It's a story we photographers read about all too often. A Tulsa, Oklahoma woman has issued a warning for brides-to-be: make sure to vet your photographers before hiring.
A Facebook ad for "affordable photography" caught Natalie Barney's eye at just the right moment of her wedding's planning process. She was quoted $250 for 100 images which she accepted, booking the date.
The images on the photographer's portfolio looked impressive, but little did Barney know that she was viewing wedding images gleaned off sites like Pinterest and not the original work of the photographer.
In her statements to news media, the bride reported the first red flag which was the photographer's bizarre behavior during the ceremony. The photographer would attempt to time her shutter snaps with someone in the audience who was setting flashes off with their own camera. Was this a sign of inexperience, the result of a forgotten flash at home, or perhaps a brilliant new battery-saving technique? Was the flash-less photographer honing in her ninja-like reflexes down to the hundredth of a second?
Later on in the wedding, the photographer allegedly reported to the bride that she was experiencing "camera issues." Upon inspection of the low-light images taken in the latter part of the event, I've discovered the issue: the photographer having zero understanding of how shutter speed and camera focus work.
As you can imagine, the images from the event were unusable. They were underexposed, blurry, and awkwardly framed. The photographer consoled the upset bride with the promise of a free family photoshoot on a future date. When the dressed-up newlyweds arrived at the new shoot location, they were stood up by the photographer's no-show.
Headlines like these seem to pop up with regularity: "Bride Shafted by Photographer, Never Received Images." "Wedding Couple Devastated by Blurry Photographs." The reason for these incidents is obvious, that there will always be amateur photographers naive enough to jump into a paid wedding with little to no skills, and there will always be brides on a budget who fall victim to their confidence.
Having a wedding on a budget is understandable. Ripping someone off with a fake portfolio and ruining a cherished memory is not. Before judging the bride for taking the low-cost option, remember that there are plenty of talented photographers who offer budget services. In my opinion, this was unlucky for the consumer and shameful for the photographer.
You can read the entire news story on the KJRH 2 Tulsa website.
Are you tired of seeing stories like this? What do you think a fair repercussion for the photographer should be? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Author's note: The lead and body images on this article were taken by me. Follow the link above to view images from the story.