Forums > Photography Talk > Wedding photographer sued

Photographer

Great Captures

Posts: 90

Bonita Springs, Florida, US

We hear horror stories of photographers getting sued by the bride and groom that their wedding memories were ruined because the photographer lost their images, etc.

Do the bride and groom have less of a case in court these days now that almost every person at a wedding seems to be armed with a camera?

When I was married over 20 years ago, it was only film and if the photographer lost or damaged the film it would be gone for ever.

These days guests are posting pictures before the first dance is over.


Thoughts ?

Jan 02 13 09:19 pm Link

Photographer

Leighthenubian

Posts: 2968

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

They aren't paying the guests for photos. Uncle Bob's are nothing new. They have the same camera gear we do, and no pressure at all. That's why we charge upwards of $3500 per wedding. That pays for time, resources, insurance and a second shooter..stuff Uncle Bob doesn't have to waste his time and energy on.

Jan 02 13 09:27 pm Link

Photographer

fullmetalphotographer

Posts: 2789

Fresno, California, US

That's what we call, "Smoke  them if you got them Defense". That is where you go into court pour a couple of gallons of gasoline and light up.

You know lost the case when judge Judy starts sounding like Samuel Jackson.

Jan 02 13 10:19 pm Link

Photographer

MC Photo

Posts: 4144

New York, New York, US

Great Captures wrote:
We hear horror stories of photographers getting sued by the bride and groom that their wedding memories were ruined because the photographer lost their images, etc.

Do the bride and groom have less of a case in court these days now that almost every person at a wedding seems to be armed with a camera?

When I was married over 20 years ago, it was only film and if the photographer lost or damaged the film it would be gone for ever.

These days guests are posting pictures before the first dance is over.


Thoughts ?

That's an interesting question.

If there's an argument about the quality of photos and there are a dozen guests to compare to, that could help the photographer's case unless someone there has better photos.

Jan 02 13 10:23 pm Link

Photographer

Ruben Sanchez

Posts: 3505

San Antonio, Texas, US

Great Captures wrote:
Do the bride and groom have less of a case in court these days now that almost every person at a wedding seems to be armed with a camera?

When I was married over 20 years ago, it was only film and if the photographer lost or damaged the film it would be gone for ever.

Thoughts ?

The guests are never sued if they don't produce the photos that the bride and groom were expecting from the paid photographer.

Simple case, if the paid photographer lost or ruined the photos.  Guilty!  Yes, it's a tough business.

Jan 02 13 10:31 pm Link

Photographer

AVD AlphaDuctions

Posts: 10559

Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

The guests are irrelevant. and there have been a few (only a few) very high-profile cases where a wedding photographer was sued. There were several threads about it on here. If you are curious you can search for them.

The basic point is the photographer is providing a service under certain terms.  Fail to meet those terms and you risk getting sued.  If the terms are objective, it gets nasty real quick. if the terms are subjective, its more difficult for the client.  Nothing can stop an unhappy client from suing but if you provide the service you contracted for the client will end up paying court costs and perhaps paying you damages.  You cant stop a frivolous lawsuit anywhere but these things don't happen every day. It just appears that way from the press.  Most people go their entire lives without getting sued.

Jan 02 13 10:41 pm Link

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Photographer

-JAY-

Posts: 6708

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

An example from my wedding - Guest vs Professional - with nearly the same gear, taken moments apart, from a few feet apart:

http://www.jayleavitt.com/links/guest_vs_pro_1.jpg

http://www.jayleavitt.com/links/guest_vs_pro_2.jpg


Gear doesn't mean a damn.

Jan 02 13 11:45 pm Link

Photographer

DougBPhoto

Posts: 38613

Portland, Oregon, US

-JAY- wrote:
An example from my wedding - Guest vs Professional - with nearly the same gear, taken moments apart, from a few feet apart:

http://www.jayleavitt.com/links/guest_vs_pro_1.jpg

http://www.jayleavitt.com/links/guest_vs_pro_2.jpg


Gear doesn't mean a damn.

Damn, I told her to hire a better looking groom!!   tongue

Jan 02 13 11:47 pm Link

Photographer

DougBPhoto

Posts: 38613

Portland, Oregon, US

Great Captures wrote:
We hear horror stories of photographers getting sued by the bride and groom that their wedding memories were ruined because the photographer lost their images, etc.

