Industry News

Photographer’s Viral TikTok: Why She Cancelled On Bride

July 21, 2022

By Hillary K. Grigonis

© YP_Studio

What could lead a wedding photographer to cancel a contract the night before the wedding? That’s the question a photographer’s viral TikTok answered earlier this month. The video by Shayla Herrington, which has gotten more than two million views and more than 1,500 comments, highlights a few potential pitfalls photographers should be aware of to avoid a similar scenario.


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The photographer’s viral TikTok explains the scenario that she faced three years ago, when a bride booked her photography before booking her venue. In an interview with Newsweek, Herrington shared a few more details, including that the bride had booked only two to three weeks before the wedding date.

The photographer explained that she talked to the bride on the phone, then sent a questionnaire for the couple to fill out once details had been finalized, including the location and time. After multiple calls, texts and emails, Herrington still hadn’t heard from the bride. Those texts even included a $5 Starbucks gift card, telling the bride that she must be stressed with all the planning and inviting her to sit down with a cup of coffee to fill out those details.

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The night before the wedding, she had no idea where she was supposed to go or at what time. The photographer then sent an email to the bride saying that because she didn’t have those details, the contract was void and she would not be able to photograph the wedding. Herrington said that the bride responded the day of the wedding then followed up with a bad Facebook review.

The photographer said she funded the initial deposit when she voided the contract. Herrington explained that she does have clauses in her contract that protect her in that situation, allowing her to void the contract without the questionnaire details.

The video amassed thousands of different comments, including other photographers offering advice on what to do to avoid similar scenarios. One suggested rewording the deposit to a retainer, requiring payment in full before the wedding, and requiring venue details on the contract itself. Many commenters supported the photographer but said she would have been fully within her rights to keep the deposit. Others also said they would have cancelled sooner than the night before.