How do you act as a pro photographer when you are a guest at a wedding

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by fuccisphotos, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. In a recent post elements of professional courtesy as a guest have come up regarding posting the images on facebook. But what didn't get discussed much is how you tend to act as a guest at a wedding in which you aren't a hired pro, even though you are a professional photographer.
    Do you bring your camera with you? If so, do you bring your professional body, or a lesser model? Do you bring your whole rig, big flash and all, giant professional lenses, or do you bring just a 50mm and shoot with available light?
    If I do bring a camera with me, I make sure I am staying out of the way of the hired pro though, and out of their shots as well as best I can.
    I wonder because believe it or not, I have started to see hobbyists at weddings bringing 70-200 2.8 IS L lenses, and 580EX flashes. One even had a 5DmkII and she was just a casual photographer, it was a gift from her boyfriend because he heard it was a good camera. So should I feel like I should have to bring a lesser model with me when other guests who aren't pros are bringing top of the line equipment?
    For example, I was a bridesmaid in my sister-in-law's wedding this past weekend, so out of respect for the photographers who are wonderful talented individuals, I didn't bring my camera with me. My sister in law wanted me to just be able to be a guest and enjoy myself. Irony of all ironies, not having my camera was pretty much killing me after the hired pros left at their contracted time, but many photo worthy events went on. People knowing I'm a photographer keep emailing me saying, did you get any photos at the wedding??? The only camera I had with me was the one on my phone, and that certainly wasn't going to cut the mustard in a dimly lit reception.
    So how do you usually handle going to weddings as a guest, rather than as the hired pro?
  2. Many hobbyist have nice rigs. Let them have their fun. They don't have to carry a camera in their hands day after day. When I'm a guest at a party the only thing I want in my hands is a cocktail...and perhaps a little P&S for those fun little grab shots that always come up at parties. More as a memento than serious work. Let go and let the other guys work for a change. If you're there as part of the celebration...celebrate!
  3. I go without camera, just like lawyers don't bring a briefcase to the wedding.
  4. Let the people hired be the photographers. As Louis said, if I am a guest, it's because I am either a family member or a friend and I am there to celebrate, so I'd rather have a drink in my hand than a camera (and, if I am there a a guest because some cousin eighteen times removed invited us because they want lots of gifts, then I want lots of drinks in my hand j/k)
    I absolutely evaluate the photographers and I happily tell my wife my opinions (good or bad) but I would never tell the couple anything (unless I had high praise).
    Being a professional photographer also means being a professional when you are not the photographer.
  5. Like the others, I leave my gear in the car. I am there to socialise and enjoy the event. I like Rob's last sentence...:) Robert
  6. I'm not a professional wedding photographer, however, I do have a lot of nice gear. A few weddings that I went to, I did bring the "professional equipment" of a 5D and 70-200 F4. I didn't like it, #1 - i'm there to have fun and enjoy myself, lugging around a 70-200 (even the f4 version) is not a whole lot of fun.
    I do like to bring my 5D or 20D with me, but I just toss on a small lens and only use it for things I want to remember, not so much for the B&G.
    If the pro photographer leaves and there are things I wanna grab, then I have my camera there, and I get to be creative with my 50 1.4 or 35mm lenses. I think the biggest difference is that these photos are primarily for my wife and I to remember the wedding from our perspective, not to impress the B&G.
  7. I'd rather have a really fun time at the wedding visiting with a lot of friends and family. I leave the camera home. It's more fun!
  8. I like Rob's last sentence as well. =) Maybe after I've been doing this for years on end, my constant desire to have my camera on hand will wane. But I've been like this for a long time. Back in high school almost every photo of me, had me with a camera around my neck. I choose my cell phone on the basis of the quality photos the camera can take (along with sound quality, yes, I do still care about that). Maybe getting myself a better quality P&S that shoots in RAW is a good solution.
  9. I act like a guest and prefer to have a "good time". I am most interested in testing the food and wine or beer stock and having a chat, I don't dance ;-)
    I usually bring a small, light Minolta Maxxim 70 film camera with 28-100 kit lens loaded with ONE roll of 24 exp. 400asa color film. I have a pair of these along with a 75-300 that I use for vacation, holidays and special events. I buy the CR2 batteries for them once a year, right now they're dead (lol).
