Couple Stages Wedding Again for Reshoot After Amateur Photographer Used Stock Imagery in Her Portfolio

A couple has had to reshoot their wedding day pictures after it turned out their photographer was an amateur who took “diabolical” photos. The couple, who paid £100 per hour, complained the photos had “blurry backgrounds” and claimed some of the images on the photographer’s site were actually stock imagery.

Lin and Brendan Lavery, a couple of 16 years and residents of Devon, UK, were distraught to receive the images from their big day. Groom Lavery recalls:

Most of the pictures were out of focus. They are diabolical. We couldn’t believe that they were that bad. She took down her Facebook page and blocked us on her profile. We later found out she was an amateur. I wouldn’t have given £200 to an amateur.

They have since had to spend an additional £330 in order to take new pictures recreating the big day, including suit rental and the fees of another photographer. They initially consulted other photographers to see if anything was salvageable through Photoshop, but decided staging the wedding pictures was their best option.

What’s worse, a bit of investigating found the photographer in question had posted stock imagery to her social media pages, in what was likely intended to mislead potential customers. The photographer has since removed her Facebook page and blocked the couple.

Lead image by Emma Bauso from Pexels

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Chase Wilson's picture

Couple pays $260 for wedding photos.
They’re surprised that the photos came out poorly.
The photographer apparently used stock photography on their website.
The couple then pays $430 (minus suit rental) to retake them.

I’m struggling to determine what is newsworthy here.

David Moore's picture

My favorite is the backgrounds were blurry. So... the first one used shallow depth of field and these guys wanted phone camera shots? heh

amanda daniels's picture

I think it was per hour though, not in total. So we really don't know how much they paid since we don't know the time coverage. The blurry background statement makes no sense to me though, since hopefully it was intentional. However clearly the photographer did some lying or they wouldn't have blocked the couple and then removed their FB page, so that does say something about them.

Chase Wilson's picture

$130/hr - 2hrs
Regardless it’s not news. It’s not even an interesting story. It’s “Dog bites man.”

Jacques Cornell's picture

Sadly, not new news, but worth reiterating that dishonesty and lack of preparation on the part of wedding "photographers" is intolerable and has consequences. Too many weekend warriors out there lining up to cut the same corners.

Chase Wilson's picture

People pay more, and lose more on plumbing, hvhc, auto mechanics, house painters, landscapers one hundred times a day – every day of the year.

Someone didn’t get their monies worth, and had to re-hire to get the job done.

This just isn’t news.

Matt Neder's picture

It could be a solid article if the angle of the article was re-touched (to use a photography analogy) a bit. If the focus was more on how to properly present your portfolio to clients to ensure accuracy and consistency of your sample images and captured images for a specific client, and then this was used as a brief example of why this is so important, I think you'd have a stronger overall message. Rather than just "couple has to repay for photos. The end".

super steel_'s picture

$260 for a photographer....hahaha. youre expecting pics for that price?

Alex Herbert's picture

They probably didn't expect to be defrauded. I've gotten things for a bargain before, it happens. I've also shot a wedding for around £250 and the shots were decent. This isn't a case of you get what you pay for, this is someone going out of their way to deceive. The photographer could just as easily have charged £1,400 and done the same thing.

Bill Wells's picture

I think it said 200 pounds “per hour” so depending on time it could have been a 1400 pound wedding.

I didn’t see when they said the total amount paid or how many hours they were charged.

Jason Frels's picture

A 1400 pound wedding? That sounds like my cousin's.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

No, read again.100 per hour and the groom says he would not have given 200 to an amateur.

Alex Herbert's picture

Yeah, in the quote from the bride it says "I wouldn’t have given £200 to an amateur." but it's not clear if she means in total, or p/h. I think the lesson to be learned here is "do your research on someone before hiring them", rather than "don't book cheap photographers"?

Tony Clark's picture

Alex, you make nearly the same statement shortly after me and then criticized me? Dude...

Sam Hood's picture

If you read the article properly, it states that the couple paid £100p/h and their total costs were £200 so its most likely that they hired the photographer for the ceremony only, not the whole day which is a reasonable professional rate in the UK.

Fritz Asuro's picture

Price doesn't determine quality of work either.

Stoopy McPheenis's picture

Weddings are the worst.

Steven de Vet's picture

not necessarily "pay what you get".. but... yea for the 200 pounds, you perhaps shouldn't be expecting the world.
But, I did google the images, and yes.. they are very bad.

liliumva's picture

The couple is older, as in 69 and 71. The couple was married at a *courthouse* and paid a couple hundred for wedding photos. They also mentioned that *some* of the photos on this photographer's page were good, not the stock photos. I question how much they even researched or looked into this photographer. I wonder if all they saw was the cost. Yes, they don't deserve to be scammed, however they did say some of the OTHER photos were good. I mean, if there is a huge discrepancy in the quality of all of their photos then that tells you something is wrong.

Tony Clark's picture

My guess is that they booked the photographer off of one of those “budget websites”. It also appears that they got what they paid for.

Jacques Cornell's picture

Obviously, they didn't get what they were promised. Blaming the victim is a low blow.

