Angry couples waiting for years to get wedding photos

Ms. Oxford said she was lucky because she eventually received most of her photos. Mr. Schembri sent digital files a few months after the wedding. It was 15 months before they got their wedding album, however – and it still wasn’t what they paid for.

The couple received some money back from Mr Schembri in 2019 and another refund in January 2020, two and a half years after the wedding after taking the matter to NSW’s civil and administrative court.

The Sun-Herald interviewed two other couples who spoke on condition of anonymity because they still do not have wedding photos and are hoping to negotiate a result. Angry customers also share their stories on the Instagram account @ryan_schembriphoto_review_page.

Wedding photos by Andrea and Brendan Oxford.Recognition:Ryan Schembri

A business client who had paid for the videography to promote their retreat business and never received it told The Sun-Herald that they would take legal action on Monday for about $ 2,000 back.

NSW’s fair trade department has received 16 complaints against Mr Schembri since 2018 but has not reached the 10 complaints per month threshold required to have him on the complaints register.

The Australian Institute for Professional Photographers terminated Mr Schembri’s membership in September 2020 after it was discovered that he had failed to meet the organization’s standards.

The finding in favor of the Oxfords was technically taped against XSiGHT Photography and Video, a Melbourne-based company, which made the original deposit in 2016 on behalf of Mr Schembri.

Nick Ghionis, owner of XSiGHT, said Mr. Schembri began using his company name under license from around 2004 but stopped paying royalties in 2010. Mr Schembri said the agreement ended in 2016.

“It took us a while to shut down all operations in view of its commitment,” said Ghionis. “Unfortunately, I’ve been trying to put out fires on him for a while.”

Mr Ghionis said he was actually another victim for being a good and ethical photographer with a well run business, but the association is harmful.


It’s the same with photographer Rocco Ancora. Mr. Ancora previously did post production work for Mr. Schembri and stopped because of outstanding invoices. He says he still owes about $ 2,000 but has no plans to take legal action.

His name remains associated with Mr. Schembri when searching the web, however, as the workshops they conducted together and an online wedding photography master class they helped create will continue to be hosted by Seattle-based CreativeLive.

“He is no longer considered a friend, and I do not want to be associated with him in any way, form, form, or form,” said Ancora. “I’m extremely pissed off.”

Mr Schembri said he was “a good person who has had a lot of misfortune and who has made everything happen to me”. His father was also a well-known photographer, and Mr. Schembri left school at 16 to follow in his footsteps. Mr Schembri said when his father died in 2016 he did not handle it well and he now realizes that he should have sought mental health support at that point. In 2020, Mr. Schembri went through a breakup and divorce and made “bad financial decisions” about lifestyle costs during the pandemic.

Mr Schembri said he was working to regain his mental health and rebuilding his professional reputation. He offers a reduced service for the wedding shoot and the digital files and refers the lucrative printing work to other studios.

NSW Fair Trading has received an average of 100 complaints per year against wedding photographers and videographers since 2018, with numbers falling during the pandemic in line with the decrease in weddings.

Earlier this month, Fair Trading took action against wedding videographers Katie and Andrew Klerck for not providing a bride and groom for their edited wedding videos and photos. They have pleaded guilty to a total of 33 charges under Australian consumer law and paid US $ 110,000 in compensation, costs and fines. The couple has the right to appeal.

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Caitlin Fitzsimmons is a senior writer for The Sun-Herald, who is focused on social affairs.

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