Sunday, July 22, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Moving on...

Saw this meaningful quote in my FB and this is what i am telling myself now...

It is with great dissapointment that some people do not understand the reason and the purpose of this blog. It was out of good intention to inform the public of my predicament as I still see CC advertising vigorously online. I do not wish to see another happy couple experience the same as me. Also, shouldnt a photographer know his own limits before he undertake such an important job? 

To all who have been making critical and cynical remarks about how cheapo and how much i deserve this outcome, I will like to emphasize that it was the SINCERITY of CC which made me decide having him as my AD photographer. I do not deny that money was a factor in the decision making process. However, if not for the works that he have shown me, I will not have use my BIG DAY as the bet. 

Also, could you have imagine if i paid him 3k for the job and got these results? Does it give me MORE RIGHTS to complain? I do not think a professional photographer should give the reason "I was not in top form that day" as valid to ease him of the damage he has done.

I do not wish to elaborate any further on this and will like to put an end to it. Whatever you think is not important. The message that I am trying to get across is the photography skillset of CC. Like what many people say, many photos will come in future and these UGLY photos will be history. But well, put yourself in my shoes and tell me how will you feel. 

Lastly, I will like to thank those who have given me supportive comments and volunteered to help edit the photos. I truly appreciate it.

For those who assumed I am a FT out to malign a SG photographer, I am a Singaporean by birth.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Someone informed me there's a thread about this blog in HZW.

And worse we are on Stomp now, i do not know why Stomp published our story despite we telling them not to do so!

We only posted in this blog, our own facebook and clubsnap... the rest are not posted by us!
(*edit: it slipped off my mind, i did post in flowerpod, Sgbrides and Perfectwedding too) But not much discussion over there.

Read through those comments... i really can't stop crying... did i do the wrong thing to share my experience?

Am i wrong to voice out my frustrations? 

Just because i paid $600, i don't have the right to complain?
Meaning if you pay 3k you have the right to complain?

Just because i paid $600, i deserve to accept this kind of shabby work which is a far cry from those on his website?

Just because i paid $600 and not his usual $3000, he has the right to give me $600 kind of quality?

Just because i paid $600 i should just keep quiet and accept whatever is being given to me?

Just because i paid $600, shared my story and i deserved to be laugh by others cos its our own fault?
If i had paid 3k for his services and still get this kind of work, what will you say?

Like i said i don't gain anything from sharing my experience, i just wana create awareness for all the Brides to be... We spent so long and so much efforts in preparing for our once in a lifetime wedding which we look forward to so much, nobody will want this kind of unfortunate things to happen. Who would imagine a Pro to take such pictures which are worse than anyone else can take...

I should be prepared to receive this kind of negative comments but i think i personally really can't accept/take this kind of comments... 

I do not know if i wana keep this blog.... its already such a painful experience for us but we still gotta deal with all these stress now... maybe its a wrong decision to share after all... I will not be replying to all the comments at the moment. Sorry... This is so much more than i could take :(

Morning all! We did not had a good night sleep last night, this thing was always wondering in me and my hubby's mind. We were amazed by the power of social media and how this blog became the topic for many photographers and brides to be (btb).

And i wana say "Thank you" for all the encouragements and offer to help. Its really nice to know that there are still so many kind souls out there. At the moment, we are still unsure what we want to do with those pictures, will definitely let you guys know if we need any help. 

It is really not easy for us esp me to share our experience with everyone. It requires a lot of courage from myself. It's something embarrassing to me, i had planned everything nicely for my wedding, only to let everyone know i had engaged a bad vendor. And to some people out there, they will be saying you deserved this since you are paying peanuts you get monkeys... $600 what you expect? etc kind of comments which i had kinda expected... but still feel sad hearing this...

I just wana say this again, it's CC himself who lower down the price from 3k and offered $600 w/o post processing as a friendship price to us. We could had just taken the PG from our bridal studio at a $700 top up with post processing. The reason why we chose him was because we believe with his skill, knowledge and equipments he should be able to at least take proper decent pictures. We don't expect him to be very creative etc just proper normal pictures will be good for the price we were paying. 

