What do you do when you know the bride will probably be disapointed in their wedding photos?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by tina___cliff_t, May 24, 2010.

  1. I'm in the process of going through a wedding we just shot, that just sort of went off the deep end. Everyone in the wedding party was late, so the actually ceremony started an hour late. Which meant no pictures at the church, because they had someone coming in after them, and we were kicked off the property immediately after the ceremony. It was a 20 min drive to the reception area. The bar was open, and the whole wedding party including the bride and groom just scattered and started drinking. There was 2 of us (2 photographers), and in all honestly it felt like we were trying to round up a bunch of school children to get people to take any photos. The bride, ended up getting really upset and blowing up at everyone, which then made everyone else get an attitude. So, in the very few pictures we managed to get, there is always someone rolling their eyes, or glaring, or even frowning! And that's after we managed to get them all together, including having the MOH help me convince the bride to come out of her car! Afterwords, the bride was just gone. Drank to much ,and looks drunk in almost all the reception photos. (During the toast, instead of using their very expensive flutes, she held a bottle of whine in each hand, drinking right from the bottle). They are both nice people, and I really think the stress and not having a cooperative or supportive wedding party just got the best of them.
    They are both self conscious, and I can just tell they are going to be disappointed by their photos. I sent them a sneak preview of about 20 photos, and already I'm getting comments like, I wish you would have told us not to do that, or do you have any better pictures where I look better. And I'm supposed to be making them an album of their wedding, and I know she's going to cringe at all the toast photos, garter photos & bouquet photos (if not all of them). At least the cake photos they are laughing (smashed it all over each other), but in the rest its just that zoned out, I drank to much and might throw up look.
    We just barely passed our one year mark of doing weddings, so some advice from people doing this longer than us would be great. Has anyone else had a situation like this? What do you do when a wedding just seems to go down this path? My husband says I worry to much, and I should just hand them their photos, and say "We just capture it like it happens", and be done with it. But I can't help feeling really sad about it.
  2. There's not much you can do when adults act like unruly children. Fulfill your side of the contract and be glad it's over. I'm sure it's not in your contract that you had to force the bride/groom to act sensibly.
  3. Has anyone actually told the bride and groom to stop drinking, or said something like "hey you might want to put down the whine bottles"? If something similar happens in the future, I'm not sure when/of if there is a time to speak up. Or if you do just back off, capture what your there to photograph, and let it be.
  4. I had a similar situation-it wasn't quite so bad, everybody got along and I got some fantastic shots before the bride got smashed, but the wedding was on an island, and I was unable to get many decent shots at all on the absolutely gorgeous sunset ferry ride back to the mainland, which was a bummer.
    In my situation, the bride and groom were really happy with their photos, thankfully. I think the best you can do is hand over the photos and hope for the best. I wouldn't start off on the wrong foot by apologizing for the quality of the photos or anything like that-send them the images, and if they start complaining about the images, just explain you did the best given the situation.
    As Vincent said, it's not really your job to be a babysitter.
  5. Other than foresee the results of some of the circumstances, not a lot you can do except have a good contract to begin with. You can't be responsible for client behavior. In fact, some photographers have a clause in their contract about client cooperation. Nothing will prevent clients getting drunk and carrying on like spoiled children, though.
    The formals--I could have predicted that once the couple and wedding party hit the bar (or even leave the church), you were lost. In this kind of situation, I pretty much will strong arm a formals session at the church, even if I have to do it outside in the dark, including a very basic couple's session.
    I would have also made sure to tell the couple, before leaving, or maybe before, when chances for catching up might still be accomplished, exactly what they are missing in terms of photos, and how you will get those if they just cooperate and get the other people involved. If they refuse, I would have them sign off on a statement.
    As for the rest of it, I hope you have a good contract. This kind of situation is just ripe for the couple to claim that you should have known better because you are the professional photographer--or question your skill at making people look good. Be prepared with clear and tactful explanations of why you are not responsible for their behavior, and how bad they look as a result. I don't think you worry too much, but worry about yourselves instead of feeling sad for them.
