KSL Investigates: Do you know these newlyweds? We’ve got photos they paid for, but never got
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A few weeks ago, the KSL Investigators tracked down a Utah wedding photographer with a history of taking people’s money and not doing his job. As a result, some of the newlyweds never got their photos from that day.
The story managed to get one couple their photographs after a nearly a year of waiting. This follow-up story requires some help from our viewers and readers to hopefully get the same result for two more couples.
About a month ago, the KSL Investigators had a very candid conversation with David Bowe Jacobs, the owner and operator of Bellissima Images Photography.
One bride said she was surprised when a stranger showed up to photograph her wedding instead of Jacobs.
In that conversation with Jacobs the KSL Investigators asked, “You never let [the bride] know you weren’t going to show up?”
“I told the other photographer to let her know, and I also emailed,” Jacobs responded.
The other photographer in that case was Kylee Hunter, a last minute fill-in Jacobs hired to do his job.
In short, Hunter would take the photographs and Jacobs would edit the photographs before sending them to the bride.
Here’s the problem: it took 10 months of asking and help from the KSL Investigators for the bride to finally get her wedding day photos and for Hunter, the fill-in photographer, to get paid.
In that first story, the KSL Investigators highlighted legal accusations and Better Business Bureau complaints that alleged poor communication, failure to give people their photos and in some cases, not even showing up for the wedding.
Jacobs is on the “Buyer Beware” list, has been denied BBB accreditation twice, and has been fined thousands of dollars by the Utah Department of Consumer Protection.
“When I heard this on the news I was like, it’s about… time,” said Scott, a professional photographer who doesn’t want his identity revealed.
Scott contacted the KSL Investigators after seeing that story. He said on multiple occasions he was hired by Jacobs to photograph weddings in his place.
He said Jacobs owes him close to $3,000.
“He’s letting other people do his work,” said Scott, “and he’s not paying them.”
Because Scott’s never been paid, he said he never sent the raw photos of two wedding receptions to Jacobs. That mean months and months after one of the biggest days of their lives, those newlyweds still don’t have their photos.
“I know I’m not going to get paid,” said Scott, “I’d just as soon find them and personally give them to them.”
Since Scott says Jacobs isn’t returning his calls, he doesn’t know how to get the photographs to the couples.
That’s where the KSL Investigators come in, asking for a little help.
All we have are first names, but look closely.
This is Joanna and Drew, at their reception in Bountiful.
And this is Marci and Blake, apparently inside the cultural hall of an LDS church building.
“As of now we’re going on one year they have not had their photos,” said Scott.
His hope is to track these couples down, and give them the wedding day photos they have never seen. If you know who they are, email firstname.lastname@example.org and the KSL Investigators will get the couples in touch with Scott.
Scott said he’s not happy about losing money on the jobs, but believes giving these newlyweds their priceless memories is the right thing to do.
Scott also gave us a few industry tips when hiring a wedding photographer to avoid a similar situation.
First, ask a lot of questions. How much experience does the photographer have? Do they have a recent portfolio? How long will it take to receive your photos?
Second, get references. Make sure there are prior clients you can talk with about their experience.
Third, don’t pay for everything up front. Make a down payment and then pay the rest when the photos are finished.
Finally, sign a legally binding contract, clearly stating your expectations.