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Thread: The anatomy of how a wedding shoot turns into a train wreck.

  1. #1
    Ausphotography Regular Bercy's Avatar
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    Unhappy The anatomy of how a wedding shoot turns into a train wreck.

    Invite comes for a Wedding. Bride says she does not have a professinoal coming but would like me to take some photos. I go through the pro forma of permission and that whilst discrete would not just be shooting from the congregation -etc.

    Cool.

    Turn up with kit - there are about 4 "photographers" there - and a big industrial sized video photographer. I get wife and kits in side pew so I can move off as needed.

    Take some test shots for white balance. All good. Wedding starts Get camera to take shot and take shot of brides' maid. Wife gently explains (kick in back of leg I think) that it's inappropriate "With that big lens", children squirming already. Have to settle them down. I look around - wondered if indeed bride had got a pro after all. I put my camera away, pointless and decided to just enjoy the wedding, thinking that capable photographers were on hand anyway,

    After Wedding, kiss bride..."Did you take some good pictres..." Oh ****.

    I looked at the other photographers a bit more closely - modest kit but that's not the problem. But doing the set shots whilst a couple of the young boys were holding kebab sticks and drink, and staring in any which direction and I thought it best to walk away.

    Lessons:

    1. If you go to an important shoot (amateur or not) you're there as a photographer and not an Uncle Barry with a camera.
    2. Meet before hand and plan
    3. Have authority
    4. Have no other purpose for being there - you definitely can't be two things at once.

    Any other lessons - I'll accept with due humility!
    Last edited by Bercy; 26-05-2011 at 3:36pm.
    Berni

    ""The most important piece of camera equipment you will ever own sits between your ears...."

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    I dont understand. Were you getting paid or what was going on?
    Did the bride want a free job and also asked other people to take photos?

    Your lessons look good, if the bride wants one photographer you should be able to tell other people to stop taking photos. Group shots with 1/2 the crowd looking a different way is bad
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    I'm speechless
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    Oooh dear. I have no advice that could possibly exceed your experience - only the greatest sympathy.
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    Member James T's Avatar
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    :/ I'm confused, is the only lesson really that if you say you'll do something... do it?
    Last edited by James T; 26-05-2011 at 4:16pm.

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    Thanks Fabian - the bride and groom are a wonderful couple, but did not secure a professional photographer. I pointedly asked if a professional was secured and if so I would not have bothered to bring the kit. The lesson is that if you are doing Weddings, Christenings or events, it needs to be made clear, even as an unpaid amateur doing it for the sheer joy, that there is mandated authority to be the photographer. If more than one photographer may be involved, they should meet and plan before hand, and I have done this with other photographers and mapped out who does what.

    And Kiwi - I'm not knocking the bride and groom, but I was fuming and more kicking myself. Its all about homework. Thanks for the sympathy but I ultimately agree with James T as well - and for any one contemplating a an occasion like this, it has to be handled with considerable assertion from the beginning, and if it is fluffy - well you don't have to accept the brief.

    Cheers - I'll get over it - besides the shots for a school formal were a real blast - you can have good days as well.

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    Been there done that and I have to say it is why I steer away from weddings 'as a friend'. Want me to be the photographer? Fine, I am a novice and you need to know that. Want to take my images and print them (poorly by the way) and not even say thanks m8!!!

    Weddings... own it or spectate IMO

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    Berni. I'm speechless as the way i read your story was that the bride asked YOU to take photos, you agreed, but then because of your family you didn't ?

    I think I'd be very disappointed too if I were them ?

    Sorry if I'm wrong but I think you've made a major error in judgement, not them

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    You are quite correct Kiwi. This is the quintessential point - the reason people engage professionals is that they are disengaged from the family and friends and are there to do a job. In fairness to the other photographers they could move about and God willing got some good shots. I hope you don't mind me airing a sad sack story but should a novitiate happen to read this it might give them pause for thought as to how they approach similar occasions; not only weddings but even by measure more modest events like Christenings or anniversaries. Heck even landscape photography - the difference between "Alright get out of the car and take your shot" and having the afternoon, hiking to the best vantage and waiting for the light to be right.

    So don't be sorry about being wrong - I know you're right - it was a grand error in judgement.

