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Review - Photographer Michael Maurus/Cancun Wedding Photography

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#1 Simistar

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    Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:14 AM

    This is WAAAAY late in being posted, however, I wanted to make sure we were completely finished doing business with Michael Maurus and his company (Cancun Wedding Photography) before posting.

    As you can probably tell already, this isn’t going to be a favourable review:-(
    I really had to think about writing this, but I’ve had so many girls message me asking about my experience with Michael Maurus, that I felt I should. (I recall the debacle over the “Photographer/Vendor-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named” when there was a bad review written about her!) But when we booked Michael Maurus, I actually couldn’t find any full reviews of him… So, I hope this saves some future brides-to-be out there from the stress we have gone through!

    A warning… it’s LOOOOOOONG! Just want to make sure I’ve covered everything and gave context to what happened. But feel free to skip over parts :-)

    Okay, so first off, some basic info…

    We were married in December at Secrets Maroma Beach.
    We purchased the “Love Story” and “TTD” package from Cancun Wedding Photography, which includes:
    Three hours of coverage (him & an assistant) on the wedding day, one hour for a TTD the next day, CD with all images in high resolution, a number of prints, etc etc…
    Total cost, with taxes, came to about $1500.

    Why we booked him:

    We decided to book Michael Maurus for a number of reasons…
    He offers short-term (3 hours) coverage, which a lot of photogs don’t..
    We had trouble finding a professional photog who was within our budget AND who was available our date!
    As I said above, we hadn’t been able to find any full reviews of him anywhere, but the pictures on his site looked nice.

    We e-mailed MANY times with him before booking and even spoke to him on the phone to make sure he could deliver what we were expecting. And seriously – anyone who knows me, knows I’m NOT a difficult person! We really just had three things we wanted to make sure he could deliver on…

    (Still going…)

    #2 Simistar

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      Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:17 AM

      For example, we REALLY liked pictures where the photographer uses a fish-eye lens. Here’s an example, in case you don’t know what I’m talking about.. (I just took this from somewhere and pasted…I apologize if it’s your picture and would like it taken down, please just let me know!)

      Click the image to open in full size.

      We asked if he had a fish-eye lens and if he could give us some pictures like this. He assured us he could and would - and even e-mailed us some more samples of his work where he used a fish-eye lens. (There weren’t any on his website.)

      Also, we were concerned about lighting since we were getting married at sunset and I know sunset there happens in like five minutes and then it’s dark! So we wanted to make sure he would have the proper lighting etc. He assured us he did have the proper lights and had photographed many weddings that happened at sunset and in the dark and sent us shots of a full wedding he’d done in the dark. All the pictures were beautifully lit, even though you could tell it was dark out.

      We also talked with him about what kind of style we liked…that we’re not very formal people and we preferred less posed shots… We liked a more photo-journalistic style. Again, he sent us some pics that looked nice, not too posed etc.

      Read on and you’ll see he didn’t follow through on ANY of these!

      (Still going...)

      #3 Simistar

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        Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:20 AM

        Leading up to our wedding…

        I had read here on BDW and on other sites that it’s a good idea to get a “must-have” shot list together for your photographer…You know, “mother-daughter picture,” “bride walking down aisle” etc…that kind of thing.
        So I sent Michael/his assistant a shot list a few weeks before the wedding. (and included the request again for the fish-eye lens for some shots, proper lighting, etc).

        Frankly, I don’t think he even looked at it.

        Also, after we had already paid two of our deposits and with only about a month and a half to go to our wedding, I got a message from a girl on BDW asking me if I had already booked Michael Maurus. She even sent me her cell number to call her if I wanted.
        So I did.
        And she basically told me that Michael Maurus made her cry on her wedding day and that he was very difficult, had an attitude, and had given them crap pictures. Of course I freaked out a little, but she also said she thought maybe he was just having a bad day and that maybe I would have a completely different experience with him.
        Frankly, there was nothing I could do anyway. We couldn’t afford to just say bye to the money we’d already paid as a deposit.
        But at least I knew a little bit what to expect…at least I thought I did :-)

        What he actually delivered on the wedding day…

        Okay, so before I get into how the day went, let me preface this by saying I was running waaay late! Anyone who read my review may recall how the salon at our resort completely screwed up my hair! It was a bit of a nightmare and I had to rush and re-do it basically right at the time I was supposed to be meeting Michael Maurus and my FI on the beach for some pre-ceremony bride-and-groom shots.

        Because I was so behind, I sent one of my friends to go meet Michael in the lobby. I also handed her a couple pictures I’d printed out (probably all from girls on here!) with a variety of different poses and shots that I really liked. These were for MY reference, so if there was time, I could ask him for a certain pose or shot.
        Anyway, I asked my friend to give them to my FI. But she misunderstood and gave them to Michael.

        Michael’s reaction? He took them and threw them on the ground!! He said he wasn’t there to copy someone else’s work and said he QUIT and he wasn’t doing this job!!
        My friend started crying and begged him to stay, that she didn’t want to be responsible for us not having wedding photos… And he finally agreed to stay.
        (*I told my friend later, she should have just let him go! :-))

        On the upside, and this is the one thing I will give Michael credit for, he was very gracious and understanding about us running so behind. He met my FI (now DH :-)) on the beach and took pictures with just him while I was fixing my hair. (I didn’t find out until much later in the night about him threatening to quit!)

