Dinner - To eat or not to eat?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by nuzumphoto, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. Ashley and I are typically at a wedding through dinner and most of the time won't eat. We feel we are always going to be a split second behind any moment that may occur if we are eating. We usually bring a lot of Propel and something to snack on, but we rarely eat dinner.
    So do others eat during the meal? Are you concerned with missing something that may occur, while not highly likely, still plausible? Just want to see what others do and what their feelings are surrounding the meal time.
  2. I eat - very very close to the couple and make it fast! that's what I do.
  3. I have yet to see a fantastic photo taken during the meal and make it to the wedding album, I'm sure some will exist but I would rather eat dinner (and have a break after 4+ hrs) and have enough energy to see it through the evening.
    Nobody likes to have their photograph taken while they're eating, so I eat at the same time.
  4. I normally don't eat. Mostly because I can't get over the feeling that it's rude...I know it's completely irrational, but I just can't shake it. If the couple goes out of their way to provide me with a meal then of course I will eat it, outside of view and VERY fast.
    I don't take pictures of people while their eating, but during dinner I normally take the couples' rings and take that time to do the ring "beauty" shots.
    I always pack snacks in my camera bag.
  5. That is a tough one, I think it is a little unprofessional, but I do eat !! I Love wedding food !! I usually fix a small plate with a few things, stand in a corner where I can see the bride. Have a video friend who makes himself at home at a wedding. Fix a big plate, sit down at the table chats with people, goes back for more food. That IS unprofessional, even if bride says to get some food.
  6. I also can't stand it when I'm a guest at a wedding and the bride and groom seat their vendors at a table with guests. Nothing says "you were a B-list guest" like being seated with the photographer and the DJ!
  7. I grab a plate and then sneak off and scarf it down. I will usually follow dinner with a few cups of coffee.
  8. I eat with Todd -- quickly and out-of-sight.
  9. Steve,
    We have it in our contract. It reads "For events longer than five (5) consecutive hour, the client is to provide a meal for the photographer (s) or adequate time to leave the premises to do so." We also emphasize that the couple make arrangements to make sure we eat when they do so that we don't miss anything important. Most catering people want to feed you after the guests and as we all know, then it's too late to eat. I can think of 2 times over the years where a client has told us to take a break and go elsewhere. Who would want to pay all that money to have us leave? It takes all kinds.
    I got over it years ago, especially when you're with the couple for so many hours. Besides, you're a professional, not a "B" class person....-Aimee
  10. The "B-list" comment was speaking as a guest, not a vendor.
    I just don't like eating in front of other people in general. But when I keep having to eat, hop up and capture the odd speech during dinner, go back, shovel down food, jump up to catch a kiss or something....yeah, not fun.
  11. Not from the perspective of a photographer, but from the perspective of a recent groom....I would not have noticed a difference wheater or not my photographer ate dinner - and I will go out on a limb to say the majority of people getting married would not either - but I agree with what was previously said - eat relatively quick and get back to it - one really needs to eat - I get jittery at my job (I am a pharmacist) and my performance is affected if I am too hungry - after you eat, its one less thing to think about and you maintain better focus - of course, everyone is different I guess.
  12. The clients I have had this year pretty much almost force me to eat - I guess im comfortable with my clients they almost are like friends to me so I dont feel uncomfortable, I just make it quick tho.
  13. Thanks for all the responses....Every wedding is a little different. It is definitely more likely that we eat when we are asked to RSVP and it is plated. Clearly the couple(or parents or whomever) is paying for our meal at that point. When the meal is more buffet style then we just play it by ear. From time to time we eat but is all circumstancial. When we shoot HOT outdoor weddings we typically eat.
    Always tough, but we make sure to maintain our distance during dinner if possible. As others have said if we do eat, it is at mach speed.
    Do any of you feel a sense that the photographer is paid for X amount of hours and they aren't taking pictures while their eating? I realize some don't have x amount of hours, so maybe not such a big deal. I don't directly feel this or has anyone EVER said anything about it, but it lingers in the back of my mind. That while I'm chopping up my steak someone is going to be like...."that's the photographer...slacker."