    He but it gets better. I put my car in for a service, and they crashed it. Sure they fixed it, and on the first day I got back I got totally rear-ended - its a good week, but I can but laugh.
    Last edited by Bercy; 27-05-2011 at 1:08am.

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    My one and only wedding experience was similarly annoying. I was asked at last minute by friends to do the job, gratis, and they couldn't even be bothered to participate after I brought all the gear etc.

    Never again.....

    Hope your week improves, jst look both ways before you cross the road!!

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    Ausphotography Site Sponsor/Advertiser OzzieTraveller's Avatar
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    Oh geez Bercy

    wedding, personal judgements - then the car ........................ surely it can't get any worse??
    OKay mate - full marks for your 100% as to the experience and coming out with your inner feelings regarding the event
    In years to come you'll look back on this event as 'a matter of experience' ... we all have photographic bad-hair-days, and we all learn from them

    The beauty of AP is that we can share these experiences [like you are doing now] and others can hopefully, learn from those experiences

    Regards, Phil
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    Account Closed reaction's Avatar
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    train wreck? you enjoyed the wedding right?

    a B&G who don't pay for photos expect to get what they paid for, they had 4 backups so they can't be angry or anything

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    I'd tend to agree with reaction, if you had been contracted and/or paid to do the work then they could rightly be disappointed. But they have, as many seem to do, tried to save their money and use as many 'free' photographers as they could expecting results that would normally cost $4k +.

    It is understandable they may be upset, but they should be with themselves for poor planning, not at you. If I ask a favour from a friend, and it's not executed as I would have wanted, that's my fault for not taking appropriate action on an important task to ensure the end result is exact. They can only try to help in the best way they think relevant.
    Last edited by crf529; 27-05-2011 at 12:31pm.

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    I dunno, I would be upset if I'd asked a friend to pick me up after the movies and they didn't, should I have ordered a cab

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    Member crf529's Avatar
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    You might be upset, but if it was really important to you to get home, you might call ahead and pre book a cab?

    There's most definitely 2 valid sides. IMHO friends are fantastic, but if something is vitally important and they don't for whatever reason pull through for you, you may be upset however the blame is squarely on you for lacking real organisation/preparation (especially on something like wedding photography where no money is involved). Just my opinion feel free to flame lol.
    Last edited by crf529; 27-05-2011 at 12:45pm.

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    I agree with that

    If they valued photos they would have hired a pro.

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    Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch jim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    If they valued photos they would have hired a pro.
    Well not quite. We didn't hire a pro for our wedding and mave a mass of amateurish photos taken by selves and friends. They are terribly important to us though.

    Still, in relation to this thread the point might be fair.

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    I think the real error here is a matter of miscommunication, and this is going by the information you have supplied thus far. Had the B&G informed you that you were exclusively selected to shoot the wedding then all lines of authority and seperation from guests would have been defined and all the other "photographers" were just guests who happened to be more interested in putting their photos on facebook.

    But because you weren't informed of this, how were you to know they those other "photograhers" were approached in the same way you were? I'd say full blame can't be appointed to either party because of unclear details however, the difference is this is something you can take on board as experience for the future where as they won't have the opportunity.

    I was in a similar position where a couple (friends) asked me to shoot their wedding where I reluctantly agreed (unpaid) - turns out they already hired a pro to do the shoot so I backed down and let the pro do their job - After the ceremoney etc, the bride asked me if I had taken any good shots and was stuck in a sought of awkward situation trying to explain what I did.
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    Of course, we look through things with a bias, its much more important to us that theyhire a pro than to the couple I would suggest, especially if you are a pro

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    Alan is quite right - this was destined to go haywire. Bride indicated on three separate occasions that she wanted me to take photos. But, I didn't confront her with the exact proceedings; and that is definitely my fault not her's. Communication with other photographers - I don't even know who they were and I should have if it was going to be a shared effort. The bride would have innocently thought that photography was just turning up with your camera. Most of all, communication with with family and friends - it is imperative that if they are coming along that they are aware you are going to be doing something else. Reality bites; "Sure take a few pictures but your not running off!" So communication, planning, double checking and execution of what you have planned and the authority to do so - ....next time.

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