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Photography Question 
Amanda  M. Freese
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/18/2007
 

Competing Photogs


I was asked to take pictures for a couple during their JOP wedding ceremony at the JOP's apartment. Turns out she is a photographer as well and overran the whole thing not allowing me to use available opportunities to take the pictures desired by the couple. She was not paid to do this, I was. How do you handle situations like this? I would not want to be rude to anyone, but she was intentionally stepping on my toes.


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11/10/2007 1:48:28 PM

 
Brenda  D. 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2005
  Amanda, rude people suck! but if she was paying you to take the photos, then she should get what she wants, even if you saw better oppertunities, its her loss not yours. I ask what they want then ask if they mind if I get a few of my own, this way I can do what I want and what they want. so far its worked well and I get more sales. please don't take it personally, I'm sure she's just used to being in controll of the photo session as we all are.


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11/10/2007 2:55:41 PM

 
Amanda  M. Freese
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/18/2007
  Ya it was really pretty irritating because the JOP knew that the clients were hiring a photog, but she still (part of her JOP service?) wanted to do her own pictures.. hobbyist? I dont know, but she wasn't being paid to do them. I was...! that was such a killer because we had very little time in her apartment complex or our cars would be towed out and she used ALLL the time for her little shoot. Of course, I did get pictures during the ceremony that was on her EXTREMELY small balcony that couldn't fit more than three people!.. I had to just stick my camera in there and take em becuase otherwise I wasn't getting ANY.. . by the time we were done I had the parking lot and the clients were cold. What gives?!? Oh well, I came home with about 416 pics so I didn't do bad for what I had to work with, but I dont know how to work with people in these situations when your toes are being stepped on. I dont want to make a scene on a client's wedding day! yikes..


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11/10/2007 3:40:18 PM

 
Brenda  D. 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2005
  thank goodness you got so many, I'm sure they will love them.I recently did a wedding where eveyone wore camo, even the bride!! it was beautiful, but the preacher was VERY rude, at rehersal he kept asking how long it would be because he had somewhere else to be, the I heard him under his breath say he wasn't a redneck,( just because they wore the camo)plus it was his first wedding. this is not the first time for me just being the photographer has had to tell the preacher and the bride and groom how and where to stand and when to do things. wedding planners are expensive but well worth the cost for nervous brides and preachers.


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11/10/2007 3:54:59 PM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004
  Amanda,

My daughter got married this past summer in the same type of thing. It wasn't a JOP; but, the preacher clearly laid out what could and couldn't happen. It sounds to me as though the couple didn't fully realize and understand what they agreed to by letting this JOP do the wedding.

We had to pay an extra amount for photos in order to be able to take any of our own. Having said that, I don't know what they would do if we had insisted or just shot photos; but, we were on their property just as you were.

You may want to check with the couple because your toes may not be the ones that were stepped on, it may have been the JOP.

Something to think about.


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11/10/2007 4:04:18 PM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Ummm...They hired you without a contract? Hmmmm?

The wedding photogs I know get paid if the wedding is cancelled or stopped by an act of God..Maybe not their full fee; but they get paid. I always did when I shot weddings.


all the best,

Pete


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11/10/2007 6:43:06 PM

 
Amanda  M. Freese
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/18/2007
  Oh no, I had a contract with them. But it wasn't clear to them that the JOP would be so insistant on her own photo shoot. Im not sure who didn't clear what with who. They told me that they cleared it with her, but she didn't act the same. She didn't seem irritated, but she certainly didn't seem respective of thier wishes to have thier own photog. Not sure who is at fault but I certainly wanted to hold up my end of the deal.

The thought crossed my mind mid way (upon the realization that the JOP wasn't acknowleding that they HIRED me for pictures) that maybe there was a misunderstanding between the two of them. But I couldn't stop not knowing what the real deal was. That would jeopardize my product to them. It was jeopardized anyway. I had to peer around her to get the shots they wanted. A great majority of them are not acceptable for that reason. This is a little bit troublesome.


They apologized to me during and after but ...


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11/10/2007 9:26:45 PM

 
Amanda  M. Freese
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/18/2007
  It doesn't make me feel good about the product I'd like to have presented to them in the first place.


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11/10/2007 9:29:18 PM

 
W.   
A "camo wedding", Brenda? That sure sounds like something else!
Can you show us a photo with the whole wedding party in camo? Not just the couple?


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11/11/2007 12:11:10 PM

 
Brenda  D. 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2005
 
 
 
sure, it was actually very nice not white trash redneck.


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11/11/2007 12:19:40 PM

 
Brenda  D. 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2005
 
 
 
wedding cake by Bonnie Bell


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11/11/2007 12:31:17 PM

 
W.   
Thanks for those photos, Brenda.
That's amazing!
And scary, imo, as it very clearly demonstrates the frame of mind those people are in: they are actually (mentally) preparing for war!

They must be Cheney-fans.

BRRRR!


