A wedding studio has closed its doors leaving a team of photographers and videographers without thousands of dollars in owed payments and hundreds of couples without imagery from their big day.
South West Photo and Film, operated by Lee Brewer, suddenly ceased trading last week leaving some couples scrambling for a photographer for their weddings and others wondering when they will see photos from their big day.
Videographer Sam Richardson was one of the many subcontractors that Brewer used to fulfill his considerable bookings and he tells PetaPixel about the awkward mess he has been left in.
“It has affected me massively. I’ve spent the last week picking up the pieces and working with the rest of the team trying to help as many couples as possible to retrieve photos or videos and make new bookings,” says Richardson.
“For my part, I’ve just been trying to get the videos I’ve shot for couples to them and the arrangement we make is ‘pay what you can’ because I’m out of pocket and they don’t want to pay twice. I’m taking on new bookings for this year and next year for affected couples matching the price they had agreed previously.”
South West Photo and Film, based in the U.K., has blamed the pandemic for its finanncial woes with an email sent to customers stating: “It is with upmost sadness we would like to inform you that South West Photo and Film, formally Lee Brewer Photography, has ceased trading. We will no longer be able to provide any of our services to you at your wedding.
“We have tried so hard the last couple of years to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. The financial implications have proven too much for us to get over.”
Richardson believes that the business haD gotten “in over its head” with high outgoings on things like advertisements, salaries, and equipment.
“The scale he was trying to run it and what they were trying to pay for were big. I didn’t think the price was high enough to pay for the costs,” explains the cameraman.
“From what I understand, it got to the point where people were paying in full for next year and that money was going immediately to pay for the equipment and overheads for the here and now.”
It is possible that the business was hit with a huge tax bill that it was unable to pay because of the mass cancelation of jobs during the pandemic.
The U.K. tax authorities has offered monthly repayments to many photo businesses, but it may be that this recurring bill was simply too steep for the wedding firm to cope with on top of all the other associated costs.
The case echoes that of Glasser Images, a wedding firm that closed its doors last year, refusing to offer clients refunds. They are now facing a civil lawsuit in North Dakota.