Tony Clark's picture

A low blow? Do you take a car salesman or building contractor at his or her word? A few minutes online doing research or a few references for a photographer would reveal if they’re legit or not. I think the phrase, “buyer beware” applies to just about everything. Ever buy a piece of gear or software because it was much less than another only to have it fail at the worst possible moment? It’s a very similar situation to this couple’s experience.

Alex Herbert's picture

Dude, they're 69 and 71, give them a break. Sometimes in life you can hire someone to do a job and they're not a complete grifter, I'm guessing these two have lived pretty long lives without being scammed at every turn, or they would have been more cautious.

Alex Herbert's picture

I didn't know their ages when I wrote the first comment, scrolled down and saw someone else mention their ages, which is when I thought, to be fair, I can't really see people that age trawling the interwebs for info on someone.

Stoopy McPheenis's picture

Getting married at 71 is a clear sign of dementia.

Rob Mynard's picture

or its a sign of wanting to lock down your relationship status for legal reasons :-)

Jacques Cornell's picture

Dissing elderly optimists in love is a clear sign of...well, fill in the blank.

Stoopy McPheenis's picture

I'm not dissing the elderly, I'm dissing marriage. :)

Jacques Cornell's picture

Ah, well then, that would be "Getting married is a clear sign of dementia." No age mention required. As such, ANYBODY seeking a wedding photographer should be assumed to have diminished mental capacity. Which explains why the wedding market is the favorite place for fraudsters seeking easy marks.

Stoopy McPheenis's picture

I agree with this. But, one would assume we get wiser with age.... Which wasn't the case in this scenario.

Jacques Cornell's picture

"A few minutes online doing research..."
The photog had stock images on the website and actively sought to mislead the client. How is a buyer supposed to know that? Also, not everyone is a research expert. Some folks don't spend their lives online. Blaming the victim is a low blow. Responsibility lies squarely with the con artist.
As for "buyer beware", while it might be good advice, it's another form of blaming the victim after the fact. There's a reason why the government regulates product safety: consumers simply aren't equipped to evaluate many risks. If the photographer were up-front about their lack of ability and presented a website that actually represented what they could deliver, that would be different. But, in this case, the victims got conned, and blaming them seems simply churlish.

Tony Clark's picture

How many times will you post the same thing? You expressed your opinion so stop repeating yourself, we heard you the first time.

Jacques Cornell's picture

I didn't "post the same thing". I responded to additional comments in your second post with additional material of my own.
You expressed your opinion so stop repeating yourself, we heard you the first time.

Jeff McCollough's picture

If every photographer in my area charges $5000 to shoot my wedding and Bobby with his camera charges $250....idk dude....Idk anyone can believe they they will get decent stuff.

Jacques Cornell's picture

Let's face it: wedding work attracts the lowest common denominator. Every time I see a "shooting my first wedding, need advice" post, I want to scream at my computer. The capacity for people to be delusional and irresponsible is truly depressing. Don't point fingers at the clients. They may have been naive, but it's the bottom feeder photogs, especially the dishonest ones, who should be keelhauled.
I didn't shoot my first wedding solo until I'd worked at least 20 weddings as an assistant or second shooter.

Alex Herbert's picture

Everyone shoots a 'first wedding' at some point. Mine was in Jan last year, which I offered for free to a couple with pretty much zero budget. I was happy for the experience, they were happy for the photos (and video). Not every client is a photographer with a critical eye and not every novice is shit, lol.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

I prefer free if you are honest with your actual experience than cheap with lies for starting. We shot film back when I did my first few weddings. Couldn't afford free but it was additional stress until the rolls were processed and safe.

Nick Viton's picture

"Everyone shoots a 'first wedding' at some point." Yes, but one should work their way up to that. Weddings are a big deal and tremendous responsibility, and one ought to get a ton of experience before shooting a wedding (at least as a Primary/Principle photographer). Ideally, one would first take assisting wedding gigs, shoot as a Secondary, etc., to garner a lot of experience.
Imagine trying to fly a helicopter for your first time. Are you just going to jump in the helicopter and start flying right away?

Jacques Cornell's picture

This is not incompatible with what I wrote above.

Lux Shots's picture

Don't call the photog a bottom feeder unless you have seen the photos yourself....

Saw the photos, and they are shit.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

If I understand well, their only point of reference was a Facebook page. People get what they ask for.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

I'm pretty sure this elderly couple didn't "ask" to be ripped off.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Man... I want to explain it to you, but no, you are on your own.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Oh, darn. LOL

Bradley Occhipinti's picture

Remind people of this when you hear people say how easy photography is and how modern cameras do everything on their own.

Paul Christopher T's picture

Based on the info given, I can't say or not say (determine) how good or bad this phOtOg was, so yes let's see some phOtOs!!!!

David Pavlich's picture

Yep! I'd like to see the actual photos with the blurred background. The stock photo thing is a different story, but background blur is use a LOT for wedding shots.

Steven de Vet's picture

Spend 2 seconds on google to type "Brendan Lavery wedding" and you'll see them.

Stoopy McPheenis's picture

I googled it and didn't find any blurry photos. I saw sharp photos of a really ugly room with bad lighting but I couldn't find the blurry ones.

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