Your wedding day is one of the happiest days of your life. You’re surrounded by family and friends to watch you get married to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. You also want photos of the day to look back on in years to come, so you hire a photographer. But then what if that photographer doesn’t show up?
That’s what happened to newlyweds the Dunaways, of Utah. At the Utah State Capitol in July 2017, the day was perfect. But their photographer, David Bowe Jacobs, owner of Bellissima Images Photography didn’t show up. Local TV station, KSL, went to investigate…
The Dunaways were convinced to hire Jacobs after seeing his website and online reviews. Many previous clients had left him five-star reviews with comments like “amazing job”, “awesome photo” and “best photographer ever!”. After looking at his work, they were sold.
They were in contact with Jacobs right up until the day before the wedding, and he offered no indication that he would not be showing up to the wedding. A wedding he’d been paid to come and shoot. As far as they knew, he was still coming.
KSL set up and paid for a shoot in order for reporter Mike Headrick to meet with Jacobs and ask him some questions.
Headrick: [Mrs Dunaway] said she had a conversation with you the night before her wedding. Do you remember that?
Jacobs: I think she sent an email
Headrick: Did you know the next day you weren’t going to show up to the wedding?
While waiting for a response, a text message was discovered suggesting that he planned not to go several days earlier. he’d contacted another photographer, Kylee Hunter asking if she was available to shoot a wedding on Saturday, as he has surgery on the Friday – the same day he was talking to Mrs Dunaway, the day before the wedding.
Hunter did attend and shoot the wedding, and Jacobs says he told the other photographer to let the couple know that he wasn’t going to be showing up. Hunter says she’s seen Jacobs do this before with other brides. Almost the same exact story.
Hunter shot a wedding for him in the past for bride Adrienne Hess. The plan was that Hunter would photograph the wedding, Jacobs would do the editing and send the finished photographs to the bride.
Almost a year later, Hess still does not have her images.
Jane Driggs, president of The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Utah told KSL that there have been dozens of complaints made against him. They allege poor communication, failure to deliver photos, and in some cases, not showing up for their wedding. He has also been found guilty of two felonies for forgery and issuing bad cheques.
Diggs says that he’s been denied BBB accreditation twice, and as the head of the BBB, she certainly wouldn’t do business with a company who has been denied accreditation – information that obviously isn’t made clear in online reviews, and didn’t help the Dunaways.
Five months after the Dunaways’ wedding, they still had no photos. Their wedding planner reached out to Jacobs to find out what was going on with the images Hunter had shot. He claimed he sent them out 10 days ago and would send along the tracking number.
But he lied. The photos were never sent, there was no tracking number, which he admits to KSL in the interview.
Obviously, one can’t just trust online reviews. I’ve seen it countless times in photography and business-related Facebook group. One person receives a negative review, they call foul in the group, and 50 others come to their defence leaving positive reviews for a service they’ve never used.
So, when you hire a photographer for something important, do check them out properly first.