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11/11/2007 1:13:38 PM

 
Brenda  D. 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2005
  I dont know about Cheney fans but those 8 point buck had better watch out!!!!she has actually killed bigger animals than the guys!! the whole wedding was a blast, and everyone made you feel like they've know you forever.


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11/11/2007 6:12:55 PM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
carltonwardphoto.com
  A couple of my camping/photographer friends are all about the Camo apparel and they do not shoot animals, just photograph them. They are also very liberal (pro-Colbert & anti-Cheney) but they feel more blended with the surroundings wearing camo. I finally got tired of sticking out & caved in by storing my bright yellow NorthFace jacket in the closet and now wear a moss colored jacket instead when I go out with them. But I can see the whole camo thing is like some weird addiction. They have camo seat covers, socks, binoculars, camera bags, and even a camo covering for the white 100-400mm lens (you can buy this at B & H). They seem to try to one up each other with their latest camo colored whizbang. Though I dont go for the camo stuff myself, I do wear more black, tan & green to blend more with my friends & the surroundings in the forest.
Thanks for the thread Amanda because I have only done weddings for friends (although hired to do them) but am now being asked to do more for friends of friends (who have seen my work) and although I pick & choose what jobs I will take on, I do not have a lot of patience for some of the BS that happens at weddings. This thread woke me to the fact that I will insist on having the freedom & flexibility to perform the job without hinderance from another participant at the wedding. I have had people sneak in a few group shots between my own while I had people posed with my lighting and I am cool with that. Once I meet and set up the shoot with the bride (or wedding planner) and we set the rules, I will beat anyone that tries to interfere with a rubber chicken or slip a banana slug in their drink when they aint looking. This is also why I do very few weddings - I cant always maintain a steady supply of banana slugs and rubber chickens take up valuble storage space in my camera bag.
BTW - I am typing this on my camo colored keyboard :)


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11/12/2007 1:01:44 AM

 
Amanda  M. Freese
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/18/2007
  Thank you Carlton for bringing the focus back to my concern. . I am really frustrated about it, because looking back I'm thinking what could I have done, and did I handle it correctly to begin with? I didn't know until I half way through (per conversation with the groom) that the JOP insisted on being in control of the "photo shoot", and that she was! But why did they hire me and why didn't they tell me sooner?! Because I really didn't have a foot to stand on if they weren't going to defend either me or what they really wanted.


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11/12/2007 1:56:27 AM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004
  Amanda,

I think you've answered your own question with your last post.

"I didn't know until I half way through (per conversation with the groom) that the JOP insisted on being in control of the "photo shoot", and that she was!"

That little tidbit of info would have been useful in your original post. Your clients are the ones that put you in this situation by not telling you until you were in the middle of the shoot. You and they were the ones stepping on the JOP's toes and not the other way around.

Sounds to me like these people are typical of the way society is going with the mentallity "I am paying the money here and I'll do whatever I darn well please. I don't have to follow the rules. It's my money and my wedding"

You need to just move on and don't waste any more time on this one other than to provide your clients with their photos. Chalk it up to experience and you'll know what questions to ask next time.


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11/12/2007 5:48:11 AM

 
Jerry Frazier   This is a very irritating thing that happens. Let's say the couple unknowingly sign an agreement with the caterer that says the caterer will take photos. The caterer tells the couple to not worry about it, they'll stay out of the way and such. The couple signs the agreement, and then the caterer, all day long, is in your way. You try to address it with them, and they tell you to go pound sand.

My contract states that I am the only paid professional photographer. However, the caterer didn't sign my contract, the couple did. So, my only choice is to deal with it, or get the bride involved. Remember, the bride is the boss, and can tell them to stop.

There are simply times where you have to get the bride involved and tell her she has to make a choice. Does she want pro photography that she has paid thousands for, or does she want some hack 'wanna-be' to destroy the only lasting memories she'll have? Usually, a wise bride will ask the other vendor to stop. But, I would only recommend doing that if it gets really bad. If you can work around it, you should.

It's a tough situation, but you have a job to do. Sometimes, you have to be stern with other in order to make them understand.


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11/12/2007 6:12:57 AM

 
Brenda  D. 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2005
  Amanda , I apologize for getting your discussion off track. But IMO , I think you handled the situation well, you acted professional by not making a scene,but taking photos like you were ask to do,Its not your fault someone else feels the need to run the show. You did what you could do in the situation you were in. If the bride and groom do not like your photos. ( which I'm sure they will)Then explain to them what you told us, because someone else wanted to call the shots it put limitations on you, and they let it happen.


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11/12/2007 6:59:26 AM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004
  Jerry,

Your analogy is a little skewed in that you mention unknowingly signing a contract and then you say the caterer says they will not be in the way and the couple then signs the contract; but, the theory is bang on.

Amanda, you have to protect yourself as best you can by putting things in your agreement/contract as Jerry has said. You need to go over these specifics with the client before they sign to make them aware of what they are signing. I've found that most people, including myself, don't read every word on things they sign. It's dangerous; but, we all do it.

