Hi, I am wondering if someone can help me out with an issue. We hired a professional photographer & videographer who worked as a team to cover my sister's wedding events. We received the full video yesterday and to our surprise, it is riddled with sudden camera movements, blurry shots and content of irrelevance. Much of the footage is also completely missing. The standard of work presented to us prior to contracting was of high professional quality and editing. My sister's wedding video was anything but "professional". My question is whether there is a quality or standard of control for photographers and videographers that market themselves as "professional"? If not, how can a client challenge their professionalism because the idea of presenting professional work is always expected but is never stated specifically in a written contract.
There is no defined standard or certifications as far as I know, except photographers and videographers live or die by word of mouth reviews from their customers, so if they were consistently poor they'd soon run out of work.
Was the photographer and video the same company? Was it just the video you had issues with?
You could get onto them and say you're not happy, you might get lucky and it could just be crappy editing that can be salvaged a bit.
Yes, both the photographer and videographer were part of the same company. We were unhappy with both the photographs and the video because of their amateurish standard. We feel cheated because this is not the standard that was shown to us, and it is certainly not what is displayed on their website. Is there a trusted site for reviewing photographers/videographers in Ireland?
Also our signed contract outlined that drone shots would be in use on the day of my sister's wedding. On the day, they informed us that their drone had a "technical issue" and was not functionable for the event. Their quick remedy for this issue was to use drone shots of the same venue from a different wedding which they had covered. So basically we have no drone footage from OUR event for which we paid.
Small claims court?
Grab a copy of the samples on their site if that is/is like what you were shown. Keep the delivered result. Tell the company you're really not happy, request an appropriate refund - if not forthcoming small claims court. €25 paper fee can recover all your funds quite quickly.
In our contract, they requested a cash payment for the full amount to be paid to them on the very first day of the 4 events (which we paid in full). Since the money was given fully in cash, how might this affect a small claims court case if we were to file one?
Not at all, unless the price was never written down and they're willing to lie to a judge(contempt).
It sounds like this company has a roster of photographers and videographers they use. It probably started out as a 1/2 person team and they expanded, training their "staff" up to shoot at their level (or enough to scrape by with most couples). Their public work is probably their own and is representative of what they aim to deliver but basically... they have some sh*t (and cheap) photographers/videographers in their ranks and you got burned. Small claims court is your best bet if they are not cooperating with you by offering some form of compensation. TBH, the minimum compensation if it's as bad as you say is a full refund.
Out of interest, what price bracket did they fall into? The saying "you pay peanuts, you get monkeys" is springing to mind. Not that that is an excuse for doing a bad job, they still had a body of work that you were happy with when you booked them, and they fell short of that standard. I just can't see a mid-high end vendor delivering such a below par product.
I am pretty sure their 'company' only consists of the one photographer and videographer. I say this because when we initially read the testiimonials section on their website, we saw that they were all referring to the one photographer and videographer that we hired.
They were paid 4,000 euros to cover 4 events (2 of which were 3 hours coverage and 2 were full coverage days). They requested in our contract to be paid full in CASH on the first day of the events. Now I see how sly this move was -- they are probably cheating on tax and had us pay in full which is uncommon practice before the final product is shown. They also breached our contract by not shooting any drone shots. They inserted 3 drone shots from a different wedding they covered into our video.
I am also highly concerned that the pictures and videos on their website aren't their own.
We asked them for the raw footage of the 4 events because it doesn't specify in our contract who has copyright over the footage. They aren't replying to our emails. Also, I'm not sure if copyrights have to be stated in a contract for them to say that it is THEIR property?
Have they offered you anything after you complained?
Pretty sure full payment on the day of the event is the standard practice.
This "4 events" thing, you basically mean a 4 day wedding, right? The thing with photographers is if they have a wedding "event" on a certain day they can't really take any more bookings, so even if you only want them hanging around for a few hours they need to make a days living out of it.
I wouldn't read into the cash thing too much.
Ok, well that makes it even more shocking so that they didn't deliver the standard shown in their portfolio. That's no way to maintain a reputation for yourself.
€4k for 2 people, for 2 full days and 2 smaller events is on the cheap end alright (even though it's a large whack of cash, there's 4 events covered). They're probably surviving on that because they aren't declaring income (hence the cash request as you noted).
How were they having drone problems over the 4 days? Was the drone ONLY specified for the wedding day itself? As you say, they breached their contract by not providing drone shots of YOUR wedding.
Hard to dispute that without the real owner claiming them. PM me their website (I won't name them) and I'll take a look. I'm very familiar with the wedding photography landscape in Ireland so I'd have a shot at recognizing someones work/style. I know people who have had this done to them before.
Regardless of everything else, THEY are the copyright owners. There's no ambiguity there so don't muddy your solid case against them with that argument. Also, it's really unlikely anyone is going to give you RAW content.
If they are not responding to emails, do you have a phone number? Business address? Bit extreme, but could you pose as another couple and arrange a meetup to discuss "your wedding".
Small claims seems to be the obvious approach here unfortunately. Sorry.
Agreed. I think though the timing of the 4 events could impact that. Was one of the events an engagement shoot for example. That could have been months before so it would not make sense to pay for all 4 events at that time.
Ah really now. Demanding cash. They're fiddling the books.
They're stretching at their price tag to compete in the low end of the market (and avoiding the tax to make it viable). None of that comes off as a professional or quality service, and TBH makes it all sound very dodge. Not to mention the situation the OP has now found themselves in.
Yea fair point.
Out of curiosity, has anyone experienced the small claims court in this sort of situation? The quality of photographs is such a subjective thing, surely they'd have to be absolute garbage to be lose a case?
Yeah would be good to get insight from someone who's been through it. I would, from my non-legal POV, assume though that the jarring difference between
would be a fairly open and shut case.
I goofed, this was a 4 day thing so obviously more expensive than I'd anticipated posting before. The limit on SCC is €2000, once the transaction is above that you cannot use them at all.
This would have to go to "real" court and incur legal costs. Seek advice from a professional.
I did not know that. Good point.