Hi Ladies - I don't have a planning thread (drat) so I am posting a new topic and hoping I can get your thoughts on what you'd do. We leave for Jamaica for our wedding in 8 days and our wedding is in 12! Of course we booked our photographer last July and at the time I saw other brides say that she takes a long time to return pictures (like 12 weeks), and I figured I was okay with that if her style was what I liked the best.
But ever since I've seen bride after bride after bride complain about how the photographer is completely unresponsive despite any attempts to contact her via email, Facebook or phone. She just does not respond at all. And many brides are waiting 5-6 months to get any of their pictures back, well beyond the maximum 12 weeks it states in the contract. They aren't even getting "sneak peak" photos to use for thank you cards before that. In fact, a bride on this forum today who got married in January hasn't heard a thing from the photographer! Now, every bride also says they love their photos and how they are worth the wait, and that they liked her on their wedding day, but I am MAJORLY regretting my decision to hire her
I emailed her on May 8th to touch base and ask her about our timeline and what to expect on our wedding day. I haven't heard back. According to our contract, our final payment was due to her yesterday (2 weeks before our wedding) but I haven't heard from her. Another bride with a wedding a few days before mine DID (finally) hear from her, so I know she is alive! My fiancé tried calling her today and left a voicemail. I just don't think not contacting your client - or responding to their friendly email - in the month before their wedding is acceptable and I don't want to send her our $2,000 payment on a hope and a prayer. If she doesn't deliver my photos by the 12 weeks, she has my money so what am I going to do about it? This doesn't seem to be an issue with any other Jamaican photographers, and this issue is abundant and consistent among brides who have used her, so I just really regret giving her my money. She has a $720 deposit from us already.
Hopefully my fiancé can get ahold of her and talk about our concerns (he is more assertive than I am) and if he isn't getting a bad feeling maybe ask for our deposit back? It seems unlikely she would return it. We may be able to find another photographer available at the last minute (or use the so-so resort photog), but then we'd be out the $720. I just picture her showing up on my wedding day and already having a negative feeling about her and it just stinks. Everyone says your rapport with your photographer is important and she is going to be hanging around us all day!
I really do not want to send her the money and hope for the best...any other thoughts? Am I making too big of a deal out of this and I should just trust that it will be fine?
Gosh this is a tough spot to be in since your wedding is just around the corner and you're getting no communication from your photographer. I am going to give you my perspective as both a former destination wedding bride as as a current destination wedding photographer.
When your wedding is around the corner, there will always be unforeseen predicaments that come up. Not sure why, I guess it's just the way things work out LOL. And it sucks! But the best advice I can give is to keep calm and stay focused -- it's your wedding and it's going to be amazing regardless of what happens.
I honestly could not imagine not hearing from my photographer so close to the wedding, that would freak me out too -- I am guessing she's based in Jamaica? If you know for sure from other brides that she has been in communication with them recently, then it's a good sign that she will in fact hold true to her word and be there for your Wedding Day. If you love her work and you have a solid signed contract with her, you are in good shape. The fact of the matter is, some wedding vendors -- especially when it comes to DW vendors in another country -- just don't have a sense of urgency when it comes to responding to their brides. Yes, this totally sucks, I went through it myself when getting married in Mexico and it drove me batty. But rest assure, everything worked out fine.
As for her slow turnaround time with photos -- is it stated in your contract how long it takes for her to produce your images? If she's slow to turn images around with other brides, it's likely she will do the same with you. As a photographer, I can tell you, I have it clearly stated in my contracts with our couples that images will be produced within 4 to 6 weeks from the Wedding Day, but I always post teasers on my FB business page usually the night of the wedding or the day after and I always try to go above and beyond meeting my deadline and try to finish editing the images a lot earlier because I know how excited and anxious our couples get. For a bride to wait 6 months for her photos is crazy long and with no explanation really bad business practice. But I can only guess she is extremely overwhelmed and busy with her business, or perhaps she has a personal issue she's dealing with that has set her back. It's always worth asking, and maybe even ask her on your Wedding Day if you could get a few teasers in advance to use for thank you cards.
As for paying the remainder of your balance, the one thing you have to consider is that even if you don't pay her for lack of communication -- you could still be contractually liable for the remaining balance because your wedding is so close. If you really love her work, I would really continue to try and contact her -- email, phone, Facebook message, maybe even comment on one of your facebook images "hey this is your bride, can you please contact me?"-- try every method you can think of and stress to her that you want to speak to her to make final payment. The money factor always seems to get people to move faster!
Is it important to have a good connection with your photographer? In my opinion, absolutely. I love the fact that many of our couples turn out to be our friends. For us, having a good connection and rapport with our couples is so important and we stress this during our consult because we will be around them so much during the Wedding Day. It just makes it so much easier when you have a good relationship with the people documenting one of the most important days of your life.
All that said, it would be ideal for you to speak to her ahead of time and get all this cleared out so that come the Big Day you can feel at ease and not so anxious and worried. But if for some reason, you can't get a hold of her -- don't let it bother you. Don't let your ill feelings towards your photographer ruin your day -- it's your Wedding Day and it's going to be fabulous!!! Stay positive no matter what and keep us posted!!!