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Local moms accuse photographer of holding their pictures hostage

Posted at 9:54 AM, Nov 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 17:34:58-05

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. And for any young mom, nothing is more priceless than a picture of her baby.

That's why a couple of valley mothers were pretty upset when they paid for photos that were never delivered. After getting the runaround, they reached out to 13 Consumer Advocate Tricia Kean, and it turns out this involves a local photographer we're familiar with.

"It was a time that we will never get back," says local mom Andi Shotwell.

"It's not fair," says Henderson mom Johanna Alonso.

Two different moms with one very similar story.

"I mean, what is wrong with you? Why you doing this?" says Johanna.

Both of these valley moms found special deals on Facebook for Studio One photography. Johanna Alonso wanted pictures of her 10-month-old baby girl Zia.

"It was cheap, like $55 for 20-25 pictures," says Johanna.

Johanna bought a discounted birthday package called a Cake Smash Flash Sale. The price was so good, she bought two sessions with business owner, Tiffany Gain. The first photo shoot was at Tiffany's house back in July and only took about 10 minutes.

"It was really quick," says Johanna.

But waiting for the actual pictures wasn't. This Facebook message shows Johanna started reaching out to Tiffany a month later. When she wasn't getting an automated response, Johanna says she was getting excuses.

"I didn't get anything and she was kind of upset. Like, oh I already sent it. I said I don't have anything," says Johanna.

Johanna says she eventually started doing some online research and discovered we did a similar story last year, when Tiffany was doing business under the name Tiffany's Studio Photography. At the time, we got several complaints. Well now, we're getting several more.

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"You know my daughter is almost twice the age that she was when we took the pictures. I just want to have those moments," says Andi.

Andi had a $29 photo session for her 3-month-old daughter Amelia back in August. But after weeks of reaching out to Tiffany, Andi says she's still waiting for her pictures.

"At one point I even consider offering her more money to just send me the photos. Because obviously that's what's more important to her," says Andi.

Both of these moms say it's not about the money, they just want their pictures. So I contacted Tiffany, who agreed to meet with us.

"I got a couple weeks behind. But you know what, I am trying my hardest," says Tiffany.

Tiffany admits to being overwhelmed with work, but says customers like Andi just don't understand. She argues that Andi's session was a discounted Model Call.

"Model calls come last. Absolutely last. They're paying 80% less than what everyone else is paying. They are told upfront the turnaround time is anywhere from 3 to 5 weeks," says Tiffany.

In the end, Andi got her pictures on Oct. 30. That's 9 weeks after her photo session. It's also just hours after I first contacted Tiffany. But Tiffany seems to think it's just a coincidence.

"If you guys think that's the case, that you people only get your photos when they contact you, that's insane. Because that's not the truth," says Tiffany.

As for Johanna, unfortunately she's still waiting for her pictures more than 15 weeks later. Tiffany points to a message back in August, when Johanna threatened legal action.

"No, I won't be talking about Johanna. Because she has a court case that she says she's filing. So I won't be talking about that," says Tiffany.

We'll continue to follow this story and let you know if Tiffany and Johanna come to an agreement. And remember, if you decide to buy something or pay for a service you find online, do some research. Look for reviews with the Better Business Bureau and on Yelp.