Niles >Employment Agencies > Michael Stephen Studios
650 Youngstown Warren Rd, Niles, OH | Directions 4444641.194049 -80.726888
My experience with Michael was fantastic. He literally spent the entire day, along with assistants compiling the most beautiful and memorable photos a girl could as for on her wedding day. From the minute I received the proofs for my graduation (senior) pictures years ago, I knew Michael would take my wedding photos. The pictures were a mix of classic, artistic, and incredibly original shots. Also, there are so many angles of each scene, it makes it impossible to not like one! His deminer is laid back and super friendly which made us very comfortable. He was very professional and prompthis work. He also went above and beyond to capture photos my mother and I requested! I've been to countless weddings and graduations shot by Michael and other local photographers. There is no competition, Michael's are the best. We are so truly grateful and blessed have gotten to work with Michael again and look forward to working with him again in the future!!
Never thought such bad customer service was possible! – For my wedding reception, Michael Stephen did show up on time, he took a lot of photos, and the photos he took were of very good quality regarding all of the technical things about photography. Other aspects of the experience were very negative for us. Here's the short version: Issue 1 - Michael Stephen does not work off of requests, not even from the bride (so if you don't have a specific idea of what you want for your photos and aren't worried about getting photos of your guests you could potentially have a good experience with him). Issue 2 - Michael Stephen actually started a conversation by yelling at me before he heard from me about what I wanted to talk about.
Issue 1. We'd already had a destination wedding, so the focus of our Ohio reception was the family and friends joining us. I was really looking forward to getting lots of photos of me, my husband, and/or my parents with our guests, lots of small group photos of me & my college friends, my husband and I with our grad school friends, etc. that would combine into an album full of happy people, smiling for the camera, comprising a collection of everybody who flew from all over the country to celebrate with us that day. Prior to the big day, I asked MS if we should discuss what's important to us for the reception (as the videographer, dj, bakers, event planners, etc. insisted on doing to make sure our reception was everything we wanted) but MS said that he never works off of requests, and assurred me that he would capture everything. We only had about 90 guests at a 5-hour reception, so it should work out for him to get plenty of photos of us with our beloved family and friends, right? Wrong! Outside of photos of the bridal party and parents, there were only 4 shots of me, my husband, and/or my parents with one or a few our guests smiling for the camera (i.e. the kind of picture that I wanted). Michael Stephen did take 33 pictures of line dancing, 2 pictures of the dj, a few pictures of people talking to the videographer (but wasn't the videographer already getting that - on video?), and lots of pictures of people standing around, often with their backs to the camera, not really smiling. If we considered these to be photos of the guests (which, of course, they technically are), there were still no photos of about half of the guests. I know that not everyone has the same idea in mind as me of what they want for wedding reception photos, but it just seems like a huge waste for this guy to take over 700 pictures and only get 4 that are what I am looking for! This breakdown in communication seems completely unnecessary, especially since I requested that we review what my preferences are regarding photography.
Issue 2. I called Michael Stephen in hopes that he had more pictures not posted online. I spoke with his receptionist and told her that there was a lot missing (e.g. 40 guests) and she passed the message on to MS. When we spoke on the phone, he raised his voice and stated that he is personally offended when someone doesn't like his work. He described how "lucky you were to have me as your photographer", about how he has 31 years of experience, about how the other photographers in town are not good, and that "I had better things to take pictures of than Uncle Joe eating his spaghetti!" (Fyi, I don't have an Uncle Joe and we didn't serve spaghetti.) The fact that he responded to my concerns by yelling at me was the biggest negative for me in my experience with him. Communication problems happen and can be overcome, but I have never heard of a business owner yelling at a customer!!!
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