And 1 thing, he told me if any of my friends should ask about his price, tell them he's charging $200/hr. 

Can you guys judge for me, the kind of pictures i had posted so far (worse ones coming up) consider proper normal acceptable pictures? Just because we paid $600, this is the kind of quality we should accept from a usual 3k PG? Just because we paid a lower price we don't get the usual standard? Double standard? And this was his 1st AD wedding shoot in Sg, we thought he will cherish the chance and use this opportunity to build up his local portfolio. Just because we paid $600 we should not expect too much... But can you tell me are we expecting too much? If you are in our shoes, can you accept these kind of pictures?

I think we can only blame ourselves for being so silly :( We really felt so cheated by him... take at look at those on his website and here? Will you believe its from the same person?

Last night, i supposed 1 of his friend added my hubby on facebook just to post this comment and after that "un-friend" my hubby.

Some things i wana clarify:

This was what i posted in my very 1st post.

"We had a talk last Sat (7/7), we wanted to put an end to this matter as we felt, no point dragging as he really cannot deliver what he promised. We asked him, if he wanted to solve this problem among ourselves or legally, he asked us to settle it among ourselves. He said if we wana expose him online we can always go ahead and mention his name. 

Since previously he promised that if he can't do a good job in post processing, we will get a Pro to do it and he will pay for it. He agreed readily. And also he agreed to compensate a reasonable amount to us (he initiated himself), but he will need to go back, consider the amount and let us know again his decision by Friday 13/7.
I received his call today 11/7, he told me he will not make any compensation and he already did what he should so if we wana sue him we can go ahead. He sounded so "ya-ya" on the phone! This was really my last straw! How can he leave his work unfinished and expect us to come out with our own $$$ to get another person to clean his "backside", thats totally irresponsible! Gave us some shabby works and expect us to accept it? It's your own fault that you failed in capturing proper pictures and you should do your best in trying to salvage the pictures, thats the least you can do."

More details continue from the above post...

The whole 1hr conversation was voice recorded:

We asked him if he wana solve it legally or settle it among ourselves. 

He chose to settle it among ourselves. 

So we let him suggest himself how he wana solve he problem.

This was what HE initiated, not us!

1) He said we can go ahead and expose him mention his names in forums etc

2) He said he will compensate the $ to get the PRO D.I to do the job, my ex colleague bf who was working as a D.I artist quoted me $25/pic and CC asked me to get him to email CC the quotation and no of pics he can salvage. 

3) He will compensate $2,000 but we do not know if this 2k for the above D.I fee or on top of the D.I fee?

So we threw him a question, how much do u think to re-do a wedding will cost? 

He himself calculated and said 30k. But we told him honestly we do not need so much.

He calculated the 3 major cost, 1) D.I fee, 2) Another local PS bridal package 3) Banquet cost.

and he suggested paying 15k but he will need to go back consider again and get back to us.

From the start of the conversation till end, we did NOT mentioned at all how much we want him to compensate. We let him decide himself. But we want him to get a Pro to do the editing at his own cost.

We are just unhappy that he did not appreciate our good will in giving him so many chances and he gave us shabby work after ruining our wedding. Shouldn't he feel guilty and try his best to salvage the photos for us? This is the least he can do... unless that was really his best work then i got nothing to say...then those works on his website are questionable??

To be very honest, we had no intention of accepting the 15k at all even if he's going to pay us. We felt bad to accept $ from him knowing his situation, I told him directly that day, we don't think we have the heart to accept this $. 

All we wanted is at least say sorry and pay for a PRO to finish up this and close case. Its really very tiring to drag this matter for us and also him... Is it very hard to say the word Sorry to us??

Actually we just wana see how he's gonna handle this problem and his sincerity.

We actually wanted to let the matter rest even after he told us he's not going to pay a single cent, not even getting a pro to do the post processing for us. He went back on his words...went MIA again... No doubt we were angry when we heard that and he sounded so ya ya over the phone... he even challenged us to bring him to court.

