Review - Photographer Michael Maurus/Cancun Wedding Photography
Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:14 AM
As you can probably tell already, this isnâ€™t going to be a favourable review:-(
I really had to think about writing this, but Iâ€™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 â€œPhotographer/Vendor-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Namedâ€ when there was a bad review written about her!) But when we booked Michael Maurus, I actually couldnâ€™t find any full reviews of himâ€¦ So, I hope this saves some future brides-to-be out there from the stress we have gone through!
A warningâ€¦ itâ€™s LOOOOOOONG! Just want to make sure Iâ€™ve covered everything and gave context to what happened. But feel free to skip over parts :-)
Okay, so first off, some basic infoâ€¦
We were married in December at Secrets Maroma Beach.
We purchased the â€œLove Storyâ€ and â€œTTDâ€ 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 etcâ€¦
Total cost, with taxes, came to about $1500.
Why we booked him:
We decided to book Michael Maurus for a number of reasonsâ€¦
He offers short-term (3 hours) coverage, which a lot of photogs donâ€™t..
We had trouble finding a professional photog who was within our budget AND who was available our date!
As I said above, we hadnâ€™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 â€“ anyone who knows me, knows Iâ€™m NOT a difficult person! We really just had three things we wanted to make sure he could deliver onâ€¦
Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:17 AM
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 werenâ€™t any on his website.)
FISH-EYE LENS â€“ CHECK!
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 itâ€™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 heâ€™d done in the dark. All the pictures were beautifully lit, even though you could tell it was dark out.
PROPER LIGHTING â€“ CHECK!
We also talked with him about what kind of style we likedâ€¦that weâ€™re not very formal people and we preferred less posed shotsâ€¦ We liked a more photo-journalistic style. Again, he sent us some pics that looked nice, not too posed etc.
NOT TOO POSED-SHOTSâ€“ CHECK!
Read on and youâ€™ll see he didnâ€™t follow through on ANY of these!
Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:20 AM
I had read here on BDW and on other sites that itâ€™s a good idea to get a â€œmust-haveâ€ shot list together for your photographerâ€¦You know, â€œmother-daughter picture,â€ â€œbride walking down aisleâ€ etcâ€¦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 donâ€™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 couldnâ€™t afford to just say bye to the money weâ€™d already paid as a deposit.
But at least I knew a little bit what to expectâ€¦at least I thought I did :-)
What he actually delivered on the wedding dayâ€¦
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 Iâ€™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.
Michaelâ€™s reaction? He took them and threw them on the ground!! He said he wasnâ€™t there to copy someone elseâ€™s work and said he QUIT and he wasnâ€™t doing this job!!
My friend started crying and begged him to stay, that she didnâ€™t want to be responsible for us not having wedding photosâ€¦ 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 didnâ€™t find out until much later in the night about him threatening to quit!)
Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:25 AM
For example, we have about ten shots of me like this, with my arm in the airâ€¦Why? Why would I put my arm in the air like that? I donâ€™t know :-)
Here are two...
Oh, and look! BOTH arms this time! :-)
And for fun, again at our TTD session the next day:-)
Mostly we just did what he said b/c we didnâ€™t want to piss him off! I would never even want to show that to anyone let alone print it and frame it.
Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:30 AM
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):
Here we are during the ceremony:
And another example:
Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:34 AM
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.
Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:38 AM
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, doesnâ€™t count!
So, yes, many of our photos werenâ€™t â€œposedâ€, but they werenâ€™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!
Even better, just some people looking confused!
And how about these GREAT shots of the sides of people's heads?!
We have about 80 more pictures like this...
Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:45 AM
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 picturesâ€¦
When he got there, I mentioned that there was winding staircase might make for a nice shot. His response -- he told me he doesnâ€™t like being told how to do his job!! And if that wasnâ€™t bad enough, he turned to my DH and told him heâ€™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 Iâ€™m sorry, I wasnâ€™t trying to tell him how to do his job, but that I thought he hadnâ€™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 heâ€™d like to goâ€¦that there were hammocks, a chess board etc to choose from. Again, he said he didnâ€™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 shotsâ€¦ 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 itâ€™s us in some of the pictures! (*More on that in a minute...â€¦)
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 DHâ€™s ringâ€¦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 timesâ€¦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 noâ€¦.we have ZERO pictures of our rings!
Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:49 AM
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??
It’s like we’re in a “Where’s Waldo” book! :-)
Here are some more for fun…can you find us in the distance?
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.
Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:52 AM
As Iâ€™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 picturesâ€¦ I actually cried. A few times:-) Sad and embarassing, but true. In fact, I was so embarrassed by how bad they were, I didnâ€™t even post any links to them on here.
Both my DH and I just feltâ€¦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 photographerâ€™s pics of our reception and our guestsâ€™ pictures, to make a nice enough album. I hope:-)
If you have ANY questions at all, please ask away... !
As I said above, Iâ€™m just hoping to save someone else the same hassle weâ€™ve gone through.
And again, if anyone has any recommendations on a site that sells flush-mount albums direct to people who arenâ€™t pro photogs, pls pass them along! Also what software is best to design withâ€¦Lumapix? Again, any recommendations are appreciated! :-)
Hope this helps someone, and yes! I'm FINALLY done :-)
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