    I take about 8-16 shots of whatever catches my mood, maybe a cousin or friend and some wedding stuff, details etc. I usually never bring my regular equipment, too bothersome to keep track of once we get near the "honey you're driving home phase".
    I seldom if ever get into a conversation with the pro unless I know them, in which case they usually come over to me first anyway. Even in that case, I mind my business and get on with the happenings.
  10. I bring my G10 and act like a guest - it's fun! I make people get together and do cheesy things, I take pictures of dumb/random things, etc... It clears all the cobwebs out for the real thing! :)
  11. If you are a true professional photographer you will understand work is work play is play, if i was invited for a wedding I would not
    bring my camera since last thing i want is worry where my camera is while dancing with my wife. This is the time to remember why
    we got marry instead of being selfish doing what I love. If you are single it is time to social and enjoy the evening, leave the Hire
    photographer do his job.
  12. I carry my camera with only my 50mm mounted. Or none at all.
  13. I usually make a point of NOT going to weddings (personal reasons) but the extremely few times I've been to one I never carry a camera with me, not even a small one. I pay no attention to the professional hired for the day, I do not check to see what kind of equipment s/he has - I simply try to enjoy the day and that's that.
    It's the same rationale behind not accepting to shoot friends' weddings - I find that mixing pleasure with work is usually a bad idea. Whenever someone invites me to a wedding saying "and if you want, I wouldn't mind you bringing your camera along and taking a few pictures" I almost immediately pass.
  14. If I have been asked (e.g. by friends who can't afford a pro) I will bring a camera. Otherwise, no.
    I went to a wedding once where the groom was also the photographer.... not sure how that worked!
  15. If it doesn't into my jacket packet, it stays home. Don't have to think about loosing anything. Have fun, talk to people, have a drink, dance with my wife. Once in a while pull out my little PS and snap one of those arms' lenght self portraits together.
  16. hmmm....interesting question, as everyone I know is either married already, or had me as the Hired Gun for the wedding.
    If I were just invited to the wedding as a guest - I'd probably bring my D40 and 18-200 zoom - just for snaps.
    At the wedding I shot on Saturday - one of the guests was a Pro photographer. He brought his 5d and several fast lenses. After he saw that I was covering the important stuff - he gave his camera with 50mm f1.4 to his son (age 14) and let him shoot kid's stuff.
  17. I go without camera, just like lawyers don't bring a briefcase to the wedding.​
    Lawyers don't bring briefcases to weddings because there is no reason to use them. There are legitimate reasons a photographer may want to take some images of some kind even if its limited to their own friends and family out of the way of the main events.
    If you are a true professional photographer you will understand work is work play is play​
    Sure, but even a "true professional photographer' can figure out that they can grab some pictures of something that comes up for fun or "play" or for friends and family family without the burdens of work requirements if they want to.
  18. Irony of all ironies, not having my camera was pretty much killing me after the hired pros left at their contracted time, but many photo worthy events went on.​
    The first wedding I remember going to as a guest was in 1965. The novelty has worn off since then and I often enjoy shooting more than schmoozing. I generally bring a DSLR, general purpose zoom and flash. What bring to the party is knowing who all the people are and their relationships, which the pro generally doesn't. When I'm shooting on the book I follow the B&G and immediate family and folks in the wedding party and then shoot visually interesting other things/people. As a guest I know who the important extended family members and friends are, and shoot them even if they aren't the hot couple on the dance floor.
    My basic rule for dealing with the pro(s) is don't get in their way and stay out of their shots if I'm shooting. I don't move around during the ceremony. I don't shoot over their shoulders during formals. If I run across them at the bar, I say HI.
  19. I wouldn't get in the way of the hired professionals, but I do take my camera. Just as you said, opportunities presented themselves after the professionals left. It would kill me to see something memorable happen, knowing I decided to leave my camera at home.
  20. I have a G11 but won't even bring that. My wife has an even smaller Canon point & shoot we'd bring along for quick photo ops with friends. No way am I bringing my 5D.
  21. No, I do not bring a camera. Usually there is a friend of B&G taking shots, I will get them to take a shot of B&G & me, give them my email address, then it shows up !
