Wedding "Incident"

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by todd frederick, Sep 3, 2002.

  1. I photographed a wedding yesterday. It was the first Jewish wedding I
    have photographed (reformed). A good experience.

    There were three glitches, one being my main concern.

    1. The bride hurt her back and was in pain, but hung in there like a
    trooper.

    2. All events ran way behind schedule: so, what else is new?

    3. The videographer! That's my question:

    The couple were not able to find a videographer until the night
    before the wedding. He did a Bar Mitzvah at the temple previously
    and was recommended.

    He had excellent equipment and seemed competent. He was not abusive
    or obnoxious. He was hired to video the ceremony photos only. The
    couple only wanted a record of the ceremony.

    Well, not only did he bring along the biggest video camera I've ever
    seen, but he also brought his Nikon D1, SB28 with softbox, an 80-200
    ED f/2.8 lens and hovered right behind me. I don't have an "exclusive
    photographer" in my contract and try to works problems out on the
    site.

    Anyway, every shot I took, he took. Every pose I set up, he used. I
    asked him what he was doing, and he said he was going to make
    a "digital montage for use with the video." Ok, that's possible. I
    never experienced that before, however. but, if that is what he was
    doing, I was willing to cooperate.

    The bride apologized, the groom apologized, the bride's mom
    apologized...that he was getting in my way and that he doubled the
    time needed to do these portraits and group photos...I kept having to
    stop to let him take his...which we did before the wedding, and some
    after.

    My dilemma: If I told him to get lost, he could pack up and go, and
    the couple would not have a video. If I said nothing (which I did,
    being gracious) he extended the time greatly. No right
    answer...that's what a perfect dilemma is!

    I warned the bride's mom later that evening that he would probably
    come out very soon and try to sell her some stills and a CD. I even
    asked him if he was going to burn a CD of the stills, and he was
    honest: "yes."

    Any thoughts? I've never encountered this particular situation in my
    15 years of photographing weddings.
     
  2. Pretty strange.
    If it were me and I used one of these "exclusive" contracts (which I don't) I'd have asked him to stop shooting stills.
    My wedding packages were based on a certain specified number of hours and shots. If this had made the event rn longer than agreed to I would inform the bride at the first sign and explain that you'd need to charge extra if required.
    Videographers using pro video gear can create still montages right off of their video footage, or off of the still "pro's" images with their permission.
    The Videographer should have asked your permission to act as he did. If he did this and you allowed it, what's to do?

    Pretty rude behaviour on his part IMO.
     
  3. Maury, it was rude and not in the context of video! That's what concerned me.

    I let him go ahead, but my experience is that the videographer uses a small hand cam when the portraits are taken, and does his stills and montages from that. I've never seen this before.

    It just threw us all off.
     
  4. Not to trounce on digital, but it seems to make anybody think they are a photographer. It's just too easy without film and the chance to make some extra money is just too good to pass up. And, if they are not doing it already, these guys will be selling frame captures on CD or an album to further compete with you, especially when video equipment gets better and better. <p>
    I think this practice is going to become more and more common. Because of it, all wedding photogs should include an "exclusive photographer" clause in their contract and enforce it when necessary. Maybe it's not the thing you want to do, but you are in business and you need to protect your profits. These guys may not even think there is anything wrong with what they are doing but if it's in writing someplace and after enough times of being told to stop they will get the idea. It's the height of arrogance to shoot your poses!
     
  5. You should have treated him as you would "Uncle Mort." If he can match your wide angle lens and keep apace with your schedule, he can do so. (Myself, I do not normally run out of the way for each family member to snap a shot...if they want to, they can do so, but I usually cannot keep jumping out of the way. The reception is waiting is the key after the ceremony. Time is time....)
     
  6. Todd,during the sales appointment this should be covered,explain your policies regarding this behavior by guests or other vendors!Guests shooting with cardboard "Leica's" is one thing,a DJ scamming you is another!Id have told him to FO,but thats me.
     
  7. You did the right thing. Forget it, move on, and don't worry about it.

    Kevin
     
  8. Yeah...

    I agree. Let it go, as I did. I was "blind side" on this one. It's a first. I've got to ask mom if he tried to push prints on her. This wedding was the second I did for that family so I've gotten to know them.

    Get this: he photographed bunch of portraits I set up pre-wedding, as in side-shooting with me, but he forgot to put his memory card in the camera, and then went around accusing vendors (and me) of opening his D1 and stealing his card. He finally admitted he may have left it at home.

