Wedding Photography Etiquette

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by richardsnow, Feb 16, 2010.

  1. I'm new to, but have found a wealth of information and opinions from many great photographers.
    Here's a little background on me and my situation:
    I am an avid amateur photographer. I have never taken a dime for my photography so I do not consider myself a professional. I have taken photos at 10 weddings starting as an unpaid second shooter and more recently as the solo photographer for friends and family. I express to them that I do not do this for a living and that they should not expect perfection. I have had a lot of success, I have never had any disappointed couples, and they enjoy the 3-5 8x10 prints and hundred or so digital images I provide to them as wedding gifts.
    Last year I got married. My wife and I spent a long time researching and picking a photographer for the event. The photographer had a great portfolio and great references; she gave me a great list of the equipment she'd be using; and she had a great personality. These are all of the things I tell my friends and family they should look for in a wedding photographer.
    On our wedding day, I was very preoccupied and really didn't focus on my photographer until posed formals. At this time I realized she was shooting with only one camera body, a SIGMA SD 14 with a kit-style Sigma lens about the size of a Nikon 18-70 f/3.5-5.6. At this point I feared the worst, and after waiting 2 months, got even worse than I feared. As of this moment, I am waiting on a date to settle everything with this photographer in court.
    Luckily, I asked my uncle to take pictures with my equipment, (Nikon D90, Nikon 50mm f/1.4G, and Nikon 70-200m. f/2.8). He has taken photos at over 100 weddings as a paid pro, but had not shot professionally for over 15 years. Although the photos he took were not perfect, they were far better than what I received from my "Professional".
    This May, my sister-in-law is getting married. They have asked me to act as the "backup photographer" due to the fiasco my wife and I went through. I will happily do so since I do enjoy wedding photography and I have the equipment to do so. I would have brought my equipment anyway, but now I have been officially asked to be a photographer at the wedding.
    What is the proper etiquette I should adhere to since I am not the "paid professional"?
    I know to stay out of the pro's way and let them get their shots.
    I will not be using a flashgun unless it is overcast as it is scheduled as an outdoor wedding. The reception hall is also well lit by natural light. (I shot my brother's wedding at this location)
    Because I have shot at this location before, I know some great spots to get some "quiet time alone between the ceremony and the reception" photos. Should I share this with the pro or disclose it to the bride and groom and let them tell the pro?
    Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance
    Maine, USA
  2. Let the pro do his job. You wouldn't like some stranger come to your workplace and tell you how to do things would you?
    You could tell your brother and have em suggest to the pro, but if the pro is capable enough, he would have scouted the place beforehand and figured out where he wants to do his shoots at. But just because you think a spot is good might not mean the pro will like it.. everyone has their own styles...
    sucks about your wedding though.
  3. I believe the pro will be well qualified. However, they are going through an agency and apparently will not meet the pro until the day of the event.
  4. oh..they going through one of those houses like Bella eh... that case good luck..those things i heard are pretty much hit or miss.
  5. Exactly...I have seen both good and bad from the agency they are using. A bit more information should be that they are hiring both their photographer and DJ from the same agency. Yet another thing to be worried about?
    Perhaps it is in my best interest to assess the situation as it unfolds. I know I will be doing the bridal prep if the photographer is a man. My sister-in-law is very shy and has already mentioned to me that she may not be comfortable with someone she doesn't know watching her get ready...(hint hint).
  6. It is difficult to know how you should proceed since there are factors unknown to us (and possibly to you, still). The major one is how the pro will view your shooting as 'back up' photographer. Some pros are fine with this idea (a relative shooting alongside) and others aren't. The first thing to do is to call the pro and talk to him or her.
    Before doing so, I'd ask your sister in law if she shared your story with the pro, and whether she mentioned that you are going to be shooting as 'back up'. Another thing to do before calling is to find out what kind of package your sister in law is getting. If the pro's profits are based on single print or image sales, he or she will probably have a dimmer view of your shooting alongside.
    Also be aware that most pros have it in their contract that they are to be the sole photographer at the event. You may want to consult the contract your sister in law signed. While the pro can't stop you, as an unpaid, non pro photographer, from photographing your relative's event, he or she can make it very difficult for you to shoot. Better you start off on a cordial note than not.
