BetterPhoto Q&A
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Photography Question 
Beth Huling
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/29/2007

Wedding Territory

I recently shot a wedding, where I encountered an individual who was very enthusiastic about jumping into my frame. What is the best way to deal with over-zealous photogs who are not supposed to be there? I have never told a couple that cameras are not allowed. Does it have to come to that? Besides, I do not want to become the camera police. All suggestions appreciated. Thanks!

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4/26/2008 5:43:51 AM

Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004
Let me start out by saying I'm not a wedding photog. Assuming you have a contract with them and assuming you have a statement similar to this; "1)Exclusive Photographer.The Photographer shall be the exclusive photographer retained by the Client for the purpose of photographing the wedding. Family and friends of the Client shall be permitted to photograph the wedding as long as they shall not interfere with the Photographer’s duties and do not photograph poses arranged by the Photographer." I would enforce that statement by first talking to the bride and groom and firmly; but, politely inform them of the contract they signed and ask them to stop this invasive person immediately. If it comes down to it and they don't put a stop to it, they are in breach of contract. You can then, either choose to work around this person or pack up your gear and leave owing them nothing.

If you don't have this in your contract, I'd suggest putting it in there and make sure your clients know it is there.

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4/26/2008 11:59:26 AM

Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
  Hi Beth,
I don't know that I have ever done a wedding that didn't have 1 or 4 people wanting to shadow me as I was shooting. I make myself very clear that they are welcome to shoot, but DO NOT get in my way in the process. I will ask them to stand behind me as I shoot and get their shots that way. When doing portraits, I ask them to refrain from shooting until I have taken my shots and then if the bride/groom or group doesn't mind posing for a few more moments to allow their friends to get a couple of shots, it's fine by me.
If I am in a time crunch, then they will just have to shoot from behind me.
Like I said, I see this at every wedding, so I make my boundaries very clear to the organizer and ask that she assist me with keeping this issue in check. Add this note to your check list, Beth, and let the organizer tell the friends beforehand to allow you to do your work unimpeded. Having a good and competent organizer will make your shoot much easier, but they tend to be hit and miss as well.
This is where Todd's previous advice may save the shoot, if it's out of control - just point to the contract to try to get things in control. But I don't know that I would walk off the shoot (liable or not), because a lot of wedding business is word-of-mouth, and your ability to rise above the challenges can win you a lot of future business. My .02 cents. - Carlton

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4/27/2008 8:24:19 AM


BetterPhoto Member
  Make sure they let you shoot first so they don't trigger your slaves. How many of us have had that happen?

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4/27/2008 12:50:47 PM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  Mark is right.

I usually let those carring cameras know I will let them shoot after I have finished. and then when I'm done, I say ok,thank you to those posing.
I at that time will say "I need you &you and YOU for the next shot",this assures that the pose will be broken very soon.
I just do not believe that we can stop family & geusts from getting thier pictures as well.

However, I had a guy, not an invited guest nor friend or family but hired
DJ do that to me at during the posed church shots.
I asked the mother who he was, after telling me and seeing my expression change she asked why, and I told her well he keeps taking his shots before I can ,just as soon as I get them posed.
I explained that since he was not a geust but a professional hired to do another job,that it was inappropriate
for him to contiue,that would allow him to promote work he had not really done or be capible of doing.
She had remove and told thier whole crew that if she saw a camera in their hands they could pack it up and go with out thier pay.
Never saw him again.
and Mom told me later she had wondered why they wanted to be at the church.
and YES it made me mad at the time.

I hope this helps,

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4/28/2008 8:31:38 AM

Jerry Frazier   Hey Debby,

That happened to me one time. A DJ started taking photos. I was like, "what the hell, dude?" He said he was just taking some fun snaps. I got in his face and said at his next wedding, I'm going to bring a huge boom box, set it up in the corner and blast it just for fun because maybe the guests would like an alternative to their music choice.

He stopped. But, it's a real PITA. Anyone who is doing wedding these days, there is a "photographer" at every wedding now. It is very annoying. I've been doing pretty good by telling the bride to tell everyone to keep their big gear at home. I explain why, and it's been fairly successful lately.

I don't mind P&S cameras and all. But, no one, as a guest, needs to whip out 1Ds cameras with "L" glass and 580EX flashes. They are guests at a wedding for Pete's sake! I just don't get it. Enjoy the day, let the pros do their jobs.

