A Kansas wedding photographer is in hot water for allegedly leaving couples in the lurch on their big day. Authorities are now considering a hefty fine and temporary business ban.
Caitlyn Payne, the owner of CP Family Photography in Kansas, has been accused of engaging in “deceptive or unconscionable acts” by the Sedgwick County district attorney.
KAKE News detailed an incident where a Derby couple found themselves without a photographer just hours before their wedding. The photographer in question, Caitlyn Payne, claimed a family emergency but was later spotted at a school event.
The couple, Nick and Kirstie Steffen had hired Payne to capture their day. However, they received a last-minute call from her, stating that her daughter had been in a car crash, preventing her from photographing the wedding. To their astonishment, they later discovered Payne’s presence at a school event during their wedding ceremony.
This incident prompted many other clients to step forward with similar complaints. They told KAKE News that Payne either failed to show up, left their events prematurely, or delivered subpar work, if at all.
Natalie Gustafson, one such dissatisfied client, expressed her disappointment with CP Family Photography. She had initially been drawn to the business by Payne’s affordable rates and impressive sample photographs shared on Facebook. After paying $1,200 upfront, she hoped for the best. However, the actual results didn’t meet her expectations, and she tried to cancel the contract.
In her request for a refund, Gustafson was left without any compensation. The Sedgwick County district attorney’s office has since taken action. Gustafson is one of two people represented in a civil petition against CP Family Photography and Caitlin Payne.
The district attorney’s Consumer Protection Division has accused Payne of violating the Kansas Consumer Protection Act by using misleading advertising tactics. Payne displayed sample photos taken by other photographers, presenting them as her own work. Additionally, Payne allegedly failed to issue refunds for work she did not complete.
Despite the mounting evidence and complaints, Caitlyn Payne has remained elusive. KAKE News attempted to reach her, but she did not respond. She even cancelled two scheduled appointments to address the situation.
The state has filed a civil complaint against Payne. They demand that she pay an $80,000 fine, which would serve as penalties for her actions. The complaint seeks to temporarily bar Payne from conducting any further business until all costs and fees are fully paid to the affected clients.
Payne has claimed that the “fake photographs” she used for promotion were stock photos she paid for. However, investigators reportedly traced these images back to the original photographer. The photographer denied permission for their use by Payne or anyone else.
Aside from affecting Payne’s clients directly, all wedding photographers are indirectly affected by this. The nature of the business operates on a mutual trust between the client and the photographer.
Payne has just made the wedding photography business harder for everyone. However, it isn’t the first time that this has happened, and likely won’t be the last.