        (Still going...)

        #4 Simistar

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          Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:25 AM

          By the time I got down to the beach we only had about half an hour or less to do bride-and-groom shots. So, I ended up being so rushed we just did what Michael told us to for poses (and then I had to get outta there b/c guests were arriving!) Anyway, we ended up with VERY posed-looking bride-and-groom shots, which we didn’t want. I don’t blame Michael entirely for this, as it was our fault as well for running so behind.

          For example, we have about ten shots of me like this, with my arm in the air…Why? Why would I put my arm in the air like that? I don’t know :-)

          Here are two...

          Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

          Oh, and look! BOTH arms this time! :-)

          Click the image to open in full size.

          And for fun, again at our TTD session the next day:-)

          Click the image to open in full size.

          Mostly we just did what he said b/c we didn’t want to piss him off! I would never even want to show that to anyone let alone print it and frame it.

          (Still going...)

          #5 Simistar

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            Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:30 AM

            HOWEVER, some things I can say were his fault…

            1. After all our e-mailing and him agreeing to taking some fish-eye lens shots, he didn’t even bring a fish-eye lens with him!!!
            So, we have ZERO shots with a fish-eye lens! Very disappointing.

            2. He didn’t bring enough lights/proper lights for a sunset wedding (or have his camera on the right setting??)… Our pictures look like we got married at midnight!!
            Some of our guests’ pictures have WAY better light than Michael’s!

            Here are some side-by-side comparisons...my DH's cousin's pics are on the left, M.Maurus' are on the right...

            Here we are signing documents (so both pics taken at same time):

            Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.

            Here we are during the ceremony:

            Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.

            And another example:

            Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.

            (Still going...)

            #6 Simistar

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              Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:34 AM

              3. He missed some very key moments that we now will never have pictures of…
              There is not ONE shot of us walking back down the aisle together after we’re married!! We have about two shots of us ABOUT to walk and then nothing. WHAT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER DOESN'T GET SHOTS OF THE COUPLE WALKING DOWN THE AISLE TOGETHER??!!

              When we asked about this after, his assistant (we could never get a hold of him only his office assistant) told us that Michael said b/c we were running late, it had gotten too dark to take any pictures of us walking down the aisle!!
              So, he could take two shots of us standing, ready to walk down the aisle, but then suddenly three seconds later it’s too dark?? And also, THAT’S WHY WE ASKED HIM REPEATEDLY ABOUT BRINGING ENOUGH LIGHTS FOR A SUNSET WEDDING!!!!!
              And seriously, couldn’t he have just snapped a few anyway even if he did think it was too dark?? Gimme a break.

              4. Keeping on the “it was too dark” theme…
              Michael was supposed to stay until the end of our cocktail hour. Even if we’d been running on time (we were about half an hour behind) it still would have been dark for our cocktail hour! Again, this is something we had warned Michael about and asked about him having enough lights etc.
              He came to us not long into our cocktail hour and suggested he leave now b/c it was too dark to get pictures and instead give us an extra half hour the next day for our TTD session.
              At the time, I remember thinking, well, what’s the point of making him stay? He won’t have the right lights to make any of the pictures look nice… Plus, since my hair was NOT how I wanted it, I figured I could fix it and get some pics done the next day with how I wanted it.

              Looking back though, this kind of makes me mad thinking about it. Seriously, he knew he was going to have to be taking pictures in the dark during our cocktail hour and he should have planned accordingly. We now have no pro shots of our cocktail hour.

              5. Just after the ceremony, we wanted to do group shots.. you know, me and my mom, me with his family, all of us together, etc etc…
              We had asked Michael to do this beforehand in our e-mails, but when we asked him on the day-of, he got kind of cranky and left.. Don’t know where he went! But he left his assistant to do our group shots. The feeling I got from him was, he was too good, too much of an “artiste,” to do group shots. I didn’t see him again until he was asking to leave early.

              (Still going...)

              #7 Simistar

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                Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:38 AM

                6. When we asked for less posed shots and more “naturally-occurring” shots, Michael said he preferred shooting that way, in a more “photo-journalistic” style. He sells himself and his company as providing “magazine quality” photos…but honestly, that’s not what we got.

                I believe there is a special skill to capturing these kinds of photos. I actually work in news (both newspaper and TV) and know it takes a certain eye, talent and skill to capture just the right moments. Capturing my MIL with her mouth open or her eyes closed for half the pictures, doesn’t count!
                So, yes, many of our photos weren’t “posed”, but they weren’t anything special either. We have a ton of random shots of our guests doing nothing special and usually caught with their mouths half open or their faces turned at a weird angle.

                Some examples to show what I mean:

                Oh, look, my FIL's side!

                Click the image to open in full size.

                Even better, just some people looking confused!

                Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

                And how about these GREAT shots of the sides of people's heads?!

                Click the image to open in full size.
                Click the image to open in full size.