  22. In situations like this, I bring a p&s that is small enough to put in a pocket or hang off my belt out of sight. The D3 and its lenses stay home.
    I used to bring a d70 with a 28-80mm in situations like this. When the d70 died, I started carrying a Canon powershot. I am taking less pictures, but I am enjoying the events more. When folks give me the "I was hoping you would bring your good camera." line. I politely respond, "I'm off today."
    I must admit that I will watch the hired photog to see if I can pick up any new ways of doing things, but I never intentionaly bother them.
  23. "When I'm a guest at a party the only thing I want in my hands is a cocktail...and perhaps a little P&S for those fun little grab shots that always come up at parties"​
    I am not a pro so I dont know if it counts but I do not bring my gear with me either. I am a guest I want to have fun. I once saw my brother in law carry his 40D with lens and flash and would't part with it simply because he was afraid it would get stolen or damaged. I want to relax and enjoy the party.
  24. Honestly, I leave my pro digital gear at home and grab a film camera. I really like just shooting a few rolls with my Mamiya C330 when the mood strikes me. Generally speaking I shoot digital for work and film for pleasure. In most cases there is only a short window where shooting with the C330 really works well due to the light, and then the sun goes down and the TLR disappears.
  25. Unless specifically asked by a member of the wedding party, bride, groom, or father/mother of the B/G to bring my camera, I leave all my cameras at home and let my wife take pictures with her P&S.
    This leaves me free to drink to my heart's content, dance, and have a good time without worrying about my equipment.
  26. Being a professional requires 100% concentration on the job at hand. Anything less and you might as well be a guest. The two functions cannot be mixed. If you are a guest -- go, have a good time, enjoy the event. If you are working -- work, that is what you are getting paid for and if you really are a professional, act like one and give your customer 100% of your best effort.
  27. I act like a guest... I don't bring my camera (or I might bring a P&S if i do) and I don't talk about or brag about me being a photographer... Most people don't even know (especially the hired photographer) and those that do only know because they know me personally.
  28. bms


    Usually I bring a smaller unobtrusive camera, not a DSLR. Recently got my hands on a Leica IIIc, which fits the bill perfectly - and indulges my camera nerd trait.
  29. I rarely if ever bring a camera to a wedding ... if anything I take pics with other people's cameras so the camera's owner can be in the photo with their friends.
  30. I'm nowhere near a professional photographer, so take my words as you will. I was at a wedding this weekend and brought along my 60D. I did feel slightly intrusive, and sensed that the professionals felt a little threatened. So my solution was to stay out of the way and act more as a "behind the scenes" photographer. While the professionals were taking the formal/posed shots I was shooting candid shots of the guests and festivities away from the pro cameras. I felt it was a good compromise, and I got to capture moments that the professionals would have missed out on. Yes, there was some overlap, but they aren't going to lose any money just because I ended up with some similar shots. As for equipment, I only have one lens and no flash other than the camera flash, but even if I did have all that equipment I probably would have left it behind to maintain the semi-transparent fly-on-the-wall ruse and not upset the professionals any more.
  31. Irony of all ironies, not having my camera was pretty much killing me after the hired pros left at their contracted time, but many photo worthy events went on.​

    Just hobbyist here, but I bring my best camera (but only attach 18-200 most of the time) when I go to a vacation with friends or family. I know I will get less of the vacation, but I come home with great photos.
    People knowing I'm a photographer keep emailing me saying, did you get any photos at the wedding???​

    This is another motivation why I bring my camera often: people like my photos. (Who doesn't like free, great photos? :) ). But you're a pro so I don't know how willing you are giving away your photos.
  32. For people who are nervous about making the pro feel threatened, support the lens with an overhand grip rather than cradling it palm up. This will immediately let the pro that you don't know how to hold a camera, or have any idea of what you're doing. They will then ignore you for the rest of the day.
  33. Myself I brought my Contax G2. Cause what the hell; why not. You get to have fun with film and no one feels threatened (except maybe the Leica users....). If I had a Fuji X100 I would use it.
    The only thing that caught me off guard was when the groom walking down the aisle with his just declared bride asked me for my camera which he then used to shoot a self portrait of the two of them with the wedding behind them (the old travel - arm out to the side photo).
