They were supposed to be treasured mementoes of a newlywed couple’s big day. But Steph and Paul Unwin were so disappointed with their wedding photographs that they ended up taking legal action.
One in three pictures taken by David Kilcourse were blurred. Worse, he took far more of the bridesmaids than the happy couple.
Worse still, his principal focus of the 96 bridesmaid pictures involved ‘inappropriate’ shots of their bums and cleavage.
By contrast Kilcourse only took 70 photos of the bride, just 11 of the groom and none of his parents.
The Unwins have now won a Small Claims Court claim against Mr Kilcourse after he failed to file a defence.
But he hit back saying the wedding day was affected by bad weather and accused the couple of ‘cropping’ photographs to claim he focused on the bridesmaids’ bodies.
Mrs Unwin, a 29-year-old nurse, and her husband, 30, who have two young sons, paid £550 for Mr Kilcourse’s services.
But disappointment set in as soon as the couple received the first samples of pictures.
Mrs Unwin said: ‘When we got some of the pictures, I said to him ‘is this all of them because I’m really disappointed?’
‘He turned around and said he took thousands of pictures. When we received them, he’d taken 1636 images and 559 were out of focus. He called them ‘misfires’.’
‘There were none of the in-laws, one of my parents and almost 100 of the two bridesmaids.
‘He took pictures of one of my bridesmaid’s breasts, some of her bum. There were more pictures of just the bridesmaids than anything else. I’m sure he was doing that on purpose.
‘I know that photography is interpreted differently by different people but when he takes three pictures of someone’s bum, that’s not an accident.’
Mrs Unwin added that the lack of good photographs of the wedding, in June 2015, had caused ‘so much heartache’ and claimed she had heard from other brides unhappy with Mr Kilcourse.
‘We have so many moments missing from our big day. I’ll do anything to stop him doing this to anyone else,’ she said.
Mr Kilcourse said he has closed his wedding photography business in the wake of the dispute with the Unwins, and has refunded the Unwins his fee.
Mrs Unwin and husband Paul, 30, from Bollington, Cheshire, hired Kilcourse for the full day of the wedding and all its various stages.
His package included the bride getting ready, ceremony, meal and evening party. Mr Kilcourse had promised to produce an album, prints, edited images and a CD of photographs.
Mrs Unwin said: ‘The pictures he showed us before we booked him were really nice, well done photos.’
But she claimed the reality failed to live up to expectations.
‘He didn’t turn up until after the groom’s arrival, by which point we were all ready,’ she said.
‘He didn’t get family pictures and missed my mum, dad and in-laws.
‘On pictures he took using a photo booth, you can see hanging equipment and the metal frame in the background.
‘We received no photo album. He just sent the pictures via disk after I complained.
‘He claimed the pictures he’d sent us were edited but they weren’t. My husband wore a grey suit but on the pictures, it looked blue.
‘A lot of the pictures were angled so they wouldn’t look right in a photo frame.’
‘Thankfully we had a videographer.’
But after receiving the images, they successfully took Kilcourse to County Court in September 2016 and won £601 after he failed to turn up to the case.
Mr Kilcourse maintains the Unwins’ wedding snaps were ruined by bad weather – and accused the couple of ‘ruining’ his business.
He said: ‘It’s a period of my life that’s over. They ruined me.
‘The company has folded since then. As far as I’m concerned it’s all done and dusted.
‘As a company, we did over 1,000 weddings and we only had, probably in all that time, 10 complaints of that severity.
‘It’s a matter of opinion that we didn’t fulfil the package. Steph said that we didn’t take any outside shots of the wedding, when it was pouring it down all day. According to my terms and conditions we say that we can’t control the weather.
‘They claimed I had taken inappropriate images but they cropped the pictures down. (It) was disproved.
‘I got so much hassle through weddings that I just stopped doing it.’
Mr Kilcourse, of Middleton, Greater Manchester, said he did not attend court because the hearing was in Nottingham which would have cost him ‘a fortune’ to attend.