                We have about 80 more pictures like this...

                (Still going...)

                #8 Simistar

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                  Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:45 AM

                  The TTD session the next day…

                  The graciousness and understanding Michael showed us on our wedding day for being so behind schedule was nowhere to be found the next day!
                  He showed up for our TTD shoot with his attitude though! Whoa!
                  He had told us before that he had never shot at Secrets Maroma Beach. So in the few days we were there prior to our wedding, we scouted out a few places we thought might make for some cool pictures…

                  When he got there, I mentioned that there was winding staircase might make for a nice shot. His response -- he told me he doesn’t like being told how to do his job!! And if that wasn’t bad enough, he turned to my DH and told him he’d better watch out since I we just got married and I was already being bossy!! ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??

                  I very nicely (I really did NOT want to piss him off! He had our TTD shoot and wedding pics in his hands!!) said I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to tell him how to do his job, but that I thought he hadn’t shot at the resort before and I was just trying to help with a nice location.
                  His response -- all resorts are the same.

                  In any case, we went to the staircase and we could just tell he was being all moody and grumpy and barely snapped any pictures there.

                  So, we asked where he’d like to go…that there were hammocks, a chess board etc to choose from. Again, he said he didn’t want to be told where to go or how to do his job. (Okaaaaay then! )

                  Then we moved on to doing our beach and in-the-water shots… Again, many of the pictures he took were VERY posed. (*see above for shot of me with my arm in the air! LOTS more where that came from:-))

                  Near the end, DH and I just did our own thing and had fun in the water :-)Still, though, many of these pictures were taken from REALLY far away and without some serious zooming and cropping, you can barely tell it’s us in some of the pictures! (*More on that in a minute...…)

                  But what upsets me MOST about this shoot is that he took our rings and got some shots of them in this flower/bush and that was the only time he took our rings to get pictures of them, so I was really looking forward to seeing those. (The only other pics we have of our rings is during the ceremony, there are some shots of me holding my DH’s ring…there are NO close-ups of MY ring at all!)

                  Anyway, we NEVER got those ring pictures he took!! We asked about them like five times…and each time his assistant would just e-mail us back saying we had all the pictures that were taken on the CD they sent us. We kept replying that WE SAW HIM TAKE THOSE PICTURES! I mean, he physically took our rings from us and we SAW him take the pictures! But no….we have ZERO pictures of our rings!

                  (Still going...)

                  #9 Simistar

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                    Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:49 AM

                    Post-Wedding Customer Service and Editing…

                    As I mentioned above, many of our TTD shots were taken from SO far away, we’re like little specs in the distance!
                    When I asked about having some of them cropped and zoomed for ordering our prints (that were included in our package), we were told the pictures had already been edited and they wouldn’t zoom and crop them for us.

                    Seriously?? You call THIS edited?? Can you even tell it’s us??

                    Click the image to open in full size.

                    It’s like we’re in a “Where’s Waldo” book! :-)
                    Here are some more for fun…can you find us in the distance?

                    Click the image to open in full size.

                    Click the image to open in full size.

                    So, since we didn’t want all our pics to be from so far away, we decided to NOT upgrade our included album to a bigger size and just DIY one. (which I still have to do! :-) BTW, if any of you girls have suggestions on where to DIY a flush-mount album, I’m all ears!!)

                    I would guess that even if you use an associate of Michael Maurus’ at Cancun Wedding Photography, you’d get the same editing. So something to keep in mind even if you’re considering hiring a different photographer from Cancun Wedding Photography.

                    Also, we found him/his company to be far from helpful in the customer service department. We sent his office assistant/him several e-mails asking where certain pictures were… us walking down the aisle, the pictures WE SAW HIM TAKING of our rings etc. and EVERY SINGLE time, we got an e-mail back, once sentence saying, “All your pictures on the CD.”
                    Umm, yeah... thanks a pantload.

                    (Still going...)

                    #10 Simistar

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                      Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:52 AM


                      As I’m sure you can tell by now, we were VERY disappointed with both Michael Maurus AND his work.
                      In fact, I was so unhappy when I saw our pictures… I actually cried. A few times:-) Sad and embarassing, but true. In fact, I was so embarrassed by how bad they were, I didn’t even post any links to them on here.

                      Both my DH and I just felt…not happy after our having our pictures done with him, especially after our TTD session the next day. Far from making the newly married couple feel special, he made us feel like we were a huge pain in the ass and like we had to walk on egg-shells lest we offend his fragile ego.

                      That said, there ARE about a dozen or so REALLY good shots that will hopefully be enough, combined with the resort photographer’s pics of our reception and our guests’ pictures, to make a nice enough album. I hope:-)

                      If you have ANY questions at all, please ask away... !
                      As I said above, I’m just hoping to save someone else the same hassle we’ve gone through.

                      And again, if anyone has any recommendations on a site that sells flush-mount albums direct to people who aren’t pro photogs, pls pass them along! Also what software is best to design with…Lumapix? Again, any recommendations are appreciated! :-)

                      Hope this helps someone, and yes! I'm FINALLY done :-)

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