  14. I've been well taken care of by the catering staff... whether a "vendor meal" has been planned or not.
  15. In most of the weddings I photographed, I was always invited to eat with the rest of the guests. I always kept my eyes on what was going on in case I needed to get a important shot of the B&G, or something else that I thought would add to the couples special day.
  16. I usually do the grab a plate and go somewhere out of site, but never too far. When I shoot a wedding I usually bring my laptop with me, so that's a good time to upload some cards, check color and lighting, etc. If I can throw a battery on a charger, than that's extra points. Plus, I'm still working on quitting smoking, and that way I can sneak off for a cigarette.
  17. Steve- That's kind of the feeling I get when I do eat in sight. Like someone is thinking "Should she be, you know, working?"
    This is why I use the dinner time to take ring shots. It gives me something to do.
  18. To put it simply, I am not a tripod. I am not a machine. I work harder and sweat more than most others on wedding day (save for other vendors). And, I eat and drink just like everyone else. I make my clients aware of this with a PDF document I publish with a number of tips and suggestions for brides and grooms in preparing for wedding day. One tip suggests that if they will arrange for the caterer to provide me with a plate of food/drink instead of me having to stand in a long line, I'll eat quickly and privately. Meanwhile, I download photos from the day to place into a slideshow on my laptop for guests to enjoy. Then, I can be ready to jump back into the action when the meal is done.
    I just think it doesn't hurt for us to look out for ourselves when we're under the gun.
  19. I agree with Steve C!
    ** Posted by OP*** That while I'm chopping up my steak someone is going to be like...."that's the photographer...slacker."
    Don't forget they know we are human too! I fight them thoughts too don't get me wrong but we are human end of story for me hehe​
  20. Howdy!
    In my contract, I state that meals will be provided for the photographer and his associates in the main seating area.
    It's not that I mind sitting at the kids table or in the kitchen. I just want to be ready when Uncle Frank pops up in the middle of dinner with a toast to the happy couple.
  21. <p>I actually have it written into the contract that the couple will provide me with a meal and a drink. Let&rsquo;s be honest after seven or eight hours of no stop hard work coupled with unresponsive guests and rude vicars and registrars I need some food. Despite this and despite the couple usually paying for and insisting that I get something to eat many venues here in England actually follow through with the promise.<br>
    Ill be honest I much prefer sitting in the bar and with over 100 weddings under my belt can honestly say I have never missed anything of importance or that would have made the album any way, as someone else said nobody wants to be photographed whilst eating.<br>

    MODERATOR NOTE: Website removed as per photo.net policy - no links please
  22. My wife and I were married over 15 years ago and I distinctly remember adding plates to the catering bill for the photographer, videographer, etc.
    I was a lot younger and less sophisticated back then and didn't even blink an eye when being presented with feeding people who were providing these services. Would I expect them to work without a break or food ?
    For Pete's sake take just a few minutes to catch your breath and get some sustenance. If you don't, then you're doing your client a disservice. Mention it up front and forget about it. If the client doesn't like it then that is a sign you will be much happier not taking the job.
  23. Our contract gives the couple the choice to give us a one hour break or feed us there. By the time the reception rolls around it's time to regroup, get off your feet and do a check list of what is next, review equipment needs, go to the bathroom and on a day like last Saturday, change clothes. I try to get with the dj/band to see what they have been told to see if anything has been added that I might not know about. My style is more journalistic, but I don't like surprises and this helps me be prepared. When you make contact with whoever is mc'ing you get their attention and they don't forget that you are a needed part of cutting the cake, etc. (Doing video one time I stopped the couple from cutting the cake until the photographer got there! DJ was rolling on!) I request a certain spot in the room to allow for easy access to the bride and groom/head table. We tell our couples that we will follow the parents/grandparents to the buffet or have us served in a timely manner so that we are ready to jump back up and go. I guess I have great clients because everyone says they wouldn't have it any other way.

    I've even had parents and couples double check to make sure we are taken care of. I get offered drinks quite often, but that is another discussion. If you feel like you are a lesser person than those who hired you I can see that you might feel self-conscience. I will tell you this even when I'm at the Ritz-Carlton or a country club I sit down and I eat, it's a vendor meal and a good one. The break really helps me mentally to stay sharp. I check out the layout, talk a little shop and get ready to reque. If you have the type of clients that don't feel you deserve a break then I hope you enjoy those folks, I don't and won't.

