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Redditor Refuses To Pay Photographer Sister After She Over-Edits Their Wife’s Figure In Photos

Igor Ustynskyy/Getty Images

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, which is usually proven in everyday interactions with the average person on the street.

Reddit user ThrowRa-199212 found themself up against both their wife’s medical condition and someone’s (in this case their sister’s) “good intentions.”

After recently standing up to their sister’s actions concerning some photo editing, the Redditor wanted to get some validation on their choice, so they went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for feedback.

They asked:

“AITA for refusing to pay for a photo that my sister took professionally?”

Our original poster, or OP, set up their wife’s struggle with her weight.

“I’ve been with Sarah for 7 years and in that time she’s gone through some extreme fluctuations in weight.”

“Sarah was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes Dec 2019, before the diagnosis she was very skinny and I know she still worries about the weight she’s put on since getting her condition medicated, we’ve also had a child since her diagnosis which is adding to her stress about her weight.”

“It’s been a very emotional time. We’re dieting but Sarah is a compulsive eater, I’m not sure if all this information is necessary but I thought information would be helpful.”

OP’s sister, who is aware of this, was hired by OP to take photos of the family.

“My sister is aware of Sarah’s problems when it comes to food/body image.”

“We wanted to take some proper family photos of us and our son and whilst we were going to hire someone else my mother nagged us into hiring my sister, she did go to college for photography and does it as a side gig so we did agree to hiring her.”

“She took some nice photos and we told her we’d pay half and then pay half upon receiving the photos.”

But the editing job was really out of whack.

“I received the photos and the first thing I noticed was the editing, it wasn’t a little touch up here and there but rather quite a bit.”

“My wife is by no means overweight and so what if she was? My wife’s body weight doesn’t concern my sister, if I had hired another professional they wouldn’t have cared about my wife’s weight?”

“It’s unprofessional and quite frankly a sh*t thing to do to family in my opinion especially when you go in aware of the issues.”

And OP refused to pay.

“I outright refused to pay, I’m not paying for photos and getting them framed knowing my wife will use them as something to shame herself for.”

“This is causing conflict in my family because my sister has a certain ‘aesthetic’ she likes to stick to on her website.”

“My mother has told me she feels guilty and wasn’t thinking, she’s only 20 and very naive, she needs the money for travel to get to university and back.”

“Sister has offered to send over the unedited versions for a discounted price but honestly I’d rather pay another photographer that isn’t ashamed of my wife’s body.”

OP now wants to know if he made the right choice.

“I can’t even tell you the amount of texts from family I’m getting because I’m an a**hole in their eyes because my sister feels bad and as I said she needs the money.

“AITA?”

Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Reddit agreed OP made a strong choice, but an understandable one.

“NTA and thank you for being an awesome advocate for your wife.”

“Your sister needs to learn this lesson, full stop. She’s in an industry that her opinions don’t matter, the clients do.”

“If she were being professional about this situation, she’d offer to rectify it free of charge.”

“There is nothing wrong with a little retouching of photographs, but changing them so much that they don’t really look like the people in the pic or changing people’s bodies is a definite no no.”

“She’s not a high fashion mag photographer. That kind of retouching has no place in family photos.”

“Now if someone came to her and said that’s what they were looking for, then that’s another story.”

“But most people don’t want their images to do anything but reflect the happiness of them and their families, with light correction and very small editing.”~Unlikely-Draft

“I’m a graphic designer, almost 5 years into my career. Part of my job is editing photos on a regular basis. I recommend telling her what I am going to tell you.”

“My personal rule is that I will never fix something that couldn’t be fixed in real life within 5-10 minutes, or that wouldn’t be there within a week.”

“Got a nasty zit on your business headshot? Food stain on your collar? Lighting messing with the color of your skin/hair/clothes? Strand of hair out of place? I can help with that!”

“But I will never make someone lose/gain weight, give straight white teeth to someone that doesn’t have pearly whites, remove a mole or birthmark, or anything else that is not temporary.”

“These things help give people character, and I respect everyone’s individuality too much to ever change these things about them.”

“You’re NTA, but given she is still green in her career, don’t be too hard on her.”

“This is something that you learn though professional training and time on the job, and at this stage she wouldn’t have much of either. Hopefully she remembers this hard lesson though.”~Firelily5550

“No professional photographer ever changes a person’s body. They fix little things like blemishes, shadows, hairs out of place, red eyes, etc. Sister doesn’t get to decide that her photos must meet a certain aesthetic.”

“She will get no where if she doesn’t stop being an AH. Clients will sue her for refusing to fix what she did.”

