September 10, 2018
Photography is an art form. A medium that many people use to capture memories and ensure that they remain timeless.
And in recent years, the rise in the number of local professional photographers has given Fijians the opportunity to capture their special occasions in stills and video.
There is a lot of skill and creativity that goes into professional photography and people are often charged high prices to capture these precious moments.
In Fiji, many have come to appreciate the skill of photography and are willing to hire these professional photographers, particularly for weddings and other milestone events.
They understand that when the ceremony is over, when the party has ended and the décor worn out, the only way to recapture the memories of the ceremony is to ensure that they have a photographer with the experience, sensitivity and the professional ability to capture the nuances throughout the day and present them as an eternal memory.
But when that goes wrong and the seemingly professional photographers fail to deliver? What happens then?
This was the unfortunate case for a couple who paid an exorbitant amount of money to capture their wedding last year. Their hopes for photos to remember their special day was shattered when the photographer returned with only one image of their wedding ceremony and a badly recorded and edited video of the two-day rituals leading up to the big day.
Furthermore the photographer had failed to provide anything agreed to initially. The newlyweds were provided a 20 minute video instead of an hour long one.
With no videos taken during the ceremony, the photographer embedded one still shot of the couple during the ceremony with the excuse that there were other videographers present at the wedding.The photographer, Monisha’s wedding photography had also failed to deliver the end product on time.
When negotiations were being conducted to provide the video Monisha sent a video of herself and her friends on a road trip and a drinking spree.
The couple, who were excited to view the video, called the family together for the first viewing. They were shattered that Monisha had sent them a despicable video as if to mock them for their continued queries on the end product.
Her inability to provide the video of the wedding was a breach of Section 88 of the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission Act 2010 for accepting payment without being able to supply as ordered.As per regulations Monisha’s photography should comply with the law and refund the consumers immediately.
The Council had assisted the newlyweds in attaining a refund and while Monisha (proprietor and photographer) had agreed to make a refund to the couple, she did not make true on the promise.
As a result the case was later referred to the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission for further action.
The complaint against Monisha’s photography is just one of many similar cases the Council has received on amateur photographers claiming to be professionals in a bid to make money.Since 2016 the Council has received 14 complaints on wedding photography worth more than $20,000.
Some consumers had to fork out close to $3000 only to have photographers provide images and videos that fall short of acceptable standards.The photography field must be treated just like any other good or service.
People pay good money for it and expect quality work to be produced.The Council also believes there is a need to examine the photography industry to weed out unethical regulators.
There are also small related business such as wedding planners, hair and makeup artists, Jewellery makers and florists that need to be registered with a regulatory body to ensure quality services are rendered to both local and tourists who use these services.
Quality services ensures the reputation of the business and related fields are maintained and remain up to par with international standards.Tourists and locals who are using these services expect value for their money.
Therefore, photographers and related services in the wedding business should always be professional.They must learn to accept direction from their immediate clients and others.Maintaining focus on the job when under pressure is crucial for the successful completion of a job and to build a good reputation.
Consumers, at the same time, should take responsibility. They should search online for reviews from consumer who have already utilised the services of photographers before hiring them.
The same must apply to associated or related businesses such as wedding planners and make-up artists.
With weddings slowly become a niche sector in the tourism industry there may be those who see this as a way to create quick money without having the relevant experience, people skills and the desire to serve ethically.
Such behaviour from Monisha of Monisha’s photography does not assist in the promotion of her business nor that of those seeking to make a name in the photography field.
Consumers facing similar issues are urged to call the Council toll free helpline 155 or email firstname.lastname@example.org