After that we tried to call him but he never picked up our calls since then...

Do you think 15k can bring back those lost moments and happiness again for us? Things and feelings will never be the same again even if we re-act the whole wedding... 

What triggered us to expose him was when we saw that he was bumping up his thread to sell his services in clubsnap on 18/7. We do not want anyone to be his next victim.

We gain nothing from exposing him, in fact the most heart warming thing were those words of encouragements from strangers and to know that there are really very nice people out there. 

I even got "scolded" by my mum for posting those pictures out and letting the whole world know about this :( She said i gain nothing from this why should i do this? Why embarrass myself... 

The most important thing is we had created awareness and warn others not to fall prey to such photographer. Its very important to pick the right photographer, $ can be earned back but lost moments can never be captured back again.

I believe there are many such cases out there but many couples will just let it go and that's it. We almost did too but i think we made the right decision to share our experience with everyone.

To CC friend David Liu, So you are saying if a photographer makes a mistake and ruined a couple's wedding, the couple should just forgive and forget and suffer in silence? So we are being wrong and unreasonable by exposing him and making a big fuss out of this? So we are ungracious sg citizens are you trying to say? (As what you said in FB, pic attached above)

And also yes now the whole internet is only my 1 sided story, but photos are the best proofs needless to say more. If need to i can always printscreen the FB/sms/watsapp conversations between us and CC and also post up the whole 1hr voice recording. We got nothing to hide and what we are stating are cold hard facts.

And he can always step out and defend himself. He was always online in clubsnap, should be checking out my hubby's thread there. How come he's keeping silence about this but can continue wishing his mentor happy bday in FB?

Oh ya, no need to thank me for promoting your site... people can judge themselves what kind of person you are and hopefully you do get some biz from my blog yeah. And hopefully your clients will be gracious and forgive you should you make any mistakes during their wedding.

Anyway, Stomp contacted us but at the moment we will not be sharing this on Stomp. And we told them not to publish until further notice. 

I think i'm gonna kena shoot by some of the people out there again after posting this... But i do not want to hide anything...

The Contract

Couldn't sleep so just thought of posting the contract we signed with him. By the way, i think he does not have a biz registered number stated on his website nor namecard. I can't find his name under ACRA too. Can anyone advice if he is not a registered company, is the contract still valid and also is it legal for him to collect any payments from clients? If i remember correctly, he did told us he registered his company. Oh and is this contract recognized legally?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Newlyweds’ anguish

I just wana get the word out fast to prevent anyone to go through the same pain as us as he is still posting on Clubsnap advertising his services. 

I am going to attempt to summarize what has to have been my most frustrating 2 months in a short blog post. I don't think this is going to be short. Kindly pardon my poor english.

Will be updating this space with more pictures and proofs in the next few days.

Looking back on the last 2 months, I remember tears and frustration, anger, and dismay. From the first time I looked through the 4000+ raw pictures, my blood pressure was increasing with each passing photo. I was appalled...there were nearly 4000 photos and not one was even close to the product he advertised. BlurOut of focus, Over exposed, Under exposed, shadows in the faces of the formals, formals with eyes closed / not looking at the camera...poor composition, poor lighting, 80% were half bodies tightly cropped pictures etc... In a word, it was LOUSY photography. There is no other way to put it.

A little background on how we decided to get Caleb Cheong aka C.C as our Actual Day Photographer (AD PG):

We started planning our wedding almost 2 years ahead. From the "big things" like banquet venue, Pre-wedding photoshoot bridal studio, AD bridal studio, AD PG/VG, proposal ring, wedding bands etc down to "small things" like Makeup Artist (MUA), hairdo, nails etc we did our research and really planned well.

CC was a friend my hubby knew when he joined clubsnap outings few years back but they lost contact for quite some time as CC went to study photography in USA after that. 

CC started msn-ing my hubby in year 2010 when we were still searching for our Pre-wedding photographer. CC was trying to persuade us to go to USA for him to take our Pre-wedding photoshoot there. But due to budget reason and also we are quite skeptical about him, we declined. But he was still trying hard to persuade us to change our mind.

