Beware Brides and Grooms Photographer Rip-Off Alert

00000125b6b1de5b9ba99141007f000000000001.beautiful%20bride Beware Brides and Grooms Photographer Rip Off AlertAs a freelance photographer it is in our best interest to publicly alert others about the triffling and unprofessional behavior of other photographers who can give the freelance photography industry a bad name. This morning I received an alert from a beautiful bride who used a photographer by the name of Darrin Jesse Small. I had the opportunity to work as an assistant with the photographer at her 5th day event in May 2009.  The bride used Darrin Jesse Small photography services for one entire week to capture her special event. He called me on a Friday evening from a Craigslist posting. On short notice he asked if I could help him shoot the event because he had a photographer who bailed out on him. I wasn’t doing anything and drove an hour to get to the event in Chantilly, VA. I thought he was a bit of a character when he finally show up extremely late to film his own photography gig. Of course I kept shooting the beautiful bride and thought nothing of it at the time. What pissed me off about him was he tried to talk me out of being paid for my services the night I performed my assistant photography services for him for 5 hours….a sista was not having it! We got into a bit of a heated discussion which I told him I expect to be paid the night I render photography services. Jesse tried to talk me out of being paid and asked if I could be paid the next day. Hell to the naw I said.…needless to say he didn’t speak to me the rest of the evening.  Hinesight is a mother I tell you….he also tried to talk me into going somewhere in Baltimore to photograph a group of grooms. I told him no because I did not feel comfortable with the gig. First of all I don’t know Baltimore and my husband is from there. When I conveyed to him what this dude ask…he said why don’t he shoot the grooms and you shoot the bride? My intuition kicked in at this point because he was not forthcoming in his approach, nor did he have any business cards, etc. As a freelance photographer the first thought you may think if a bride hired him he must be legitimate….right?  The next day on the phone I told dude he was unprofessional to work with and I was appalled that I had to wait two hours to be paid for my services. You see he used stalling tactics to try to get me to leave without. I was actually paid by the bride once she got wind what was going on with the vendors that were hired by him. I did not want to work with him anymore. I was still a bit pissed off from the night before….he hardly did any shooting and he was the main photographer. I never heard from again. I am sure he is still posting on Craigslist soliciting photographers to assist him and scamming brides out of their hard earn money.

This morning I received a message in facebook inbox from the bride that she has not received her images and video from this guy. She alerted me about his past performance. I was shocked to learned that photographers operate on this level….he is taking this to a whole new level of scamming.

Of course she got the 487 images I took of the event. Thank goodness I did not listen to the photographer who told me that I should not give this women the images I shot. You know that standard way of thinking in the wedding photography industry about not giving a person their negatives because they could be held hostage by the photographer for future images. Digital photography has totally changed the game and should have changed the way we do business with potential clients. A bride and a groom deserve a copy of their high resolution digital images on a DVD.

Spread the word to stop this guy from taking anyone else money and scamming brides out of their memories that they trusted him to take on their wedding day and special events, etc. Twitter, facebook and spread this around the internet like a virus. This dude must be stopped before he scams someone else. Last known location in the state of Maryland.

 Beware Brides and Grooms Photographer Rip Off Alert
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  • atara

    Please join the group: victims of darrin jess small on facebook. He has scammed sooooo many people.

  • Insider knowledge

    I know of another victim of “Imagrey and Stories” and this bride had her wedding on a cable tv program. (Not Bridezillas). To date, still no photos, no video, nada. Just a bunch of excuses. He was paid by both the bride and the show. Go figure.

    • http://thephotographer4you.com geekgirl

      This “Jesse” character really gets around town robbing brides of their precious memories. I would have never known about this guy if the bride I work with did not bring it to my attention on facebook. She did not receive her images or video. He really needs to be put on blast and caught by the proper authorities.

  • Insider knowledge

    Just got an update:

    Jesse is now “allegedly” running a new business called “Wedding Tales” and is advertising on Craigslist (Maryland, DC and Virginia) again. One of the photos he is using is my friend (she doesn’t have her pics, but they are being used to advertise for him) and I noticed another photo that looks like the bride in your post here (Mehndi art on feet and hands).

    What a scam. My friend keeps trying to contact him and nothing.

  • He is in Baltimore MD

    Darien Small is currently working out of Baltimore City. He was recently advertising under Great-Studios.com and advertising a studio he calls 51.studio.3d. He was evicted out of his studio in Laurel, but continues to lease warehouse space at 4401 Eastern Avenue (Fait ave). He currently advertises that studio 51 3D is available for a co-op. The space is set up as a photography studio and legitimate photographers rent warehouse space from him. Photographers that most likely do not know his criminal history. He advertises hourly rates for the studio as well as a great-studios membership of $300 a month for photographers to have free reign of the space. So about 30+ photographers are paying him up to $300 a month for space that he only pays $400 a month to rent. Illegal….probably not. Sketchy….definitely. Especially since his lease doesn’t allow the type of subletting he is advertising. However the property manager seems to be ok with his operation as he still continues to do business out of that space. Most of the time he isn’t the one shooting in the studio. But he does make weekly appearances to his space at that location. So he isn’t just scamming people in need of photography, he is tapping into other photographers. Sadly many legitimate photographers are associated with his space and do great work out of his studio. So not everyone who claims that they are involved in studio 51 3d is involved with Darien…they simply are just renting the space. that is the latest update. he was arrested last Tuesday in Laurel, MD, but is out and about.

    • http://thephotographer4you.com geekgirl

      The facebook group appreciates any and all updates concerning this photographer. Thanks for leaving the latest update…sounds on point because the arrest has been posted on the fb page:

      http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=230870713105

      Facebook | Victims of Darrin Jesse Small