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Wedding Photographer Accused of Fat-Shaming After Over-Editing Engagement Photos

Wedding Photographer Accused of Fat-Shaming After Over-Editing Engagement Photos

Would you take the liberty to Photoshop an image so drastically that it offends your clients? That’s exactly what one wedding photographer did when they gave their client a “chin tuck.” 

After reaching out on Facebook for a wedding photographer and receiving roughly 20 responses, one couple is now regretting their decision to hire an Ohio-based wedding photographer that seems to be a bit Photoshop-happy. 

Apparently, the couple and photographer agreed upon two hours of wedding photography coverage and an additional engagement session for the amount of $600. Once the couple received the edited engagement photos, they noticed that the photographer had Photoshopped their bodies to appear thinner, commenting: “She actually Photoshopped one picture of us skinnier. She probably took like 30 pounds off each of us.”

Image via Independent.

While some may appreciate the photographer’s decision to edit the images so drastically, the bride-to-be and her fiancé did not. 

The couple then ran across a post made by the photographer on Facebook that only further upset them. 

While the couple may by definition be morbidly obese and they may have had some requests that were out of the norm for this photographer, perhaps better judgment in voicing her opinion online about her clients and their engagement session could have been exercised. She later went on to delete her Facebook rant and followed it up with this: 

The photographer disclosed to a local news station that she has apologized to the couple and refunded them, minus a $150 deposit. 

Do you feel that the photographer was inappropriate in dealing with this situation or that she "fat-shamed" her clients? Assuming you were hired for the same job, how would you have dealt with the challenges this photographer was faced with?

[via Independent]

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Lee Sechrist's picture

Did I miss the part where the couple was like "hey you didn't need to do that, can you fix it?" Also the post by the photographer was made in a closed group for photographers... what were they doing there? To me it seems like they are going a little overboard. I feel bad for this photographer. With that said... those photoshop edits were pretty weird.

Lane Shurtleff's picture

Yes, the woman in the wedding couple spent many many hours trolling FB and various local photography group pages looking for a fight (reason to use any excuse to either void her contract or make a big stink socially for what ever selfish reason). But the weekend warrior amateur wedding photographer handled the situation completely wrong in the first place. First, never photoshop a client without WRITTEN acknowledgement. Second, she should NEVER have sent the client out of focus images. This shows her complete lack of professionalism as well as her ineptness to use the tools she had.

Hans Rosemond's picture

Ugh. Don’t people realize that the internet is forever? In business, apologize, make the client happy. Calling out the client publicly was the worst thing she could have done. Maybe think about working on her posing and lighting skills to flatter the couple as much as possible without offending. In short, be a professional.

Parrish Ruiz de Velasco's picture

Totally agree, if you have to vent, call a close friend and move on. Dont cement your emotional words online lol

Anonymous's picture

"In short, be a professional." Yep, and there's the hook. A professional photographer wouldn't "vent" about a bad client on social media like this.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

She tried to flatter as you may read from her post. They are just not flat enough...

Mr Blah's picture

Or just don't take the clients that you don't feel confident enough you can make look good in images with using massive PS techniques...

They could have been at the most luxious hotel with a nice sunset over a beach... If you can't make them look good, don't take the job.

Matthew Saville's picture


Unless specifically asked by the client, (and approved on one image before continuing to others) ...NEVER retouch a photo in away that causes the subject / client to stop thinking "wow, I looked great on my wedding day!" etc. ...and instead start thinking "wow, they really photoshopped me!"

No matter how insecure or secure someone is, whether they're thin or "thick", ...nobody wants the first thing they think when they see an image to be, "wow, I was photoshopped like crazy". It doesn't matter how good you make them look, if the photoshop is obvious, it's going to be the only thing they see, for at least the first 30 seconds. And by then, the bad taste is in their mouth and it could be game over for the rest of the image set...

Even if you have a bigger client who mentions "can you photoshop me?", you should be discussing everything with them before you go nuts with the liquify brush. Talk to them during the shoot about posing, and show them photos on the back of the camera. Show them the un-edited proofs, and talk to them about concern areas. Then, if they say "yes, can you retouch my arm / chin / legs?" show them a subtle effect first, and ask if they're happy with that before going any further.

This photographer will hopefully learn a very important lesson, and hopefully the client won't have their body image seriously damaged by such an (un-intentional) insult.

[EDIT] OK, I just read the comments by the photographer more closely, and finally noticed they used the word "morbidly obese" in describing their clients.


Lee Morris's picture

I don't think the client would have noticed if she didn't see the original side by side with the edited shot.

Lee Morris's picture

I'm going to take the photographer's side here. The photographer wrote a negative post about this couple in a private group that was meant specifically for wedding photographers only after the clients were overly demanding and left her a negative review. She probably shouldn't have shown the pictures and she probably shouldn't have used the words "morbidly obese" to describe them, but it is a scientific, objective term.

