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A man holding a camera next to a bridal couple | Source: Freepik
A man holding a camera next to a bridal couple | Source: Freepik

I Agreed to Take Pictures of My Cousin’s Wedding for Free, but He Mocked My Job – Karma Didn’t Let It Slide

Prenesa Naidoo
Jul 01, 2024
03:48 P.M.

When Theo's cousin, Ted, asks him to be his wedding photographer, he jumps at the opportunity, eagerly wanting to do the job for free. But when the bride, Lindsey, makes fun of Theo's work, Theo gets his revenge by exposing the couple on social media.

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When my cousin Ted asked me to photograph his wedding, I was thrilled. I had three sisters, and Ted was the only other boy around us growing up, making him my partner in crime.

Two men standing together | Source: Midjourney

Two men standing together | Source: Midjourney

"It would be an honor to capture your special day!" I said when he came over to my studio apartment to ask me about being the photographer.

"Lindsey and I would just love it!" he exclaimed as he helped himself to some coffee.

"I'll do it for free, Ted," I said. "This will be my wedding present to you both."

A smiling man holding a cup | Source: Midjourney

A smiling man holding a cup | Source: Midjourney

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I watched as his eyes lit up and he sighed in relief.

"That's not why I asked you, Theo," he said. "But that does mean the world to me. We are over the wedding budget and I really didn't want to cut the donut wall or dessert station because Lindsey is really looking forward to that."

"Of course," I said, smiling at him. "And desserts are the best part of the wedding!"

A man holding a camera | Source: Midjourney

A man holding a camera | Source: Midjourney

Now, I wasn't exactly a wedding photographer in the professional sense. But I was studying photography and I did have many exhibits under my belt. But they were for campaigns and still shots.

Ted and Lindsey's wedding was going to be my first big event.

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"Do you think I can do it?" I asked my girlfriend, Riley one evening as we sat down for dinner.

A couple having dinner together | Source: Midjourney

A couple having dinner together | Source: Midjourney

"I think you're perfect for the job, Theo," she said. "Look, other than you being great at photography, you're still learning, and this will be great in your portfolio."

I nodded, agreeing.

"And Ted did say that I can use whatever images I wanted, just after they post them on socials, of course," I said, taking a sip of my drink.

A close-up of a smiling man | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of a smiling man | Source: Midjourney

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"You also have an intimate connection with the couple, love," Riley said. "So that will make this entire thing more special, rather than just an odd job you've decided to do."

Riley's pep talk gave me everything I needed to get excited about the wedding. And more than that, it made me feel better that I would be gifting it to Ted and Lindsey.

A man holding a camera | Source: Midjourney

A man holding a camera | Source: Midjourney

"I'll come with and help you carry your equipment," Riley promised me.

The day of the wedding was perfect. The weather seemed to listen to Lindsey's pleas, and the day was as clear as anything, making the lighting pop.

An outdoor wedding setting | Source: Midjourney

An outdoor wedding setting | Source: Midjourney

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The sun cast a warm glow over the ceremony, and everything seemed straight out of a romantic comedy. I walked around, Riley at my side with my camera bag and carrying the tripod around.

I took hundreds of photographs, trying to capture everything from the décor to the priceless moments captured on people's faces.

A man holding a camera | Source: Midjourney

A man holding a camera | Source: Midjourney

But during the formal photoshoot straight after the ceremony, everything turned sour.

At first, everyone was fine. The bridal parties were all smiles and were cooperative with the instructions I gave them. But that was until Ted's new wife asked to see a few photographs.

"Come on, Theo," she insisted, pouting. "I just want to see how I look from the back."

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A bride posing with her bridesmaids | Source: Midjourney

A bride posing with her bridesmaids | Source: Midjourney

"But I want everything to be a surprise," I said. "And I'll get all the photographs edited and back to you by the time you get home from the honeymoon."

It made sense to me. I didn't want to let Lindsey dissect the photographs before I had a chance to go through them and remove all the unflattering images.

A man using a laptop | Source: Midjourney

A man using a laptop | Source: Midjourney

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"No, I want to see them now," Lindsey said, batting her eyes at Ted, who nodded to me.

"Oh my God, look at my arm! Do you even know what you're doing?" Lindsey asked, her voice cutting through the air, sharp and mocking.

Ted, who I thought would defend me, joined in her laughter and disgust as he looked at the camera in his bride's hands.

An unhappy bride | Source: Midjourney

An unhappy bride | Source: Midjourney

"Yeah, maybe you should stick to taking selfies, Theo" he said.

I forced a smile.

"Let's move on to the family group photos," I said through gritted teeth.

A close-up of an upset man | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of an upset man | Source: Midjourney

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As everyone gathered around, chaos erupted. The guests were chattering away, looking everywhere but at the camera.

"Come on, guys," I said, trying to get them to stand still for a moment.

But nobody seemed to pay attention to me. I looked at Riley, who rolled her eyes in return.

A close-up of a frowning man | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of a frowning man | Source: Midjourney

"Hey!" I shouted. "We're losing light here! Let's go! Look at me and smile! And remember, the big black thing on the tripod is a camera, and it takes still images, not video."

I paused, waiting for them to stop talking immediately.