    Personally, if someone was totally honest with me, told me your story, and said that is why he or she is getting a 'back up' photographer, I would be sympathetic. I would actually call you, and find out how advanced you were. Based on that, I would probably use you as a second, given you were agreeable, and be open to suggestions you may have about locations, if I hadn't been to that location before. It doesn't mean I would use those locations, but I would certainly listen.
    If you can't find these things out, I'd follow a few simple guidelines. First, don't even try to photograph the pre-ceremony goings on in the vicinity of the photographer. He or she may be a PJ or reportage style photographer, and having someone else photographing may interfere with their methods. However, since you know the relatives, and the pro doesn't, I'd try to shoot other goings on and behind the scenes images. During the ceremony, if you haven't been able to actually confer with the photographer, stay in your seat (be sure to get a good one) and shoot from there, following the rules of the officiant. I would not be wandering around, or if you do get up for different angles, do only one swoop around, planning what to get so you aren't walking back and forth. Watch that you aren't in the pro's sights and stay well back of the couple. Don't even shoot the formals unless the pro knows you are going to be there shooting back up shots. During the reception, just stay out of the pro's way. Watch very carefully that you aren't too close to the couple or in the line of sight of the pro's camera. The latter is what drives me nuts with enthusiastic amateurs.
    Again--do your research and then call and talk to the photographer. Then you'll know how to proceed.
  7. Nadine...I appreciate all of the information. Like all of your posts it is well thought out and has a whole lot of valuable information in it.
    I have posted a few tidbits in response to Mark T that may give you some more insight, particularly the following:
    1. The pro may not meet the bride and groom until the wedding day as they are hiring through an agency.
    2. The agency contracts the DJ and the Photographer, so I don't believe that the photographer will be paid on prints sold, (unless that is in the pro's contract with the agency, another unknown)
    3. My sister-in-law has already hinted at having me do all of her pre-ceremony/getting ready shots due to her shyness and not being comfortable with a male photographer in her dressing room.
    I will attempt to contact the pro as you suggested, or at least the agency. I fear that any agency may instruct their pro to impede me from doing what I have been asked to do. As I have been a second shooter to a pro that specifically instructed me to not be in his shots, I'm good at making myself invisible during the reception. This may be more difficult this time since I am family, but I am generally very aware of big pro lenses pointing in my direction.
  8. OK--my next question is--why did your sister in law hire an agency like that? And instead of you? Items 1 and 2 of your above post give me a big pause. I wouldn't assume the agency isn't still selling on a print basis.
    Item 3 is not necessarily a plus on your side, as there will be other women getting ready/dressed with your sister in law, so being a man, it is about the same, I think, as a male photographer trying to photograph the getting ready portion. Besides, that is easily handled. Most male photographers I know tell the bride to begin putting on the dress, but at the moment she pulls it up to cover herself, stop and call the photographer in. Any very early coverage can be done before she steps out of her wrapper, assuming all the other girls are also covered. The hired photographer may not be comfortable being banished from covering this.
    It is true that an agency will instruct their photographer from letting you photograph freely, particularly if they rely on print sales, and even without that.
  9. I am in kind of a similar situation, my cousin is having a moderately low-budget wedding and I'd like to get some shots in for practice. I'm just going to ask the photographer right away what is ok and what isn't, and let them know I won't be shooting or standing during any formals or key shots if they're trying to make money from prints. If they're just giving them a CD though I'm going do my thing as long as I'm not in the way of the pro.
  10. Well Richard sorry to say and don't like to sound nasty, but the kind like you I can miss like pain in the head during my time of shooting. Enjoy the party and mind your own business. If you SIL hires a cheapo from Bella or whatever intermediate, she will get what she'd paid for. It surprises me that you yourself hired a bad photographer. Didn't you see any portfolio? Not difficult to see if the photog will get you any decent images. Certainly not for a advanced amateur like yourself. Again prices doesn't say everything, but says a lot about the expected quality together with a decent portfolio and website.
  11. Would it possible to introduce yourself to the pro and explain your situation? With proper introductions and explanations, they may not resent your presence. It would make a huge difference to me, personally, as most often people just do what they do and are not really worried about getting in your way. Best of luck.
  12. Richard, if you feel like it, I'd be interested to hear more about what happened to you at your wedding...? (more specific)
  13. "This May, my sister-in-law is getting married. They have asked me to act as the "backup photographer" due to the fiasco my wife and I went through."
