Wedding photographer deposit - advice needed

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Weddings & Anniversaries
8 replies 2K views
hammond_cheesehammond_cheese Forumite
24 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Weddings & Anniversaries
Hi

I wonder whether anybody has any advice for my situation. My fiance and I are in the process of booking a photographer for our wedding which is still over a year away.

After some negotiating about package/price over email and phone we decided to go with a particular photographer and paid her a booking fee to secure the date, after which she sent us a contract to read and sign. In hindsight perhaps we were stupid to pay this booking fee before having seen the contract, but we didn't think it would be an issue at the time.

Our problems started when we received the contract. There are numerous terms in there that are not what we agreed in our earlier discussions. Most are fairly minor things but it is still slightly frustrating. One item is the requirement to provide the photographer with a meal, which we have to pay for separately and is not an insignificant cost - this was never discussed beforehand. Another item is the non-inclusion of some extras that we agreed verbally beforehand.

We have now agreed to provide the meal as a gesture of goodwill but the photographer is not budging on the other extras, denying that we agreed them before.

We are not actually hugely bothered about the extras in question; it's more the principle and the fact that we want to have a friendly, trusting relationship with our wedding suppliers. So our dilemma is this: give in and sign the contract, knowing that we've been slightly cheated, or try and withdraw and get our booking fee back. Given we only paid the booking fee just before seeing the contract I don't think it's unreasonable to expect it to be returned but I don't know what the legal position is.

One other factor is that we got a good deal with this supplier so going with somebody else is likely to cost us more.

Any opinions welcome - thanks!

Replies

  • MarkthesharkMarktheshark Forumite
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    How did you book ?
    Online ?
    And when, the Consumer Contracts may give you the right to cancel outright.
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  • hammond_cheesehammond_cheese Forumite
    24 Posts
    How did you book ?
    Online ?
    And when, the Consumer Contracts may give you the right to cancel outright.

    Thanks for your reply. We agreed the booking via email and paid the fee about three weeks ago, but had to wait about 10 days after that to receive the contract.
  • I would be really unhappy in your situation, and would be demanding my deposit back and finding another photographer. I would want a supplier I feel I can trust, not one who is out to make a profit and clearly doesn't care about your wedding. Get rid of this photographer and meet new potential ones in person!
  • edited 10 July 2015 at 10:54AM
    LEJCLEJC Forumite
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    edited 10 July 2015 at 10:54AM
    Its a really difficult situation that you're in. To be honest its not that unusual to provide a meal for the photographer particularly if you are requiring them to be there at the reception and possibly the whole day...having said that,you just need to speak to your reception and explain that an extra meal is required for the photographer and some do give discount as they are not treated in the same way as the guests..ie he's not going to be sat at a guests table enjoying the ambence of your wedding ans will probably eat in a side room...the venue may even suggest that a different slightly less formal meal is sufficient afterall he wont need a starter or even a pudding...just something to provide fuel so to speak.
    Pleas dont assume that you should be paying for him as a full guest...that certainly isnt the case and neither I would imagine was it the intention of the photographer to expect top be treated as a guest when the request for the meal was made.

    I do hope you can resolve your issues and end up feeling very confident with your choice of photographer,its a big part of the memories of the day going forward and a bad set of photos or a lack of communication between yourselves and the photographer over what you actually want can really impact on what you receive.
    How much have you paid as a holding fee?...and in walking away and finding someone else would you feel more comfortable with that....now with a year to go is the time to make that decision...its probably going to be easier to arrange a replacement mow and there be more choice than realising just before the wedding that you made a bad judgement....if you're nervous about any aspect of the quality of work or you feel edgy about what youre getting as part of the package perhaps you need to arrange a meeting with the photographer to discuss the way forward and perhaps ask to see some previous work.
    In order to get good pictures there needs to be good communication
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  • hammond_cheesehammond_cheese Forumite
    24 Posts
    Thanks for your replies.

