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beckys98

Need Advice - Photographer Mia, Wedding In 12 Days!

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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?  

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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!!!  ;)

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@@MarieSamSanchezPhoto Thanks for your thoughtful reply on both sides! 

 

So, I did actually hear from her this morning, but not about my wedding! I got an email asking if she ordered/shipped a phone to me would I bring it down to her! Honestly, this is something I would normally not mind doing (my fiancé is Jamaican and bringing stuff from the US to people is a very normal thing to do) but given the circumstances it seems to be a pretty bold request!   

 

The contract states turnaround on the photos is 6-8 weeks, or during "busy season" it could take up to 12 weeks. I've not seen any bride say they got them in 6-8 weeks (or even hear from her in that timeframe) so I think she is operating at that 12 week mark all the time. But many brides also still haven't received their photos after 5 months. It seems most receive them by 6 months. But at that point, her not delivering the photos within 12 weeks is a breach of contract but I have few options other than to leave bad reviews. Am I really going to spend money on an international contract dispute? Probs not. I like her work, sure, but there were others I liked as well that I've never seen a complaint about. So I'm just pretty disappointed in my choice :(

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@@beckys98 This may not work given you're having troubles communicating with your photographer and your wedding is so close, but could you propose to her that you will pay $1,000 or $1,500 of the balance owing now, and hold back the additional payment until delivery of the photos given the slow turnaround times other brides are experiencing?

 

Maybe that will make her deliver the photos per the contract timelines, knowing that she has additional money coming her way once she finishes her editing...

 

Crossing my fingers that everything works out for you!!!

Edited by krystalball

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@@beckys98 I am so sorry you're faced with this stress right before you leave. If I were you, I'd respond to her email simply asking her to call your FI back to discuss, then let him have the conversation you originally planned. Now that she wants / needs something from you it gives you leverage.

 

If anything, he can set expectations with her and perhaps negotiate? Maybe she can shorten your wait time or give you a discount if you bring the phone but at the very least he can have an open discussion about your concerns and needs.

 

I will be sending positive thoughts your way and please keep us posted :)

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@@krystalball - We are definitely thinking of withholding a portion of the payment like you suggest. It would at least give us some peace of mind I guess. 

 

@@Sandraco8 - My fiancé did say to just respond "Yes, we'll do it, call my fiancé to discuss." so then she'd need to call him. I do want to be a little cautious because if we do use her I don't want it to be a totally contentious relationship on my wedding day. So I at least set up the scenario. This is what I responded to her:

 

We don't mind doing this for you. But I also haven't received a response from you on an email I sent you May 9th regarding our wedding coming up in 11 days. We leave in a week and feel a little uncomfortable sending our final payment without having a response from you or having discussed any details of our day. 

 
My fiancé left you a voicemail yesterday. We've seen many, many brides expressing consistent concerns over the past few months about your responsiveness and turnaround times to receive their photos being even longer than the maximum 12 weeks stated on the contract. And in those instances, they also aren't hearing updates from you regarding their photos and it is concerning to us. 
 
Brides say they enjoyed working with you and they are happy with their photos once they are received, which is great. But we would like to discuss this before we leave for Jamaica so we are comfortable working together going into our wedding day. We would like to know that after our wedding day we will be able to reach you in the event of questions and that we will be able to receive our photos, slideshow and album within the 12 weeks stated on our contract. 
 
Please call my fiancé. Following the conversation we will be happy to give you our address so you can ship the phone to us. 
 
We'll see what she responds! I have to think since she said she has phone issues that she is not actually going to call him. 
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@@beckys98 I do like what you wrote in the email. You let her know your concerns but also complemented her finished product. I hope she responds and that everything can be cleared up asap.

 

Other than this hiccup, are you ready for the big day?! :)

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That's a very well written email, and it definitely approaches what you're going through with her in a non-confrontational, honest way. I really hope for you that she responds and quickly.

 

It's really sad that you've ended up with this situation given that there are wonderful photographers in Jamaica that don't do this to their clients. We had one that was absolutely THE BEST to work with. I can't fault him in any way, and back 4 years ago when we got married, the other girls on the site had other photographers that they were all totally thrilled with.

 

It's so unfortunate. It only takes one to ruin it for others and makes future brides worried about dealing with vendors long distance. Jamaica has a lot of really, really wonderful photographers with fantastic reviews. I sincerely hope yours does turn out to be one of them and that you have a wonderful experience!

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I did reach out to another photographer just to see if I had options in the event we can't come to a resolution with her. They are available (thankfully my wedding is on a weekday) and will work with me on my budget. So I do have a back up plan if necessary! They expressed the same sentiment you did @@acw271011, that these experiences make other brides hesitant to hire outside vendors in another country and it hurts all vendors!

 

I know technically we'd be in breach of contract if we cancelled our current photographer, but given the complaint about her is responsiveness and slow turn around - I have a hard time seeing her going through the effort of suing me when she'll still likely have my $720 deposit.

 

@@Sandraco8 Yes! Wedding wise, outside of this, we are set! I still have a few personal odds and ends to pick up and pack but we're in great shape. My biggest thing right now is work. Preparing to be off for 2 weeks is a complete nightmare and I have a couple of big projects in progress that need a ton of attention before I go. In fact, I'm about to spend the rest of my day working when I should be packing. It is what it is!  

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Are you sure she isn't in some way already in breach somehow? I'll have to dig it up but I think our photographer actually put in that they would respond within x amount of time. Double check and take a full read through your contract. I would give it only another couple of days and see if she responds to your email and if she calls your fiance back. Then I would give her an ultimatum that if she doesn't respond within 24 hours that you're going to cancel her services. If you get no response at all from that, then I would be ready to go with another photographer if they're willing to work with your budget. But I would ensure that you leave ample messages for the one not responding (don't know the name) and make sure by email and voice mail that you state that because you've heard nothing from her for x amount of time and in response to your multiple inquiries, messages and emails, and her lack of response, that you're cancelling her services and not to show up for your wedding. But absolutely give her plenty of time to respond and leave a message or email every single day. Then keep track of all the times that you've tried to get in touch with her. The phone calls, emails. And start pulling together the messages you've seen from other brides with the same situation and keep track of it all. if it comes down to it, you'll want lots of proof of trying to get in touch with her and not receiving any response.

 

Good luck!

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