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My Wedding Photographer Didn’t Show Up: What Do I Do?

Uh-oh. Your wedding photographer didn’t show up to the most important day of your life.

I’m so sorry. You must be fuming.

I know I would be.

And trust me, you aren’t the only one. There are stories of wedding photographers never delivering photos and others just not showing up.

I can’t imagine the horror of planning the most beautiful wedding at the perfect venue, expecting some amazing wedding photography, only to discover that the moment won’t be professionally captured. Ever.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to right this wrong.

if your wedding photographer didn't show up things aren't black and white

Communicate with your photographer

Everybody makes mistakes. It’s possible your wedding photographer didn’t show up because they simply forgot, or accidentally scheduled your big day on the wrong day in their diary.

I know. It’s no excuse.

But it’s possible your photographer fell gravely ill, was in a car accident or had to rush off to something incredibly urgent in his or her personal life.

We’re only human.

If you can get in touch with your photographer and ask them to explain themselves, that may provide a sense of closure for you and your new life partner.

Ask for a refund

Many photographers will take a deposit from you before the day, or ask for the full amount up front. And every wedding photographer has their own policy over refunds.

But regardless of that policy, if they didn’t show up to your wedding to take photos, ask for your money back.

It is only fair that you receive your money back for a service you weren’t provided.

Ask your guests for photos

I know – it’s not entirely satisfying, but your cousin Billy may be a better photographer than you think.

You want a collection of memories of your big day – and the photos taken by your guests may be the only shot you have and gathering that collection.

Ask your friends and family for photos they took during the ‘getting ready’ stage, the reception, the ceremony, the after-party and anywhere else you can think of.

It’s best to do this as soon as possible before people start deleting photos off their phones.

What if my wedding photographer doesn’t give me a refund?

I’m no lawyer, so I can’t give you proper legal advice you can rely on.

There are experts who specialise in commercial and consumer disputes like this, and they’re always the go-to people for the best advice.

But I do suggest you do the following.

Look at the contract you signed

I always suggest at the outset to get your agreement with a wedding photographer in writing.

It is important to know exactly what you agreed to. Did your photographer show up, take one photo and then leave? Was he or she allowed to do that in the contract?

Is the deposit non-refundable under any circumstance whatsoever? Are there clauses in the agreement dealing with emergencies, which might mean you can’t get your money back?

Contact consumer rights authorities

If you’re based in Victoria, I’d strongly advise to call the professionals at Consumer Affairs Victoria.

They’ve got some super useful information on refunds and also on problems with services sold to you.

You can also contact the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which is the national regulator of the Australian Consumer Law.

If you are based in other states, each state have their own consumer rights regulators such as the NSW Department of Fair Trading.

Report them to AIPP

If your photographer is accredited with the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP), they are expected to comply with the AIPP Code Of Professional Practice.

If you aren’t sure if your photographer is accredited, you can contact the Institute and ask them.

If they are accredited, consider lodging a complaint by following the AIPP Complaints Management Process, which you can read about here.

Possible sanctions may include a removal of the photographer’s membership, but that is the last resort.

Seek professional legal advice

If you paid a lot money for a wedding photographer who didn’t show up, it may be worth seeking the advice of a lawyer who can help you get that money back.

This may involve sending angry letters to the photographer, or even filing debt recovery proceedings in a court or tribunal.

If you can’t afford to pay a lawyer, there are community legal centres out there who may give you advice for free. I suggest contacting the Consumer Action Law Centre or otherwise search for a community legal centre in your local area to see if anybody can help you.

You can also find a lawyer on the Law Institute of Victoria’s website.

if you're wedding photographer didn't show up, you can take action

Ensure your wedding photographer always shows up with me

I’m Shar. And I always show up.

If you’re looking for an affordable wedding photographer in Melbourne (who will never a miss a moment on your crucial day), I’m your girl.

I’ve shot amazing wedding photos all across Victoria, and am always prepared to capture the moments of the best day of your life.


Get in touch with me!

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