Wedding Photos Held Hostage: Two Sides to the Story
A story grabbed the headlines in January 2015 about a couple who paid $6000 for a wedding photo album and the greedy photographer who demanded an additional $150 fee to cover the cost of the cover photo. The story goes that the couple were never told about this fee and refused to pay.
The couple was to receive a 40-page 8.5×12 storybook album that contains up to 80 images. Since the couple insisted that the photographer never quoted this fee upfront, they cited a refusal to pay based on principle. Andrea Polito, the photographer in question, stated that she wouldn’t be able to release the photobook until the fee was paid for.
This story made mainstream news and was featured on NBC in Dallas. Since then, it’s made the rounds, and the initial gut reaction of many people was to side with the reporter. In response, Andrea Polito issued an open letter on January 20, 2015 detailing the situation from her point of view. Many news agencies failed to report on the updated information.
The photos were beautifully and professionally completed, as you would expect from a photographer with 10 years of experience and over 600 weddings under her belt. The photographer states in the open letter how a release form must be signed to relieve any liability on the part of the photographer. This can only be completed after the entire album, including a cover photo is finalized.
When the bride refused to pay the extra fee, the photographer reportedly made a concession and offered to deliver the book without the cover photo. When this offer was also denied, the photographer made another offer to “assume the cost of the album cover.” This occurred before the story even hit the news.
The bride states that here was nothing in the contract to indicate that a $150 cover album was going to be assessed, and the campaign against the photographer was just. The photographer claims that she was willing to forego the cost of the cover, even though it was explicitly stated in a previous contract.
The issue helps to illuminate why a proper, complete contract is essential for a business. If the photographer clearly stated all the fees in an itemized invoice, or detailed the costs in a contract before services were rendered, the issue may not have gone as far as it did.