5 On Your Side

Delivery Problem Dogs Wedding Photo Studio

Posted January 17, 2008

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— Since 5 On Your Side reported about problems with Mark Fowler Photography in August 2007, the number of newlywed couples waiting for their pictures has multiplied – and so have Fowler's promises.

The empty frames and albums in Shannon Emerick's house should show wedding pictures. But although Mark Fowler took pictures at her wedding and reception last April, he never provided them.

"I would (like that to be my husband and me)," Emerick said as she pointed out a frame.

So Emerick did a little online research. She found previous 5 On Your Side stories about other local newlyweds who had hired the Cary-based photography studio and were left in the same situation.

"My heart sank when I saw that I wasn't the only one," Emerick said.

So far, 17 couples have complained to 5 On Your Side about Mark Fowler Photography. Thirteen of those couples still do not have everything they paid for.

"Those are irreplaceable. I cannot re-do my wedding. I cannot re-do those pictures," Emerick said. "It's a once a lifetime kind of thing. And they have all my memories."

Along with Emerick's money – more than $2,400 – our complainants say Fowler owes them more than $27,400.

Ramsey and Adrienne Connor got married 17 months ago and paid Fowler almost $2,800. When 5 On Your Side called, Fowler's son Brian, who also takes pictures for the business, promised the Connors would get their album by September.

Mark Fowler Photography, however, did not deliver on that promise.

Jennifer Norton got her album six months after the wedding, but had to complete it herself.

"When I first got the album, there were blank pages throughout," Norton said.

About a month ago, some couples got an e-mail from Fowler saying, "We have gone out of business." However, he still promised to send CDs of the couples' pictures, along with copyright releases that would let them get the photos printed elsewhere.

So far, several brides told us they have not received either.

The Fowlers previously told us they have financial problems. Asked about the whereabouts of the releases and CDs, Fowler responded via email, saying he will get them done in a "relatively short period of time" and "start mailing them out immediately."

"I am very ashamed of the decisions I made and how long it has take me to fix everything," Fowler also said in the email.

All those decisions and delays have left the couples feeling hurt and angry.

"I feel extremely betrayed by them. I trusted them," Emerick said. "And I do want my pictures. That's all I'm asking from them."

Fowler keeps telling 5OYS he's working on the photo orders – and the newlywed couples certainly hope he is.

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  • ncweddingdj.com Jan 21, 2008

    Once again, yet another story about someone who did not carefully check references BEFORE getting into a busimess relationship with a wedding vendor. My wife and I have been deejaying and emceeing for 1400+ wedding receptions since 1979 and have never failed to do EXACTLY what we promised, at a reasonable price, on time, etc. That is what most all reputable Triangle wedding vendors do, too.

    References, references, references. Comparison shop. Talk to REAL people who have hired your prospective vendor---never, ever do it in a rush at a "wedding show," for example.

    All it takes to be a vendor there is a little money...No experience, no earned good reputation, no longevity in the particular business. A little money gets you a table and lets you meet prospective brides and grooms. A really bad idea. Again and again.

    Here's hoping those 15 or 27 or however many couples get their wedding pictures. Their money? Not a chance.

  • Tax Man Jan 18, 2008

    These folks need to complain to the DA and this man should be charged with taking property (money) under false pretenses. 17 counts could get him many years in prison - bet if the DA contacted him and gave him 30 days to get the albums to the brides & grooms or face criminal prosecution that they albums would be delivered! No one should pay for these albums until they are received - any photographer who is not willing to take payment at the time of delivery should not be doing business as they have no out-of-pocket costs - almost 100% profit!