Wedding Pictures Delivered

March 6, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Over four dozen clients of a Visalia wedding photographer finally have their photos after years of waiting and worrying.From 2004 to 2007 Tamara Orton of "Inner Spirit Photography" took pictures but didn't deliver on promised prints and albums. That is, until Action News stepped in to help.

Tamara Orton's clients' total losses could add up to more than $100,000 dollars. Several of her former clients are now considering civil lawsuits to try to recover some of their money. But they say at least now they've got some of their memories back.

The Dinuba bride once thought her wedding pictures were lost forever after her family spent $5,000 dollars on a photo package. But the photographer, Tamara Orton of Inner Spirit Photography, didn't deliver, then disappeared from Visalia.

"I want her to know that she hurt me, and that I trusted her, and how could she do this to me. And now do this to other brides. I just couldn't believe it when I was on the internet and found other brides in the same boat as me," said Vanessa Kelly.

Over four dozen other clients, from the Central Valley all the way to Wisconsin, have since come forward claiming they too didn't get what they paid for.

Action News confronted Orton when she showed up this past February at the Tulare County Courthouse for an unrelated child custody hearing.

"Do you plan to deliver at any point?" asked Action News in February.

"Sorry, that's all I have to say," said Orton.

At the time, Orton apologized but offered little else to her former clients.

In a follow up interview from her home in Iowa Orton explained she always intended to make good on her promises some day, but became overwhelmed with personal and financial problems.

"It never even entered my mind that I wouldn't get people their work," said Orton.

"To them, it seems like you scammed them."

"I know it does look like that. And I think if I was one of my clients, I'd see it that way too."

As for her clients' money, she said it's all gone.

"Even though I charged quite a bit, I actually did not make that much money, so very quickly all the resources I had were drained," said Orton.

One of Orton's former clients hired Visalia detective Rocky Pipkin. After our confrontation, Pipkin convinced Orton to turn over all her clients' high resolution images and any rights to them.

"She knows what she's done is wrong, she's come to, at least, grips with it. What she's done, how many lives she's affected and how many people she's hurt," said Pipkin.

"It's fantastic, I'm really excited to go through these again with my wife," said Ben Gamble.

Ben and Jennifer gamble of Springville received nearly a thousand images from their wedding.

"Give some nice prints to our parents and grandparents, we've never been able to do that."

Even though the gambles are out $4,000 dollars, they say at least now, three-and-a-half years into their marriage, they can finally create a wedding album to have and to hold.

After seeing our story, several local photographers have offered to help the couples assemble their albums for free. As for Orton, she said she is no longer working as a wedding photographer.



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