    If your SIL has concerns, maybe she should rethink her decision? I find the time before the wedding to be one of the best parts of the day (photographically) and I'd be worried that a shooter wouldn't want to cover that. Also, the time before the wedding can be used to build a photographic relationship with the Bride. If she's shy, it's the perfect opportunity for her to get comfortable with her shooter. To interfere with that takes a lot of chutzpah.
    I've taken photographs at relatives' weddings since I was a kid. When you're at a really good party, it's definitely better to be a guest! But I understand the desire to take photos and if you are thinking of building a portfolio, this sounds like a great oppportunity. I'd say definitely introduce to the pro (when he's not busy) and just make sure that you can't see any glass on his lens. If he brings a team, make sure you know where they are before you camp out in a spot. You say that you know how to keep out of the way, so I'll trust you on that one. It'd be a crime to see you in a lot of the shots.
    I'd mention the nice spots to your SIL, but I'd keep away from suggesting anything to the photographer. Sometimes egos can be a problem. But who knows, maybe he'd appreciate it. Hopefully, you can get a feel for this when you meet him. Also, are you sure the spots are good ones?
    I hope you get some great shots and that your SIL's photographer turns out to be the real deal. I agree that photos are a much, much better gift than a blender or something off the registry. Photos might be better than a check, but that depends on the couple and how good the photos are.
  14. @ Nadine
    As I said in my original post, I do not consider myself a pro, and I would never charge for my SIL's wedding. I also have a full-time, non-photography related job that will significantly delay her prints. I generally do not perform a lot of post production, but I do tend to make minor crop/rotation adjustments and white balance adjustments when needed. I did give my SIL several photographers in the area that I know would do a great job, but the agency they went to for the DJ sold them on their photography service as well. I warned them against going with anyone that hires out both DJs and Photographers, but alas my advise was not heeded.
    As for the pre-ceremony goings on, the women getting ready will be: the bride, (SIL); Maid of Honor, (SIL's Friend, who apparently has no inhibitions); bridesmaids, (My wife and her other sister); Mother of the groom; and my Mother-in-Law. I know all of the women getting ready except for the groom's mother, and all have brought up the "photographer in the room" question. This is one of the reasons I hired a female photographer for my wedding.
    @Ed te Pas,
    Did you read my post? I was asked by the B&G along with my mother- and father-in law to play "backup photographer" I had all intentions of just going and enjoying the party, snapping away, and getting great candids at the reception.
    As for me hiring a bad photographer for my own wedding, my original post. I saw her portfolio, visited her web site, talked to her references, had two meetings with her prior to hiring her, and even went as far as to ask what equipment she would be using.
    We knew where the wedding and reception would be held...I had shot two weddings at the location and knew the limitations of the hall, explained the lighting issues the hall could cause, and asked if she had handled situations like this before.
    What I initially got were: all of the right answers from her; an equipment list that I'd gladly use myself; great references from happy couples; and a portfolio that showed her progression as a photographer with 20-30 weddings in it.
    What I got at the wedding was a photographer that had 1 Sigma SD14 body, one kit-type zoom lens, and a flashgun she didn't know how to use.
    @ Theresa,
    I will take the advise given by both you and Nadine to try and meet with the pro ahead of time. If you would like, I will email you further details of what happened at my wedding.
  15. @senor crocodrillo
    Thank you for the advise. Since you are the 3rd person to mention staying away from the pre-ceremony goings on, I will relate to my SIL that she should really have the pro do it. I've not shot a wedding for people I don't know, so your point about using the pre-ceremony to build rapport and make the bride comfortable is a totally new concept to me, but it makes complete sense.
    Thanks again
  16. Richard--I wasn't criticizing you at all. Just wondering why your sister in law didn't ask you to shoot it, with or without pay. I understand about the delay in images, though. Too bad about the agency. I also wasn't saying you shouldn't shoot the getting ready--just pointing out that the pro might feel uncomfortable not being able to do that part, which is usually handled by male photographers without incident. You're already in a position where the pro may feel threatened (even if totally unwarranted), so it might just start you off on the wrong foot. Senor's idea that the session builds rapport is a good point, though.
  17. @ Nadine
    I took your post as constructive criticism and I appreciate it. I'm sorry my following post made it sound as if I took it the wrong way.
