Professional pictures are an investment for your memories! You shouldn’t have to remind your photographer months later about them but that may happen. If they aren’t organized or they don’t take their role seriously, it can stress you out.
There are several ways you can ask your photographer about the pictures they took for you.
Start by asking them if there is a delay because you haven’t heard from them. If they still don’t respond, you may have to send them a message with a set deadline for the photos or you will file a legal claim to get your money refunded.
These photos aren’t cheap and it can be impossible to replicate them if they drop the ball.
For example, you may have hired them for a wedding or a family reunion. Perhaps you paid them for family photos. Most photographers give you a contract that includes information regarding when your proofs will be ready for review.
It is typically a few weeks after the event. If there is a delay they should have the courtesy to reach out to you and discuss the situation.
If that timeframe has gone by and you didn’t hear anything, reach out to them.
Is it Rude to Ask a Photographer for Pictures?
They agreed to complete them for you. Often, a deposit was paid when you booked their services and the remaining balance is due on the photos. If you paid in full, you may be worried they took your money and won’t produce the photos they agreed to create.
It isn’t rude to ask a photographer for your pictures. Don’t let the situation go longer than 8 weeks. This is more than enough time for even a busy photographer to deal with their schedule and get the pictures to you.
The longer you wait, the harder it may be to get in touch with them. You don’t want them to put you on the back burner. You may not like conflict but there is no reason to allow someone in this capacity to not follow through. You have every right to follow up with them.
While you may be upset waiting for those photos, be cordial when you reach out to them.
It could be a simple misunderstanding such as you didn’t get the email they sent with your proofs. It could be a major issue such as they had a health emergency and haven’t been able to work.
Sometimes, mistakes are made such as misplaced information and they are relieved when you contact them. This can happen especially with inexpensive photographers.
Review your Contract
Carefully read through your contract with the photographer. How long does it say it will take for them to get the photos to you? If it says 3 weeks and it has only been 2 then don’t rush it.
To be fair, give them a couple of days extra, and then reach out if you haven’t heard from them.
Be patient and give them the time you agreed to. It is a good idea to note when that timeframe ends.
What to Say:
“I am so excited to see the photos, just wanted to follow up with you to see when they will be done.”
“Can you share when I can review my proofs of the photos you took 3 weeks ago for us?”
“We had so much fun at the event, and can’t wait to see what you captured in the photos. When can we see them?”
“Are you still working on our wedding photos? It looks like the agreed time to wait for them has come and gone.”
“I am reaching out about our photos and to find out when we can look at them.”
When possible, talk to someone about your photos in person. The problem though is many in this field are on the go. They aren’t just sitting in an office.
They are either developing photos, editing them, or out there on a job somewhere. They may be scouting new locations to take photos to offer diversity with backgrounds too.
It is worth a shot to see if you can walk in and talk to them though.
Some photographers have a receptionist so you can at least go in and talk with someone. They can convey your visit and your message to the actual photographer.
What to Say:
“I was in the area and thought I would drop in and see how my photos are coming along.”
“Do you have my photos ready for me to look at?”
“We haven’t heard from you about the photos you took weeks ago so I need to inquire about them.”
“Can you share with the photographer I need to know when the photos are ready? It is beyond the time they gave us on the contract.“
“I was hoping my pictures are ready so I stopped in to see.”
A phone call may be a convenient way to reach out to a photographer and ask about your photos. If no one answers they should have a voicemail set up.
Leave a detailed message including your name, phone number, the date of the event, and why you are concerned about not getting information on the photos yet.
Hopefully, they will get back to you timely.
What to Say:
“This is Kim Jones and you took our wedding pictures on February 10th. Today is April 17th and we haven’t heard from you. Please give me a callback.”
“Hi, can you let me know the status of my photos? It has been 6 weeks since they were taken and we thought we would have them back in 4 weeks or less.”
“I haven’t heard from you about my photos, can you get in touch with me to let me know the status?”
“Please get back to me regarding the pictures you took of my family a month ago. We haven’t had any contact with you since that event.”
“I am worried because there has been no contact about the pictures you completed for us. Can you get in touch soon?”
Email or Text
It may be best to contact the photographer by email or text. You can even do both to make sure you have the best chance of them seeing what you send.
When the request is in writing, you have proof you did reach out to them should you need that information later on.
Keep the messages friendly and brief but make sure the message is there that you aren’t happily trying to track down the pictures they were to deliver.
What to Say:
“I need an update on the completion date for the pictures, the original date in our contract has come and gone.”
“Is there a reason why you haven’t gotten the completed pictures to us?”
“I hope all is well with you, we aren’t sure why we haven’t heard back regarding our completed images yet.”
“Pictures? I haven’t heard anything back from you about them yet. Please let me know.”
“I am concerned we haven’t seen our pictures yet. Do you have information you can share about them?”
Give them a Week to Reply Back
A professional service should reply to you within 2 business days. That doesn’t always happen, and you don’t want to hound the photographer.
Give them a week after you have made contact and then firmly reach out again.
Not getting a reply back though can be frustrating. It can cause you to worry you may never see those images!
What to Say:
“A week ago I contacted you about the photos and have not heard back. This isn’t acceptable and I need to hear from you very soon.”
“This is a follow-up to the email I sent last week regarding our pictures. No one has responded, can you tell me what is happening?”
“I need an update on our photos, please. They were expected 2 weeks ago and I reached out last week about them. I don’t feel I should have to chase you down to get them.”
“It has been almost 2 months ago we were supposed to have our pictures. Nothing has been delivered to us and my message to you from a week ago has not been replied to. I have many concerns about this.”
Send a Certified Letter with Final Instruction
If your efforts to reach the photographer to get your photos are unanswered or they give you the runaround, you may have to cut your losses. Hopefully, that isn’t the case because you may not be able to recapture those moments in time!
As a final request, send a certified letter with final instructions. Someone will have to sign to verify receipt of that letter.
It should detail why you are upset and the action you plan to take. It should give them a definite deadline to provide the pictures they agreed to in your contract. If they don’t comply, file a claim to at least get your money back.
What to Say:
“Below is a record of my attempts to contact you about our photos. You are not in compliance with the agreement both parties signed. I expect my photos by July 10th or I will file a claim in court to get my money back. You will also be asked to pay the fees involved with filing that claim.”
“I have had no response to my requests with you to obtain my photos. I have no reason to believe there are circumstances beyond your control preventing us from getting them. This is the last correspondence I will send. Failure to provide the photos by the date on this letter will result in further legal action.”
Sophie Hammond is a journalist, psychologist, and freelance speechwriter for people in politics and business. She lives on the edge of the Rocky Mountains with her dog and a lifetime supply of books. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering through nature or journaling at a coffee shop.