    We did indeed find out from our venue that we can have a meal provided to our suppliers at a discount compared to the normal guest rate, and I agree that it doesn't do any harm to cover the cost as it shows some goodwill and keeps the relationship good. I just think it's a shame that the relationship seems one-sided, with the two of us willing to make compromises following our original agreement but the photographer actually going back on something she'd promised before.

    From now on I will make sure we agree all this stuff in writing before paying any money I think!
  • hammond_cheesehammond_cheese Forumite
    24 Posts
    Also, the other inherently difficult aspect about situations like this is that the service hasn't been provided yet and there needs to be a good relationship post-discussions. So I feel like there's a limit to how much we can dispute things if we've chosen to proceed - even if we're in the right - as the worst thing of all would be to go ahead on a poor footing.
  • edited 10 July 2015 at 1:45PM
    LEJCLEJC Forumite
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    edited 10 July 2015 at 1:45PM
    Also, the other inherently difficult aspect about situations like this is that the service hasn't been provided yet and there needs to be a good relationship post-discussions. So I feel like there's a limit to how much we can dispute things if we've chosen to proceed - even if we're in the right - as the worst thing of all would be to go ahead on a poor footing.

    Have you actually met with this photographer?
    What were your impressions of her on meeting her,did you feel relaxed and do you feel that she will be able to capture your weeding in the way you want to remember it..?
    Or is it a business relationship and execution thats so far has been carried out over a series of email exchanges?

    Its not about you being in the right or indeed her being in the right its about obtaining a beautiful set of pictures that will evoke wonderful memories of your wedding day in years to come....

    You may well feel that theres a limit to what you can dispute but in honesty if you were happy with your photographer then there should be nothing to dispute.
    If you dont trust this woman now or you are having concerns,those are only likely to grow over the next few months and by the time she's shot your photos on the day it will be too late to do anything other than hope for the best.

    Personally I've been married quite a few years...and had a wonderful photographer who captured lovely photos which still manage to put a smile on my face each time I look at one.
    I did however have grave concerns over my wedding cake which turned into something I wasnt happy with come the day...but the cake is now eaten and essentially forgotten by most....except me who still wishes I had cut my losses when I had the chance instead of hoping for the best...

    Photos capture the mood of the wedding and if you are having doubts about the way your discussions are going regarding the day enough to post for peoples opinions on a wedding forum,then I think that perhaps you may already know that potentially you dont have the photographer that matches your expectation.

    Your photographer may produce a wonderful representation of the day.....and in reality only gets one chance to get it right...so if you are not happy with how things are going you need to either air your concerns to her,find another or rely on friends and family to capture your day....in essence you DO need to trust her!

    ETA....cost is important as is service and in some ways whats the point of paying any amount of money for a set of photos that you dont like or are going to feel in the future that you didnt have a good deal on or were denied extras that were initially promised etc etc....
    Again its just my view but surely its better to perhaps pay a little more or indeed negotiate a deal with someone else who is going to give you want you want rather than what they want to supply...a "good deal" is not so good if you dont get what you want and what will make you happy!
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  • gadgeteer_2gadgeteer_2 Forumite
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    Also, the other inherently difficult aspect about situations like this is that the service hasn't been provided yet and there needs to be a good relationship post-discussions. So I feel like there's a limit to how much we can dispute things if we've chosen to proceed - even if we're in the right - as the worst thing of all would be to go ahead on a poor footing.

    Hi

    I'm a wedding photographer. The meal thing is not uncommon but i'd say it's not defacto. Personally I think it's very presumptuous. That being said the majority of my couples this year have offered to feed me and I do accept if offered. I would never make it a contractual term though.

    What are some of the other terms you've mentioned that you are unhappy with? Feel free to PM me and I will tell you if this is in line with industry practice or not.

    I've refused to budge on certain terms before and some are mandated by my insurance company. My general rule of thumb is if it's in, it's a dealbreaker if it's not. My contract terms aren't there as a wishlist for what i'd like. It's for the absolute minimum to protect both of us.

    However like I said, either list the terms you are unhappy with here or drop me a message.
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