  6. I would not tell the bride, groom, or anyone in the wedding party of families, to stop drinking. Then, you open yourself up to heaps of potential trouble. Possibly, slip a word to one of the parents, if they aren't drunk, and if you think they might have any influence at all on their kid.
  7. Yep. Don't prematurely apologize. Did you read the recent thread about how often a photographer can be the impromptu wedding planner? In every wedding, you need an ally. A bridesmaid, preferably. Give her an ear to vent, and she can help you gather, force relaxation & and cooperation. Too late now, but I'd guess you shouldn't do this photo preview online!
    "Whine" bottles. Funny!
  8. Tina,
    Remember, this is a public forum. One wants to be somewhat careful about saying certain things, lest those comments come to the attention of someone who might take them amiss.
    That said...
    It's always easy to look back and think of things you wish you had done differently. I bet you're already spent hours doing that, so I'm not going to say anything about that.
    So here you are. What do you do? I've been in this position a few times too and it's awkward. The first thing I think you try to do is curb the impulse to admit to the client how bad you think the pictures are. You don't do this as a form of self-defense, at least not simply. You do it mainly because, if these pics are what you have, there's no point in telling the client not to like them. There are times when the client is hypercritical and dislikes a picture that I think is actually pretty good; but there are many more times when I'm aware of some problems with a photo—technical problems but also problems of content—but the client actually loves the photo. No point in me telling the client, if you like this photo it's because you have bad taste!
    I think you would want to process the photos and deliver them as quickly as possible—while the memory of the wedding is still fresh in their minds. Great photos are worth waiting for. Photos that aren't so great should be delivered immediately.
    You could offer to retake some photos—perhaps a bride and groom portrait, whatever makes sense. Whether you do this for free or at a discount or at full price is up to you.
    Final point. A month ago I took portraits at a fundraising gala. I know (slightly) one of the ladies who came by with a friend (another woman) to have her portrait taken. They were both having, shall we say, an excessively good time and they behaved in a very silly fashion in front of the camera. I was laughing and shooting. Well, I saw the lady a day or two after the event and she was a bit embarrassed about her behavior. Said that she heard that "her evil twin" had behaved badly at the gala while getting her picture taken and apologized on behalf of her make-believe twin. But—and this is the point of the story—the truth is, one of the photos I took of these two ladies was one of the best couple of photos from the evening. People who are relaxed often take better photos than people who are tense, and these ladies were very relaxed. The laughing in the photo is genuine and appealing.
    The moral is, you can't always tell.
    Good luck.
  9. LOL, sorry apparently thinking and spelling is not something I can multitask at. Whine vs wine.
  10. I've actually thought about offering them a portrait session of just them two, since we weren't able to get very many of those taken either. But I figured I would wait and see the response to all the photos first. To avoid doing what most of you are saying not to do, and that is apologize, or admit my own disappointment in the photos. But it doesn't sound like there is much you can really do.
  11. Had a difficult situation a few weeks ago. The MOG did not want the wedding to take place and voiced her displeasure several times. She wanted pictures outdoors which I agreed to even finding a good location close the church. But, come Saturday, the skies opened up. That left us with pictures on the covered walkway. Even at that the groom was 1 hour late causing a scramble. Did what I could.
    Formals in the church required dealing with horrible lighting in the church so I had to use my own lights. The background was marred with projection screens, highly reflective wood flooring, MOG that refused to smile in any of the pictures and other annoying stuff. Again, did what I could.
    The bride and groom really liked the pictures and understood. The MOG was not at all pleased. She has been telling people that the images are "adequate". Grrrrrr.
    But I am offering no refunds or additional stuff. I was constrained by the environment and make no apologies for situations I cannot control. My advice to you would be to do the same. To try and make amends issues caused by their behavior does you no good. In my opinion trying to make amends would imply that you are partially at fault. So stick to your guns, deliver what was promised, doing the best you can with what you had to work with.
