We got married on the 7th August and where recommended to Perfect Reflections Photography by a close friend. We went to see the team at Perfect Reflections in Northallerton (who have recently moved to Middlesbrough), and were really happy with them and loved how the pictures looked, so booked them straight away.
The wedding day came and went and everything went to plan. Until we saw the pictures on the Internet via Smugmug.com. If you don’t know what SmugMug is, then its a location on the net that is private and password protected, where you can view your wedding photos. As the last thing you want is 300 photos coming to you via e-mail.
When we browsed through the photos on SmugMug we saw that some where quite grainy, now i know a bit about this sort of thing and put it down to the pictures been compressed so that they had a smaller file size, and makes uploading to SmugMug faster for Perfect Reflections.
This was mentioned to Perfect Reflections, and we where assured everything would be OK. Below you can see 2 images (Both the same) one is the normal size that is displayed on SmugMug and the other is a (Original) size, i guess that SmugMug may re size slightly to again keep file sizes down.
The noise and gaining can clearly be seen on the black jacket above.
This is the largest image that you can view on SmugMug and there’s even more noise that is noticeable.
Below is a 100% crop of me IE its the full size image just with me selected. (Click for full size)
So you ask what the differences are. Both cameras are Digital SLRS with 12mega pixel sensors so image difference should be minimal.
1. The Photo of me (Above) was shot using a Nikon D90 at ISO 6400
2. The below image was shot by me using my Canon 450D Digital SLR on a fully automatic setting. The guy was walking past at the time as well, so he’s a moving object. It was shot at ISO 400
You can clearly see the difference in the quality. The issue is clearly the higher ISO setting. Below is a brief description of ISO noise taken from http://gfoto.tripod.com/phototips/NoiseReduction.htm
“All Digital camera suppers from a common malady, called “High ISO noise”. What does it mean is, if you select a higher ISO speed for your sensor, your will get some extra digital noise signal.
Noise manifests like tiny colored specs scattered all over the picture area. It is kind of like getting grains when you use high-speed films. This happens due to the fact Image sensor cells produce electron charge over time and depending on the temperature. Cooler the temperature, lesser the noise, higher the temperature, higher the noise. Unfortunately, even in normal ambient temperature, the existing image sensors produces appreciable amount of charges to degrade the image at low light and / or longer exposure.
In technical term this is also called Dark count and Dark noise of the sensor.”
I have spoken to Dan who took the pictures on the day, and he said “the cameras had been for a service and the settings had been changed, unfortunately i didn’t check the settings before the wedding shoot” Dan did offer us a 10″ x 15″ canvas as compensation, but this is a pretty small size and in a value of compensation
We decided not to go for an album, and buy the copyright free discs so that we can have the full sizes images to do with as we please. but we received a letter around a fortnight ago saying that Perfect Reflections generally don’t edit any images once the copyright discs have been received. Although they would make an exception for us.
We have been refunded the full cost of £150 for the copyright discs, but in the attached letter it said that the images had been altered to make them slightly better, although it appears that they are still as the camera took them, as i can tweak them in Photoshop CS5 and they look better. Although these still aren’t the quality images that we would expect from professional photographers like Perfect Reflections.
Every time we call were told that some one will call us back that day with some help and answers but it never happens.
Not to check a camera that has been serviced before a shoot is a big mistake to make, and in our opinion has ruined what could have been lovely photos taken by Perfect Reflections.
Its clear to me that the poor quality of photo is down the the high ISO speed, and this can never be rectified fully. We feel that refunding us for the copyright discs £150 is a very easy way out for Perfect Reflections, and feel that we should have the images sorted to the best that they can be and a full refund as it has been almost 4 months since our big day, and that day will never happen again.
This might be a complete one off, but this is my encounter with Perfect Reflections Photography.