    My SIL didn't ask me to shoot the wedding because she intended I be a guest and enjoy the wedding. After all, my wife is in the bridal party. She found the agency and hired them prior to finding out how bad my wedding photos were. It was this event that triggered her asking me to be a backup. I have been uncomfortable about stepping on the pro's toes and have been scouring the forums for a similar situation with no luck. I posted my question about my situation to get opinions about what to do. I appreciate all of the feedback and welcome more.
  18. Some pro's, and agencies, myself included, have in their contracts no photogaphers can photograph WHILE the photographer is working. I think you can take photos. The key issue here is not to take any shots during the formals, the romantics, the first dance, even the cake cutting. Also, be aware of the whereabouts of the pro during the ceremony. Part of being a really good photographer is respect to the hired pro. Part of this respect is actually capturing images that the pro can't cover; the pro can't be everywhere all of the time. If the pro screws up it's not your problem. The couple hired an agency, perhaps so you could enjoy the wedding without stress. Does this help you?
  19. First ask your family members if there is anything in their contract with the DJ/Photographer about sole photo responsibilities.
    If not, then the simple answer is ... like the Nike slogan ... Just Do It.
    The DG agency photographer doesn't have to live with your family members for the rest of his/her life ... you do.
    I wouldn't necessarily try to speak with the photographer before hand ... instead I'd inform the DJ company itself that did the contracting ... or better yet let the B&G do it.
    Then on the day, introduce yourself to the photographer, BUT for God's sake don't position yourself as a "back-up" which sounds like the Pro isn't trusted to get the shots. "Second Shooter" may be a better term : -) Think and act "Positive".
    Let him/her know the DJ Agency was informed, that you are an immediate family member (important distinction)! and that you'll be shooting at the B&Gs direct request. See if you can develop a helpful relationship ... and in typical "Pack" mentality, let the photographer know and truly believe he/she is the lead dog. Do what they say, and offer to help when or where possible.
    BTW, if I was working alone, I'd be fine with a "free" second shooter that understood I'm the lead. The clients are the ones that benefit.
    A few tips to consider:
    If you are comfortable shooting the pre-ceremony getting ready stuff, just do it. Your SIL is the one that has to be "comfortable" ... if she is, then the rest of the Bridesmaids most likely will. Tell the Pro you're doing it and why (he/she will understand) ... the Pro then can go shoot the Guys sweating it out in another room ... which results in better coverage.
    When the procession is starting, you could stay in the outer staging room, but out of the door-way, and shoot behind the scenes candids ... many great shots to be had there that the Pro can't get.
    During the ceremony, watch the Pro like a hawk and stay out of his/her line of fire.
    Shoot "fly on-the-wall" candids during formals being mindful of timing ... don't distract the subjects while the hired gun is trying to work the group. Shoot available light if you have the ability. Offer to back-up each group shot, but don't worry if he/she says "no thanks".
    During the cake cutting, first dance and Bouquet toss ... simply position yourself to cover a second angle ... let the Pro position themselves first then pick a spot that's out of his/her line of fire ... excellent dual shooting results happen from this type 2 shooter arrangement. For example, if the Pro is shooting the toss wide angle to show the bride and gaggle of single girls, stay on the same side as he/she is, but down closer to the single girls and zoom in on the catch itself.
    Have fun!
    (Here is an example of a 2 shooter scenario: I positioned myself in the "gutter-ball danger zone" to get the lower shot ... while my second shooter, Noel, was hidden camera left to get the first shot.)
  20. If you're shooting over the hired photographer's shoulder, examining his or her equipment and/or suggesting locations, there's a danger that if your SIL doesn't like the photos the photographer will simply blame you for interfering, instructing, and obstructing. That will land you in the middle of a family row ... so be careful!
  21. I am not a pro, but from what I've experienced in the past I can tell you pro's can be awefully snippy. No matter how you slice and dice it if they want to be jerks, they will be jerks. It really all depends on what kind of person the photographer is to begin with. In my opinion, if I were you I would tell your sis-in-law about the great spot first. On her wedding day she will be too busy to remember to take those pics but maybe she can mention to it to her pro before hand and PUT IT IN WRITING. If on her wedding day you see she hasn't taken those photos, pull her and her husband aside and TAKE THEM YOURSELF. If the pro has any good sense he will go along and take the pics he was contracted to take and not cause any grief to anyone. This way she gets her happy memories taken by a pro and a semi pro ;-)
  22. I have been in a similiar situation. Only I was the "Uncle Bob". Not my fault but was instead the result of the bride. The bride was to become the wife of my nephew.