“Her contracts can’t state that the picture will be altered to her liking. No one will agree to that. She needs to fix her choice to alter the pictures and send them to OP.”

“She needs to look at other photographer’s portfolios and she will see they don’t alter pictures of their clients.”~WeeklyConversation8

“The day where I edit my clients bodies without their suggestion and consent is the day that my 1,500€ camera will be tossed at my head”

“The sister is insulting, dabbling in sh*t that’s not her business and she WILL fail and her public image WILL be slandered terribly if she does that to a client who has no personal bond to her.”

“This is plain disgusting behavior NTA”~Mesapholis

People have noted that this is a good lesson for OP’s sister to learn now, rather than from a stranger.

“NTA. And you are a great husband, keep up the great work.”

“Your sister in the other hand, is a massive a*hole. She is 20. By any means she is NOT a naive little kid.”

“She did it intentionally. But little did she knows, in photography industry, clients are the ones who decides which photos they are going to use not her.”

“And this is pretty much unprofessional of her. I would understand if she made small changes like lighting or concealing a stain on clothes but no.”

“She did change your wife’s body in a way that anybody can tell that the photo is overly edited. This is so disrespectful and hurtful. This isn’t about certain aesthetic in a web site, this is about her opinion of your wife.”

“A professional photographer never and I can’t stress this enough, NEVER heavily edit photos, unless their client says so!”

“Even tho that will cause a conflict in your family, by any means don’t pay any dime to her.She needs to learn a lesson and apparently she needs to learn it in a hard way.”

“You can get your photos taken by another pro photographer, at least they deserve the payment.”~CarmelPoptart

“NTA – your sister is learning an important lesson about her trade: a photographer should NEVER alter reality without the enthusiastic and explicit request by the customer to do so.”

“It’s better for her to learn this lesson from family rather than offend a random customer that’s much more likely to post publicly online about how terrible/tone deaf of a photographer she is.”

“ETA (edited to add): The comment about making her photos fit her ‘aesthetic’ for her website: when you’re paying full price for photos, you run the show.”

“If she wants a specific portfolio for her website, she can offer discounts or do staged shoots.”~typicalaquarius

“NTA. It’s so rude and downright disrespectful to do that. I’m 20 and know better. I totally understand and I’m so sorry for Sarah.”

“I used to be a model and photographers would ask if they could edit out my self harm scars and it would really hurt me when I said no and they did it anyways. You’re not an a**hole but your family sure is.”~Downtown-Advantage18

“NTA- I was going to say you were based on the title, however this is completely unprofessional. If this were a professional photographer, it would have been the same case.”

“A photographer should not alter someone’s body like that. It’s ridiculous. I’ve struggled with an eating disorder myself, and I know I would feel destroyed if someone did this to me.”~CAgirl17

And especially considering it was a micro-aggression perpetrated by another woman, who was a family member.

“NTA, good on you for calling her out on that atrocious behavior.”

“Your Mom is right in that she is very naive – not being paid for the work might teach her not to be so invasive in future, because that will not fly with non-family clients.”

“If you feel she is genuinely remorseful and has learned a lesson you may want to take the offer of unedited images.”

“That shows goodwill on your part and may make her more likely to realize that your criticism doesn’t come from malice but from genuine hurt – but I don’t think you are obliged to do it.”~RepresentativeOwl518

“NTA, the editing was indeed inappropriate, it sounds like ur mom convinced you to hire your sister cuz she knows she’s tight on money.”

“Also, looking for a certain aesthetic? Meaning it being no overweight people? That’s f**ked, I wouldn’t wanna encourage a business that has such opinions, regardless of me being related to them.”

“I absolutely hate the ‘but it’s faaaaaaamily’ excuse to give special treatments and passes to people who have garbage behavior.”~sassysassyreddit

“NTA- you didn’t even have to use your sister you easily could have used someone else.”

“And now that she did such a horrible and really outright shameful job you really should get a full refund. You shouldn’t pay for the other half.”~lilyintx

“I started reading this and expected it to go quite differently. OP you are definitely NTA. You would be well within your rights to act that way with any photographer.”

“And seeing that your sister wants to be treated professionally then she has to present her work in a professional manner- editing as you described is unacceptable.”

“Just another note- I’m sure your sister has seen or is aware of your wife’s weight fluctuations and whilst she may not be aware of all the issues behind it for her to do this is just egregious.”~Staceyrt

OP’s hard enforcement of this may be the difference between their sister learning a hard lesson now, and learning it later.

Hopefully this is the final time she pulls something like this, otherwise, she will have a difficult career ahead.

Mike Walsh

Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.