Industry News

Bride’s Father Sues Wedding Photographer for $76,000

February 1, 2023

By Hillary K. Grigonis

© New Africa/Shutterstock

It’s hard to avoid the recent headline: “A New Jersey father sues wedding photographer for $76k.” The father says he had to scramble to find a new photographer just days before his daughter’s wedding. In a lawsuit to be heard by the Southern District of New York, Dr. Amit Patel claims that photographer Clane Gessel began making demands contrary to the original contract just days before his daughter Anisha married Arjun Mehta in a four-day wedding in Bodrum, Turkey. The disagreement caused Patel to fire the photographer days before the celebration began. In the lawsuit, Patel v. Clane Gessel Studio, Patel is looking for his $76,000 payment to the photographer to be refunded.

The wedding was an elaborate four-day affair—the bride wore 13 different custom looks—that was later featured in Vogue (and ultimately photographed by Vinuthna Garidipuri). As a destination wedding bringing 250 guests from India, the U.S., and Europe, planning the wedding took one year. The bride selected Clane Gessel Studios, a high-end studio based in New York, as the photographer for the event.

[Read: Photographer’s Viral TikTok: Why She Canceled on Bride]

In the lawsuit, Patel claims that the photographer emailed him as he was getting ready to board the plane to Turkey. He says that the original contract had Gessel as the main photographer and the team staying in a Hilton Doubletree rather than the Mandarin Hotel where the wedding took place. In the email, Patel says that the photographer demanded to be booked into the same hotel as the guests and that Gessel would determine who would be shooting each part of the extended celebration.

Rangefinder reached out to the photographer for comment but did not hear back. Gessel originally shot travel photography, including publication in National Geographic, before moving on to high-end weddings. The photographer has now shot more than 500 weddings and worked in more than 50 countries, according to his website.

The courts have yet to rule in the case, which was filed on Dec. 29, 2022.