Warren Williams is a specialist wedding and portrait photographer. Read more
I'm so MAD! My wedding photographer just took my money and hasn't given us any photos. HOW CAN HE DO THAT?!
He came to the wedding, ate our food, hung out with our family and took a few photos, and now I'm stuck without my wedding snaps. And we paid him beforehand.
Should we have paid him beforehand? Is there somewhere we can report him to? What do I do?
Florentia, Florentia, Florentia. This is not good. It's photographers like these that give the industry a darned bad name. Fortunately most wedding photographers actually honour their commitments. Now, the first thing is - did you sign a contract? If you didn't, well, then you're in trouble. Usually, the form is that the couple pay a deposit upfront. The balance will then either be due a week or so before the wedding or upon delivery of your final material. This is something that you and your photographer should always discuss and if necessary, negotiate well before your wedding. From your description about your wedding photographer it seems that he actually isn't a wedding photographer at all, but rather a big chancer. No wedding photographer worth their salt pitches up at a wedding, eats, drinks and hangs around chatting to family and friends. It's just not on. This is a serious profession with extremely high standards in our country and competition is fierce to say the least. Unfortunately, in this digital age of ours, many people truly believe that if you have a digital camera it qualifies you to have a hack at wedding photography. These individuals are very quickly exposed and this seems to be the case in your instance. If you don't have a contract the situation you're in is not going to be an easy one to solve. And it sounds like you probably don't have a contract. My apologies for saying this, but the fact of the matter is that it looks as though you also didn't do your homework particularly well. This is exactly why I continuously encourage couples to really do there homework properly. What to do about it? If you have his (or her) contact details, call and inform your wedding photographer that you will be arriving at his office to collect your wedding photographs on a specific date. Accept no excuses (like 'oh, your photographs aren't ready yet.') Demand them. If your unsuccessful, speak to a lawyer and get them to draw up a letter for you that threatens legal action (usually this will be enough to scare the living wits out of anyone chancing their arm). I'm also a huge believer in naming and shaming people like this, so write to your local newspaper, and call your local radio station so that you can tell your story and be heard. And tell EVERYONE you I sincerely hope you get your wedding photographs, you've paid for them so they're yours. Good luck.