How long would you wait for your professional wedding photos? A newlywed couple in Bristol said they have been waiting for nearly one year.
But at least Jill and Todd Miano's wedding day went according to plan.
The Mianos told the Troubleshooters July 14, 2012, was one of the best days of their lives. They had an outdoor ceremony. They were surrounded by their family and friends. And they had a professional photographer to capture the magic.
"I was so happy and he took great photos," Miano said. "When we were posing, I saw him moving all around taking the pictures."
The Mianos received several "teaser" photos from the photographer soon after their wedding. But nearly one year later, they said they had yet to receive the complete photo package that cost them more than $2000.
"It's hard for me to ponder why someone would do this," Todd Miano said.
Most of the photos the couple has to remember their wedding by were taken by their guests.
The Mianos said photographer Marcin Rafalowicz promised the professional pictures would be delivered last November. They claim Rafalowicz stopped recently stopped communicating with them.
The Better Business Bureau acknowledges newlywed couples should typically expect to wait six to eight weeks for their wedding photos. However, the wait could take up to three months.
However, Rafalowicz told the Troubleshooters his normal turn-around time is four months. He claims he sent the photos to Jill and Todd "quite a while ago", but that he doesn't normally track the photos.
Rafalowicz said he stayed in touch with the Mianos. He also says he has plenty of happy customers.
The Troubleshooters spoke to two other customers who said they only recently received their photos after waiting more than six months.
Still, the photographer said he would prepare another disk of wedding photos for Jill and Todd Miano and send it to them.
The Mianos said they'll believe it when they see it.
"I don't care if the pictures have been perfectly centered or anything like that," Todd Miano said. "I just want the actual pictures."
But several hours after we spoke to Rafalowicz, he emailed the Mianos. He wrote he was sorry for the inconvenience. He even wrote he would include a canvas-like print in larger format to compensate for the additional wait time.
The BBB said it's a good idea to put a time frame in the contract with a photographer. They also offer the following advice:
- Beware of unusually short time frames, shorter than two weeks. It may mean they don't have a lot of business and have the time to devote or they are farming it out to someone else, however, it also may indicate that they are either offering a lowball time estimate to get your business or not take as much time as is required for a quality project.
- Allow extra time for videos because editing is involved.
- Call or send a friendly email a week or two ahead of the deadline to make sure they are on schedule.
- Select a photographer who will have some "preview" photos posted for viewing or download within a week after the wedding, so that you may share the images with friends and family.
- An experienced photographer will be able to have a clearer idea of how long it will take to turn around the photos than someone who is starting out and may get in over their head.
- Ask whether they will attend themselves or have someone else doing the photography.
- Check references and word of mouth.
- Book the photographer for enough shooting hours to make sure that they can get the couple's preparations and the reception. It will cost less to plan for that then to have to pay additional charges for going over the contracted limit.
And you can also learn helpful tips about choosing a wedding photographer from the Department of Consumer Protection: click here.