We were devastated when we saw our wedding photos | Tips for Wedding Planning

A guest blog written by a bride about her wedding photography experience.

by Amy Hinkle

Maysara Wedding, barn wedding in Portland Oregon, bride and groom with wine barrels, hiring your wedding photographer

My fiancé, Chad, and I had only lived in Portland a year when we began planning our wedding. We moved here for work, so we didn’t know too many people to ask about planning a wedding here and which vendors to use. We relied on strangers reviews found on Theknot.com and Weddingwire.com. This seemed like a pretty safe bet, especially with vendors who had a 4+ star rating from over 1,000 reviews. We met with this nationwide photo and video company and chose a photographer based on the albums they had on display. It was a beautiful album and the photographer had worked at our venue previously. Chad and I felt pretty confident and happy with our decision to move forward and booked a full day of coverage with the digital negatives provided by download after the wedding.

The collection we booked didn’t include an engagement session, albums, or anything other products. But that was what exactly what we wanted. We are fortunate to have photographers in the family (Chad’s sister and brother-in-law). We couldn’t have them photograph the wedding because Jen was a bridesmaid and Luke was helping with other things. Plus, we simply didn’t want them to work the entire day; we wanted them to enjoy themselves. However, it did mean that we could fly them up to Portland for our engagement session. Jen flew up to Portland and spent 2 days photographing us. She was trouper at the barn and photographing us with my horse who was a bit rambunctious. The next day we toured downtown Portland, drinking beers and photographing portraits along the way. We have very square personalities and even with Jen being family, we are not comfortable in front of a camera at all. Jen has a special talent to allow us to relax and be ourselves, forgetting about the camera. Our engagement portraits are incredible and set an expectation for the rest of our wedding photos.

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portland engagement session; portland, oregon, engagement photos, bride and groom, she said yes, urban portraits, engagement pictures in the city, beer, Sellwood Bridge, construction site,

For our wedding weekend, Jen and Luke displayed their wedding expertise and served as our “right hands” throughout the entire process.  Jen photographed special moments at the bridal shower and rehearsal dinner. They helped with set-up giving suggestions based on experience; led our rehearsal since no one else knew what they were doing; and made sure everything ran smoothly on the wedding day based on the wedding day timeline she wrote for us weeks prior.

We never met the photographer we hired prior to the wedding day. When he arrived, he wasn’t quite what I was expected. He was very quirky, but it made us laugh which I guess is good for pictures. He kept very busy so we were excited to see what he was capturing. Jen photographed unforgettable moments of the ladies were getting ready while also delivering food and helping me get my dress on. During our formal portraits with the photographer we hired, she was there checking details to make sure my dress was faned out and the other bridesmaids looked good as well.  Luke ran around finishing last minute details before the ceremony and then photographed emotional and artistic photos of the reception, but made sure to not get in the way of the photographer we hired.

Maysara Wedding, barn wedding in Portland Oregon, bride and groom before ceremony, black and white wedding pictures, rustic wedding, creative portraits, barn wedding, winery wedding,

Maysara Wedding, barn wedding in Portland Oregon, bride and groom with wine barrels, black and white wedding pictures, rustic wedding, creative portraits, barn wedding, winery wedding, wedding reception, wedding cake, father daughter dance, best man toast, reception games

By the time we got home from our honeymoon, Jen had uploaded an online gallery of the photos they photographed that weekend. Once again, we loved every one of them! Our anticipation grew as we waited for the photos from our hired wedding photographer.

When we finally received the link to the photographs from the photography company, we were devastated! Even though we had waited 6 weeks, it appeared that we received a mass download of all photos from the photographer, with no sorting or editing. We received photos of the ceiling, guests’ shoulders, crooked photos, photos that looked orange due to incorrect lighting, etc. It was evident that the photos were not touched in the process of extracting them from the camera to providing to us.   This was our worst nightmare; we feared our wedding photographs were ruined. We immediately called Jen and Luke, and they came to our rescue. They coached us through communications with the original photography company to acquire the original files for Jen to see if she could improve them. Apparently, the included editing was only on a select few (like 3) images, but they couldn’t do more unless we paid a lot more. They were going to charge well over $1,000 extra to edit. I fought hard to get the original files from them. They finally waived the $1600 fee and forced us to sign a non-defamation contract in order to receive them. No wonder they have so many good reviews! They take legal action against anyone who speaks poorly about them (even if it is family or friends- the bride and groom get sued which is why we cannot share their name or any of the photos here).  I also found out that vendors pay thousands of dollars to be ranked first. You have to adjust your search results to be based only on review ratings and distance if you want the ‘best wedding vendors’ in your area.

While we waited for our wedding photos to arrive from our original photographer, we made the decision to fly Jen and Luke back up to Portland and re-shoot portraits of us. That’s right, re-shoot. We got dressed up again (hair and makeup, flowers and all) and went back to the venue with Jen and Luke. This was a decision we will never regret. The photos they created out of this session are absolutely spectacular! They came completely prepared with a plan in mind. We utilized every inch of that venue which we did NOT do on our wedding day – the pond, vineyard, courtyard, barn, wine barrels, etc. They captured every shot we could have dreamed of.

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The story doesn’t end here, it only gets better. We finally received our wedding photos from the original photographer. Jen worked her magic! When she was done, she prepared a slideshow to unveil the new and improved photos. It was nothing short of spectacular! It allowed us to re-live our wedding day and reminisce about the time we had. Again, in Jen and Luke style, it didn’t end here. They prepared a 60 page album ready for us to view.We could do nothing but cry. Every ounce of anger, sadness, and regret had been lifted.  We could finally relax and breathe knowing we will have these photographs for the rest of our lives.

      {Due to the defamation contract we are unable to share the before and afters of our wedding photos}

The services provided by Jennifer and Luke cannot be put into words. Jen and Luke provided excellent service and their photos exceeded all our expectations. We learned the hard way what it’s like to not due your due diligence when selecting a wedding photographer. We wish we had met with the actual photographer before the wedding day and had seen more than 1 wedding. We wish we knew more before hiring a specific photographer vs a company with multiple photographers. We are so fortunate to have a wedding photographer in the family who could save the photos our wedding photos, and photograph new portraits of us.

Jen and Luke turned our dreams into a reality!

 

Wedding Vendors:

Rehearsal Dinner Venue || Golden Valley Brewery

Ceremony & Reception Venue || Maysara Winery

Hair & Makeup || Powder Inc Beauty

Flowers || Blooming Bouquets

Catering || Haagenson Catering

Rental || Barlcay Event Rentals

DJ/Band || Bust A Move DJ

Bakery || Nicky B Cakes

Guest Transportation ||  The Trolley Girl

Wedding Night Accommodations || McMenamins Hotel Oregon

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