  12. I would make sure not a whiff of your own disappointment shows when you deliver the images. I would also not offer any kind of portrait session or anything that would imply any responsibility on your part. Do not let your emotions get the better of you. Judging from this couple's behavior at their own wedding, they will probably take that bit of sympathy on your part and wring it dry. Better to deliver the products you promised--quickly--and be off.
  13. Must have been a Freudian slip, because you did it twice. ; )
    What Will said. Excellent advice - don't put the idea into their head that there's anything wrong with the pictures. "Wow - what a fun time you were having!"
  14. Thank you everyone for the advice. I'll try to get myself in a more optimistic place, and hopefully it will have a better outcome than expected. haha
  15. Sounds to me like a wedding where I would shoot it as it unfolded, warts and all. To me there is really no benefit to playing referee to their monkey behaviors...
    (The bride, ended up getting really upset and blowing up at everyone, which then made everyone else get an attitude. So, in the very few pictures we managed to get, there is always someone rolling their eyes, or glaring, or even frowning! And that's after we managed to get them all together, including having the MOH help me convince the bride to come out of her car! Afterwords, the bride was just gone. Drank to much ,and looks drunk in almost all the reception photos)

    If you or I were on the moon to photograph Neil Armstrong's first walk (1969) would you have ask him to do it again only this time Neil could you do a 360 and finish with a tap dance and your arms raised? I may have many photographers disagree with my hands-off approach to scripting the wedding but my style (and the compelling reason I am hired for weddings) is to 'catch as catch can'.
    And in this instance Tina I would make no apologies and hold your head high and give them nothing. Afterall they were the bad boys and girls.
  16. I suggested two things: (1) don't TELL them you yourself are disappointed and (2) possibly offer a follow-up session. Nadine—with whom I very seldom want to disagree—says NOT to offer them a portrait session or anything else "that would imply responsibility on your part."
    Let me clarify my suggestion.
    I agree with Nadine that you don't want to do anything that implies that you think you are at fault. I mean, if and when one screws up, it's almost easier in the long run to 'fess up quick. But if the result is below expectations and it's NOT your fault, I agree, you don't want to volunteer to take the blame anyway.
    I would probably want to meet with the bride in person to go over the images. I would try to come into the meeting feeling both strong and upbeat: you need grace under pressure here. And I would simply have the portrait re-do idea in my head as an option to offer, if necessary. Ideal situation would be for the bride to realize, yeah, she probably did have too much to drink and the party got a little out of control, and for her then to ASK YOU if there is anything that can be done now to "fix" the situation. When she asks, you can explain that the photos are what they are—there's no "soberize" filter for Photoshop. But you COULD retake a couple of the shots, of her and the groom, or whatever. And as I said, it would be up to you to decide what, if anything, you would charge. Offering them a great discount off your normal portrait session rate, in my opinion, does not constitute an admission of fault. It's a way of trying to go above and beyond your obligations to try to make the client happy.
    Good luck,
  17. I's always a smart move to document the event. For example, taking a photo of the bride and groom drinking, the exact time the wedding actually got there, anything that could result in going to court.

    Many years ago when doing a wedding, the the reception room was empty, everyone went outside to smoke pot and sniff coke. I photograghed the empty room, with the DJ doing his job. The DJ and I wrote up a statement to protect each other.

    When the bride and groom complained and theatened a lawsuit I showed them the photos and also a statement from the DJ. Needless to say they didn't do a thing.

    Be sure to always cover yourself in case of a lawsuit.
  18. wow bob, that would be a pretty scary wedding. Good thinking on your part and the DJ.
  19. You could always buy one bottle of wine and deliver it along with the wedding images you have...
    It might be considered a fine after-the-wedding gift and the couple may not care how the pictures turned out.
  20. Try Photoshop. (e.g. Liquify to fix twisted faces, etc.) You may remove some people or blur certain parts (motion blur, etc). Sometimes, it's just a few touches that save the picture. Lots of work, though.