    When my daughters get married the vendors will have a table in a convenient location and they will eat what we eat. I don't want them taking photos/video of people chowing down anyway, yuck! Everyone needs a break to do a good job!
  24. "Thanks for all the responses....Every wedding is a little different. " -Steve

    Actually, no not really.....after shooting about 500 weddings, they are much more similar than different. Most established studios make a provision in the contract that the photographer gets fed and over the course of a 8-12 hour day you deserve the break. How you get fed will vary. Often you'll be seated with the guests, sometimes at the "kids" table and I've been seated with the parents at some weddings. Whatever table I do get seated at, I'll routinely announce that you guys must be the "party table" and you get first requests from the DJ. I've been in very upscale venues where the DJ, videoguy, photographer, and the band are given sandwhiches in a seperate room or a fancy Box-lunch with plastc fork and spoon that you eat in the atrium. My personal fav is when I can get away to the bar and have a cheesburger, diet-coke, and fries. Many of the venues at country club and banquet halls are somewhat isolated which limits accessability to other resturaunts and eateries, so it make more logistical sense for the B/G to provide the meal than to have you leave the hall.
  25. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I eat, it is good for me: I also drink, that is good for me too - water + electrolyte replacement formula.
    There are many threads on this topic, I do not think it is a difficult decision – some don’t eat arguing they will miss the action, that’s appropriate for them: I don’t think I’ve missed much action, if any, by eating, I have a wee break, too, do you?
    It’s all about timing and keeping one’s eyes open, and communication – the latter is often forgotten, I think.
  26. David, you post contradicts itself...you say that the weddings are not really different then you go on to explain all the different experiences you have had....so....I guess they are a little different...no?
    In the end, I don't feel it necessary to eat during a wedding. I can easily run through 8-10 hours of shooting and not even get hungry. During that time I am always looking for pictures, I am in a certain mindset. I focus on the task at hand and the time flies by. It's when you become bored that you have time to realize you are hungry, luckily we don't find ourselves being bored. We don't provision that anyone feed us or give us a place to sit even. They have more important things to worry about. We roll with flow and just go along with whatever happens. While it's nice to grab something to eat from time to time, I won't be heart broken over missing the meal.
    Thanks again for all the responses, just nice to hear what others do.
  27. "David, you post contradicts itself...you say that the weddings are not really different then you go on to explain all the different experiences you have had....so....I guess they are a little different...no? "
    How you eat will vary some from wedding to wedding, about 90% of the time you'll find yourself at a table with the DJ and videoguy with other guests. The question to eat or not to eat is what is rarely different. Eating at the wedding is the norm. Prowling around with a camera while the guests are eating is generally not a good thing and at this point in the day you're not likely to miss anything important. If you're at a table with guests and someone makes a spontaneous speech or the "little people" show up, your camera is near your seat and you can quickly grab and catch the action. Also, 90% of the time, I'm waiting to be seated while I shooting the blessing and then the toasts, more often than not, after the B/G does soup or salad we head to the cake table to cut the cake. I'm not sitting and "lolly gagging" but I'm not wolfing down my food. Often, if things are happening, I'm up with my camera while the others are waiting for desert, which I typically skip. It's also important to talk about this issue before the wedding day in your initial consultation with the contract.
    If you don't want to eat, that's fine by me. However in my market area it's the norm and I think many newcomers are just self-conscious over a "non-issue".
  28. I'm not a pro but I've been forced to take more weddings than I'd care to think about. The only thing I would say is the dinner time is a good time to get people in group shots. I usually walk the tables and pick out groups, families, and couples and get them to lean together (after they stop chewing).
    Being not a pro, I feel little guilt eating since I'm pro-bono anyway, but I have been treated like "the help" more than a few times!
  29. Incidentally based on the tag line I thought this thread was going to be on whether it was better to buy camera equipment or feed the family.
    That is a conundrum I must admit.
