Local News

Couples Say Raleigh Photographer Kept Them In The Dark

Posted February 5, 2003

— Couples get only one chance to capture their wedding on film, so hiring a professional is a good idea. Nine couples who hired the same Raleigh photographer are at their wits' end.

Five On Your Side first reported about photographer Cletus McLaurin in September 2000, when Veronica High

complained she could not get the wedding photographs

she paid him for. McLaurin promised Five On Your Side that he would give the photos to her, but he still has not.

High complained that McLaurin ignored her efforts to get a $500 wedding picture reorder that she paid for. At the time, McLaurin said that High was unreasonable.

"I don't avoid anybody at any time for any reason," he said.

Since this story first aired, even more couples are complaining.

Mark and Cigdem Wright are just glad their May wedding was captured on video. So far, McLaurin, who was hired to take still photographs at their wedding, has not provided the pictures. The Wrights paid McLaurin more than $2,100 for the pictures.

"I'm trying to figure out this guy's motivation," Mark Wright said. "He's got our money. What else does he want?"

Linda Mathis was married in April, and she has been waiting for her pictures ever since.

"He took $1,300 from us for pictures we have not received the first thing on," she said.

Sheila Stallings paid McLaurin $1,200 to photograph her wedding in Dec. 1999. Laurin Harris and Nicki Clucas are both waiting on refunds they were promised. All said that contacting McLaurin is nearly impossible, and when they did reach him, there were many excuses.

Veronica High said McLaurin told her:

  • The lab messed up the photographs.
  • "They did not 'understand his cropping method,' so he sent them back."
  • "The pictures came in again, but they were too red."
  • "He kept missing the UPS man."
  • Laurin Harris said McLaurin told her:

  • "They were in his hand, but they were wet."
  • "They were in transit from Kansas City." Harris pointed out that a few days before, he said "The photos were in his hand, but wet."
  • "His daughter was sick. He had to take care of her."
  • Mark Wright said he was told:

  • "They were mailed to you."
  • [McLaurin had] "a newborn child in the hospital."
  • [McLaurin's] "wife broke her toes."
  • None of the couples understand why McLaurin will not give them the pictures or the negatives so they can have the pictures made.

    Five On Your Side also found McLaurin difficult to reach. When he was reached by phone, he said his "system was admittedly lacking," but he promised to take care of the problems.

    After learning that Five On Your Side's story was airing, McLaurin called WRAL and agreed to go on camera and address the problems.


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