At Serenity Photography we care a lot about our client’s feedback and satisfaction. In fact, everyone who ever worked with us knows that we put our heart and soul into everything we do and work tirelessly on the day to ensure we get the best possible results. This is why to receive a 2 star review has been shocking, and at the same time, heartbreaking for us. After many years in the business and having captured over a hundred weddings with dozens of 5 star (100%) reviews on different platforms this is definitely a first.
Firstly we want to say that we had an absolutely amazing time photographing the wedding of Cherie and Dan. It was such an emotional day with so many beautiful moments lived and captured.
The day after the wedding we didn’t rest and prepared a photo preview/highlight of 103 photos for the couple so they could view how the day looked through our eyes and remember those moments once again. Normally, we wouldn’t send so many in the preview, but we were so excited and kept finding more and more great shots that we wanted to share straight away.
We received the following email from the couple, that brought tears to our eyes and reminded us once again why we do what we do and why we work so hard:
“Hi Ana. Oh my gosh!!! They are absolutley (sic) amazing!!
So much emotion captured. Just beautiful.
You and Larry were excellent, words cannot describe how happy we are to have you two photograph our wedding!
So professional, but relaxed at the same time (which was perfect for us – it was such an emotional day)
I cannot wait to see rest of them now😊 (and the silluette (sic) photos!!)
Thank you so so so much. ❤❤❤”
Our contract indicates approximately 60 business days for delivery of edited photos and time-frames can vary based on how busy we are, things that can happen, or simply on the amount of work we need to do while editing a specific wedding. We know how excited everyone is to receive their wedding photos and we do our best to deliver everything as quickly as we can. In this case we had a 2 week delay (over our approx ETA). Ana’s mum was in intensive care and Ana naturally got affected by it and got very sick herself which put editing behind. All other clients were very understanding and compassionate about the situation and didn’t mind waiting a bit. Life happens to all of us. We didn’t hide or avoid phone calls, we honestly advised about the delay and kindly asked the couple to be patient and also were very excited to provide them with some extra candid shots that we got from the day, as a thank you for their patience. The couple seemed to be fine with it, even saying that we “went above and beyond” for them. As per the contract we deliver 60-70 edited photos per hour of shooting – so one photo per minute! Cherie and Dan ended up receiving over 930 photos.
All of our clients have very realistic expectations from the wedding day and understand that we will do our best to capture as many moments as possible. It is unrealistic to expect that every minute of the day will be equally important. Usually from a 600 photo package you will receive 200 or so photos that will have a lot of emotional value and the rest of the photos will be just different angles, candid shots, photos of guests, dancing, etc. We try to capture it all and include them in the package. It is your wedding, and subtle moments that might not be exciting for strangers viewing a highlight gallery on the blog might mean the world to you, and we want you to have them all. Otherwise we would just deliver the best of the best shots at our discretion. This approach is very common with most wedding photographers and if you request a full wedding day gallery before you book them you will understand what we mean. In previous generations before digital photography (i.e. parent’s weddings), they would get 20-30 photos from their wedding, at most. We are providing 600+ and to expect that each photo will become a favourite is simply unrealistic.
We also want couples to understand that there is a lot that we have to deal with on the day. General stress and nerves (which are normal for anyone getting married), different lighting conditions, some things that we simply can’t control, for example couple’s connection, mood, not favourable timing for the photo-shoot, different fabrics used for dresses that might not look or photograph well, ambient light at reception, background behind the couple during the dinner, table set ups and where we can stand to be as invisible as possible. For most of the day we try to be a fly on the wall and avoid any restricting light setups that put the couple in an unpleasant spotlight. We capture the day as it unfolds and not every moment will be perfect, but that’s the beauty of the wedding day. It is raw, it is challenging, it’s emotional, and we love it! We stick to the timeline and schedule and on the day give couples suggestions on photos. At Cherie and Dan’s wedding we did exactly the same. The statement that they were constantly pulled away from guests is simply not true. After the ceremony they decided to meet and greet all the guests walking around the circle that they formed around the couple and we were happy to capture it on camera. We also planned a shot with smoke bomb and champagne pop during reception and asked couple to step outside for 15-20 min during the reception to do those shots – something that we had agreed to prior to the wedding and that was also requested by the couple. Those shots came out fabulous and smoke bomb shot even won top ten reception shots in the world by International Photographer of the Year awards. We provided plenty of photos of the guests, couples, dancing, greetings, everything as per the contact and more. At every wedding we are super flexible and available to take any photos that a couple needs. We will not interrupt what couples are doing during their wedding day however they are welcome to call us over any time and take photos with any guests. It is not up to us what they want to do.