    She asked me months before to photograph her wedding. I said I would. It was necessary to fly to Texas and rent a car so there was some expense involved. When I showed up at the wedding a couple of hours prior to the start all was good. Then I see another photographer show up. Hmmm, not good. So I talk with the photographer and she indicates that she is just a friend taking some pictures. We talk and work out what each will do to stay out of each others way. Not bad. The other photographer says she really likes to do candids and is not so great at formals. No problem. I will do formals, she can do the rest. Turns out the other person was an hour late and did not get to the location for the preparation shots.
    Ceremony starts, very restrictive so we have to remain at the back of the church. After the service is over we have 15 minutes to take formals. My wife and I take over and control the situation and get the formals. The lighting was bad with a brightly lit background (incadescent) so I have to gel my flash. The other lady is using the builtin reflector on her Canon flash with the flash pointed straight up into a 30 foot wood ceiling. No way she is going to get decent images. I don't care as we agreed I would take the formals.
    Then we go to the reception. I then find out that the bride is paying this "other friend". The other photographer was not entirely honest. Then I am informed that since the other photographer is being paid that I am to stay out of her way. Fine. I pack all my stuff up and leave the reception. I am not going to interfere with another photographer. I was not going to be an Uncle Bob although I fear it was too late.
    Turns out the images from the other photographer were, shall we say, less than good. The formals were horribly off color, the background was blown. I would have tossed them all. The reception photos were plaqued by interfering items, bad posing, focus issues, bad backgrounds and all manner of lighting issues. I would have hung my head in shame at the images. The other photographer was truly an amateur and was using this wedding of her friend as practice.
    To say that I was ticked off about the whole event was an understatement. Partly because I was lied to by the bride, but that I was also lied to by the other photographer. I was also dissappointed in the pictures the bride received from the other photographer but perhaps she deserved what she got.
    I was originally not going to give the bride any of my images but my wife convinced me that not giving the images would be bad and was not worth the problems later in life. So I relented and provided the images. I also made a video DVD of some of the images, with music, for the brides mother and father (divorced). The mother called me twice in tears thanking me for the DVD. The father sent me a card thanking me and stated those images may be all that he receives.
    So, be very careful about photographing for relatives when another photographer is involved. I learned my lesson. Never again will I do such an event involving relatives and another photographer, regardless of their skill level, without a specific contract and list of responsibilities.
  23. I am waiting on a date to settle everything with this photographer in court.
    Am I the only one curious about this?
  24. When I shoot a wedding I always appreciate it when a guest/photographer introduces himself and we can set some ground rules.If I see someone with some nice gear I will compliment them on it,to open up conversation.From this I can usually tell if somebody is going to be a jerk or not.Most of the time the "Uncle Bobs" run out of steam trying to keep up with us.They have no idea how much hard work is involved.But generally its the P&S guests that causes the most problems and try to monopolise the wedding party.Many times I have to rescue the Bride from the "Paparazzi"!.With these I give no quarter.
  25. I'm not a wedding photographer but I have been in enough weddings to realize there is more than one party getting ready during the preceremony. I would try to take pictures of the groomsman and groom while the hired pro is with the bride and then take pictures of the bride and bridesmaids while the pro is with the groom. Also there is probably some last minute preparations being done by "Aunt Mary" or "Uncle Bob" were the ceremony will take place or with the vehicles or seating guests. I'm just trying to say there are many opportunities to help creatively document the wedding without being in the same room as the hired photographer during the preceremony.
    Also, I think Alec made a very good point. If the is any impression of you interfering with the pro's mojo then you could be blamed for the quality, or lack of, in their pictures.
  26. @ RT
    I wouldn't be surprised if you aren't the only one curious.
    I am currently in a legal battle with the wedding photographer I hired for my wedding. Out of the 800 +/- photos she provided us with, there were none that I would consider of professional quality, or for that matter usable. (e.g.: blown out whites, poor use of flash, out of focus photos, etc.) I tried to settle out of court, but she had no intention of meeting with either my wife or myself to try and settle things.
    If you would like further details, I will email them to you
  27. What I got at the wedding was a photographer that had 1 Sigma SD14 body, one kit-type zoom lens, and a flashgun she didn't know how to use.