    He didn't know I was shooting film. I didn't know he was planning to grab my camera. We both were surprised.
  34. Just a P&S or non-pro SLR and stay out of the pro's way. After all I'm attending because a I care about the people getting married.
  35. I like the idea of having it in the car. Should the need arise (i.e. emergency/no show, leaving early), you can break it out. I don't think I could get through a wedding in any capacity without taking pictures, except as the bride. When I was an amateur, I took what I wanted, and noticed the hired pro copied a few of my shots/setups. I say just lay low, don't get in the way, and maybe you'll get something cool the b & g will appreciate some time in the future. No pro can be looking in all directions at all times; it might be good to have it, just in case, but as mention, use ethical behavior and don't get in the way :)
  36. Agreed, and that's the way I handle it as well. I have heard of too many instances where something happened and either the photographer didn't show up (by purpose or by accident) or the photographer actually walked out after a disagreement with someone or even that the photographer gets there and has utterly low-end equipment AND doesn't know how to use it well. I bring enough gear that should the need arise, I could go out to the car and get it. However, since I have it, it never comes up. Sort of like bringing an umbrella to ensure it DOESN'T rain. : )
    But, whether I bring it in to take photos on my own? I shoot enough weddings throughout the year that I would prefer to just enjoy the wedding day. Although, I have been known to give fellow guests various posing ideas and techniques so that they are more comfortable when the camera is pointing their way.
  37. If you were a pro baseball player at another team's game on your day off would you try and grab a bat?
  38. The wife will let me take a point and shoot that fits in my pocket. If I even thought about bringing an slr I would be in trouble. I'm there to enjoy the company and socialize.
    I don't know why I would think I need to be an insurance policy for the hired pro nor would I critique him to the other guests.
    On another note being a pro isn't about gear, it's about making a living versus having a really great hobby. There are a lot of serious non-professionals that have wonderful equipment and take great images, they just don't make the mistake of thinking they can make a living at it comparable to their day job.
    Staying out of the way is of course widely recognized here in this forum but the pro always needs to be aware of someone with even a cell phone jumping into the aisle during a processional, walking behind the ceremony looking over the officiant's shoulder, etc. What most don't think about is the picture fatique that can happen when you have several guests going around posing other guests each doing their own thing. By the time the pro gets there people are annoyed about the 3rd or 4th request.
    A number of pros have had officiants give them the riot act for not following commonsense rules for that particular chapel because of guests who appeared to be with the pro based on equipment. Lot's of stories.
  39. This is a bit OT as I was not the guest but a host at my Sister's wedding this last weekend, but the photog (+ videog) and me became good friends. He even helped me out with the video lights for my IR shots. I stayed out of his way for everything he was scheduled to shoot. I shot all the other family things for which the photog was not booked. Kind of worked out swell, cause I had plenty of work to do otherwise, during the time he was shooting. At the end of it all, I will have a nice timeline of everything from A to Zee. I've started my edits, waiting on his delivery.
    The photog had his hands full with whatever he had to do... formals and all. I'm glad the guests brought cameras and have begun to share their takes on facebook, some of which have a very very different viewpoint from the official photog... and many are very nice too. A bunch of the guests did crowd the photog, but I doubt theirs will be the ones to catch my eye. Better photogs will always look for their own viewpoint, and that will probably be different enough not to disturb the hired pro.
    I'd say, if you're a good photog, please bring your camera... a different take is always nice. If you're not a good photog, please (please, please) leave your camera/cellphone at home and don't suffocate the hired pro.
    (P.S. : this was an Indian wedding so please adjust accordingly)
  40. "If you were a pro baseball player at another team's game on your day off would you try and grab a bat?"
    I'd sure try to get into the dugout after the game's over and talk shop :)
    I've only shot a few weddings, and only one of them for pay (and that for friends of the family who couldn't afford an expert, they were happy with the results so I guess I did alright), but here goes nothing:
    Someone else had, as a gift to them, arranged a pro to shoot a photo/video reportage of the day. That guy was a major PITA, constantly (and I think sometimes deliberately) trying to block my shots. He actually got in between the couple and the city official during the ceremony, disturbing everything. Without an extra camera there (paid or not) there'd have been no decent shots of the day.