  21. "You could always buy one bottle of wine and deliver it along with the wedding images you have..."
    It had better be super cheap wine because this couple sounds like one class act! ;-) Not.
  22. i hate to say this, but the sure way of avoiding things like this is price your service to get out of the low end market...
    you don't see these stuff happening on the four seasons (ok..extreme rare), but you see plenty at the local Y.
  23. I've had few of these over the years. Just deliver the goods and collect the balance due. Tell them everything looks nice and they were obviously having a good time. Amen. Onto what Bob says, yes it's a very good idea to always document anything out of the ordinary, very late, no shows, not ready, drunk and disorderly etc. A big studio I worked at had a special form to fill out for any mishaps.
  24. That is really interesting story, I can feel your pain and your red cheeks, I really can.
    As for how to handle this, let's step out of the box for a moment and into the future. In the future, how will you avoid this? Also, in the future still, when looking back at this situation, what do you wish you had done?
    To abstract? Okay, sorry, I just try to lay out a time when you will be relaxed about this.
    First thing is
    Relax, you are new, you are in the service industry and hence your concern is that you will get slammed on the Knot or wedding wire and nobody will hire you after they read that review. Right?
    Short answer, the client might, really. Will it destroy your business? Most likely not, you can use the experience to warn other clients about the importance of-and this is from my contract-"Cheerful cooperation and communication for the best possible results" Granted you will speak anonymously of the other couple, but you can show new clients that your experience covers the most difficult of shooting situations
    Now as for this client in present day, While I agree in principle with what Art is saying, it is their wedding and just saying, that what the camera saw is what it captured, is a bit hollow sounding.
    I prefer Nadine's advice, don't go all apologetic the moment you speak to them, instead act as it's business as usual. Should they blanch at the photos, do not, and I mean it sincerely you destined to be a superstar wedding photographer if you just get past this hurdle..DO NOT GIVE THEM ANY $$ BACK, don't think it, don't upgrade their album, nothing, nada...seriously, zero, zilch.
    Instead you can sort of calmly point out that they were a little late, a little toasted, keep it minimal, but keep the reasons coming that they were the culprit for. They will, sure as I'm sitting here typing while drinking a glass of wine, they will come clean, sheepishly admit that they were a bit out of control and look to you to come up with a solution
    THAT's when you sweep in with the after session, they will think you're a genius, you take them to the most fabulous places that you can think of for stunning portraits of them in their wedding attire, if he had a tux, have him borrow a black suit, nobody will notice, Spring for a nice bouquet from Whole Foods. Whatever.
    Just keep the "focus" on the fact that they weren't quite at their best, never accusing, just showing.
    I would also, dump absolutely anything that doesn't show them in a good light, which I assume is a lot, unless that means you are showing a 3 hour swath of time with no pictures, you can't really do that.
    Seriously, this isn't about fault, no judge would blame you, this is about you worrying about, 1. a bad product with your name on it, 2. a client who didn't get what you hoped for them 3. Negative-business crushing reviews.
    Good luck
  25. Here are a couple of relevant clauses in the contract I use (although after your story I think I'll change the second one to "WEDDING PARTY/GUEST COOPERATION").
    COOPERATION: The parties agree to cooperation and positive communication for the best possible result within the definition of this contract. THE PHOTOGRAPHER is not responsible for key individuals’ failure to be present or to cooperate during photography sessions, neither for missed images due to details not revealed to THE PHOTOGRAPHER in a shot list and/or through an event guide.
    GUEST COOPERATION: THE CLIENT is responsible for the conduct of their guests. THE PHOTOGRAPHER will not tolerate verbally or physically abusive behavior. Unchecked guest behavior that interferes with photography may seriously affect the quality of the photographs taken and increase the number of times photographs must be retaken. If THE CLIENT is unable to control the conduct of their guests, resulting in an unacceptable degree of misconduct, or if the conduct of any of their guests damages the equipment of THE PHOTOGRAPHER, it will result in immediate departure of the photographer. THE CLIENT understands that in such an event, no refunds will be granted and any damage to equipment will be the responsibility of THE CLIENT to replace or repair.