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4/29/2008 4:35:54 AM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  LOL,LOL! Good Job Jerry!LOL!

You know you are so right!
and as you say that I remember my very first wedding it was so very small.
in a park on an Aug. day, I went with my nikon,flash and fill flashes to put about.
I looked very unassuming and that was great for me.again first wedding with stage fright and all.
So , I have been doing the posed shots before the wedding as she wanted,the pre-wedding stuff and I'm felling pretty good, when as the wedding was being seated here comes this guy-
with his big Quantum Q Flash on his bracket looking like all that.
LOL,LOL I felt so goofy.
But, she told me later," yeah, he owns all kinds of equiptment but we don't think he realy knows what he's doing"
she also told me he gave her his shots,but very few were what they were looking for.
LOL,LOL,so I do know what you mean,lol.

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4/29/2008 8:14:06 AM

Michael D. Miller
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/26/2006
  I agree with Carlton and Mark (the ones listed on the front page at least).

I am officially a hobbyist, have been semi-pro and have taken weddings.

As a hobbyist who attends friends and family's weddings and takes pictures at them (with 'pretty good' equipment) I understand not to get in their way nor shoot -and- ask the wedding party to look at me while the wedding photographer (WP) is taking pictures so those are good rules.

However, I also LOVE it when I, as a hobbyist, can talk to the WP about photography when they are inbetween shots. I also like to inform them of shots, like a baby crawling across the floor who I know is in the immediate family.

So. If you are a wedding pro, and have not already considered this, I think you need to be friendly to the ENTIRE family, hobby photographers and all. They can all recommend you for future jobs.

West Hartford, CT

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4/29/2008 10:08:27 AM

Michael D. Miller
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/26/2006
  To Debby:
Along the same lines of someone having pro equipment but not knowing photography, I was photographing my great aunt and uncles 50th wedding anniversary, way back, and came across one of my cousins who was now about 18 and the son of the Aunt and Uncle's son. He was wearing a Nikon F# (maybe 2 or 3) around his neck. I approached him and said that I noticed he was wearing a Nikon F# and didn't even know he was interested in photography and asked how he came to pick the F#.

He replied that he father bought it for him because it was the MOST EXPENSIVE CAMERA IN THE STORE.

How's that for funny? I couldn't even afford an N90S until about 7 years ago and that was with trading in 30 years of Olympus OM equipment and a ton of accessories and a few lenses. I got the N90S and a 28-80 (NOT 2.8) and then ended up taking my first trip to Alaska to Denali and then a cruise down the inside passage, all with a 28-80 (full frame) film camera. Not terribly effective for the wildlife.

West Hartford, CT

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4/29/2008 10:20:22 AM

Beth Huling
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/29/2007
  Hey thanks to you all for the insight!
It's nice to know others are facing the same issues. In my contract I have specific things listed and the bride and groom have always been just fine with the setup. But in the meantime, I have had individuals set up shop right in front of me to take photographs of what I am posing. I have had my slaves triggered by photogs, I have had to ask individuals to move! bc they are right where I need to be! It just makes for an awkward moment in a couples big day. I am going to use the advice about a competent planner! I agree though about not walking off a shoot. There are so many word of mouth referrals that come from guests and family, I could not recover from a walk out. Thanks again for the advice! lol I'm fixing to post another question....

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4/29/2008 12:57:43 PM


BetterPhoto Member
  The most expensive camera in the store. It's so nice that people have good reason to buy a camera. I myself have never had the money to buy the most expensive camera in the store. If it wasn't for the deal I got, I would never have bought my Sony.

One more thing, I am glad to hear that I'm not the only one who has had problems with rouge photographers. They are some of the biggest P.I.T.A.'s.

Have fun and keep shooting,
Mark H.

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4/29/2008 5:47:37 PM

Dee Augustine
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/8/2004
  WOW,, I guess we all have the same problem dont we and the whole problem is the bride and groom want to get to eat they are hungry and it already takes so long to do the shots anyway. I tell them meaning the wedding party PLEASE look at THIS camera Im the photograper and if they want to look at other cameras after I take mine thats fine but it cant take too long. Its really irrating tho,,, Thanks again ,,,

Dee I have one in July,,,,LOL

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5/8/2008 8:53:20 AM

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