We are back for more advice for photography week!  This time we are keeping it real and providing a few tips for what to do when things don’t work out as you envisioned.

Few wedding photographers will admit it.  But, it happens.  Sometimes couples are unhappy with their wedding photos.  Regardless of whose fault it was (and believe me, it could have been yours), or what could have been done in the moment to avoid it, the reality is what it is:  you have your pictures back from your wedding and you don’t like them.  Now what?


Photo Credit: Lisa Boggs Photography

We talked to photographers in DC, MD and VA and they offered some great advice for how to deal with your wedding photographs when they don’t meet your expectations.

Talk to your photographer.
The number one piece of advice by far was to communicate directly with your photographer.  Talk to them as calmly as possible and tell them what the problem is.  Be prepared to tell them exactly what it is that you don’t like about your wedding photographs.  Remember, when I talked about all that editing that photographers do? Well, sometimes there are things (big and small) that photographers can do in the editing process to alter the photos more to your liking.  It doesn’t always work, but a good photographer might be able to work their magic.

Direct from the pros:  “Schedule a time to meet with the photographer face to face.  People are very adept at hiding behind their computer.  If the photographs are so bad that there is very little the photographer can do to redeem him/herself, they might consider asking the photographer if the images can be sent somewhere for retouching.  A great retoucher can make a point and shoot image look like a Monet,” says Terra Dawn.


Photo Credit: Jennifer McMenamin Photography

Let them make it right.
If a photographer knows that you are upset, it is in their best interests to make it right.  You need to give them the chance to fix the mistakes or do what they can to resolve the situation.  “Making it right” is whatever makes you feel better.  They aren’t miracle workers, so they might not be able to make things perfect and go back and re-shoot your wedding, but they can certainly try to make amends.  In addition to trying to fix the photographs, they could offer you a partial refund, give you a credit towards your album or do another photo shoot for you.

Be specific.
Simply saying that you don’t like your wedding photographs isn’t good enough.  It doesn’t give the photographer any clue as to how to fix it.  Say something like, “I wish there were more black and white photos,” or “I wish there were more close up shots of the decor,” or “I didn’t get a photo of my college friends.”  The more detailed you can be, the better for everyone.

Direct from the pros:  “Be honest, be specific about what you didn’t like, and let your photographer know what they can do to make you happy. I know its really difficult to emotionally detach yourself from your wedding photos and be objective, but most photographers want to make their clients happy, we depend on those great reviews and referrals,” says Jessica from Paired Images.


Photo Credit: Laura Ashbrook Photography

Ask to see all of the images.
Often times wedding photographers don’t show all of the images with their clients.  There can be 1,000s of photos from just one wedding.  They only edit and then share the best of the best photos.  If there is something missing or something that is making you unhappy about your photos, perhaps there are more photos that you aren’t seeing that could solve the problems.

Go for another session.
One way that a photographer could make it up to you is to offer a discount or a free photography session after your wedding.  Book a “ day after” session with your same photographer or try a different photographer.  A day after session, also called “rock the frock” or “trash the dress,” is a chance for you put on your wedding wear one more time and have some fun.  You’ll get photos in your wedding attire and, hopefully, some really great ones that you wouldn’t have otherwise had time for on your wedding day.

Direct from the pros:  “Jason and I got married five years ago in South Florida before we were wedding photographers.  The photographer we hired produced images that were not of the quality that I expected.  There was no communication before the wedding about what she would be shooting, how much time she needed with us, or where we would have stylized pictures done.   I would have given her over an hour to shoot Jason and I alone on the beach the day of the wedding, but I was never given the guidance.  As a result we were not happy with our photos.  One day, we plan on pulling out the wedding gown, renting a tux, and doing a ‘day after’ session with a different photographer, so that we get the images that we really wanted,” says Cicely from Procopio Photography


Photo Credit: Kristi Odom Photography

Avoid problems from the start.
Almost all of the photographers in DC, MD and VA that we talked to said that the number one way to avoid photography problems all together is through research.  If couples are exhaustive in their photography research before their wedding, and hire a photographer that they are comfortable with, many problems after the wedding can be avoided.  Also, make sure that you are working with a reputable photographer.  You want a wedding photographer whose work you like and that you personally click with.

Direct from the pros:  “If they are diligent when hiring their photographer, that shouldn’t happen.  Studios who have a proven track record with a reputation of quality work are referred for a reason.  If a photographer is hired only because they have a flashy blog or website then you’re taking your chances,” says Raye, owner of Gillette Portrait Arts.

Good luck finding a wedding photographer and we hope that you never need to use the tips in this post!  Be sure to come back all for more from photography week.

* Kristi Odom Photography and Lisa Boggs Photography are a few of our fabulous sponsors.  For more on our editorial policies, please click here.

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