Just remember though, you probably will not get every measure of protection built into them in the beginning. It will be somewhat of a work in progress and you'll have to make minor changes, due to problems that may arise later on down the road. After all, this is why we have a business plan. You do have a business plan and review it every year don't you? It's also a good idea to have an attorney look over your contract to make sure you are not violating the law.

The problem here is your clients signed two conflicting agreements, or at the least entered into two conflicting agreements and probably didn't tell either party what they were doing. I'll assure you too that they knew what they were doing when they did it. This put you and the JOP in a bad situation.

As I said before, chalk it up to experience, protect yourself for something like this from here on out, and learn from it. A little analogy I use for clients, politicians, lawyers, etc. is "you know they are lying when their lips are moving." I know it sounds a little harsh; but, it has proved true so many times. You've also got to have a thick skin to make it in any business.


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11/12/2007 7:41:49 AM

 
Amanda  M. Freese
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/18/2007
  That's Ok brenda, Thank you...

And thank you guys so much.. those posts were so helpful that Im going to print them for my notes. I will chalk it up to experience and remember it the next time around. . After all, without these experiences we wouldn't be good at what we do.

(well I'm not at that level yet, but getting there)

What are the common courtesies between photogs? Especially when you don't know what kind they are. Professional, hobbiest? etc... Not knowing, and not having any time to waste I just stuck my camera in to take as many inbetween shots as I could - of course, being considerate of my flash while she was shooting. That might have been terribly inconsiderate. Especially understanding what Todd mentioned in his first post. It might not have been me, but the JOP who's toes were being stepped on. Well, experience for the both of us.

Thanks guys for the help.. so helpful. :)


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11/12/2007 8:44:35 PM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004
  Amanda,

I think you've got to assert yourself just as the JOP did in this case. Make it clear to your clients who the photog is going to be. After all, they are paying you to photograph their wedding. The JOP gets paid to marry them.

As Jerry suggested, you should do it with a statement in the agreement. Always better to have these things in writing.

You could also ask the bride and groom some questions like: Have you entered into any agreements with anyone else concerning photographers and photographs that I need to know about? Are there any restrictions placed on photographers like restrictions on the use of flash during the ceremony?

These are questions that reassert you as being the photog and also help you find out what you are up against. And you may just get an answer that will allow you to head off a potential problem.

And above all, stick to your guns. This is one of the places where the thick skin comes into play. You can assert yourself and be firm in a professional manner without being a jerk.


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11/13/2007 7:23:11 AM

 
Amanda  M. Freese
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/18/2007
  Thank you ! This really helps me be prepared for the next time it happens!


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11/13/2007 6:17:30 PM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  I actually think the JoP was wrong here. She wasn't being paid to photograph the wedding; you were. The JoP was depriving the bride and groom of a service they paid, by providing them a service they didn't want (the JoP's pictures).

As a photographer you have to be assertive in such situations. I would have handled this by making it very clear to the JoP and to the couple that I was the wedding photographer, and I would refrain from performing the ceremony if the JoP would refrain from taking pictures. If the JoP had a problem with this, I would have talked to the bride and groom and then had them support my position that the JoP was NOT the photographer.


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11/17/2007 3:58:28 AM

 
Amanda  M. Freese
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/18/2007
  That's exactly the thing, how do you do that without making a scence at there wedding? hard... But that's exactly it, she was taking all the pictues in a style that they consulted with me they didn't like. But they allowed it rather than setting her straight. . So I'm thinking it was the bride and groom that were at fault. . they needed to make clear thier desires to both vendors.


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11/18/2007 12:55:35 AM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  You know, sometimes you need to make a scene. Or, rather, stand your ground and give the other person the option of either going along or THEM making a scene.

In the situation you described, I would have attempted to do my job, and if the JoP either interfered or prevented me from that, I would have calmly and courteously called her on it. Something like, "Excuse me, but I have a professional duty to my clients and you are preventing me from carrying that duty out." This puts the focus squarely on the perpetrator (JoP) and then SHE must decide to either let you proceed or SHE must make a scene. If she persists in interfering, I would calmly inform my customers that this isn't going to work, and then I would apologize for not being able to complete the wedding due to the JoP's interference. I would then remind the bride and groom that this was THEIR wedding, not mine or the JoP's and they had the final say... and if they chose the JoP (or were afraid to stand up to her) then I would calmly pack my stuff and leave.

And then... I'd ensure that I had a clause in my wedding contracts that clearly spelled out that as the hired photographer I was solely and completely in charge of photography at the wedding, and that the customer was required to support any photography-related decisions I made (like, no photographs while I'm shooting formals, etc.).


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11/21/2007 2:02:17 PM

 
Amanda  M. Freese
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/18/2007
  Thank you, this is so helpful..


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11/21/2007 2:21:28 PM

 
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