look at getting a couple of pictures photoshopped. It's not feasible to do this for loads of pics, but you might be able to get one or two key ones sorted this way.

    If it's any comfort, most of our ceremony photos were awful - I was trying so hard not to cry that I am pulling the most peculiar faces in pretty much every photo Smiley laugh Also, your favourite photos don't have to be the traditional ones - my OH and I walked up the aisle together (Covid regs meant no one else could get within 2 metres of us!) and my favourite photo of the day is the two of us standing outside the church door waiting to go in. So don't worry too much if you don't have the 'traditional' photos as long as there is one you love.

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  • Ivana
    Dedicated August 2024 East London
    Ivana ·
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    So sorry you don't like your photos!! Check your contract and find out if It is a possibility for her to do another shoot for just you and your husband, like a post wedding photoshoot, express your concerns with the photos and that you are unhappy with most of them. I know that is not ideal and it won't be the same but at least you can possibly have photos that you like better, even if it is not on your wedding day. There has to be something you can figure out with her, especially if you say you dislike most of the photos. If she agrees to do another photoshoot, without you having to pay, make sure you have a photo list with shots you want her to take and she has seen it before the shoot.

    Do not let it go away without you reaching out to her and giving her feedback. You paid for a service and even if she came and shot the wedding she did not do it up to standard.

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