In August 2011, CC started FB messaging my hubby again after we came back from our Taiwan Pre-wedding photoshoot. He knew we were looking for a AD PG, thus he keep on pushing his services to us. But we were not keen at all, firstly its the cost, his cheapest package is $3,000 which is way out of our budget for AD PG. If we can afford 3k, we may as well get some of the better established ones in SG. My hubby rejected him straight.

Then in Nov 2011, he told my hubby he might be coming back to SG (due to USA bad economy and hard to find a job there) and in time to be our AD PG. Again, my hubby rejected his offer as we are considering to get the AD PG from our bridal studio which we signed up for their AD package, with additional top up of only $700.

He finally came back in end Feb 2012. We 1st met him in early March, he showed us his portfolio we were quite happy with what we saw. But still i was quite skeptical as we will be his 1st chinese couple he's gonna shoot in SG, i'm worried he doesn't know about our chinese traditions and will missed some important moments. But he rest assured us, before he left for his studies in USA few years back he had been a 2nd shooter for his cousin wedding in SG. I told him i need to go back and consider again.

In the end we decided to give him a chance, after reviewing his works and thinking this person got 10 years of experience in photography, got a degree from Brooks Institute in photography nothing should go wrong. Another deciding factor was he's willing to match his price with the bridal studio, even lower at $600! Most importantly was we really felt he was sincere and serious in wanting to start his photography biz in Sg.

From March to our AD in May, CC was always in contact with us. He was always messaging me through facebook almost everyday, asking about how's our wedding progress etc and also constantly showing me his previous works, asking me if i like this kind of style and he assured me he can produce the same kind of standard for me.

He even came down with us to see our banquet venue, so as to know the lightnings conditions. We were quite impressed with his services and knowledge in photography as he was always explaining how he can manually control the flash etc. We met up a few times, communicated so well and detailed. I, being the bridezilla, showed him examples of the photography styles and photographers i like, i told him to look at how others take chinese AD wedding, what are the important shots etc... but seriously i think he never looked at those links i send him, he's too arrogant to learn from others like what he had told me before, he only learn from those he thinks worth learning from. But still, i was quite assured and trusted him that with his skills and knowledge, things will be fine.

Of all of the tiny details on our wedding day to worry over, actually photography was one of the least of my concerns. We trusted him so much that he will do a good job as this will be his 1st SG portfolio, and he will cherish this chance.

Finally The Big Day 12 May 2012!

I started my makeup at 6am, he told me he will try to arrive as early as possible as he will be taking the 1st train! Ok understand, he wanted to save $ from taking cab. So he reached around 6.45am, i had already completed my makeup and doing my hairdo. So he already missed my makeup process, luckily i told my nephew to use his digital camera to take some pictures before that.

When he arrived, he told me that he did not sleep the night before! I got a shock! I just hope that he can pull through the day! 

So he started taking pictures, and i remember very clearly i reminded him many times not to take so closed up pictures as he was standing so near to us! 

This was how close he was always standing! Hello, you are using either a D800/D3, need to stand so close meh?

*Pic removed

Then we went out for our outdoor PS at Bontanic garden. 1st location was a bench, he told me to sit on my hubby's lap, then we asked him where should we look etc he just say look anywhere not him... 

2nd location was when we were passing a flight of stairs, he wanted to take a picture of me, i am very sure i told him i want a full picture of my gown with the long train. But when we saw what he took when we received the pictures... we almost fainted, no pictures of my long train! I spent so long looking for the perfect gown, but from morning till night, no proper full image of it was captured by CC.

3rd location was at an open field, he wanted to shoot me and my bridemaids. So he asked his assistant to hold the diffuser, but apparently his assistant did not know how to hold it and my hubby, the groom gotta teach and hold it for him!

*Pic removed

Last location was at the signature big tree, this time round its a group photo of us with our brothers and sisters. We were all waiting for him to change his gears under the hot sun, he took such a long time that the groom just took my cousin D7000 to shoot us before CC was ready.