  26. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member


    I agree with your husband.

    It seems the Client's did not take full advantage of your Services, Talent and Time – you can advise and technically direct and suggest but then bottom line is you are not the School Ma'm to hold the strap over them, if they are recalcitrant.



    In what Country do you work?

    Were those words the result of paid legal advice?

    It is interesting that you intimate you can allocate responsibility of any adult’s actions (a Guest) to a third party (The Client) and then hold the Client responsible for those actions of the Guest, if they cause damage.
  27. Another way at looking at it, is that they broke the contract first by not given you the allocated time that was required to take the shots that were promised, Therfore you can't be held resposible for the lack of good images. I would do the best you can with what you have and maybe offer to take shots of the Bride in her wedding dress either in your studio if you have one or at the location where the original shots where to be done. You could also include the Groom if he can re-hire the suit.
  28. The easy part about shooting weddings is taking the photos.....it's the people skills that is the most difficult and it's very difficult to explain how to manage a wedding and the bridal party. It takes tact, confidence and experience. Yes, I've taken a bottle of beer out of the bride's hand for the garter and bouquet sequence....she smiled at me and her mother thanked me out loud.
    I can't stress how important it is to apprentice with a really good experienced pro, otherwise alot of this stuff is trial and error. It's also easy to cop-out and state that you just shoot what's in front of you....most of my clients look to me to take care of them throughout the day. I carry safety pins & scissors, I put the boutonnieers on most of the guys, the dads, and grandpas, if there's extra flowers I'll let the bride and her mom know so that they can be used by someone, I explain how to cut the cake, I explain to the bridal party to take their obligatory pics right-away so that they can party. If they're lower key then I standby and wait for invitations/requests for help but most of the time we've gone over situations like these during our initial meetings and I've pledged to take care of them throughout the day. It works for me and I've seen it modeled by some of the best in the business. It's important to managed client expectations before, during and after the wedding.
  29. Pray for them. It doesn't sound like a good start.
  30. You do what you can do. Reminds me of a job I did a long time ago. Little to no cooperation but I got my all time favorite photo from a wedding as a result. To make a long story short, as soon as possible the groom's family loaded up and headed to the keg party, leaving the bride's family to clean up the mess. Bride was a little snippy with groom. My all time favorite photo?--the bride, in her wedding gown, sleeves pushed up washing dishes from the reception. I sold no reprints and heard later they split up within six months.
  31. First, I agree, don't right off the bat say or offer anything. If they are extremely displeased by the photos, then you could offer them a discounted short portrait session. Mention that it costs very little to rent a tux again, and she should still have her dress. Say it in a positive light, that often many couples do this type of shoot after since the day never affords enough time to get the beautiful portrait shots.
    Second, I'm a firm believer in using the tools available to us. Just because the photos weren't great at first look doesn't mean they can't be helped. I'm not saying you touch up EVERY PHOTO in the batch, but at least the ones that seem most salvageable. If people are frowning you can change that easily into a slight smile. I did this the other day with a MOB who had had a stroke, so she couldn't smile in the photos. What you do is you clone out the frown lines, then at the sides of the mouth take your cloning brush and move it up only a pixel or two, so you have just the slightest upturn of the lips at the edges. Then at the center of the mouth, clone 1 or 2 pixels lower. You'll be amazed at what you can do. For rolling eyes, I'm hoping the same person didn't do that in every shot, clone in his or her eyes from another shot at a similar angle if you have it. For backgrounds that are not great, give it the ol giant aperture blurred background approach, just in post. Using the magnetic lasso or pen tool, trace out the wedding party, then expand your selection by 1 or 2 pixels, then feather about 3-5 pixels. Then go into filters and blur, and then pick lens blur or gausian blur. Play with the blur settings.