    You got a total amateur with a junk camera, sorry to say. :(
    That SD14 is only 4 MP. It's as far from a pro camera as they get with a very small sensor. You were punk'd.
    Best of luck Richard. I'd recommend you avail service from this forum to shoot her wedding. Known quantity and quality on this forum.
  28. of course it would be rude to interfere with their stagings and their equipment and time - but I'd say you're free to roam about and shoot "what's available" on a strictly-off-to-the-side (even better in an other area) basis .
    other than that, I wouldn't worry about anything. wedding photographers are used to (should be used to) lots of other people taking pictures.
  29. I couldn't agree more with the first response and let the pro do his job. If your reallyclever you can get some great shots
    without interfering. Think extra rather than back up!
  30. Okay gang, as a former Bella photographer, and it doesn't sound like them-they don't do music.
    Here are some basics, whether it is Bella, the Pros, Candid Image, or any kind of big "one stop shop" for all the vendors.
    All of them discourage any contact with the client up until 4 weeks from the wedding date.
    Reasons being
    1. If there is a last minute change, the client isn't hooked to the other photographer
    2. The photographer can't snake the client from the company
    3. The main company, which may want after sales, doesn't want the photographer to make a strong connection to the client and get those pics.
    So the likely scenario is that the SIL of Richard doesn't have a name, and more than likely, the sales person who signed them up doesn't work for the company anymore. Also very likely, the salesperson promised the sun moon and stars about the photography. All of these companies are legit, but they are essentially shoot and burn, they hire a bunch of part time photogs looking to cut their teeth (like me) some move on to full blown pro (hey! like me) others use it as beer money. Most are conscientious photographers albeit with little experience...I apprenticed for an excellent photographer so I had much, I just wanted to get out there. They do a modest amount of post-nothing a pro would consider adequate, and try to upsell an album. They are not interested in prints per se, but do offer them (they use pictage as their medium)
    With the places I worked, there is very very little instruction about how to deal with the amateur backups, friends of the family or not. So here is part of the hit or miss with the photographer. Short answer, the contract with Bella, I don't know about the others, allow the client to cancel within 30 days of their event at 100% least it was in 2008, so the client can move to another photographer at no penalty.
    Beyond this element of the "other" photographer, you ask about photographing backup, specifically the great shot areas. I would let the bride and groom know and have them include this to the pro in their shot list ahead of time. Every time I photograph there are always a few people who say that I should photograph this or that. However anything that involves me taking the couple away from their party and celebration I have to think twice about before I do it on the fly. If they are good with it, I'm ready to rock and thank you for the idea. If they are kind of "" then I let it sit, which should be taken by the other photographer to more pictures.
    To bring my personal experience, I was shooting my own event (not Bella) and a family friend who took pictures part time of babies, was at the wedding and had all these places scouted out ahead of time for me. I thanked her for her insight but photographed what I thought was much more attractive and tried on occasion to get the other photog involved peripherally. The problem was, this family member spent the entire wedding directing the couple to sit here, pose like this or that, I asked her to just enjoy the wedding and let me take the pics, but after the first dance she was at it again. I notice that every couple has a threshold, or limit. I call it "Photo-fatigue" once that threshold is reached....that's it, no more pictures, no more time, the couple wants to...correctly IMHO, enjoy their wedding, not pose for every picture the photographer/artiste (said sarcastically) wishes to create.
    So in short, use that 70-200mm and get the reaction shots, stay behind the pro every step of the way, do not worry about introducing yourself, your a guest you don't have to...and if they are a pro they'll take it as part of the scenery...I do, and everyone here does, you have an advantage over the "Uncle Bob's" and get great pictures for the couple
    As for your selection of the wedding photographer, I just don't know how you could have been misled as much as you were, short of them just lying outright about their equipment. Yikes.
    I'll speak for the whole forum and say "We Want a FOLLOW UP!!!"
  31. I think it would be best to leave your equipment at home. If your sister in law has doubts about the photographer she has hired and would rather have you, then the simpler thing is to cancel the hired shooter (if that can still be done) and pay you what she would have paid him.
  32. @Daniel
    Thanks for the insight into how some of the big all-in-one wedding houses work. I expected to get a "turning pro, but don't have a great portfolio" photog. As for the follow up, I think I'll start another thread regarding my wedding photography nightmare, complete with some examples.
