Getting bad wedding photos must be one of the most disappointing experiences ever.
Case in point, Ivan Tan.
Tan, who got hitched around 3 months ago, recently got his wedding photos back.
It was not what he expected.
Said Tan on Aug. 15 (referring to the photos):
"It was supposed to be a happy and memorable day but yet it turned out to be full of disappointment."
The couple paid Reflection Photography $2,700 for a "3-In-1" package that includes photography, videography and photobooth. Unfortunately, he was less than happy with the results, and took to Facebook to express that less-than-happiness.
You can see his post below:
1. Overexposed outdoor shoot
The first complaint was of the overexposed photos that were taken of the couple, the bridesmaids and the groomsmen at an outdoor location.
"Take a closer look at our wedding day album.
WHAT A HORROR. 90% of our outdoor shoot was overexposed.
Our brothers and sisters spent almost 2 hours under the scorching sun and that was the outcome we've got."
"All these overexposed are good? We can hardly see our faces. We cant even see clearly our bodies. We literally look like ghost."
2. Some were ok
Tan did acknowledge that some photos were "deemed OK".
However, it upset him that those photos were mostly of others who took part in the gate crash and tea ceremony.
However, even those weren't perfect to him:
He felt that the photos of the couple themselves looked "emotionless". Said Tan:
"On top of that, most of the deemed OK ones were those from gate crash and tea ceremony which focus mainly on everyone else and not the newly weds.
If that's the case, why should we even engage a wedding photography service when the focus is not on us? Generally, most of the "Couple-only" photos were emotionless. There wasn't even a reminder to smile for the camera."
3. Bad quality
Tan also criticised the technical quality of other photos, pointing out their bad lighting and composition.
Said Tan of the above photo:
"What kind of professional lighting and angle is this? Flash from bottom with shadows behind."
He didn't like the framing of this other photo too:
"Was this shot seriously taken? Apparently photographer did not understand the meaning of 'Centralized.'"
Not the response he wanted
Tan discussed the photos with the company's chief photographer, who apparently gave less-than-satisfactory answers:
"It was only until when we requested for a discussion did the chief photographer realized what he had given was not acceptable.
- I have seen the photos. They are OK. What's the issue?
- This is the first time we encountered such feedback.
- The photographer assigned to you is the TOP photographer with more than 10 wedding shoot experience.
Can someone pity our inability to respond normally to these comments? Should we start crying or should we die laughing?"
Tan also claimed instead of apologising, the photographer blamed the environment and the couple themselves for the bad photos:
"Totally lacking the basic skills of what a photographer should have. Angles, lighting, directing your subjects to get the best shots. Our photographer did way lesser than the base minimum of the above.
Instead of being apologetic for their incompetency, they criticized the subject(My Wife and I) and the environment for the bad photos."
There was even this parting shot:
"We recalled what Chief photographer have said:
"We neglected the fact that we have to give QUALITY photos rather than QAUNTITY (800 photos received)""
Not exactly the kind of thing you want to hear after feeling let down by your wedding photos.
Photographer's side of the story
Mothership got in contact with the founder and Chief Photographer of Reflection Photography, a man who only wanted to be known as Lawrence.
He explained that he met with Tan and his wife on July 3 to discuss the photographs.
During the discussion, the couple highlighted the same points that Tan mentioned in his Facebook post, i.e. the overexposed photos, the "emotionless" couple shots.
Lawrence explained that the Tans had personally chosen the photographer assigned to them after looking through the available portfolios.
Here are his responses to some of Tan's claims:
"I have checked with my photographer after the wedding when I reviewed the photos, on the over-exposure of the photos.
As we were moving from point to point, she checked the exposure occasionally, hence resulting some of the outdoor shoot photos being overexposed."
The hurried couple shots
"Not entirely accurate as this photographer of mine had a tendency of saying "ok, 1, 2, smile" before she pressed the shutter. However not all shots are done this way as some shots are done on the move, not posing for camera."
Neglected to give "quality" photos over "quantity"
"This statement is inaccurate, as during the discussion, Ivan's wife mentioned that she prefer quality over quantity. My reply to her was that usually, we would deliver around 600 plus photos.
Meaning to say she would not have received some of the over-exposed outdoor photos. Ivan requested for the original photos right after his wedding, which we have done so because his wife is my friend. Hence, the misconception started from there."
Not apologetic, and blamed the couple and the environment
"That is inaccurate. I have apologised to them when I was at their place for discussion for their disappointment with the outcome of the photos."
Made further edits
According to Lawrence, after the discussion on July 3, he agreed to help edit further some of the photos that the couple had pointed out. He returned these photos to the couple on Aug. 5.
You can see an example of the edited photos below:
1st round of edits
2nd round of edits
Offered and accepted discount
Furthermore, Lawrence said that the couple had asked for a discount of $1,000.
He declined to give this discount, for a number of reasons:
- They had chosen the photographer themselves.
- The couple had accepted the first set of edited photos, and asked for another round of edits for selected photos.
- Photography styles differed according to different photographers.
However, Lawrence did offer a discount of $300 instead, which Tan accepted.
(Update Aug. 17, 2300hrs: The bride reached out to Mothership SG and provided more information on her version of the events.)
Bride's side of the story
Here's what she had to say.
Choosing a photographer
While selecting a photographer, the couple viewed some portfolios and mentioned they wanted their own day to be done similar to a particular video. Lawrence said he would assign the same photographer to them, but the couple were not happy that the quality of her photographs was different from the video they saw. On the day, Lawrence acted as the videographer.
The couple did not receive the full set of the 2nd round of edited photographs. A Google Drive link was shared but was taken down.
Outdoor shoot and couple shots
The couple checked if the timing was suitable for an outdoor shoot, and was assured that it was fine. She also questions why the photographer did not check for overexposure during the shoot, given that she had some time in between taking photos to do so.
For the couple shots, some looked still bad despite the photographer having ample time to take them.
Quality over quantity
"With reference to “Neglected to give quality photos over quantity”, isn't quality photo a standard that should be given? And I was saying I don’t mind lesser photos, what I want is quality which is more important."
They were informed that it would take six to eight weeks to receive the edited photos. They decided they did not mind receiving the unedited photos so they could see them more quickly, to which Lawrence agreed.
When they discussed the bad photographs, she feels that Lawrence wasn't as contrite as he could have been. According to her:
"He only said: “I understand, I will discuss with (the photographer), edit the photos and come back to you again."
Throughout the whole convo, we are pointing out which photos cmi and the reply we got from him was: "Not that I wanna side our photographers, but photo outcome can never be the same all the time. It was indeed A LITTLE overexposed and (I don't) know why the photographer will take such shots.”"
The couple felt dissatisfied even after the edits, and did not wish to waste more time on something they felt could not be salvaged. They asked for a refund of $1,000 as compensation for the bad photographs out of their 3-In-1 package.
"Discount is only used when we are getting something we want / (are) satisfied with at a negotiated rate. In this case, our actual day was screwed up. Yes, they can compensate the money but how about our experiences and memories?"
She added that they trusted Lawrence because he was an old friend, and that they should have checked all of the company's portfolios first before making their choice.
Top image adapted from Ivan Tan's Facebook page.