Like many photographers we have a clause in our contract that states we will be the ONLY professional photographers at the event. Now most people scratch their heads and think “of course you’ll be the only professional photographer, we aren’t going to hire two photographers”, and while thats true enough there are other instances where we consider a photographer a “professional photographer”.
1) Another vendor sends a photographer to capture pictures just for them.
Last time this happened to us a florist sent a photographer to get pictures of the flowers and ceremony. The bride was less than amused at a photographer in the ceremony site in a t-shirt and worn out blue jeans. It also reflects poorly on my company since guests would assume he was with my company. In the end the photographer was given a few minutes to grab some shots of the flowers and pointed to the exit.
We, along with most good photographers I know, freely provide images to the other vendors and venue at a wedding. I never mind seeing a vendor or site manager grabbing some simple shots here and there just to make sure they get a shot or two.
2) Your friend, co-worker, second cousin, etc – want’s to be a wedding photographer and wants to tag along and build their portfolio.
This happens far too often and tends to create more problems than anything. First of all their showing these images online and on Facebook and often say how “they shot the wedding”. Now if a bride sees both their site and mine – and sees the same wedding on both – she won’t know who the paid professional was. These aspiring wedding photographers often get in the way of our shots, get people to look at them during the formals, and generally make it much more difficult for us to do our job.
If they really want to break into the industry it’s far better than to be a unpaid 2nd or 3rd photographer for a local professional where they can shoot and pick up some real solid advice.
3) Your Uncle Bob not only has his camera to grab a few snaps here and there but he likes to wander up and down the isle during the ceremony for better shots and loves to organize his own formal shots.
This is the friend or family member who goes way beyond just grabbing some shots. While I’ve seldom run into really bad cases of this I’ve literally seen shots from other photographers where “Uncle Bob” stood up in the middle of the isle and walked up to the front during the ring exchange and kiss, ruining the shots of the “paid” photographers.
Of course in the 21st century there are almost as many cameras at some wedding as their are guests – cell phones, tablets, wonderful point and shoots, and affordable SLR’s, we’ve seen it all. Most of the time these family and friends picture taking never causes a problem and we don’t mind them at all.
All in all the one thing to remember is your hired photographer is the ONLY photographer shooting for you.
The vendor photographer is shooting for the vendor.
The aspiring wedding photographer is shooting for themselves.
Uncle Bob’s – I tend to think they are shooting for their egos, but still pretty much themselves.
So think about your day and remember your photographer is there for you – any help you can give them in dealing with these other “professionals” ahead of time is always going to be appreciated by the photographer you hired. While I’d never cease my coverage of a wedding if one of these “other professionals” because and issue, just remember it will likely impact the ability of myself and my team to do the job your hired us to do at our full potential. We won’t yell at your Uncle Bob as he stands up in front just as you share your first kiss as husband and wife, but we’ll show you the picture of the back of his head and hope he at least gave you a good shot.