A Dozen Women Come Forward to Say Photographer Took Money, Then Disappeared or Delivered Horrible Pictures

A Dozen Women Come Forward to Say Photographer Took Money, Then Disappeared or Delivered Horrible Pictures

A woman has described herself as “heartbroken” after she was one of 12 people to appear on Fox News to out a wedding photographer they say takes money but delivers blurry photos, if she even turns up at all. They all allegedly paid thousands, but had to threaten court action before receiving any photos and found what they did recover to be woefully inadequate.

Katy Negroni hired Charlotte-based wedding photographer Eben Patten for her big day. "It was the best day of my life," she recalls. "But [afterwards] it was a nightmare."

All twelve of the women who spoke to Fox News told similar stories of how Patten, who also goes by the name Eben Adrian and trades under Eben Adrian Productions, ignored them for months on end. In most cases, it wasn’t until they threatened court action that they received the photos they’d paid for.

Even so, many of the pictures were deemed insufficient. Negroni explains that when she finally got to see the images of her wedding, many were blurry and a lot were duplicates. The set also didn’t include any family portraits. Her contract states she paid $2,000 for the images and a video, and after first waiting six months and getting a judge involved, five years have now passed and she still hasn’t received the full refund a judge ordered from Patten.

Another woman, Angel Mercado, claims she only received "raw video clips" despite paying for an edited video and after waiting four months. As for the pictures, only “a few” came out well.

A salon owner, Heather Paulavage, who used to recommend her clients to Patten, ceased doing so after hearing repeated complaints of "unfinished and unedited" work, if received at all.

A third woman says she paid $200 for photos at her baby shower, and Patten didn't even turn up.

To make matters worse, photographer Patten has previously appeared on FOX 46, where she described how she and a colleague “really don’t have a plan” and claiming: "we wing it. That's what's fun about photo shoots."

FOX 46 investigator Matt Grant made repeated attempts to contact her via various mediums of communication, receiving a response only on Instagram. It was there she referred to her work as being of "stunning image quality," before downplaying complaints against her as "untrue and slanderous." She initially agreed to an interview, before ignoring follow-up messages and ultimately blocking Grant from contacting her.

FOX 46 showed Patten’s images to their attorney Walter Bowers, who concluded that this case "certainly could be fraud," and advised victims to take Patten to civil court, where he says they could win back three times what they paid if she’s found guilty.

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46 Comments

Previous comments

Yes, and there's a range of factors police and prosecutors will take into account when deciding whether to proceed.

Ryan Davis's picture

Proving 'knowingly and designedly" rather than just being incompetent/unfortunate is next to impossible. Unless she is a he, lives in Bangladesh, and doesn't even possess a camera, there's no way to get past reasonable doubt that she doesn't just suck at being a photographer.

So while you are technically correct, practically this doesn't have a snowballs chance of ending up in criminal court.

That's correct.

In this case a pattern of behaviour and unillingness to return funds are relevant factors.

Lenzy Ruffin's picture

Regularly landing clients means she's an excellent marketer, which is the opposite of most photographers.

Instagram is just highlights. Everyone is living a perfect life on Instagram. You can be truly incompetent with a camera and just fire off a thousand frames per session and still end up with something decent to post on Instagram.

As bad as the photographer may be, any camera within the last few years will produce an in-focus, properly exposed frame more often than not. Of course, there's way more to photography than that. My point is today's cameras just aren't going to let you produce endless bad frames, unless you're deliberately trying to do so.

Lenzy Ruffin's picture

This is a lesson on how business knowledge (particularly marketing) is more important than photography skills when it comes to making money.

A level 2 photographer with level 7 or higher business skills will make tons of money.

A level 10 photographer with level 3 or lower business skills (probably 999 out of 1000 photographers trying to make money) will make no money, including all the paid jobs they get where they're actually losing money and don't realize it because they don't know how to calculate costs of doing business (CODB).

This lady clearly knows how to market herself. She can't operate a camera worth a damn. Seriously, I don't know how it's possible to create some of the images they showed. You can just go full auto and the camera will do better than that on it's own. But this lady clearly knows how to market herself. If she took a basic online photography course and learned how to operate a camera, she could make a fortune with her marketing skills.

If I lived wherever this occurred, I would go to each and every one of those people who got ripped off and offer them a courtesy photo session. Especially the hair salon owner. As angry as these people are right now, they would make just as much noise about this new photographer that contacted them and delivered great work.

That's how you do "free" work and get paid. Those people who got ripped off are all paying customers and the kind of people they'd be showing your work to will also be paying customers. That photographer might even find themselves on a news segment since the station has egg on their face for promoting such a terrible photographer. A photographer with business skills would definitely see the opportunity there and capitalize on it.

David Pavlich's picture

Lesson learned: If you don't know the photographer's work, check their web page for a portfolio, references, and trade associations like The Knot. The only mention of a referral was a salon owner.

The photographer in this story looks like a fraud, but shame on the victims for not doing their homework.

michael buehrle's picture

that's just her "style". she should charge extra for that. maybe she is really a "natural light photographer"?

Ben Perrin's picture

This is why you should always do an engagement shoot with the photographer who will shoot your wedding. You learn a lot that way and the stakes are a lot lower.

Charles Burgess's picture

The engagement shoot should be the real test - much the same as a casting call followed by a test shoot with models, so that the personality and actual performance can be evaluated without the high stakes.

I am based in Europe and here the couples generally meet the photographer before booking and see a few full wedding sample albums. So if either party is not comfortable with the other, they have an opportunity to walk away. Also seeing the quality of work from a full album gives a good insight into the quality of work they should expect.

It’s not always a good idea to judge the quality of somebody's work just by Instagram or their website.

Tony Northrup's picture

Oh, Fox News is now exposing liars and frauds? I'm going to suggest someone to investigate next...

Juan carlos Chu Zhang's picture

wow, thats so artsy lissa hall vibes.. normies nowadays have no taste

amanda daniels's picture

These types of things always break my heart for people but I have to wonder if they checked her portfolio? Her IG looks great, then why did she deliver such garbage? Unless her IG images aren't hers? It's alot harder to fake a website portfolio than an IG account. But I agree with someone who stated it, this is exactly another reason engagement sessions are so important. You learn the photographer and they learn you as a couple. They would have known her work and her then. Just a shame, But in her interview her stating "we just wing it" should have been a sign, lol

Michael Kormos's picture

In Switzerland, a photographer needs to be issued a permit to be allowed to charge money for their services. I believe this permit is only issued after X number of years spent working alongside an established photographer, and meeting a variety of other criteria. In the US, the craft (or hobby, for many) is left unregulated. I'm normally against regulation of this sort, but a wedding day is a very special time in one's life. If the sole person hired to document it botches the job, or worse yet, takes the money and doesn't show, the impact can have lifelong repercussions. In recent years we've seen too many stories of sleazy tactics used in the wedding photography industry. I honestly wouldn't mind if this field in particular had some sort of oversight. Of course, it'll never happen. This is one area where the bride truly has to do her due diligence and vet the hell out of whomever she hires.

Maybe this is all performance art?