Wedding Photography Horror Stories

Updated: Sep 24, 2019

Hiring a photographer can be scary stuff... You're relying on a stranger to show up and do a good job capturing the most important day of your life. And there's only one shot at it! You can't reschedule your wedding just because your photographer can't make it. That's why we broke down some 1-star reviews of photographers from across the web.

We'll also give some advice on how to write a strong wedding photography contract to make sure you can prevent these from happening to you!

1-Star Review: We gave her our wedding date, which she confirmed. I took a little long to respond after that, but I figured we were still good because we had confirmed the date. I messaged her a few days prior to the wedding and she didn’t respond... I haven’t heard from her since. I’m heartbroken...

Solution: The best way to set up a trustworthy relationship with your photographer is with a deposit and a contract. These are necessary to make sure your photographer is invested and has booked your wedding day in their calendar. Without a deposit and a contract, you can’t assume that your photographer will show up.

1-Star Review: I HAVE NOT RECEIVED MY PHOTOS. Our wedding was in May!! He has not returned my calls or text in over a month. I do not recommend his services. Worst experience ever.

Solution: It’s a good idea to have a contract that explicitly states the deadline for you to receive the edited photos. That way, there’s an amount of legal pressure for your photographer to hold up his/her end of the bargain.

Your photographer will probably require full payment before handing over all the photos. That’s because, unfortunately, there are clients out there who try to avoid paying. But with the deadline written into your contract, you do have the option to take your photographer to small claims court. It’s a last resort, but even just the mention of it can keep your photographer honest.

Writing a wedding photography contract

1-Star Review: First, he arrived 30 minutes early (which is great) but then he left 30 minutes early, saying he had worked his full 4 hours. As a result, he missed our cake cutting and the speeches! I can’t get those moments back, they’re gone now.

Solution: Have your start and end times written into your contract. If you have that, you can tell your photographer that they’re contractually obligated to stay until the end time, even if he or she showed up early. If they leave early anyways, they’re in breach of contract!

1-Star Review: He was disorganized in his communication and ultimately ghosted us after trying to get paid for footage he never delivered. I reached out to him via every form of communication and he did not respond. I would not recommend this person.

Solution: A photographer who is disorganized or poor at communication can be a red flag. If you get the impression that your photographer isn’t trustworthy, you should address it. Especially if you notice problems before your wedding. If you really don’t trust your photographer, you might want to try to negotiate out of your contract.

Wedding photography contract tips

1-Star Review: Shelby was a nice lady but I felt rushed when we were shooting.

Solution: Communication is key, at every stage of the process. It’s a good idea to talk with your photographer before your wedding about everything you want to accomplish. For example, take a moment to think about all the combinations you want for family photos. Bride with bride’s parents? Bride and groom with bride’s parents? Bride with each individual bridesmaid?

It’s a good idea to think through everything you want and communicate that to your photographer before your wedding. And double check with them to make sure your schedule allows for enough time to accomplish your list. If all else fails, you can tell your photographer on the spot that you feel rushed!

1-Star Review: We hired David to shoot raw footage only. But the end result looked terrible. Like, unusable. Please don’t work with him, you’ll just be disappointed.

Solution: We generally don’t suggest asking for raw photos or video. Editing is a necessary process to making beautiful work. Photographers and videographers intentionally shoot in a way that will best support editing. So the raw photos might look too dark or very bland. The video might look shaky or might have a lot of digital noise. We highly suggest that you look for a package that includes editing.

If you want to know what items should definitely be in your photography contract, reach out to us! We’d be happy to help.


Phone: (727) 735-4472

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