In my very first e-mail to Monika, I clearly asked if she had ever photographed a same-sex wedding and, in the same breath, was curious as to her comfort in participating in such a day. She hadn’t, but would be honored to do so and promised to...
bring the same energy to our day as she would any other.
When we first spoke on the phone, she had mentioned that the lighting would be an issue with a wedding ceremony happening on the beach in the middle of the day. But, in the same conversation, Monika promised me that, as a part of rate, she'd scope out the area for places where we could work with the lighting that we were going to face.
On the day of the wedding and from the very beginning of shooting our portraits, the lighting was an issue and there never seemed to be a solution. It had become clear that there was NO plan B for finding better-lit areas and no preparation had been made to do such.
Being a beach wedding, I made a request to go to the shoreline to get pictures with water as the backdrop. I thought a shoreline picture for a beach ceremony was a necessity and you can imagine my disappointment when not a single one of these images made it into our gallery.
Monika eventually found a shaded area near our reception. Although it smelled like garbage because it was next to a trash compactor, we took some photos there. It was very awkward and hard to feel loving with that smell in the air… and I’m afraid that the photos show that. When I informed Monika that I was afraid the pictures were uncomfortable because of the smell, she responded with
"The greenery background was nice with good lighting conditions, but unfortunately in most of your portraits you could not relax and therefore could not show the tender emotion in your photos. I asked you several times to relax and enjoy the moment. I'm not sure if you expected me to create magic, but there is only so much I can do."
Because she had not planned ahead for what she originally told us would be a lighting challenge, we are left with a very limited number of acceptable shots from our wedding day. Although it never really felt like Monika connected to our day or took the day as serious as she should have, we feel fortunate to have captured the 6-10 images we did have framed.
Once we got a link to our photos and were built up with anticipation and excitement, our photo gallery was nothing but a page full of broken hyperlinks. We were left sitting for hours with no explanation or response. Our friends who had come over to our house to view our pictures with us were turned away as we continued to wait into the evening.
It seems strange that our USB seemed to have become more of a hassle than a business transaction. When we received the link to the online gallery, we were simultaneously told to expect our USB card within the week. After two weeks had passed and I had heard absolutely nothing, I e-mailed and asked where it was. I was re-assured that there had been an error in shipping but one would be sent out again. I waited another week before contacting again, only to find out that the USB still hadn’t been shipped.
By this time, we were well into December (with a 10/12 wedding date) and we still didn't have access to photos/copyright release so that we could create prints, projects, or canvases as Xmas gifts. By then, many of the personalized and customized items had crossed into holiday cut-off times.
Overall, very discouraged with service