    I truly try to be trusting. I know family and friends like to take photos, and I make every effort to be flexible. Doing this also gets me referrals.

    But...I have never experienced this before!

    Another story...true: many years ago a "guy" at the wedding did some side shooting, which I usually allow if it doesn't interfere. Then, at the reception, he was going around selling 5x7 prints of the wedding shots to the guests for ten bucks each. What happened? This was his business!!!: he looked for a wedding, came in off the street, took photos, had his one-hour photo buddy make prints, and returned to the wedding reception to sell prints. No remorse; no guilt! No one knew him. The bride thought he was a friend of the groom; the groom thought he was a friend of the bride; I didn't know who's friend he was!

    Live an learn.

    Got any good stories?
     
  9. Todd, I feel for you. I had a similar situation where this very nice (and cute) videographer lady started trailing me around and flipping on her 2 trillion lamp everytime I went to shoot an available light image. I really don't care what they shoot because mine is an all inclusive contract, but that darn light really is tough to work around. I had one guy refuse to douse it just for a minute while I got the cake cutting shot. So, I developed that other shot I showed you to get around the problem. My clients like that shot better anyway. As far as the video light is concerned I've started to use it as a back light when ever I get the chance ( like the Kiss shot I attached.) Videos...what's a mother to do?
    003idI-9386584.jpg
     
  10. I do not quite understand your worries. "..Every pose I set up, he used..."
    Then do not set them up - and no one will be able to repeat your shots.
    One professional photographer does "documentary weddings" shooting them like reportage. The result in my view is much superior. Check Click here and see for yourself.
    There is another problem though. With that obvious superiority of the results I have not seen too many photographers working in such style: the demands to one's professional level are too high.
    So that is my advice: shoot in such a way, on such level that no one is able to repeat your results. Do not set the shots up.
     
  11. Michael, it's ridiculous to have to alter your style and the wishes of your client just to work around or protect yourself from some boor in order to get your job done. If a vidographer is so devoid of professionalism and ethics then they have no business being there at all.
     
  12. Had a wedding with a candle light service. All was well until a friend of the family turned on his 'spotlight' for the video he was shooting. Nothing was candle light in the prints. The gent refused to shut off his beacon....
     
  13. I am a wedding videographer, and I too shoot photos to be used in the final
    video. I do this to avoid relying on other people's work without their
    permission, and I don't want to bother getting release forms and wait for prints
    to come back. I have never seen nor negotiated an "exclusive photographer"
    clause in any of my contracts. To my knowledge, this has not caused any
    problems at any of the weddings I have done.
    I do try to be mindful of what the photographer is doing, and I never attempt to
    intrude, interfere, or delay his/her work. My stills are photographed right after
    the photog's, and if I miss one then that's too bad, I move on to the next. I
    always ask where the photographer will stand during the ceremony, so that I
    can plan my shots around it, and inform him/her where I will be stationed.

    What's up with the exclusive usage of the poses? These are wedding poses!
    Do you honestly think they've never been posed before? The wedding party is
    standing in a row! Suppose I set up a shot and begin filming it when a
    photographer shoots a still of it. Should I get upset and say "what are you
    doing? This is MY shot!" That sure sounds pretty arrogant!

    By the way, using stills from video for a photo montage doesn't look very
    good. If your videographer did this at your wedding, I would ask for my money
    back.

    During evening receptions (and other dark situations) I do use a video light.
    Virtually no matter what camera you have, you absolutely cannot shoot
    without one. Makes for a pretty lousy video when you can't see anything. I
    shut it off when asked, but I will use it when I have to. I have a product going
    out with my name on it, and you're damn right I want it to look good. I'm
    shooting at one angle; there are 365 others to shoot from.

    I have had several instances of photographers walking in front of me while I
    was filming. Of course, I cannot just move around them suddenly as that looks
    awful on video. But you wouldn't know that, would you? Fortunately I use a
    second camera (b-roll) that I can cut to in the final product. I am not that
    arrogant that I would have considered telling him/her to "get lost"; they have a
    job to do and a responsibility to the client–as do I.

    Having said all of that, I have had an occasion where my digital stills turned
    out better than those of the photographer (who, by the way, charged waaay
    more than me for my video services) in the opinion of the client. The client
    was very thankful that I did this, as now they had a something they could keep
    and enjoy. I did not try to do an end-run on the photographer, but the client
    offered to buy my stills from me.

