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We were married last summer. We are still waiting for our album, which includes 50 edited images of our choosing.

We provided a list of the 50 images according to the instructions from the photographer. Our order was submitted along with other clients (first come, first serve). We could not be given a date of when to expect the album.

Fast forward to present day: our photographer is stating the editing included is blemish removal/skin correction only, anything else is $1/minute. This is listed NOWHERE in the contract. Nor was it ever brought up by the photographer at any moment during the submission of the order for our album. The instructions included with the album order stated editing of images as "blemish removal, etc", which leaves room for interpretation.

1) Is this common practice in the industry? 2) Is this legal under contract law? 3) Would it be appropriate to ask for a refund of the album cost if they cannot edit the images to our request, due to the mysterious new fee?

Any insight from professionals would be much appreciated.

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    Sounds like you got ripped off. You need an attorney to review the contract but anyone that didn't provide you with an album for almost a year and now is claiming its $1/min sounds like a scam-artist. But we can't help, we don't know what your contract says or even what country you're in. Good luck but I don't see how anyone here can help you. – RyanFromGDSE Feb 26 '16 at 0:52
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    our photographer is stating the editing included blemish removal/skin correction only, anything else is $1/minute. - What exactly is the else you are looking for? Did the proofs delivered thus far not have basic color correction and cropping? Are you afraid of receiving an album with images that are not yet color corrected, cropped, or... ? You also say edit images to our request; what does that mean exactly? Please explain. – dpollitt Feb 26 '16 at 1:46
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    If you are here for clarification on typical practices, we can answer that. If you are here for legal advice (which seems to be the title as well as question #2), I would advise you to go elsewhere - a lawyers office. – dpollitt Feb 26 '16 at 1:49
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a legal matter, not a photographic one. – Caleb Feb 26 '16 at 2:00
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    @Caleb - the question has relevance for the photographic community. While the finer points of law may not be answerable, there are aspects to the question that could be dealt with and be useful to others in the future. – John Cavan Feb 26 '16 at 4:30
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As a rule, pro wedding photographers and editors consider a Blemish to be a temporary flaw or mark on a persons face. These will include skin imperfections such as spots, zits, blackheads, whiteheads, veins in the eyes ETC, anything that is temporary.

Any imperfection which is a more permanent part of a person, is generally not considered a blemish. These can include, permanent scars, moles, eyes brows that may touch in the middle, nasal hairs, wrinkles, forehead lines, a side profile which makes the persons nose look big, an image where the subject is standing in not too flattering a manner and looks overweight, shirts with buttons open…. the list goes on.

Any of these adjustment are only done when specifically requested and generally, with additional costs.

In your case, you need to discuss with your photographer and understand what his interpretation of a Blemish is and then take your next step from there.

If your photographer has falsely advertised and lured you into a bait and switch scenario by giving you an initial verifiable impression that a blemish means more than what I mention above, but now tells you that you need to pay for an additional service, and, if you can conclusively prove this, then you need to seek legal advice.

Saying all this, my concern would be the time is has taken for you to receive the album, to me, that is simply unacceptable and based on this alone, I sympathise with you and suggest you speak to him and then seek legal help.

  • +1 for defining the difference between 'blemish removal" and more extensive editing. – Michael C Feb 27 '16 at 6:38
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"Normal" edits -- cropping, alignment and color correction -- should be included; no professional photographer would want his/her images going out without those. You state his "instructions" also include blemish removal, so that should also be included. The time necessary to do those are all reasonably foreseeable, so he can set a fee up front that includes time to do those. Anything else (i.e., "editing the images to your request") should be extra; after all, how would any photographer know in advance how much editing you might request?

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