    If I wasn't asked to shoot, I still would have had, at a minimum, my D90 and 2 fast primes. I don't shoot flash much as I have little experience with it and don't have the practice or a big flashgun (I do have a SB400 for family gatherings).
    As for my SIL cancelling, I don't believe her deposit is refundable. I wouldn't take money from her anyway as I don't do this for a living, it's a hobby...
    I think I will bring my equipment, and stay away from the photog. I'm more comfortable shooting PJ style anyway, so that's what I will aim to others have suggested, think "second shooter", not "backup"
  33. Richard--I'd like to remind you that guidelines prohibit posting of any image that you didn't shoot yourself. So posting the other photographer's work is prohibited, even though you own printing or publishing rights to the images. I would also caution you to omit naming the photographer, particularly since you are involved in a legal suit. Posting images and names may hurt your case.
  34. I will not be using a flashgun unless it is overcast as it is scheduled as an outdoor wedding. The reception hall is also well lit by natural light. (I shot my brother's wedding at this location)​
    It's more important to use a flash on sunny days to provide fill light. Use TTL/BL/FP mode, direct flash, good excuse to buy an SB-900 ;-) When it's cloudy, the outdoor light is more diffuse and shadows aren't as much as a problem.
  35. Tom,
    Thanks for the advice. What I meant by that quote is "indoor flash" due to overcast conditions not allowing enough natural light into the hall. Outdoors, I have decided that I will not be shooting the formals, (as the B&G have hired a pro to do this), and should be far enough away from the B&G during the ceremony that flash would not matter. If I'm wrong about this, (and I will know once I can get to the wedding site this spring), then I may consider purchasing a higher power flashgun (SB-900? Maybe...).
  36. Richard,
    I would speak to your SIL about how involved she would like you to be. Probably the best thing would be for you to just stay in the background and shoot away what you can but also to have perhaps 15 mins with the B&G for portraits during the formal photography session. That's the MO I'd want if I was asked by a relative/friend to provide back up. Your SIL should then inform the Pro Photog that this will be occurring and arrange for introductions so that he/she knows who you are.
    Just my 2c
  37. I'm an open minded and often very easy going photographer...
    BUT, when I'm the event photographer, I always ask if there are going to be any others assigned...
    If there is to be another shooter, then I am out.
    There is a certain creative energy that I tap into and I have my own connection with my subject(s), having another portraitist on site, sharing time and location with me just takes the wind out of my sails.
    For me anyway, it's all or nothing. Nothing worse than to have the subjects all placed and then have their faces turn to another person with a camera... you know "just for a second"...
    I dislike shooting weddings, but seem to shoot several a month... being asked if a skilled relative could shoot along side or share the event as a second? Well, that would be a show stopper.
    I like people, but weddings are intimate and not the place to be sharing the field. On the flip side, I've covered sports events where PJ's I know have gone back to back to me while we share prime locations only credentialed photographers can get to... totally different situation.
    On the flip side? If someone asked me, as a relative, to bring my gear to an event where a professional had been hired? I'd politely decline. I don't like to steal anyone's thunder. Who wants to "work" at a family event anyway?
    As it is... as soon as I get my people/subjects where I want them... everyone with a cell phone or cool pix camera wants to shoot it after me.. that's fine... just let me do what I want to do first (';') I'll be out of the way....
    If you were the primary shooter... what would YOU think?
    I was the photographer at two of my sister's weddings... in retrospect, I wish I'd simply been a "guest". They love that I was the photographer though... added to the memories.
  38. I dislike shooting weddings,​
    Is that what generates that certain creative energy?
  39. "If there is to be another shooter, then I am out."​
    I agree that there has to be only one official photographer. But a second shooter can do what I suggested and just be in the background. The second shooter doesn't need to get group shots. There is NOTHING worse than trying to get group shots with other people shooting. You have half the subjects looking at one camera, half looking at another, and all sporting a confused expression. IMO the second shooter is just someone with a decent camera who knows how to take good pictures and so snaps off a few throughout the day plus has a quick 15 mins with the B&G half way through the formal session - which would give the main photog a welcome break to chimp/rest/refresh their ideas/whatever.
    Recently I pretty much did this myself unofficially, without the B&G even knowing I was doing it, and I got the money shot of the day without even having my 15 mins alone with the B&G. It was my picture the bride used on her thank you cards :)

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