Couple Stages Wedding Again for Reshoot After Amateur Photographer Used Stock Imagery in Her Portfolio

Couple Stages Wedding Again for Reshoot After Amateur Photographer Used Stock Imagery in Her Portfolio

A couple has had to reshoot their wedding day pictures after it turned out their photographer was an amateur who took “diabolical” photos. The couple, who paid £100 per hour, complained the photos had “blurry backgrounds” and claimed some of the images on the photographer’s site were actually stock imagery.

Lin and Brendan Lavery, a couple of 16 years and residents of Devon, UK, were distraught to receive the images from their big day. Groom Lavery recalls:

Most of the pictures were out of focus. They are diabolical. We couldn’t believe that they were that bad. She took down her Facebook page and blocked us on her profile. We later found out she was an amateur. I wouldn’t have given £200 to an amateur.

They have since had to spend an additional £330 in order to take new pictures recreating the big day, including suit rental and the fees of another photographer. They initially consulted other photographers to see if anything was salvageable through Photoshop, but decided staging the wedding pictures was their best option.

What’s worse, a bit of investigating found the photographer in question had posted stock imagery to her social media pages, in what was likely intended to mislead potential customers. The photographer has since removed her Facebook page and blocked the couple.

Lead image by Emma Bauso from Pexels

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Jacques Cornell's picture

"A few minutes online doing research..."
The photog had stock images on the website and actively sought to mislead the client. How is a buyer supposed to know that? Also, not everyone is a research expert. Some folks don't spend their lives online. Blaming the victim is a low blow. Responsibility lies squarely with the con artist.
As for "buyer beware", while it might be good advice, it's another form of blaming the victim after the fact. There's a reason why the government regulates product safety: consumers simply aren't equipped to evaluate many risks. If the photographer were up-front about their lack of ability and presented a website that actually represented what they could deliver, that would be different. But, in this case, the victims got conned, and blaming them seems simply churlish.

Tony Clark's picture

How many times will you post the same thing? You expressed your opinion so stop repeating yourself, we heard you the first time.

Jacques Cornell's picture

I didn't "post the same thing". I responded to additional comments in your second post with additional material of my own.
You expressed your opinion so stop repeating yourself, we heard you the first time.

Jeff McCollough's picture

If every photographer in my area charges $5000 to shoot my wedding and Bobby with his camera charges $250....idk dude....Idk anyone can believe they they will get decent stuff.

Jacques Cornell's picture

Let's face it: wedding work attracts the lowest common denominator. Every time I see a "shooting my first wedding, need advice" post, I want to scream at my computer. The capacity for people to be delusional and irresponsible is truly depressing. Don't point fingers at the clients. They may have been naive, but it's the bottom feeder photogs, especially the dishonest ones, who should be keelhauled.
I didn't shoot my first wedding solo until I'd worked at least 20 weddings as an assistant or second shooter.

Alex Herbert's picture

Everyone shoots a 'first wedding' at some point. Mine was in Jan last year, which I offered for free to a couple with pretty much zero budget. I was happy for the experience, they were happy for the photos (and video). Not every client is a photographer with a critical eye and not every novice is shit, lol.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

I prefer free if you are honest with your actual experience than cheap with lies for starting. We shot film back when I did my first few weddings. Couldn't afford free but it was additional stress until the rolls were processed and safe.

Nick Viton's picture

"Everyone shoots a 'first wedding' at some point." Yes, but one should work their way up to that. Weddings are a big deal and tremendous responsibility, and one ought to get a ton of experience before shooting a wedding (at least as a Primary/Principle photographer). Ideally, one would first take assisting wedding gigs, shoot as a Secondary, etc., to garner a lot of experience.
Imagine trying to fly a helicopter for your first time. Are you just going to jump in the helicopter and start flying right away?

Jacques Cornell's picture

This is not incompatible with what I wrote above.

Lux Shots's picture

Don't call the photog a bottom feeder unless you have seen the photos yourself....

Saw the photos, and they are shit.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

If I understand well, their only point of reference was a Facebook page. People get what they ask for.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

I'm pretty sure this elderly couple didn't "ask" to be ripped off.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Man... I want to explain it to you, but no, you are on your own.

Remind people of this when you hear people say how easy photography is and how modern cameras do everything on their own.

Paul Christopher T's picture

Based on the info given, I can't say or not say (determine) how good or bad this phOtOg was, so yes let's see some phOtOs!!!!

David Pavlich's picture

Yep! I'd like to see the actual photos with the blurred background. The stock photo thing is a different story, but background blur is use a LOT for wedding shots.

Steven de Vet's picture

Spend 2 seconds on google to type "Brendan Lavery wedding" and you'll see them.

Stoopy McPheenis's picture

I googled it and didn't find any blurry photos. I saw sharp photos of a really ugly room with bad lighting but I couldn't find the blurry ones.

Many, many years ago, when I contemplated doing wedding photography before I realised

A) I didn't have the gear necessary
B) I DEFINITELY didn't have the skill necessary

I had been looking at wedding supplies (wedding albums, leaves, frames, etc. to try to cost it up).

As shocking as it may sound, there were "courses" which would "teach" you how to shoot weddings and they would include a full portfolio (stock!) so that you had something to show to prospective clients. There wasn't even any pretence at suggesting you should create your own - they gave you fake wedding photos so you could get clients.

In many cases, I'm sure, the "course" was just an excuse to sell you a complete - and fake - wedding portfolio so you could fool customers. It was a bit of a shock to see, but then there are website templates that kind of do the same thing these days.

In my law days I once had to handle the breach of contract dispute for a couple who'd had lousy photos taken. The posing etc. wasn't that terrible, but the photographer clearly didn't know how to use his gear. Out of focus, badly exposed etc. His argument was that they got what they paid for - they didn't!

Kyle Stauffer's picture

For those who have trouble comprehending or are a little slow...... It was £100 per hour, and the photograph on the article was most likely from the "staged" shoot and not one from the amateur.

Well, I am not a wedding photographer; but, without any guests, getting married in a courthouse, I don't know if I could provide anything beautiful.

Stoopy McPheenis's picture

You could. I believe in you!

Jacques Cornell's picture

I know plenty who could.

Rob Mynard's picture

I've come across a number of wedding photographers passing off other photographers work as their own. It's definitely sad for the couples who book them thinking their getting something they're not.

Jacques Cornell's picture

It's not just sad, it's FRAUD, and often copyright violation as well.

Let me be devil's advocate. Most wedding pictures could be easily reproduced by just about anybody. There are books with hundreds of wedding pictures intended to teach how to do it. Some people use these books to show potential clients what poses they could have. Stock pictures are in a same category. Unless photographer explicitly said that it was her pictures, there is nothing wrong to show stock pictures as an example of what photographer can do for a client.

Jacques Cornell's picture

No. Photos on a photographer's website, unless specifically indicated otherwise and attributed to another photographer, are fairly assumed to be the photographer's work. Posting stock without attribution is fraud. As for "just about anybody", you're simply wrong. I take it you don't shoot weddings.

You are right, I'm not a wedding photographer, but I can take any of the "pro wedding photographer pictures" and they will look a same or better. Anybody who has a brush and knows how to use it can reproduce Malevich’s Black Square and anybody who has a good camera and knows how to use it can reproduce any of wedding pictures. I take it you don't use stock photos and don't realize that royalty free stock photos are purchased for use without any attribution for any reasons. Stealing somebody's photos from the web is a different story. Showing somebody stock picture and telling them that I can do a same picture for you is not a fraud as long as you can deliver a same picture.

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