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Can I sue a wedding photographer who did a lousy job?

Dave Yong , Feb 13, 2006; 05:26 p.m.

Hi All! This disappointing event happened many years ago when we hired a wedding photographer for our wedding. Even though many years have passed, i still feel we were treated unfairly by the photographer who claimed to be an experienced wedding photographer, but in fact he was just an amateur in this business. Our best friends recommended their wedding photographer to us for our wedding day. After looking at his porfolios and checking out his price, we hired him. On our big day He showed up at my wife�s house with his so- called personal assistant early morning (later, we found out she was his girl-friend). Instead of getting to work right away, they sat down with our guests and ate their breakfast (foods for our guests). Throughout the day his girlfriend just enjoyed talking with other guests and partaking the meals; no assistance to the photographer whatsoever. After breakfast, He then couple pictures of the flower arrangements and some indoor decorations. After that, he and his girlfriend again joined our guests� conversation before the bride came down from the second floor. He did not go upstair or asked us should the bride�s preparation be recorded. He did not take note of who are the family members. He did not shoot a single picture of the wedding limousine we had paid big buck for, and the beautiful flower arrangements my bride loved so much inside the church. AT the park for outdoor shot, he screwed up a big family picture which was assumed to be our gift to all of our family members � the picture turned out blurry because he did not use a tripod. In most of the outdoor pictures our faces were dark and our poses were ugly because he did not offer any right posing tips.

He promised an unlimited shot but refused to shoot more than 200 pictures as the day went. His excuse is we already had more outdoor family/relative/friend portraits than he had in mind. It is fine! I was ok with that. He and his girlfriends were never invited to partake the evening reception with us; however, they sat down and ate as our program was proceeding. Every time I needed a picture taken during the reception, I had to ask our wedding coordinator to remind him of the program and when was the time he had to take some pictures. Because of his attitude we missed some memorable pictures during the reception. The worst is yet to come. My wife, after looking at the proof which is full of amateur quality pictures, made a claim that she wanted a refund. The photographer said no and insisted that without paying the rest of the money, we had no right to the pictures. After a long thought and struggle, we got the products we don�t like.. A question ocassionally lingers in my mind, is it possible to sue him back then since he is such an irresponsible photographer?

Last month, our friend hired a photographer for their wedding. The photographer, with all the fancy Nikon lens and a carbon fiber tripod, was very diligent and nice. After he showed the picture proof online, we all were disappointed with the poor quality of a so- called professional photographer who has a website full of flashy pictures and A plus customer feedbacks. If i were my friend, i would choose to sue the photographer..........


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Stephen Seward - St. Louis, MO , Feb 13, 2006; 05:33 p.m.

sounds like your out of luck, unless he violated the contractual agreement in any specific terms.

Richard Cochran , Feb 13, 2006; 05:36 p.m.

In the USA, just about anybody can sue just about anyone for just about anything.

Whether you can obtain a judgement is another question, and assuming you can win, whether you can collect is yet another question.

Winning a suit depends very much on the contract between the parties, as well as the laws of the state and/or locality where the incident took place. If you're thinking about a lawsuit, the best starting place is to bring your copy of the contract to your lawyer's office.

And don't trust web posts (including this one) when it comes to legal matters.

Ken Papai , Feb 13, 2006; 05:37 p.m.

Do you have a question? Don't come here looking for legal advice about sueing someone -- that is complete nonsense (your premise). If you had a problem(s) with your photos "many years ago" then it is too late to do anything about it. Would you sue your friends too for their lousy advice? With friends like that... What does your contract say? In any case incompetent people are in all walks of life. Sometimes too it is helpful to choose friends who can tell their left hand from their right. No one can stop you though, you sound so sue happy.

NK Guy , Feb 13, 2006; 05:43 p.m.

You're still nurturing this bitter resentment over an incident years ago? Maybe you should, I dunno, hold a big anniversary party and hire a good photographer and bask in the new happy memories rather than hoarding this cold lump of bitterness.

Ellis Vener , Feb 13, 2006; 05:52 p.m.

If you want real world legal advice: call a friendly lawyer and set up a meeting.

And don't forget to bring a copy of your contract to the meeting.

Jon Curtis , Feb 13, 2006; 06:00 p.m.

What a jerk!

Lets go to a wedding photographer forum and ask if we can sue a wedding photographer. Would you go to a doctor and ask him if you can sue another doctor?

Yes you can sue. Anyone can sue anyone anytime. Plain and simple. Will you win? Thats the question. I already see your a winner!

Do you not look at the portfolio before booking? Is the portfolio so much different then the pictures he took of you? Did he mis-represent himself?

Vladimir Pcholkin - Washington, DC , Feb 13, 2006; 06:02 p.m.

How about suing your best friends for their recommendation? And why are you asking this kind of question on a forum for wedding photographers? We are not lawyers. This forum is for wedding professionals to discuss their work and help each other to provide best service to their clients.

Conrad Erb - Philadelphia, PA , Feb 13, 2006; 06:02 p.m.

Dave - sorry to hear about your troubles.

As for suing, you need to talk to a lawyer for two reasons: first, to determine whether or not the photographer did not do something he said he would (ie. did he promise a certain XX of images? or a certain 'quality' of images? probably not), and then, whether or not too much time has passed to sue. There is a statute of limitations in many states and countries that says that after XX years, you can't sue someone for something. These tend to be very generous - ie. 25 years for a murder case - but if it.

What about your friend who gave you the recommendation for the photogrpher int he first place? Did you see their proofs?

I always tell my clients that it is entirely acceptable to ask to see an entire wedding, as it was presented to a client.

Next time you get married or have a party, make it simple and hire me. My clients are consistently thrilled, and you deserved no less on your wedding.


David Schilling - Chicago, Illinois , Feb 13, 2006; 06:04 p.m.

Sounds unfortunate.....you guys thought you were getting a pro but, too many assumptions. Your post illustrates how important it is to see full weddings by a photographer and establish some real credentials before you sign a contract. After the fact is too late, there will never be those moments again to re-capture. I guess you can sue, I donno,....but, what for? It's over.....

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