    In just reading the responses in this forum, it makes me wonder: do all
    wedding photographers think they are THE top-dog at a wedding? Give me a
    break, there are others of us out here too.

    (Gee, most of the photographers I've worked alongside have been pretty
    nice.)
     
  14. Ron, perhaps the problem is hightened recently because of the type of wedding stills so popular these days. Documentary type wedding photography often use fast lenses, slower shutterspeeds and limited fill flash to achieve that available light look. A video light is overpowering, contrasy and one directional in that situation. It all boils down to the fact that you'll get your footage, while I'm hard pressed to get the available light candid. My solution is to treat the video light as available light and use it when I can. But it is VERY limiting. As to your depicting the posed shots as "generic", this discounts the photographers efforts to make these images work. I often use my wife to style these shots which she researches and fusses over endlessly. Frankly, I would welcome a videographer to set them up and deal with the family politics and endless combinations of relatives. I could just kick back, relax and step in to take the shot when the dust settles. Also, I try like crazy to keep from stepping in front of a Videographers' shot. Which is more than I can say for a few video shooters I've shared a wedding with. At one recent wedding, the guy planted himself smack in the middle of the aisle 10 feet from the alter. I was forced up to the balcony with a 300mm lens to get any shots, (where the center position was already taken by the 2nd video camera). In the wide angle shots I had to remove the guy on the ground in PhotoShop to get anything decent ( see attached example). As to the above post that suggest not doing any posed work at all (which I would welcome). This doesn't work in reality...a reality that comes in the form of the Brides' parents who are usually the ones writing the check. They expect and demand formals, which I've been successful in limiting, but not eliminating altogether. The web site we were direct to shows work in a similar style to the way I shoot. But I'd venture a guess that he has to deal with some posed work also, or a traditional shooter is doing them. I don't include posed work in my samples either, because it isn't what defines my approach.
    003ijf-9390784.jpg
     
  15. Ron...I am not ragging on videographers. I have two allies at a wedding: the DJ and the videographer. If all three of us work together we can help make the wedding senario a success and keep the schedule rolling. I'm too easy going, and the videographer last Sunday was not a hostile or pushy person. It just delayed an already delayed wedding, and I wasn't too sure why he was taking stills. I'm still not sure why whe was doing that and not taping. I appreciate your explaination. I wish he had photographed while I photographed, instead of waiting until I finished. Perhaps I should have made that suggestion.

    Regarding formals at weddings: I truly wish I could eliminate those entirely. That's the one aspect of wedding photography that is the least enjoyable, most rushed, stressfull (for everyone), and the least creative given the short amount of time we usually have to do them. Often I have 20 minutes or less, people are moving around behind the couple and family at the altar removing flowers, and such, and it becomes an assembly line operation...click, next, click, next, and on and on. Last Sunday I had the poles of the Hupa (Jewish canopy) to contend with as well. We finally went outside when the sun cast better shadows and it cooled off a bit.

    Formals are the least enjoyable part of wedding photography for me, but seem to on the top of the list for the family! The family members expect to receive photos with the bride and groom. It's their call and their money. If they want formals, they get formals. In some cultures, an individual photo with the bride and groom with every guest is expected. I honor these requests and traditions.

    I have another wedding this Saturday. It's supposed to be cooler, will be at Wilder Ranch State Park north of Santa Cruz CA on the coast, and totally outside. I'm hoping for high fog!
     
  16. "...he also brought his Nikon D1, SB28 with softbox, an 80-200 ED f/2.8 lens and hovered right behind me."

    I'd be suspicious - that rig really sounds like overkill for stills within the video production. I'd suspect he's trying to sell prints too - not professional behavior if he is. I assume you've got income from reprint orders at stake.

    I can see that there's not much you can do about Uncle Larry shooting over your shoulder, but I assume Larry's not trying to profit from his snaps. IMO, the videographer should have spoken to you about his shooting prior to the event, and once you had an understanding of his usage, offered to lend a hand with wrangling the various family members - if he's going to use your setups he should help out. Otherwise, his place during the formals is in the [distant] background...
     