    Also, another tool in your arsenal should be creative cropping. For the toast, was she double fisting the wine bottles? unless she was drinking from both at the same time, crop one out. It's not that unusual for a bride to be drinking from a bottle at a toast if they are super celebratory.
    For glassy eyes go in and clone over the spots at a low opacity. For kind of blank looks, add a tiny bit of color to the cheeks just to liven her up. For all this, the trick is making it look natural, not fake.
    Lastly, don't give them shots that just look terrible. Hopefully you got some nice detail shots of the cake, the setting, her getting ready, etc. My theory is giving people bad shots of something is worse than no shot at all.
    For the album, see if you can make the images in it smaller than say 8x10s. Make it more like photo collages. When the photos are smaller, it makes it harder to pick out frowns and eye rolling etc.
    Hope these tips helped!
    Good luck!
  32. Howdy!
    I know I'm in for a really bad time when I show up at the Bride's dressing room to shoot the final preparations, and the place is littered with empty champagne bottles.
    If they are not happy, and you feel like throwing in something extra to placate them, be careful. They may never stop asking for freebies. Make it clear that anything extra is a one time thing, and otherwise stick to the contract.
  33. To me it sounds like the bride and groom have everyone, EXCEPT the photographer, to blame for the poor photos... Including themselves.
  34. I think David nailed why I feel bad. Because during the wedding (especially like this where it seemed like everyone was a little touchy and grouchy), I wish I had the guts to say something. But didn't because at least at this point everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, not fighting, etc...and didn't want to stir up anymore conflict. I think it the long run it would have been more appreciated. Instead of just letting them unfold and do whatever while I capture it, I think back and wish I would have said things like, hey lets move the chair to the dance floor for the garter toss, not in the middle of the tables (yes they just sat down at a random chair and decided that was time to take off the garter, the DJ didn't even know they were doing it).
    I will have to try some of the ticks that Vail said, I might not be able to save the rolling eyes, but I might able to get some of the others that weren't smiling to look like they were.
  35. There is a fine line between meddling and being overbearing, and just letting things happen with absolutely no intervention. Obviously, people have different opinions about this, and you will have to figure out where on that scale you are. Clients can complain no matter what you do. To one couple, you may be a busybody who should have just photographed what they did. To another couple, your attempts to 'improve' things would be appreciated. So again--use your judgement. But definitely don't blame yourself or feel sorry for people. You are not responsible for their behavior--they are, and they must 'own' the consequences of their behavior. I would not even fix up the formals unless the couple asks about it.
  36. I haven't read all of the responses here, but you cannot be responsible for other people's actions, cooperation or lack thereof, or any of the junk that happened. You might however want to do an "after wedding" session with them so they could get some nice pictures of themselves sober.
  37. COOPERATION: The parties agree to cooperation and positive communication for the best possible result within the definition of this contract.
    I don't understand. How can you force the people that are paying you to "cooperate" and communicate? If they don't jump when you say "jump" do you walk out?
  38. "I don't understand. How can you force the people that are paying you to "cooperate" and communicate? If they don't jump when you say "jump" do you walk out?"
    No, of course not. But that's not what's at issue here. The cooperation clause of the contract has a fairly standard legal meaning. A client can be fairly hard to work with and still be "cooperating" within the understanding of the law. But the cooperation clause does provide a little protection to the photographer if, say, the groom passes out and simply can't participate in the photos (to make up a somewhat extreme example).
  39. No, of course not. But that's not what's at issue here.

    William, the issue is what I chose to take issue with. :)
    "the parties agree to cooperation and positive communication for the best possible result within the definition of this contract."
    There is no fairly "standard legal meaning" in this statement and the tone of this demand sounds ludicrous.
    And if the groom passes out, I will still take photos and live up to my end of the agreement. He just won't be in too many of them. (Except for "one" showing him flat on his back should anyone wonder why).
    I don't know about the rest of you, but I take peoples' money to shoot photos at their pleasure - not judge their behavior.