"No one wants to hear your snide comments, Theo," Ted snapped, his voice dripping with disdain.

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A groom in a church | Source: Midjourney

A groom in a church | Source: Midjourney

"We don't need a wannabe photographer telling us how to pose on our big day," Lindsey chimed in, her tone equally harsh.

My cheeks burned with embarrassment as I tried to understand why I was being attacked. But I kept my composure. Half the guests were family members, and the other half were people who were trying to understand Ted and his family.

A frustrated man | Source: Midjourney

A frustrated man | Source: Midjourney

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As the wedding progressed, Ted and Lindsey's remarks became sharper.

"You're not as good as your social media makes it seem," Lindsey said. "But we all know that filters make a big difference."

"You do know that I'm doing this for free, right?" I asked Ted. "Cut the attitude."

A frowning man | Source: Midjourney

A frowning man | Source: Midjourney

Of course, it only got worse.

"It's not like anyone should pay for that. I mean, it's not a real job, right. Anyone could do that. You don't have to study for years, just like myself, to press a button."

His words stung, but I remained calm. I was good at what I did. I knew that.

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"Please record them," I told Riley. "Use your phone."

A person holding a phone | Source: Midjourney

A person holding a phone | Source: Midjourney

After the wedding, a storm hit social media. Ted and Lindsey complained on their social media about the photos, highlighting the disorganized shots and blaming me.

But my response? It was a bombshell moment that no one saw coming.

I took to my social media and posted the video clips of their behavior.

A man holding a phone | Source: Midjourney

A man holding a phone | Source: Midjourney

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The footage showed them mocking and disrespecting me as I tried to do my job, their true colors laid bare for all to see.

The caption was: This is what it was like behind the scenes.

"Did I do the wrong thing?" I asked Riley as we sat down with ice cream.

A bowl of ice cream | Source: Midjourney

A bowl of ice cream | Source: Midjourney

"No," she said. "They deserve this. I was there. I witnessed it firsthand."

The reaction from friends and family was swift and overwhelming. Support flooded in for me, and Ted and Lindsey's behavior was exposed.

Comments came in too:

You did an amazing job despite their treatment.

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I'm so sorry that they were so ungrateful.

I can't believe that this is the Ted we grew up with!

A person using social media | Source: Midjourney

A person using social media | Source: Midjourney

Ted and Lindsey began to feel the heat, with family members going to their posts and commenting on them too. They had no choice but to backtrack and delete their posts and accusations, but the damage was done.

Their disrespect was now public, and the tide had turned against them.

A few months later, Riley and I were watching a movie when my phone buzzed.

A couple sitting on a couch | Source: Midjourney

A couple sitting on a couch | Source: Midjourney

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"Theo," Ted said. "I'm so sorry about what happened. Lindsey and I were just really stressed. And we didn't mean anything that we said."

I took a deep breath.

"Ted, you didn't just hurt my feelings, you disrespected me and my work. It's going to take time to heal from that."

Silence took over.

A man talking on the phone | Source: Midjourney

A man talking on the phone | Source: Midjourney

"I understand," he said. "I hope we can move past this someday. But I just wanted to let you know that Lindsey and I cannot post a single wedding photo without anybody commenting on how we behaved toward you."

We ended the call on a somber note. The fallout from the wedding had shifted dynamics within the family, but I felt a sense of peace. I was still hurt by Ted, but at least I stood up for myself.

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A smiling man | Source: Midjourney

A smiling man | Source: Midjourney

Months passed, the memory of that day lingered whenever I glanced at my portfolio. I had added a few wedding photographs to my portfolio to show the extension of my range.

"You're not going to give up photography, babe," Riley said.

In the end, I continued to pursue my passion for photography with renewed vigor. The experience had taught me resilience and the importance of standing up for myself.

Karma spoke to Ted and Lindsey louder than any photograph.

A man holding a camera | Source: Midjourney

A man holding a camera | Source: Midjourney

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What would you have done?

If you enjoyed this story, here's another one for you |

4 Emotional Stories of Weddings That Took Unexpected Turns

Weddings are said to be the most magical day in a woman's life. From the planning to walking down the aisle to the vows and the first kiss. Sounds wonderful, right? Sure, but it also sounds like the perfect spot for drama and unexpected turns.

Read how these unexpected turns transform what should be a joyful celebration into a whirlwind of emotions. From last-minute mishaps to hidden tensions among guests, the path of saying "I do" can be anything but smooth.

As love and excitement mix with anxiety and stress, these big days can reveal deep-seated insecurities and surprising revelations, making each wedding a unique story of its own.

A collage of wedding photos | Source: Midjourney

A collage of wedding photos | Source: Midjourney

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My Fiancé Humiliated Me at the Altar – He Regretted It a Minute Later & Claimed I Ruined His Life

I was set to marry the love of my life. It was supposed to be simple. Easy, even. But when I got to the altar on my wedding day, the entire event turned into a public spectacle.

When Chris walked into the room, the world suddenly seemed so much brighter. We hit it off instantly, slipping into effortless conversation.

Megan chats with Joseph | Source: Midjourney

Megan chats with Joseph | Source: Midjourney

Read the full story here.

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided "as is," and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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