Bride Threatens to Withhold Payment Unless Photographer Captures Everything on Her List

Bride Threatens to Withhold Payment Unless Photographer Captures Everything on Her List

It's always nice when you find a client who knows exactly what they want and have no issue communicating that to the photographer, but is this bride going too far by refusing to pay her wedding photographer the final payment unless they capture everything on her five-page checklist?

There may be situations when a potential client is struggling to explain what their exact requirements are or they may not give you enough input when it comes to organizing a shoot. However, when it comes to wedding photography, it's quite common to eventually run into what may be called a "bridezilla", namely, an intolerably demanding client who is insistent in running things her way only, and would provide her input more than required for the job to run smoothly.

A bride and groom in a green field.

In a recent Facebook post, one bride-to-be laid out her advice to other brides and grooms, by explaining that she would not be paying her photographer their final payment, unless her five-page long checklist of must-have photographs has been fully ticked. In her post, the bride assumed that her advice will be helpful to other couples planning their big day, however, she was quickly criticized for her attitude, and looking at her original post, it is not surprising.

A Facebook post written by a bride-to-be

Unfortunately, this will not only apply to her photographer, but also to the videographer. As the bride claimed, she will note specific videos she wants recorded in full length, edited, or otherwise. She justified her advice by reminding that her wedding is a once in a lifetime event, and as such she wants to ensure that she receives every single photograph and video that she has envisioned.

Unsurprisingly, others quickly reminded the bride that this is not how the process works, and the photographer and videographer will provide a contract on their terms, not otherwise. Equally, others explained that the general booking process involves paying a deposit upon booking the service, followed with final balance days or weeks before the wedding date, depending on each photographer or videographer's terms and conditions. 

A social media comment screenshotUpon seeing client requests such as these, it may be beneficial to revisit your contract and ensure that your contract is up to date and you have protected yourself from similar issues, should any ensue. It's unknown whether a particular photographer and videographer have already been booked by the bride concerned, but hopefully the bride will revisit her demands and minimize the risk of feeling let down, should certain requested shots and videos be impossible or be missed. For some of us, this may be a reminder about the realities of wedding industry.

Screenshot of a social media post commentWhat would your response be, if a client approached you with such specific demands?

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47 Comments

Previous comments
Jim Bolen's picture

I've had that scam emailed to me maybe a couple of dozen times.

I don't do wedding photography but if the expectations are laid out clearly upfront I don't see a problem. The photographer can decide if he/she can do the shots and quote a price. I think I would prefer it that way.

michaeljin's picture

LOL! Ok.

Percy Ortiz's picture

my contract says "full payment is needed before any photography work may commence" problem solved. Lets move on... I read something about a penis camera? :P

Mark Johnson's picture

Find another photographer.

Dave Terry's picture

Send her an itemized price list for each of her requests with true ala-carte pricing (which is always higher than package pricing) on top of a large flat fee.

Pedro Pulido's picture

she's got it wrong from start to finish. If i'm getting married, i will look at potential photographers portfolios and then BASED on that and pricing/availability/product package etc - then i decide if i move forward with him/her or someone else..

Therefore, my asnwer would be "i'm sorry, but this is not how i work. Here is the contract i present to every couple getting married. If you like my work and want me to shoot your wedding, it will be my pleasure. If you don't agree with the contract, then i wish you a very happy wedding and hope you can find the right person"

it would be interesting to find out how this story ends.

Deacon Blues's picture

If she treats her husband any way close to this, don't worry, there will be more chances to get those "once in a lifetime" (lol) shots.