*Pic removed

And did i mention, he was so slow in every shots that we were all starting to lose our smiles and patience! He's really so slow that the enthusiasm and mood in all of us were lost.

I just wana cut the story shorter, these are the moments he missed for the morning session:

1) Makeup process (I can forgive)
2) Car opening. No picture showing who was the one opening the car door for the groom!
3) Tea Ceremony, he focus mainly on the hands, tea cups, ang baos... there's no pictures showing who are we serving the tea to! Gosh! Even my aunt wanted to ask him, why take ang bao only never take her face!
4) No proper picture of our wedding bands at all!
5) Picture of groom removing the veil for the bride when we came back to the bride's house after our outdoor PS.
6) Took picture of my jiemei wearing my shoe for me but without our faces and worse its blur!

Beside missing important shots, those that he took are all so tightly cropped, half body closed up picture, if not its blur or out of focus... we don't even have an idea what some of our friends and relatives are wearing that morning. 

We had our ROM on the same day, sad to say all those photos during the ROM are BLUR, out of focus! One word GONE.

My hubby feedback to him before the evening session, asking him not to take so closed up pictures. And we believed that when he was doing the morning highlights he should had realised his own mistakes. How can he make the same mistakes at night??

During the cocktail session before the banquet, we were there welcoming the guests and wanting to take photos with the guests. Everytime we wanted to take a photo, we gotta "shout out" for him as we did not know where had he gone to. And again, we reminded him so many times do not take so closed up photos but he replied me no worries, his lens were wide enough.

We had a 1st dance in with our brothers and sisters. We rehearsed for this dance so many times and the photos turned out so closed up that nobody can tell what are they doing! 

His mistakes for the night:
1) 1st dance all closed up if not out of focus shots
2) Our 2nd March in. (ALL the photos were BLUR)
3) There were 2 photographers for the table shoots, him and his assistant. The guests did not know which one to look at as they did not give clear instructions (etc look here 1,2,3). End up some were not even looking at the correct camera.
4) As usual, taking his own sweet time in taking pictures that some of the guests were losing their patience too and girls being vain, my gfs also asked him not to take so closed up, who wana show their flaws?

He passed me all the soft copies that very night. We were so happy to know that he had taken so many pictures... not stingy on his shutter... but little did we expected all the photos to turn out a horror...

After we settle our things, we finally have time to look through the photos on Sunday 13/5. We can't believe our eyes, there were so many similar shots, same subject at same angle, so closed up pictures, blur, out of focus, over/under exposed pictures etc... We went on a roller coaster ride...from such a happy joyous mood...immediately fell into a deep dark pit...

We immediately message him, asking him how come the photos turned out like that? I send him at least 8-10 messages from 6.30pm before i receive a reply from him at 8.30 am the next day. Both me and my hubby did not sleep that night at all. 

The next few days i continue sending him messages, no reply from him at all. Till 18/5 i received a reply from him saying he got my sms and finished his processing. I told him to come down to our place to review the photos on 19/5. We spent the whole afternoon going through and telling him how we want those photos to be edited. He said he understood what we want and will go back to continue editing. He admitted it was his own fault and he did not know what went wrong with himself. He had let us down. He's so grateful that we did not exposed him as he was gonna take part in a Channel 5 photography competition soon. So we gave him a chance to salvage those photos and hope he can do his best to make us feel better. We really treated him as our friend and protected his reputation even when many friends are asking who is our PG, we did not mention his name at all till now.

Below is an email i send him but never gotten any reply from him...

He shared his edited photos with us in dropbox. Again we got a shock when we saw those so call edited photos. We were really disappointed again and again! I don't think anyone can accept such edited pictures. I posted that photo on my FB and everyone agreed with us. This kind of photo can never be accepted! Then i tagged him in the photo, i think he got scared and blocked me off his facebook! If you think you had done a good job in post processing the photo, why are you scare of your friends seeing the photos you took? He still got the cheek to tell me, he thought i will like the dreamy blur effect...

