With the advent of digital cameras, the number of people calling themselves photographers increased manifolds all over the world. The same has happened in Pakistan as well and when you combine this with the rise of social media such as Facebook and Flickr, many of these so called photographers have started offering their services commercially as well. Without any training or practical experience in running a photography business, the results as you can imagine can be disastrous.
Last month I posted an ad of Jimmy’s Studio in the humor section. It got a comment from someone (Adeel) who suffered at the hand of not one but two such photographers. I thought this comment should be made a post into itself so that other people can also learn from this guy’s experience and how his wedding photography was ruined because he selected these amateurs posing as professionals. Rest assured, now he’ll have to hear about this from his wife for the rest of his life
Jokes aside, even though Adeel didn’t mention the names of the photographers, I think I can guess one of them, as I think there’s only one photographer from Pakistan who has been featured in TIME magazine. If this is true, it really is sad that even that person is treating his customers like this.
Anyway, enough with this, you can read his experience as he wrote it below:
Recently I had a bitter experience regarding wedding photography in Pakistan. I thought of sharing it here due to relevance of the topic.
In January 2011, I was about to get married (planned for March 2011) and I wanted everything to be exceptional (like anyone else thinking we get married only once…) so was the case for photography which I wanted to be very unconventional and interesting… something that could have my heartbeats captured there. I checked many professional photography services including Jimmy’s but was least satisfied. It was my feeling that these guys would treat it like just another wedding being professional. I thought of trying young blood who are not professional but would dare to go an extra mile for satisfying their client.
I met a guy on flickr who was doing it as a part time and was very convinced as I could see the passion and unconventional discussion we had promised me to deliver something fresh and new! We agreed on an amount (a handsome amount as I wanted to leave no stone unturned so I didn’t bargain much).
Being an engineer by profession this guy (let’s call him P1) committed to deliver the best he could. Anyways as the big days were close I was having a strange feeling as I was never contacted in between. Considering he was busy at office I didn’t give an ear to his business and assumed he will be available on time etc. Just before mehndi night I had a chat with another guy who is a big name on flickr (I can use references but it would be unethical to them). He was interviewed by TIMES for his work on flickr. HE (lets call him P2) demanded 30K for Mehndi night and I agreed to pay. So 2 NEW photographers were coming to cover this event and I was fine with that. Anyways they came took a lot of photos and then left.
P-1 came the other 2 days (Wedding and Reception) as well and I paid him in full during this time. I was hoping to get call for Albums but anyways it never happened. There was no news from both of them for next 1/2 weeks. Later I got a call from P-1 after 2 weeks to choose from 1000 photos myself and tell him which ones to choose. It was not my expectation (as I hired them to choose the best work and believing they are artists they should be able to do this) but anyways I had to pick this CD from his apartment (I live near Airport and he was in DHA). I collected DVD came home hoping to choose best 100 out of 1000s for one event. Unfortunately this CD was blank, meaning my 1-hour trip through Karachi’s rough traffic was useless.
I asked this guy he was just SORRY for this and I was supposed to go and collect another one. I went to see him at nursery… waited…. he came late and you wouldn’t believe he said, I should select 100 out of 1000 pics and then gave me an address to get free 100 prints with his reference. Would you pay someone just to come to your party have dinner click 1000 times here and there and go away. Rest of the matter you should deal yourself. IS IT professional at all or leave professionalism think about ethics… you received your amount the night you half of your job and then you showing someone the way to do rest of it. The photographs were nothing but a mess… I was so angry I threw the CD away and have never seen it again.
Now my only hope was the other photographer P-2. I called him he said he is working on my pictures. I live abroad so I had one week left to close this issue, I asked him whether he can come and inform me about the progress. Anything he needs from my side including suggestions (i am myself a photographer and photo composer but do not get enough time to do it myself). He didn’t come on the promised day… neither he showed up in next week. I called him and he stopped responding… I called him several times and he didn’t return a single call. I left Pakistan, came to my work place, kept calling him for next few weeks but no luck. I was so PISSED OFF you can understand I guess. I was least expecting this really. I paid and I didn’t bother these guys while they were working didn’t complain about anything at all, I just wanted a fair attitude from these WELL EDUCATED guys.
I had to involve a friend of P-2 and he tried to sort out this issue. P-2 said he is busy in his exams and that is why he doesn’t answer. He was SORRY not to deliver my stuff. He was SORRY but what about me who had ambitious plans for my wedding. I could hardly get all the raw material from this guy. It took me another month to work on these photos and compose them rightly. I had to do a lot of editing job there. Some of the photographs were highly disappointing, but anyways the time had gone and I could only regret my decision or fix it somehow. Anyways I did all the composing and printing job by myself with my part time job when I had already paid the services to someone else.
I think it was my FAULT to think our educated lot will be more responsible or committed. To my experience this is even worst and not sure whom to put our future hopes in.
This was just a side of my recent experiences, it’s only about photography. I suffered due to my over expectations (or let’s say lack of understanding) in other wedding jobs as well.
I would like to ask these GENTLEMEN what was my fault? Expecting good services? Select wrong guys? Trusting them?!!!
I would like to advise everyone else not to TRUST these big headed unprofessional liars to say the least. Go for professionals at least they deliver whatever they commit.
Sorry for the long text and thanks for reading till last line!!