    As James said, take your gear and stay in the background. Maybe leave most of it sitting in the boot of your car unless needed, and put the rest in a smallish bag you can shove under a table where it won't be noticed. Enough other guests (who're not good photographers) will carry high end gear that you won't be the exception to the rule, except that you're more confident and proficient in the way you hold your camera (and most "pros" aren't, they're wannabees, no insult intended to the real pros out there).
    You're going to get things the hired shooter(s) miss because they were busy elsewhere, more informal shots to flesh out the memories of the party rather than the ceremony. That pro can only focus on one thing at a time. When (s)he's concentrating on getting the rings right, the little children in their bridesmaid dresses playing in the back go unnoticed by him but not by you.
  41. I'm not a pro but I do have an "off-duty" camera. My G9 is almost always with me and I'm happy to pass it around the table as many of my friends are pros, journos, muso's etc and often want to take pics. At the end of the day we're all too busy clinging to the bar to care.
    As for weddings, the B&G at one wedding I attended placed disposable cameras at all the tables for the guests to use so that they would have a more intimate and fun perspective as to the goings on at the reception.
  42. Some interesting insights into the wannabe world of pro photography in some of the above replies.....There is the feel of Hannibal Lector in some of the answers......
  43. I haven't done weddings for awhile but when I was doing one or two a week the last thing I wanted to do is shoot someone's wedding for nothing. Weddings are hard work for a photographer. I would rather get my dance with the bride with the gear at home. Even now I have nothing to prove. At one wedding the bride brought point and shoots for all the guests. I organized some picture taking like face your table neighbor and take a picture and we all had a good time with it. I have had people go into competition with me claiming they could do better than me. I never minded anyone else taking pictures but I began my military career as a drill instructor and I have a very strong voice. If needed, which was not often I could organize groups very rapidly and pardon the expression command the scene. One other thought. Outside of organizing groups for 30 minutes of formals I tried to stay in the background and do mostly candid shots with a small amount of posing. I never took over the timing of the affair or revolved the festivities around picture taking as I have seen other photographers do. So, it would have been very uncomfortable for me if another pro, and I use the term loosely, was posing groups ad hoc during the reception. When I stopped doing weddings I was delivering 400 film pictures or so. Now I read of weddings of upwards of a thousand pictures. I think that is more than enough coverage.
  44. Another thought. If I am there as a guest there is no contract or no understanding of my role in shooting pictures. I am not hired as a backup if the contracted party fails to deliver. I am there to enjoy a wedding. A pro bringing a camera to a wedding generally is a self-assumed role with usually no meeting of the minds between the volunteer photographer, the person who contracted for the wedding and the hired photographer. This can and has created areas for significant misundertandings about who is doing what to whom particularly if there is interference with the contracted photographers persformance. This happened in a couple of my weddings when someone repeatedly stepped in front of me until I became forceful (quietly and in private) about what I was there for. IMO I am not there as a guest to judge the performance of a fellow wedding photographer, make up for what they don't get, or interfere in any way with what they do. This could be a simple as not overriding the pros flash or blocking the view. I have seen worse. IMO difficulties are not usually from someone who does a lot of weddings but from someone who has a lot of good gear who is playing a role. So if the pro fails and I am there with a lot of gear, do I step in without a contract? Do I intervene if I think, as I have read about on PN, when the contracted pro is obviously not properly covering the wedding? In my experience in doing weddings there are a lot of messy things that happen between families and alcohol gets things pretty rampant at some receptions and some weddings go smoothly by design. Do I want to become involved in some of this outside of a contract. This won't happen to me if my camera is at home. Better yet, i have seen enough weddings so I should stay home, There is a legal term for someone who intervenes without status. It is "Officious Intermeddler".
  45. Just hobbyist here...​
    There's only hobbyists here. Real pros are busy doing SEO on their web sites and don't care about trivial things like this.
  46. Vail
    I am a photographer. My camera goes everywhere I do, and I bring whatever lens[es] I feel like using that day, regardless.
  47. I have just done 15 weddings for profits so far. But this question is a non-starter for me already at this stage of my not so illustrious photography career.
    Why would I ever want to lug around my 30 pounds of gears to a wedding when I'm not getting paid?
