Monday, August 31, 2009

Photography Nightmare

We've been needing to get pictures taken for a while now. I hadn't gotten Allie's birthday pictures made and I wanted some of the boys also along with a new family picture. I looked around online because I wanted to try something different this time rather than going to a simple studio.

I found someone online and asked for her package details along with some samples of her work. I got several and looked through them while talking to her back and forth for a couple of weeks before I actually made an appointment. When I initially received the details for the various packages that she offered I picked the largest one available. It was to come with a cd compiled with all the images from our shoot,several enlargements that we chose and double prints of all pictures taken. We scheduled to meet one Saturday a couple of weeks ago a botanical garden about 45 minutes from our house.

We arrived and from the word go David and I both shared the look with each other feeling as though she didn't know what she was doing. She was very unfamiliar with the area though she'd apparently been there before. My children were placed on the ground in a circle form to get a head shot of them looking up at the sky right in the middle of a full on sun exposure. I had to say something in order to try and move them as they couldn't open their eyes unless they were to be blinded. I noticed very quickly that she had only one or two ideas in her head for a family of six that wanted several different shots done. I asked repeatedly if she had any ideas and over the entire span of an hour and a half she had 3...that's right 3! I created almost every single shot...placed everyone where they needed to be...spoke up about ideas...etc. Aggravating was the understatement of the year. I paid her before we left the gardens that day because she stated that she had apparently been taken advantage of and wasn't able to take deposits anymore so I gave her the full amount. I understood that things like that happened and could totally understand her policy so I didn't argue the point. However when we got in the car David and I both looked at each other...he said "You know you just did that entire shoot with the exception of the clicking the camera"

We got home that night and had a sneak peak on her blog...this was what was waiting for me.


I immediately wrote her and told her that I didn't like the editing that she did with it. Good picture....yes but just didn't like what she did with it. I understand that many many people like these editing jobs with one color popping out of the picture at them....I however do not like it. I pointed out that Allie's eyes are blue enough without needing a lot of editing done to them and that both David and I wanted our photos to be as natural as possible. Color photos with a few black and whites but none of the crazy editing stuff. She understood and said she would enjoy doing those since she did so many black and whites with the pop of color lately. She said that she would have a few more on her blog the next day.

This was one that wasn't extremely edited that was on her blog before all the nonsense.


The next day I woke up to an email from her stating that because of the expense to her she was having to change her package details and that we would need to choose 40 of the pictures we would like for double prints. I wrote her back telling her that I was sorry she was having that issue but because those were the conditions that we agreed upon that was what I expected. I also told her that she should make sure she made the new details clear on further contracts. Mind you...I checked and double checked about the prints that we were supposed to get. She turned around and said that she copied and pasted the old price list and messed up....Hello if you copied and pasted then when someone double and triple checked with you wouldn't you say ..."sorry but that was my old price list...I didn't catch it the first time but here are my new packages" No that was not the case...I was assured multiple times that I would get what was stated in the details to begin with.

We went back and forth for several days...David called her and talked to her and she finally agreed to give us what we were promised initially. She posted the pictures that she stated she took however when I looked at them I knew there were more. There was only a total of 75 pictures and only 3 in total of our entire family. There were several pictures I knew were taken that weren't even on there. I finally got so irritated I told her to simply upload everything that she had taken at the shoot and print out the existing ones and we'd call it quits. She refused to give us what we were promised first and continued to say that she couldn't afford it.

As she continued to load pictures I checked on day and she was right at 200. I knew she wasn't done yet and I realized that we were only getting 1/3 of what we paid for. I was pissed and so aggravated that someone would do such a thing. I will admit I said a few nasty things about her business etiquette and that she wouldn't make it very far in the business if this is how she handled her affairs. Looking back at some of the pictures I've seen I can't even understand how she got through an entire shoot on her own....how she created them when she came to our shoot with no ideas at all.

So two weeks later and a full refund behind us...I still get pissed that we had to go through this....rest assured I won't make the mistake again!!!!!!

22 comments:

Tami said...

We had some picture issues too. Was it Leslie Shay? Let me know because I'm just curious to see if it is the same picture person we dealt with.

Kelly said...

I wish you guys were from around here, I have many cheap and great references that I would love to give you. I am sorry you had such a bad experience!

Rachel said...

Wow. Being in the Photography business, I can say that you got dealt a bad deal here. She was very unprofessional and seems to have no business behind that camera. Yes, both of those shots are good but I can find about 100 things wrong with them that she should have known not to do.

One thing I will defend her on, you do go to shoots as a photographer prepared in your head as to what you want to do or what you think would be good shots per family. However, after a while and after a lot of clients you tend to start doing the same thing over and over. A lot of clients will come now and already know what they want and they tell you everything they want to do. But, it does seem that she put no thought into your session what so ever and that she showed up not expecting to work. Doing a session is hard work. I usually never leave my studio or a location without feeling like I've ran a marathon, my body is sore and I'm sweating! That's because I work to get the shots. This lady seems not to have worked much at all.