  17. I have run into this situation with videographers of late, but never to the point of the videographer taking up lots of extra time during the formals to get his shots. I can think of three weddings recently where the videographer or his/her assistant snapped their own stills, one guy on film, the other two using a high end consumer digital camera. The person using film was the videographer's assistant and did not shoot over my shoulder--he shot on his own, from his own angle, but he did shoot my formals--just not from behind my shoulder--and he did not take up extra time. The digital shooters did shoot a few from behind my shoulder, but not every single shot I took, and did not take up extra time, either. I had no problem with what these shooters did, and in each case, the videographer talked to me and explained what he/she was doing. Most were minding their own videography most of the time. Another videographer asked for digital files of some of my shots, which I will provide willingly. If I was in your situation, I would be gracious, as you were, but I would draw the line at the extra time he took to get his shots. I have an "exclusive photographer" clause in my contract but have not ever had to enforce it. Usually I let anyone take anything they want, IF it doesn't take up extra time, and IF the person does not interfere with my getting my shots and controlling the formals. You might want to put one in your contract just so you have the control when and if you need it. The only big problem I have ever had with videographers is that they sometimes stand too close to the bride/groom/subject, making it impossible for me to get a clear shot without a video camera or videographer in the photo, too. Usually, it happens with young or inexperienced videographers. I've had to ask that they not stand so close--I don't know what they are after--distorted wide angle shots of the couple's faces? One videographer preceded the couple by four feet during the recessional, blocking any shot of the couple coming down the aisle. I've had to physically stop a videographer from gradually inching up to the couple (and getting in my photos) during a toast. I have had no problems whatsoever with experienced, professional videographers. Some talk to me beforehand and everything goes smoothly. I stay out of their way, they stay out of my way--I get my shots, they get their shots. Wish they could all be that way.
     
  18. The last wedding I shot the bride's brother was a news videographer and brought a big Canon super duper video camera to shoot his sister's wedding. At first we kept getting in each other's way, but after awhile we found that we were mutually working together. We even began to set up shots together. I even held one of his lights for him. Needless to say the bride was thrilled. Although I'm strictly still, I'm mellowing and appreciating the video side more.
     
  19. As really good gear becomes more affordable, there will be more people that aspire to shoot weddings. The last few I have attended, 2-3 people using a variety of video and film cameras were scurrying about trying to get "all the shots". Then there is the remainder of the crowd & relatives using disposables going off all day long. I used to let the masses shoot my scenes after I did all the work needed. My finished product was usually better than the rest. Digital will accelerate the production cycle, but it still is a rat race! Weddings are for "show" and for the ladies! Can there be too many images? Doubt it. If I ever go back to shooting an occasional wedding (NOT!) it would be strictly B&W! It's unique and difficult, thus a specialty!
     
  20. An 'exclusive photographer' paragraph is a very bad idea, legally speaking--you can be sued big time for any imperfection! Simply tell the Bride of the possible conflict---she my hire someone else! Best idea is to get 80% of your money in advance. You cannot be guaranteed a good environment. If the bride wants perfection, charge 5-10x more. Explain to the bride your need for attention on you. She will comply. You cannot limit the activities of the videographer. So, get your money in front. Don't be hurt by the videog.'s practices. Timber Borcherding timberborcherding
     
  21. Just a thought to anyone else reading this post (its a long time since it was originally posted).

    If you dont like putting in an exclusive photographer clause in your contract because it would thus mean that no-one else will be able to take photos (and who the hell can enforce that!), possibly write it in such a way that suggests an exclusive Professional photographer clause.... therefore, the videographer cannot, by contract, take still shots, they must do video! (i dunno if anyone else has thought of that, but I thought I'd write it just in case) Also, maybe suggest to the clients that they may want to tell the videographer this when they meet/contract them, therefore ensuring they are aware of any possible problems.

    I dont know why videographers bother with stills anyway.... when they edit the film, surely they are able to take stills from the movie!?!?!

    The worst thing, I've found as a photographer, is that when, as a non taking photo guest, I see a scene as described above, I cant do anything about it! Although I have helped the photographer out once or twice, by simply posing as a "annoying relative guest" and asking the videographer about taking movie of a scene outside, thus distracting them from taking runs of the stills.

    BUT the worst is when I cant do anything about the guests crowding behind the photographer, using their flashes and whatnot, while s/he is trying to get nicely exposed and setup shots.

    Oh fun! and I shoot a wedding next week! :)
     
  22. todd, i know this was a long time ago, but was this wedding in north carolina or ny? cause if so i know exactly who that guy was, lol. had the same problem before with him.
     

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