The wedding is in a small town, and I DON'T DRIVE!

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by robgomez, May 28, 2013.

  1. Hello,
    I have a small problem. A person has asked me to shoot their wedding, and it's good money. I have agreed to meet with them soon, and told them I have the date open.
    The bride sent me a little more information about the wedding, and to my surprise, it's about an hour drive away from my city, in a small town on the California coast, away from public trans and major highways.
    I don't drive. My license is suspended for a stupid reason that I'm trying to fix right now.
    Any suggestions? I was thinking of hiring a buddy to shoot with me for $100, and can drive there and back. Is that a cruel amount to pay? I'm really new to all this.
    I'm just wondering if it's even possible to be a wedding photographer without a car. Do any of you guys have experience with this?
  2. Rob, I think access to reliable transportation is an expected prerequisite for this type of work; it'd be no different from being expected to dress appropriately.
    Your buddy might do it for $100 and not feel cheated, but I suspect the cost will be much higher for it to be perceived as fair - maybe $1/mile plus fuel cost over and above his wages as a second shooter.
  3. If I was to hire a photographer with an second shooter, then I would expect one photographer to go to the location of the girls getting ready while the other goes to the boys location. If you only have one car then this could also raise an issue.

    I honestly think that your not in a position to do the job so you should therefore turn down the work until you are in a position to do it properly.
  4. "I'm just wondering if it's even possible to be a wedding photographer without a car."

    If you can reliably get where you're supposed to be with the things you need, it doesn't really matter whether you're the one doing the driving. The only issue is fair compensation for your driver/assistant.

    "If I was to hire a photographer with an second shooter, then I would expect one photographer to go to the location of the girls getting ready while the other goes to the boys location."

    Rob is being hired to meet his clients' expectations, not yours. I worked a lot of weddings as an assistant where I stayed with the photographer to hold reflectors, reload backs, check details, etc. Clients do not automatically expect multiple photographers in different locations.
  5. $100 is not enough IMO. Also, years back I used to work with a very excellent photog who had several DUI events and
    eventually lost his license for three years. I did a fair number of weddings with him and he was very skilled and taught me
    a lot. So as long as things can work out logistically you should be fine.
  6. I have no idea who your buddy is or how close you are to him. If I were in your situation I would ask a non photographer friend just to go with me and not pay them anything since I have plenty of favors owed for helping people move, drop off / pick up at airport, etc.
  7. Why not just hire him to be your driver for $100, and then let him try to enjoy himself at the bar and dance with the girls. If he dresses right he might fit right in.
  8. I apologize beforehand for what my thoughts are about this situation: It's like a taxi driver who does not drive!
  9. Rob, if its a good paying gig, and you can do the work, then you have to balance the costs/benefit. If you make a good sum on the wedding, and there is really no transportation there, then you're going to need a lift, correct? It may be the most economical in the long run to pay a buddy, if they'll do it, and have them available to take you where you need to go. Or else, how can you take the job?
  10. What's the big deal?
    Get a driver friend, ask them how much would be fair + gas. Pay it, or turn down the job.
    I NEVER take two cars, not in 1,000+ weddings so far. When traveling any distance, like I am for my next two weddings, taking two cars isn't an option. When you absolutely have to be at two locations, I drop off the second shooter where the men are getting ready, and proceed to where the women are ... and arrange for the second to proceed to the church with the Groomsmen. Never once has that been an issue.
  11. Unless you're in New York or one of the very few other cities that have excellent public transportation and plentiful taxis, I agree that a car is esential. Even in a major city, if you are carrying studio strobes, backdrops etc, it's easier to have your own car.
    For this particular situation, I don't see anything wrong with hiring somebody to be your drive and/or assistant. I presume there's going to be more than one location (bride's home, church, reception hall) so you probably can't just cut the drive lose once you get there and have him pick you up later. So you'd might as well use him as an assistant. If you're looking at several hours at the wedding plus two hours round trip travel time, you're probably going to have to just bite the bullet and pay what it takes to get someone for that long.
    I would absolutely NOT make any reference to the bride and groom about your license being suspended. No matter how honorable the circumstances, there are people who would hold that against you. Which is all the more reason to let your driver also be your assistant, so it doesn't raise the question of why the photographer needed a driver.
  12. Your friend probably has pretty bog standard car insurance, which specifically excludes business use of his car beyond driving to and from one regular place of employment.

    Your own commercial liability insurance (which, of course, you have, right? Because some angry parents are going to sue you for 1/2 a mil when the flower girl trips over your power cord) may not cover your assistant, either.

    Just two of the hundreds of reasons why real professional photographers charge so much.
  13. Car insurance policies are usually more forgiving than that Joesph. The point you get into trouble with them is if equipment used for a business is stolen out of the car, then you have to have the business insurance policy. For something like taking a friend to his job, and him paying me gas, and a dinner - that's normal. Now if the friend were running a taxi / limo / bus service it would be different.
    If you have a friend that owes you a favor or two - call them and call in the favor - gas, dinner, maybe a couple of adult beverages (Later - not that day).
  14. Back in the 90s I was doing a big fund raiser benefit job at the Waldorf Astoria NYC. It was at a time when there was an
    activity in the city and many streets were closed. I couldn't take the chance of being stuck with my car and everything. I
    paid a friend $200 to get me in as far as he could, and pick me up later. I didn't think twice about the whole thing. I
    needed to clear Secret Service with my bags, several high ranking national pols and Governors were there, people like
    Ed Koch, Mary Tyler Moore, Lionel Hampton, and Yogi Berra were guests. You just do what you have to do.
  15. Tell the judge you will be a good boy?

    Hire a second shooter or just someone to watch your gear and hitch a ride with them.

    Hope you get your license back
  16. Why not hire a photo assistant who drives and has a car?
  17. Thank you so much for everything everyone. A lot of good caring people here.
    I took the job. My friend drove me ... and it was the best wedding photography experience I ever had.
    Sometimes you don't know what sneaks up on ya.
    I became a much better photographer from it; in both the quality of the pictures, and hustling to make it all work.
    Thank you!
  18. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

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