    Those people who bring 70-200 + 5D2 to a wedding are generally not "pro photographers" or at least someone who shoots for profit as your question indicates. They are just people with expensive gears but have no better place to use them except in a wedding.
  48. After shooting hundreds of weddings, I find the time I actually get to enjoy being at a wedding is when I am invited as a guest. Last year I was in 2 friends weddings as a groomsman, so I got to be in some of their pictures. Enjoy it. Leave the camera at home, and try not to get into "photography" talk with anyone. Being a photographer at a wedding comes just about every other Saturday... but being someone's guest is really a once in a lifetime event. Plus we've all been there where we are on the shooting end and have had people interrupting us and trying to ask about this or that ... I'd always end up thinking, "Sir, if you wanted to photograph this event, why didn't they just hire you instead, since you already knew them?" Let them get to work, and you be there to enjoy the food, drink, dance, and maybe meet a nice gal.
  49. Those people who bring 70-200 + 5D2 to a wedding are generally not "pro photographers" or at least someone who shoots for profit as your question indicates. They are just people with expensive gears but have no better place to use them except in a wedding.​
    Interesting. I would just love to know where you got your stats on that from :)
  50. @Rafael S well said!
    If you think bringing a camera to document what the Hired photographer miss out, think for a moment if you have twenty guests think this way, who need the hire photographer for? Maybe we all be mounting a camera on our forehead so we don't miss the special moment. This bring me back to the question, do you answer a business call in the public washroom? If yes then it must be a 911 call!
    Anyway, taking photos behind the Hired photographer can be very annoying, imagine someone is chewing gum while you are speaking. You might not see their faces but the annoying sound just not Professional. Switch shoes with the hire photographer for a moment! Think of this hire photographer needs to make a living so PLEASE let him or her do the work!
  51. Those people who bring 70-200 + 5D2 to a wedding are generally not "pro photographers" or at least someone who shoots for profit as your question indicates. They are just people with expensive gears but have no better place to use them except in a wedding.
    Interesting. I would just love to know where you got your stats on that from :)
    Just my own generalization. If Yervant goes to a wedding as guest, do you think he cares to break out his 70-200 plus 1Ds3 and take a few shots from the side?
    Weddings are good occasions for GWAC to test out either their shinny new pink camera or their expensive 70-200 IS lens. I have seen people shadowing me with the shinny Iphone the entire ceremony too.
    That's why I said people with pro gear as guests at a wedding aren't usually pro or shooting for profits, they are just guys with expensive gears with no better place to use them other than weddings.
  52. A photographer (paid or not) is an observer, not a participant. I'd rather be a participant when someone I care about is getting married. So camera gear stays home.
    On our future wedding we have decided to have something like this on the invitation: "The B&G would like you to turn of your phones, leave your cameras at home and just fully enjoy the day!". A pro will shoot of course.
  53. "The B&G would like you to turn of your phones, leave your cameras at home and just fully enjoy the day!"​
    So long as they enjoy the day the way you want them to. The boundless arrogance of some of the kids in this forum is breathtaking. So if someone take out their phone, are you going to confiscate it, or just not give them their goodie bag?
  54. There's no simple right or wrong and each wedding can have very different dynamics. I'll bring one camera with a good over-all zoom lens and external flash....I leave my bag in the car and I skip the use of a camera bracket. I'll pay attention to the hired pros and stay out of their way. Once the DJ and videographer started the bouquet toss and garter sequence while the pro was in the hallway doing backdrop shots....I covered the moment and got the shots and offerred the film to the pro who politely declined and I gave the negs/prints to the B/G.....turns out that the photographer was a bit of a jerk and the DJ & videoguy wasn't worried if he was involved. The photography was shooting Hassys and was a bit of a prima donna. I knew both studio owners for the stills shooter and video guy. After the wedding I called the videoguy's photography director (who was a friend) and informed him of the non-pro behavior of his employee.....I let the photographer explain himself for completely missing both the bouquet toss and garter sequence.
    What I do not do when I'm a guest......I'm not working, I do not take hundreds of shots. I do not post a gallery to smugmug and offer prints for sale at a reduced price or at cost, I'd happily post 1, 2, or 3 images to Facebook to celebrate a friends wedding and not to showcase my photography.
