I paid a photographer to take photos, now she won’t let us see them without going through a ‘reveal’. What are my rights?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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I paid a photographer to take photos, now she won’t let us see them without going through a ‘reveal’. What are my rights?

My fiance and I had our engagement photos done by a very respected photographer in our area. She required payment up front of 350 just to take the pictures. It turned out to be an awful experience. The way she does business is she takes the photos and then schedules a ‘reveal session’ so she can sell them to you. The experience we had during the photo-shoot was so awful I don’t even want to see the woman. We just want to see our photos, that is it. And if we choose to purchase any than so be it. We do not want to attend this presentation we just want to simple see our photos. There was no contract involved and I do have proof of payment. What are my rights?

Asked on November 20, 2016 under Business Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

There was a contract involved--there is *always* a contract--it's just that sometimes, it's an oral (unwritten; often inaccurately called "verbal") agreement, under which, for example, the photographer agrees to take photos for you and you agree to pay her. That agreement can be enforced--though it is, of course, easier to enforce written agreements, since it's easier to prove what they said/what the terms were.
What were the terms of this agreement? Which basically means, what did the photographer tell you about how she worked before you gave her the deposit or retained her? If you knew before retaining her that you had to meet with her for her "reveal," then that's part of the agreement--it's what you agreed to--and you need to do it.
If she did not tell you in advance of the reveal and, as far as you were concerned, you could have her send, etc. you the photos without going back to her office, then the agreement did not include the requirement for a reveal and you could sue her for breach of contract if she won't turn the photos over to you or give you the option of buying them without the reveal. 
That said, obviously, lawsuits have their costs, in time and money, even if file the suit "pro se" (as your own attorney)--there are practical reasons why you may wish to do the reveal, pick your photos, then move on with your life, rather than litigate, even if legally, you could force her to show you the photos without the reveal.

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