  30. I used to be a bartender at a reception hall and we would always run into the same photogs and Dj's during weddings. We always kind of thought of these folks as "comrades" as we were all on the job while everyone else was partying. Consequently, we always made sure they received food/drink whether it was in a contract or ok'd by the B/G. I can recall countless photogs scarfing down a quick bite at the end of the bar (and out of the way) during the meal. Of course, this was well before the advent of digital so there was no downloading/backing up that could have been done during that time. Though I'm not a photographer, I see nothing wrong with the photog having a meal in the midst of such a long day. At my own wedding we included the photog and DJ in the meal planning.
  31. As William said, there are many posts on this subject. The question gets asked at least once or twice a year. I also agree with William that this isn't a difficult decision. Do what suits you. Eating or not eating is not a standard by which we judge how dedicated we, as professional wedding photographers, are.
    Some people NEED to eat, to keep their blood sugar or energy up. Know yourself and what you need to shoot the wedding the way you need to shoot it. Almost anything is probably fine with the client, I've found. There are some clients who don't want to pay the 'guest price' for your meal. That is fine. Just work it out beforehand. Put it in your contract or not--whatever works.
    As for me, I eat sometimes, and not at other times. It depends on the number of hours of coverage, whether I am hungry, whether I have time to stop, whether the couple/family or catering staff seem inclined to give me food. I can go without food if I have to. When I work, I can sublimate hungar. In other words, I see how I feel, assess the food situation, and make a decision on the spot. I do, however, make sure I drink plenty of water, particularly if it is hot. Lack of water gives me migraines.
  32. I don't have it in my contract that I should be fed a meal. But I do ask during the consult if a meal will be provided if I'm working over 8 hours. 95% of the time it has. A couple times they forgot. I think the first time that the bride has told me they are NOT providing a meal (and made sure to point out that there are food vendors nearby) is actually a wedding I'm shooting on my birthday this year. Bummer. lol
  33. Water and a banana (or two) early in the day to ward off leg cramps; maybe a half a sandwich (to much is not good) before the ceremony (I pack that and it's on ice).
    Depending on the energy and flow of the wedding I'll "graze" and continue shooting during dinner (my assistant and second photographer, if I have one, will eat); it's a good time to capture informal table shots. I'll be planning some "creative" shots of the bride and groom for the open time available from the point they finish dinner onward into the next 15 or 20 minutes: valuable time period for fun bride / groom shots.
    The "food shots" of people eating are a lot of fun, imo, but they are not for recording the event but more for getting people smiling and having some fun. It's about energizing "the folks" and recording the fact that they attended. So, it can have a purpose and it can be done quickly: no harm and some positive in getting all people in a photo of some kind.
  34. If I am hungry I eat! It is a perk of what we do. I think the last thing a B/G will remember about you, is that you ate at lightning speed or not when they reccommend you to their friends! But, if it makes you lazy and slows you down - don't do it. We are all different, and our needs are different.
    Like this last wedding I did was for a friend and the food was great!
    "Oh do you like English Photography?"
    "Yeah, they eat real fast!"
  35. We eat. It's in the contract. Only a few clients haven't honored this of all the weddings we've shot. A vast majority feed us in the main room at a vendor's table. But I've been seated with guests. Every once in awhile those guests think it's a social slam to them to be seated with the help. IMO, that's their problem. I'm there so I can get the shots.
    Most have been very friendly, and we make sure we take nice portraits of them if we have the time.
  36. I always keep a cooler in my car with some snack foods, water and a sandwich. I pack hi-protein foods like yogurt and almonds. I eat in-between the wedding/reception etc. when in transit. If we are at one venue, I play it by ear, but I never work on an empty stomach. -too much is at stake.
    I have some pretty strict dietary restrictions, so when the couple has gone through the trouble to provide a meal, especially for me, I make a point to eat. However, I never eat at the same time as my assistant. I usually allow him to eat first while I get the cake, details, rings etc. Then, time permitting, I'll grab a quick bite while my 2nd does some table shots. I keep a watch on the room and have my camera strapped to my side just in case.
    Most of my clients become friends through the process, and most genuinely want me to eat. In some cultures, it may be considered impolite to refuse a meal. I shot a wedding a few years ago where the FOB was practically shoving food down my throat. He was so thrilled that I liked the indian cuisine, that he had the caterer pack me some food to take home. I ate it for 2 strait days, lunch and dinner!

Share This Page