I am sorry that you had a horrible experience. I wish you were closer and I would do some for you.

Oh, and the crap about her price list is TOTAL BS. What price you give is the price you stick to. No matter what. That was her mistake, not yours and there is no way she should have expected you to pay for it. Sounds like she is just way over her head and needs to either go back to school or find something else to do.

Just my two cents of course!

drewmark19 said...

I hate black and whites with the eyes in color. It just seems freaky to me. :( That is so disappointing that she didn't know what she was doing. I think that's a danger of choosing "self-made" photographers. Mind you, I think there are awesome natural light photographers out there, but there are so many that think they are pro from the get-go. Looks like you got one of them. What a bummer!

Everyday Mom Designs said...

I want to do something similar... but am so scared that I won't be getting someone professional enough.. without having to pay an arm and a leg for destination pictures.. I do know a girl from school.. so maybe this fall, we can do it.. Who knows.. she might be too big by then (she's having twins!)..

I wish you the best of luck next time! I do have to admit that I do like the pictures though... I don't like all of our pictures to be edited that way, but I love the first picture.

He & Me + 3 said...

Oh no...that is too bad. I hate when that happens, because pictures are such sweet memories and now that memory is tainted because of some woman's inability to be fair.
I know you didn't like the editing of that picture, but I like it. It is a certain taste. I think it is a gorgeous picture. Just precious of your baby girl. Love the tutu. Super cute.

jayna said...

That stinks that you had to deal with that. There are too many hobby photographers out there starting up businesses without any idea of what they are doing. We ran into that when E was tiny, and I vowed never to waste my money on a professional ever again.

Crystal said...

Oh my!!! BEAUTIFUL pictures!!!

McCrakensx4 said...

Oh Steph...so sorry you had to go through that nightmare...glad that you got a refund, but now you have to go and do it all over again! I hope you find someone that you can trust to do a good job!

COUNTRY MOM said...

That's awful you had to deal with the mix up on prices and photos. I do love the pics, I like the unedited ones too. Did your family pics turn out good? Hope you have a great day.

♥Kim said...

Oh my goodness Stephanie, what a rip off! That woman is so full of it from what you've stated in your blog. Sounds like she was just trying to take your money, and it was a scam! How dare people to do this!
I'm sorry you had to deal with such disgrace!!! I would be hiley upset myself!
I did want to mention from what I've seen of Allie, she is darling! I love how you stated you like natural pictures, some editing is okay, but like you said better left natural!

I'd ask Alicia to take them if ya'll didn't live too far away. I'm sure she could work with you!

hugs xoxo Have a good day!

Windy said...

you should check my friend out - he is very good, down to earth, kid friendly, and will do whatever you want at whatever location:)
www.paulbaileyphoto.com/blog
He does all of our pics and I have never been disappointed. I believe he will put them on disk for you and you can choose what you want and have it printed yourself;)
Love the tutu pic, BTW!

Stephanie said...

Crazy! So sorry for the mess you went through! The only true "professional" photos we've done were at Sears, but only because I had a few coupons. For the most part, I take pictures or I've had my cousin or a high schooler at church take them. It's much easier to work with someone you know and trust.

Stacy said...

Sorry you had such a bad time! Hopefully you at least a couple of shots.

Vicky said...

Oh I am so, so sorry. I wish I could fly my husband out to you :) Considering all of the research you did up front, I don't know what you could have done differently? I DO know you take amazing photographs in your own right and you could do your own photos of the kids! But I realize that doesn't solve the issue of a family photo. Thank goodness you got a full refund!

Veronica said...

Oh man, the title of this post says it all! I am so sorry for what you guys had to go through. I am so glad you were able to get your money back and hopefully you guys will still be able to find someone to take your family pics. They are so important!!! We do ours every Christmas and it's just amazing to see how much the kiddos grow in just one year!

Just Jiff said...

Oh NO!

I am so sorry for you, but glad you were level headed enough to not let her take advantage of you!

Kelly said...

eeek! what a mess! i'm so sorry for your experience. i guess we live and learn in these sort of situations. sounds like she needs a little more practice before she can call herself a pro! and i agree with Drew...black and white with the eyes 'popping' in color is just a bit creepy!!!! good for you for sticking to your guns and demanding a refund!

Andrea said...

That stinks!! At least you got a full refund...but still, that photographer should definitely NOT be in business!!

Alicia said...

Oh my gosh, that is terrible, Stephanie!! Well, I'm glad you got refunded, but definitely not worth all of that!!!!

steffenboysmom said...

Sorry to hear that. I can't imagine!
When I take shots, I come with a whole head full of ideas, and then burn the photos to a disk and give them to my clients and let them do what they want with them. Oh my.

Alicia W. said...

Bless your heart! I can't believe someone would do that to you. What a con artist and not to mention your right.. her business will fail if she continues to do people like that. I'm so sorry you had a bad experience. :(