I'm not sure the client has a right to be upset about the liquification on their images because the photographer didn't share these "over retouched" images without their permission. The photographer gave the client the option to choose either the edited shots or the original. I bet if the client hadn't seen them side by side, they wouldn't have noticed any editing at all.

I've shot weddings for 14 years now and I've liquified tons of body parts but nobody ever knows. And I only take the time to do it if the photos are going to print. To me, it seems like this photographer was going above and beyond to make the images look as good as she could and the client couldn't be satisfied.

What should have happened, if the client really wasn't happy, is they should have asked the photographer for their money back and the photographer should have given it to them and neither of them should have said anything publicly to anyone.

Hans Rosemond's picture

I don’t think the retouching itself is the crux of the problem. It’s the steps that happened after. We all have clients that we do not agree with. But rather than taking to social media (more on that in a second) the photog should have gone above and beyond to empathize with the couple and make it right, no matter whether she agreed with them, which to her credit, she did try to some extent.

As for the social media, we need to understand that there is no such thing as a “closed” group on the internet. What if someone in the group had weight issues and took the post personally, screenshot it, and found the clients? We need to be smart in this day and age. Make it as right as we can and move on. An internet group is still a public forum, even if it’s closed.

Lee Morris's picture

I think we agree. I've only had to do it a couple of times in my career, but when you get the vibe from a client that they will never be happy, give them their money back and forget about it.

Hans Rosemond's picture

Haha, the dogs thing would have scared me off. I can’t shoot dogs to save my life. Let alone 4.

Anonymous's picture

Something's amiss. If it is a private Facebook group (I checked: it is) how did the client have access to the post?

Regardless, it's not the "fat shaming" or even the "venting" that the unprofessional aspect of this. It's sharing images of the two online and detailing you're displeasure that is unprofessional. Sure, complain about a client (it can be therapeutic!) but don't share images of them while complaining.

Everything else, including the photoshopping, is common enough procedure like you said.

Lee Morris's picture

Some nark in the group probably sent it to the couple.

Anonymous's picture

The cutthroat, seedy underbelly of the Northeast Ohio Wedding Professionals Facebook group.

Parrish Ruiz de Velasco's picture

Sounds like a good Netflix documentary.

Tim R's picture

Probably a morbidly obese nark couldn't handle herself.

Brendan Cleary's picture

I love how you said was a "her" and not a "him". I got a good laugh out of that.

Chris Collins's picture

I am a LONG ways from in shape but I have noticed a number of really heavy wedding photographers and really wonder how they make in the summer heat in the south. With this trend of outdoor barn weddings, etc its rough and hell out there. I have seen a number of guests, bridesmaids faint and have often wondered how in the heck these photographers make it in the summer months.

Robert Nurse's picture

Before I do any retouching, I sit down with the client and ask what would they like done in post. Usually, they know about that pimple, wrinkle, fold, etc. and I never have to feel awkward. The photographer should have just given them what they wanted and waited for them to say, "Could you slim us down a bit?".

Lee Morris's picture

When you're shooting weddings and you literally deliver thousands of images, if you allow your client to tell you how they want every shot edited you will never finish. I personally lean toward no post processing unless the images are going to print but this photographer tried to do heavy retouching before delivery. Everyone handles this a little different but I'm not sure you can be that upset with this photographer for trying.

Studio 403's picture

No comment, I like the words, medically obese. That’s what my cardiologist told me. But really, what does that doctor know. Can you believe it! I told her when I weighed in at 319 lbs. I told my doctor I was not potty trained correctly. Her (doctor) eyes rolled, She suggested I get more involved in Photograhy and photo project and create more illusions. Now, that’s the kind of Doctor I love, please liquify me

Michael Coen's picture

My two cents:

It's probably a good general rule to assume that if you're going to put anything on the internet, even if it's a "private group," there should be some expectation that it can be seen by anyone. Also if you don't want to be accused of fat shaming, maybe using "morbidly obese" pejoratively isn't a good idea.

What I'm also interested to know is whether the photographer took charge of the situation? For example, why did she agree to shoot the couple in the back of a truck in direct sunlight? I wonder if she advised against this, or just went with it? A couple of people mentioned they feel bad for the photographer – I don't. Even though I'm new(er) to photography, one thing I've never done is leave location / set decisions strictly up to the clients. I'm curious as to whether the photographer even bothered looking for locations, setting up shoot times, advised her clients that things like 4 dogs and shooting in direct sunlight are horrible ideas for engagement photos. I'm sure the clients were plenty picky, but it also sounds like the photographer shares a fair amount of the responsibility for the failure.

Wix Mo's picture

Putting it in its context, yes it does make a difference and the target of using the term "morbidly" was not medical nor scientific...

Wix Mo's picture

Scientifically speaking yes. We will not argue that decimal 1+1 != 2

Wix Mo's picture

By the way, nice the thumb down :)

Ben Perrin's picture

To be fair to the photographer this does seem like one of those nightmare clients that you'd rather not have. Still it wasn't the smartest idea to write an emotional response like that on social media, even if it was a closed group. Seems like both parties could've acted a bit better.

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