Do the bride and groom have less of a case in court these days now that almost every person at a wedding seems to be armed with a camera?

When I was married over 20 years ago, it was only film and if the photographer lost or damaged the film it would be gone for ever.

These days guests are posting pictures before the first dance is over.


Thoughts ?

Ummm, you have a contract for which you are paid, if you don't deliver on what you were paid to do, clearly you've breached that contract.

The real question from a legal standpoint is what are the damages.

Yeah, it is possible that some judge may think that the presence of photos from other sources may minimize some damages (such as if a bride was claiming OMG, there will NEVER be photos), but the fact is that weddings are a one shot deal and wedding photographers are hired not just for the photos but also to *not* fuck up.

Jan 02 13 11:51 pm Link

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Photographer

-JAY-

Posts: 6708

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

DougBPhoto wrote:

Damn, I told her to hire a better looking groom!!   tongue

Too pricy... I work for beer.

Jan 02 13 11:54 pm Link

Photographer

Andrew Thomas Evans

Posts: 24078

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US

Great Captures wrote:
Thoughts ?

I'd love to hear that "sorry, but they don't have a case because the guests photos were as good or better than mine." Because that makes a lot of sense.

Sure accidents happen, that's why a person, for any job, needs to be ready for anything and have plans for anything. Losing the files without something major happening (accident on the way back, or there, fire, etc) is a very rookie mistake.



Andrew Thomas Evans
www.andrewthomasevans.com

Jan 03 13 12:58 am Link

Photographer

Kaouthia

Posts: 3152

Lancaster, England, United Kingdom

Andrew Thomas Evans wrote:
Sure accidents happen, that's why a person, for any job, needs to be ready for anything and have plans for anything.

And insurance. smile

Jan 03 13 04:33 am Link

Photographer

Glenn Hall - Fine Art

Posts: 452

Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Illuminate wrote:
They aren't paying the guests for photos. Uncle Bob's are nothing new. They have the same camera gear we do, and no pressure at all. That's why we charge upwards of $3500 per wedding. That pays for time, resources, insurance and a second shooter..stuff Uncle Bob doesn't have to waste his time and energy on.

...pretty much sums it all up right there big_smile

Jan 03 13 05:20 am Link

Photographer

Jon Winkleman Photo

Posts: 105

New York, New York, US

I would absolutely sue a photographer or videographer who lost or seriously screwed up all of my wedding photos. If they were unprofessional and their own incompetence and willful carelessness was the cause, they are liable for damages. Even if the photographer fully refunded their fee you can never reshoot that event. When someone pays pro-rates there should be a reasonable expectation that the photographer has a backup body and strobes in the event of equipment failure. I would also expect they invest in reliable pro-quality memory cards and use a workflow that promptly backs up the cards ASAP. A lawsuit is totally reasonable in the event of gross malpractice.

In regards to frivolous lawsuits, have clients sign a contract written by an experienced lawyer that limits liability to gross negligence and protects you from nonsense.

Jan 03 13 01:14 pm Link

Photographer

Glenn Hall - Fine Art

Posts: 452

Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Jon Winkleman Photo wrote:
I would absolutely sue a photographer or videographer who lost or seriously screwed up all of my wedding photos. If they were unprofessional and their own incompetence and willful carelessness was the cause, they are liable for damages. Even if the photographer fully refunded their fee you can never reshoot that event. When someone pays pro-rates there should be a reasonable expectation that the photographer has a backup body and strobes in the event of equipment failure. I would also expect they invest in reliable pro-quality memory cards and use a workflow that promptly backs up the cards ASAP. A lawsuit is totally reasonable in the event of gross malpractice.

Amen to that....and most pro cameras have an accessory that allow transmission of data via wireless to a computer/laptop/tablet PC while also storing data on the camera flash drive. No excuse for losing images
....and something else, it really makes me grimace when I see people locally being hired at exorbitant rates by clients to shoot a wedding and the photog's don't have a back up camera of same quality as to their main. I duplicate/backup everything, from camera to cables.

Jan 03 13 03:53 pm Link