We are really sick and tired of this whole thing, it's been 2 months and things are still left there hanging... So many messages and email send to tell him how i felt, he saw us breaking down and cried infront of him but till today he still yet to say "Sorry" to us. 

He had passed me 2 dvds of his "final" post processed pictures but those pictures are worse than the previous edit. This goes to show that he did not put in any efforts in choosing the right pictures (etc got open eyes one he chose the closed eyes one) and the skin tones, lightnings etc were all wrong! He just used the same settings and applied it to all the pictures in the same group. 

We really gave him so much chances and encouragements to tell him slowly edit, do not rush, do a good job but the end results are so disappointing.

We had a talk last Sat (7/7), we wanted to put an end to this matter as we felt, no point dragging as he really cannot deliver what he promised. We asked him, if he wanted to solve this problem among ourselves or legally, he asked us to settle it among ourselves. He said if we wana expose him online we can always go ahead and mention his name. 

Since previously he promised that if he can't do a good job in post processing, we will get a Pro to do it and he will pay for it. He agreed readily. And also he agreed to compensate a reasonable amount to us (he initiated himself), but he will need to go back, consider the amount and let us know again his decision by Friday 13/7.

I received his call today 11/7, he told me he will not make any compensation and he already did what he should so if we wana sue him we can go ahead. He sounded so "ya-ya" on the phone! This was really my last straw! How can he leave his work unfinished and expect us to come out with our own $$$ to get another person to clean his "backside", thats totally irresponsible! Gave us some shabby works and expect us to accept it? It's your own fault that you failed in capturing proper pictures and you should do your best in trying to salvage the pictures, thats the least you can do. 

I just wana share my experience with everyone, we don't wish to see the same tragic happening on anyone else. He is just a scammer, his attitude before and after the wedding is 360 deg different. We can only blame ourselves for being so stupid to trust him so much. I know some people will say that you pay peanuts thus this is the kind of quality you get but hello, he is charging others at $200/hr and consider himself a Pro. Please don't call yourself a PRO, you are far far from it, not only failed technically as well as morally you failed too. 

He is not remorseful and he seems like he already gotten over this while we are still trying very hard to recover from this pain. Actually initially, we told ourselves to forgive him, he did not did this on purpose and we sympathize him (due to his past accident). But he went missing on us! B4 our wedding, he pestered us almost everyday even though we were so busy with our wedding preparations we still entertain to him! now... we need to chase aft him to get our pics, follow up wf him else he wouldn't even contact us. He even blocked me on FB! He had over estimated himself and underestimated the job. He should not take us as his guinea pigs in SG, the responsibility are far too great for him to handle and the consequences are not possible to mend if anything went wrong. If he had shown some sincerity & efforts in trying to salvage the photos we would not be so angry, the main point is after admitting his mistakes he still don't do his best to mend anything! This is major disappointment. We felt betrayed by someone who we genuinely treated him as a friend we trusted so much. 

If you can't take nice pictures at least do a better job in post processing, how come our pictures are such a far cry from those on his website? Are those really taken by you? You yourself also admitted that you wouldn't use our pictures as your portfolio. This goes to show how terrible are those photos.

By the way, these are the equipments he was using,

D3, D800, (His assistant using D300) 

Nikon AF-S 17-35F2.8

Nikon AF-S 24 F1.4

Nikon AF-S 24-70 F2.8

Nikon AF-D 85 F1.4

Nikon AF-D 50 F1.4

Nikon AF-S 70-200vr2 F2.8


Nikon SB800

Nikon SB900

pocket wizard

Now we finally understand what it really mean by its the man behind the camera... Even a newbie or anyone using a hp can do a better job than him.

This pain is really too much to bear and the regret to chose a right PG is gonna live with us for a long time. He ruined our once in a lifetime wedding which everyone waited for 9 years! No $$$ can bring back those moments to us again... Wedding photos are supposed to bring us happy memories when we are looking at them, but ours....its only heartpain each time we see those pictures...

Till date we are still waiting for him to say a word of apology to us at least...