  55. I would never, EVER, take shots behind the hired pro at the wedding. Knowing that drives me nuts when I'm shooting, mainly because of wandering eyes, keeps me from ever doing that to someone else. And I'm not talking about taking shots the whole event, trying to add things to my portfolio. I'm just talking about a few decent snaps of say just me and the bride, or my husband and I all dolled up, or to take some shots of my own friends dancing at the reception. And lastly, to have my gear there on the off chance something happens to the pro.
    For example, my friend went to a wedding this weekend, and the couple (english isn't isn't their first language) misunderstood the contract and thought the videography company would have a still photographer as well. So to their total surprise, they ONLY had a pro videographer that day. Luckily my friend brought his DSLR, and as he put it, played photographer for the day. Now my friend isn't a pro at all, and it shows the quality of photos you get when an uncle bob who doesn't really know how to use their camera in low light situations will end up shooting, but still it was better than nothing!
    So maybe after reading all these posts, I'll just bring my old rebel and throw on the 50mm. Better than nothing, but not as obtrusive.
  56. I just bring a point and shoot, or a small 35mm film my Minolta X700 and Tri-X. Nothing fancy. I'm there to it's just snapshot mode.
  57. I do not like to attend weddings that I do not shoot. Maybe it's an ego thing, but I have seen such unprofessional behavior by photographers at the last two weddings I attended as a guest. First, the wedding photographer did not take pictures of the table arrangements or the guests at the reception because she was too busy on the cell phone. At the last wedding I attended the photographer was the first person in the buffet line ahead of the wedding party and the invited guests and left before the toasts by the best man and matron of honor.
    Strangely I was asked by the brides of both weddings to provide them with the images that I took. Since both were friends of the family I agreed, but I reminded them both that they could have simply hired me.
  58. I do not like to attend weddings that I do not shoot.​
    After I've started shooting weddings, why would I ever want to go to another one unless it is absolutely necessary if I'm not working there? I don't like all the waiting for the bride to show up, waiting in between ceremony and reception, waiting for the dinner to start, or the speeches to end, you name it.
  59. Vail, I do bring my bag of gear which includes back-up equipment but leave that in the car....on the off chance that something happens to the pro, or the couple hires an inept photographer who doesn't bring their own backup gear.....just in case.
  60. That's a good idea David.
  61. fld


    I have probably said this sometime before in here, but when I go as a guest, I take one camera, usually my Leica iiif, and shoot one roll of color neg. Before I leave, I give that roll to the happy couple and tell them that I got the pix that their hired pro didn't get. That's my wedding gift.
    Never had the roll handed back!
  62. The couple would be even happier if you gave them Leica, so they could fondle it on their wedding night and have the best orgasms ever.
  63. For most of my friend's weddings I am asked (with permission to the paid photog, if there is one, of course) to supplement the day with nice shots. I will bring one of my SLRs only if this is the case, and I make sure to stay out of the way. My contributions are then looked at as a backup / gift to the bride and groom, as they KNOW me and they know what level of work my style produces, whereas the hired photog may be an unknown variable, as much as you try to select the best within your budget.
    Otherwise, I have a nice little Yashica Lynx 14 E rangefinder that I carry around. I do not take my SLR and lighting equipment, and don't even bother with flash.
    Enjoying a wedding, for me, always means having a camera in-hand. However, it does not always mean that you should take any prominence over the hired professional.
  64. To be honest I consider myself semi-pro, stuck in the middle for now. Had classes, have an art degree, but a lack of experience. I was in a wedding 3 weeks ago and you're right. I took my lighter weight camera just for some fun candids and there were guests with nicer pro cameras. I always look at it like this though. Owning a top of the line paint brush doesn't make you Picasso. The valuable skill and experience you have doesn't get overshadowed by an expensive piece of equipment. My feelings in your case are, if you are related to the bride or groom, or you are requested to bring your camera, you are okay bringing whichever equipment you like. BUT I also feel that if you aren't close to the bridal party (ie. a co-worker of your spouse), don't get sucked into doing a job for free. My husband is a caterer and I can't tell you how many people ask him to cook at their parties for free because their aquaintences of ours.

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