Cherie mentioned an embarrassing moment that happened during the reception, however this is not entirely true. In our experience, many couples get carried away with festivities of the day and of course don’t keep an eye on time and when we’re scheduled to leave. We often find ourselves working past our contracted time and ask couples if they need us any longer. It is an extremely long and tiring day for us and as much fun as we always have, we also need to rest. At the wedding we had already been working for over 10 hours without any rest and made an honest mistake forgetting about an extra hour that couple had added at the last minute before the day. This was an honest mistake, forgive us, we are human beings. Ana didn’t interrupt speeches, or refuse to carry on with photographic services demanding $300. She discretely approached Cherie who was at the table with one of her bridesmaids and asked if they needed us any longer. Cherie reminded that they have booked an extra hour – Ana apologised for the honest mistake, no questions were asked and we continued work until the end. At no point were any fees mentioned, this is simply something that we never did and would never do. If bride or groom want to discuss it during the wedding this is certainly not something we would ever bring up. Strangely enough, mentioned in the review, the $300 is not our fee for an extra hour and we never received that amount from the couple.
The statement that we pulled someone away simply makes no sense. All we can do is suggest couple do something different from their schedule, something spontaneous, or make a decision on what we do in case things are running behind. We do not kidnap anyone, tie them up and drag away for photos. We do as we are directed by the couple (and offer suggestions) on the day and at that moment of time and if after the wedding they have change of heart and wish they’ve done something differently, this is not on us.
And lastly our comment on editing. As it was mentioned in the beginning we want to make sure everyone is happy with the results. At no point did Cherie or Dan contact us regarding any issues with edited photos. We are always an email or phone call away and can look into issues if need be. Colours shift throughout the day because of different lighting conditions, sun, etc. While editing we try to keep the colours natural as they were during that time whilst giving preference to healthy skin tones. We don’t believe that bridesmaids dresses look red on final edits. There were some natural colour shifts though. Since we work with uncontrolled lighting, not studio lighting conditions, it is unrealistic to expect all tones and colours to be maintained throughout the day and high end retouch is not included in the package. However, we are always happy to chat about it and see if we can correct and improve any particular shots. Just ask. Some people have uncalibrated or poor quality monitors that can also affect how they see colours. Once again, the couple never approached us in regards to that matter. In fact all we received after sending them the edited photos was the following: “I received the photos yesterday and they are amazing. And I love the photo of me and my mum. thank you for doing that for me. I really appreciate it…”
Now, 2 months later we receive a 2 star review that we find absolutely unfair. We approached the couple to find out what happened and didn’t receive a response, therefore we decided to write a public response. We fulfilled all contractual obligations and more, delivered must have photos and list of photos to take, plus we did a few extra favours/gifts for the couple including a free engagement shoot, a special retouch service and a custom made heirloom. We were on time and worked very hard all day, always being gracious, friendly, and professional. We captured photos of all key moments from the day and we believe they turned out beautifully – even the venue approached us to provide them with some of the photos for their portfolio. A two star review would be fitting for a photographer who didn’t show up (or showed up late), who got drunk at the reception, didn’t take some important shots, was rude and/or unprofessional. And there are plenty of those wedding photographers out there. We feel absolutely devastated that despite all our hard work and dedication the couple feels this way about our service and finds it very easy to leave an unfair rating and review that doesn’t reflect the reality of the service and product they received. We believe that we did the best possible job and their results with a different photographer wouldn’t be better. To all of our future clients: we want you to have realistic expectations, because at the end of the day, all we want is for you to have beautiful photos – and it is a result of collaboration between you and us. For anyone curious to see the “embarrassing photos” from this wedding we have uploaded the full gallery as the couple received it, plus the screenshots of their emails. https://clients.serenityphotography.com/gallery/cheriedan/
Highlights can be found on our website blog. We are always happy to provide more information or answer any questions if anyone wants to discuss this review further.
We wish Cherie and Dan all the best