Did you notice how short the shot list is for the groom? Her list runs off the screen and he's in 3 photos lol And I don't see any "Bride and Groom" together shots ahaha Run, buddy, RUN!!

user-146450's picture

I would not consider myself a professional wedding photographer, but in the half dozen weddings I have done, after the one first, I figured out what trips one up. Firstly, always meet with both the bride and groom to make sure they know you are in charge and that if there are others with cameras to look at your camera as a priority. Second, ask them to put a list of about 8 captures they want of their family members and insist that maid of honor have a copy and on the day connect with maid of honor. Then make bride and groom understand that the photography part takes much longer than we plan, particularly if they want magazine like poses. I would not give a bride the photos until they paid.

amanda daniels's picture

I am guessing she didn't hire a photographer yet? Because no photographer in their right mind would agree to her terms, not only the requested photos but the payment not being paid before her event. This is why I didn't want to get into weddings, but I did and this is why I only take on clients that I want to work with. I am sure she will have a hard time finding a photographer, because most (hopefully all) are going to turn her down. And whoever she does hire, I feel sorry for them. No amount of money is worth taking her on as a client.

Anete Lusina's picture

I had the exact same feeling. By the sounds of it, I don't think she thinks too highly of photographers nor does she value the skill and experience it requires to be a good wedding photographer. It sounds like she's after a camera operator that ticks check-boxes of shots, no personality, just a simple transaction of certain shots for a sum of money.

Eric Kai's picture

Once bride said that’s she’s not satisfied with pictures becouse GROOM IS NOT REALLY HANDSOME!!! And her 14 years old daughter from previous marriage could shoot better pictures with her sell phone ( I really wish to see her daughter tallented so much)

First sign that I should’nt close that deal was that they asked for a discount from the first words they’ve spoke to me.
They also told me that the wedding is gonna happen in a 15 miles away from city I live.

(Didn’t told me exact location till the last week before wedding. it appeared to be almost 250 miles away)

They made a pre-wedding parties just the night prior the wedding. ( u could imagine the impact on their appearance)

Right at 9am bride’s best friend fried wedding dress with and iron.

As a result I get:
- dissatisfied with her choice bride
- not really much money
- 23 hours shift.

Since that wedding I do ask tonts of questions in a first message. I do warn clients that if they dont like each other it’s not my fault.
And if they are not agree with my contract its okay to shake hands right now and head our own ways.

Later on i quit shooting weddings.
I stopped having inner challenge and currently testing myself with some fashion photography.

Cheers for those who managed to read my really bad English. 👌🏻

I want no part of the pressure, drama, or indignity of photographing weddings. I did it once--as a backup, on a lark--for a friend, and charged nothing so there would be no specific expectations. I can't imagine a form of photography where the worker is more alienated from their labor.

Robbie Keene's picture

I understand it can be lucrative but I'd rather shave my head with a cheese grater than shoot a wedding.

I had a client like this last year. They presented me with an impossible list that was all about ticking boxes, and generally expected me to be in two places at once most of the time, one example being they thought it was reasonable to ask me to shoot both bride and groom prep. They also refused to hire a second shooter, woefully got their estimated journey times between venues wrong, and insisted they didn’t want formal groups so didn’t supply a list of those, then proceeded to ambush me with them on the day.

Of course, I told them I couldn’t be in two places at once throughout the day, they ignored that. They also hired me on the basis that I was a documentary photographer, then expected me to shoot in a completely mechanical way that I simply don’t do. The bride was the most over-entitled individual I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet. They also hired a videographer that was so far up his own backside, he refused to collaborate, made my job harder and spent most of the day telling me what I should do.

Add to this, four pays before the wedding shoot, I had surgery for a kidney stone (had a stent fitted), the day was one of the hottest of the year, suffered all day, I didn’t let them down, and peed blood at the end of the night and was a mess physically. I was there an hour and a half over my contracted time and they were brazen about getting me to stay as well. If I say so myself, I did a damn good job, and she had the nerve to complain because I didn’t every shot on her list and asked for a refund.

She even admitted she couldn’t complain at the approx 3000 final edited images I provided, but she kept complaining and even slandered me. I told her she had no basis for complaint or a refund. I’ve been shooting weddings over ten years, never had a client like it before, always use contracts, I’m fully insured (even used the legal advice provided through my insurance) but I learnt rather a lot from that episode, and it wouldn’t happen again.