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Photography Question 

legal issues

I recently shot a wedding and had the bride to sign a contract that asked that no other "picture takers" bring their cameraa..I think you know what I mean by "picture takers". Not that I am a professional but it is something I do maybe once a year. This particular wedding I felt like I was having to work around everyone else. How can I prevent this in the future and do it in a tactful way. At the time I wanted to say: The bride paid ME to take photos and would the rest of you please put your cameras away till I'm finished!!!!!
I have had this problem at every wedding but this took the cake!!! I know I won't make any money off my enlargements because they will take their photos to the nearest Wally World (Walmart) and I've gone in the hole!!!
I always set a price that covers most of my film and developing and all my expense, but because I don't consider myself a professional I mostly make my money off enlargements and selling photos! Please do I have any legal rights or do I have a right to tell everyone to put their cameras away?
I may stick to shooting nature shots, it's less stressful.

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8/24/2004 1:54:14 AM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  Let me be the first one to say this: No one can tell me to put down my camera, PERIOD.

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8/24/2004 7:02:41 AM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  BTW, the contract you sign with the bride is between you and the bride. Anyone else can take whatever photos they want. Unless you own the place, then it's a different story. Real professionals will WORK with the other "picture takers".

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8/24/2004 7:09:49 AM

Rhonda L. Tolar   First of all, the "other picture takers" were just friends and family. Their pictures are probably not going to be enlargement quality. The bride will be happier with yours.
Then, what I usually do at a wedding is to just make an announcement that they can take their snapshots, but to please wait till I have taken my shot. I explain, briefly, that the couple paid me to get professional shots, and that their flashes on their cameras will mess mine up. This usually works out real well, the friends and family will wait until I tell them that they can take a picture. And believe me, I can tell from the way they are taking the picture, that theirs will not be of professional quality.
I had a problem once at dance recital picture day. But, I let the Mom's shoot their digital and throw away cameras...knowing the whole time that my strobe light flashed every time theirs did, therefore overexposing their pictures. I am sure they regreted not buying my packages after they got home and saw their attempts at cheating the photographer didn't work.

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8/24/2004 7:31:25 AM

  I know a high profile wedding photographer that demands (in advance) that all picture takers leave the room or sit in the rear pews while they shoot the wedding party photos. It is explained to the bride/groom in advance that he cannot get the job done otherwise. Then it is a free for all for the others.

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8/24/2004 8:53:02 PM

Levi Wardell   I am SO glad I read this thread as I am going to be shooting my first wedding soon and to use the word STRESSED would be an understatement. I never even thought about this issue.

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8/25/2004 1:06:56 PM

Christel Davis   I personally have no desire to shoot a wedding but my own wedding photographer did just what Rhonda said. He asked everyone that was around taking pictures to wait until he had his shot to ensure proper exposure. No one even thought twice about his request and waited until he gave the go ahead.

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9/3/2004 9:55:53 PM

Connie Niehaus   CJ, are you ME? I once started calling my business "CJ Photography" using my first and middle initials, and I, too, do a wedding a year, if I'm lucky.

I've never had a real problem with family and friends shooting. I, too, do what others have posted--if a problem starts, I just ask them to wait until I've done my shot before they take theirs. Usually people let me do my thing. Maybe that's because I try to "take charge" gently. I talk louder than anyone and shout out who I want in what picture, and maybe people just decide to stay out of my way. Plus, I love shooting weddings and talking with the couple before the day--they're always very cooperative. And I attend the rehearsal the night before--sometimes you can pick up on potential wedding-day problems.

Another way to take care of Aunt Ethel, who stands at your left shoulder, breathing down your neck, waiting to get just the shot you've set up: As soon as you take your shot, step backward, then turn and apologize profusely for crushing every bone in both her feet. It's a lesson for everyone there... ;)

Let me say this, too: I always sold myself short. I, like you, charged for my supplies and developing and then upped my charge for prints. My theory was that if I did a good job, they'd want to buy my pictures. No more. Now my flat fee covers my supples, developing, display book, and yes, all the proofs, plus what I feel I'm worth for several hours' work. People can do so much with printers these days that I keep my reprints reasonable. This way, once the wedding is over, I feel as if I've been compensated.

My most memorable problem with other photographers was the wedding reception where I was trying to capture pictures, and somebody's Uncle Fred kept hanging around wanting to talk about my camera and his camera and the Cameras of the World. He really thought I was a professional, I guess...

One more thing and I promise I'll shut up: At my oldest daughter's 8th grade graduation ceremony, it turned out that the local professional photographer was there setting up the class for a group photo. All of us parents were waiting for the opportunity to get a shot, also. He was overheard calling us "scab photographers." I suppose it was a compliment that he referred to us as "photographers." Anyway, CJ, these are probably just family members anxious to get their own pictures. When they get hungry enough, they'll fade away to the reception.

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9/4/2004 6:53:05 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  While I've never been a wedding photographer, I've managed catering facilities where we hosted many wedding receptions, and I have witnessed the frustrations the contracted pros have in trying to artfully capture the formalities with other shooters around.

The worst time for them was during the cake cutting.
As the manager/maitre'd of the event, I would always communicate the proposed agenga with the photographer to give him or her ample time to get into position for the best possible angle during this ceremonial procedure.
I would announce something like...

"And now ladies and gentlemen, If everyone would kindly direct their attention to our cake table,...the bride and groom are about to cut their wedding cake. Ladies and gentlemen, for those of you with cameras, this can be a terrific photo oportunity, but we ask that you please leave room for the professional photographers...Thank you."

If you work closely with those managing the event, they can be a real asset to you. They are committed to providing a "perfect day" to the happy couple and their guests, and having great wedding photos is a major part of that.
You should ask them to let you know 15 minutes before a scheduled formality is to take place, and if other photographers get in your way during key formal moments, you have every right to ask them politely to step aside and let you get your shots first.

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9/4/2004 7:20:20 AM

Shauna Linde
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/10/2004
  At my own wedding my photographer did somewhat like what Rhonda does. He was semi-retired at the time, but he's had so much experience in the industry that I thought I would share with you what he did. First, he explained to everyone present BEFORE the ceremony, that it makes it very difficult to get the appropriate shot when there are other cameras standing behind him, and other people asking those posing for the photo to "look this way: etc.. So he politely, but FIRMLY told everyone there to stay back and not speak. And if anyone was getting too loud goofing off or whatever, he didn't hesitate to turn around and give them a dirty look. This worked really well. And while some of my relatives commented to me later on that he was quite the "boss", I simply replied back that he was just making sure he got me the best pictures possible. Everyone understood that.

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9/4/2004 10:00:30 AM

John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/24/2004
  The bride (paying customer) should have the right to specify to all her friends and others that she is paying professionally for her photos, and the others should respect that right until his job is done. Its only common courtesy, not to mention common sense.Yes some pros can work around this, but why not make her day easier?

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9/4/2004 4:51:12 PM

Pat Worster
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/21/2004
  I did a wedding once and I was setting up to get the formal shots of Bride and her family when someone asked me if I would move so they could get a good picture. I always have my package planned and paid for before the wedding. They have already paid for the enlargements so I can't lose. Pat

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10/25/2005 10:22:23 AM

Steve Vesci   I have been shooting weddings for a few years and have experienced these issues quite often. It definately helps to be a "people person" in this situation. I usually just work around them. You can actually get some nice candid stuff at this time. If I really need them to stop, I'll kindly say to them, "let me get my shots first, then I'll give you an opportunity to get yours." Be firm but pleasant and you shouldn't have any problems. However, there will always be the difficult ones who have no respect for you. Unfortunately, you just have to accept it and keep working around them.

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10/26/2005 11:08:17 AM

Susan Patton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/1/2004
  I have to weigh in on the other side of this one. My niece was married in June on a very tight budget. I was asked to shoot the wedding and declined because I was not confident enough and did not want her to end up with poor pictures of her big day. I did promise to shoot if I was able to attend. I was there camera & tripod in hand and stayed as far away as I could from her paid photographer. If we were close I waited until she had her shot. I considered myself the backup, stayed away from the posed shots and tried to get family & friends as well as bride and groom. When the bride got her pictures she was in tears, her paid photographer had shot the entire wedding, indoors in a poorly lit church without a tripod. None of the pictures were usable! Needless to say I am her current hero. My point here is that if someone hadn't been getting additional shots this poor girl would not have had any decent pictures from her wedding.

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10/27/2005 2:13:03 PM

Michelle Ochoa
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/4/2005

If only all guests were to take a lesson from you! I don't think it's right to keep guests from taking photographs, but I agree that they can be very imposing. The professional photographer is hired, usually by the hour, and should not have to stand around while 20 other people take the shot that you just took. But you as the professional are usually in the most ideal location, and I agree that most of the other "photographers" won't get a shot even close to as good of quality as what you've captured. The bride will buy yours, and not use theirs as enlargements.

I've seen many weddings shot with a photographer and an assistant, and that's what they're there to do, corale the crowd. You can also tell the bride during your consultation, nicely, that you're there to do a great job, and others taking photos around you will actually hinder your quality. So if they can have a good friend or attendant help let people know who have gathered around you with a camera to kindly let them know to respect the professional and take their photos from a distance, but only have your camera has flashed. And during the reception, work with the DJ on the timeline to set up any important shots, like the cake, garter, first dance, etc., before it has been announced to the guests.

I've been on all 3 sides (the bride, the guest, and the photographer), and this is definitely one of my pet peeves - just boils down to people without respect.

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10/27/2005 3:07:28 PM

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