  40. In my pre wedding consult I describe myself has the photo director of the wedding... and what they think might look funny now they might not like post wedding. So will be letting them know if I think they should shift or change - so yes, I have taken bottles of champagne away from the groom and I have said nicely and kindly in the brides ear... you won't like that photo... please do blank... The couple has told me the vision of their wedding and album... I am there to help them create that so sometimes it means telling the bridal party "I know you want to drink and as a guest of the bride and groom you are requested for 10 minutes for photos" That has gotten all of my bridal party where I want them when I want them there. Now all that said, if they B/G want pure photojournalism - well - they woudn't hire me... but I would shoot what ever they did with no direction or intervention what so ever... sorry this happened... keep a postive outlook...
  41. We deal with people. Most people are fine subjects, and a few are not. Do wedding photography long enough and you will run into an issue like this to some degree or another.
    In extreme situations there is little you can do ... yes, you can try to take command if you are so inclined ... but to imply that experience as a wedding photographer can mitigate atrocious behavior is a bit unfair IMO. Personally, I never feel responsible for the attitude or actions of others. All I feel we can do is guide and suggest while providing reasoning for the suggestions ... then it is up to the subjects.
    Last year we shot a pretty high end wedding ... the bride's parents were wealthy ... the Groom was ... well ... "from the other side of the tracks" in the worst way possible. Alcohol and drugs were abused early on and it showed in some of the worst treatment of a bride I had ever witnessed ... including the groom's 12 year old son throwing rocks at the bride while I was doing her bridal portrait ... I kid you not. During the Bridal couple's photos, the groom was staggering drunk, loud and abusive and wasn't interested in photos at all ... kept licking the bride's face and squeezing her ample breasts.
    Despite that, we managed a very nice package of images ... to which the Bride never acknowledged ANY of the great shots we got, and told me that her "husband" was very disappointed that there were no loving formal posed shots of them at the reception (by which time he was really inebriated and obnoxious).
    That kind of blind denial was enough to tell me this was a no win situation. I photoshopped the one decent shot of them I had into the reception background, and waived the additional fees they owed me ... never once mentioning any of the poor behavior ... and let it go at that.
    TIP: shooting "empty plate" shots of the ceremony location and reception areas is something I frequently do in just in case. It is standard procedure for most commercial location photography ... and has come to the rescue more than once.
    I also know this is a public forum, but I don't care who reads this ... it is a cautionary tale, and sometimes there is no turning lemons into lemon-aid, or no winning no matter what.
  42. @Mark T -
    I've seen some of the most wealthy people around behave like complete jerks and some of the poorest behave like saints. Completely unfair to judge by income / pricing level.
    Tina -
    Best thing you can do is to sit down with the bride and groom (if possible) and go through the shots. Let him and her pick their favorites for the album.
    You're a photographer, not a psychologist or behavior specialist, so as far as people making faces, frowning, or just being plain drunk - not much you can do.
    Marc W hit the nail on the head - best you can do sometimes is to use the tools we have to put the couple in places that they weren't - I also do the "empty plate" shots - JUST IN CASE. One time the DJ asked me what I was doing - I replied - these are my emergency backgrounds - just in case I have to work some magic with photoshop later. He looked at me, thought about it for a second and said - "you're honestly the first photographer I've seen do that!"
    Good luck.
  43. Good point David Haas. Money has absolutely nothing to weigh in here. You have to do enough weddings in various markets to realize how this plays out.
  44. Marc Williams writes:
    "TIP: shooting "empty plate" shots of the ceremony location and reception areas is something I frequently do in just in case. It is standard procedure for most commercial location photography ... and has come to the rescue more than once."
    What's the point of this? I gather from David Haas's follow-up post that you do this so you can Photoshop people into blank backgrounds. But I don't understand how this solves a problem. Obviously, this is something that I have never done nor ever thought of doing...
  45. The point William is to enable use of backgrounds for a number of purposes ... extending backgrounds, shooting at different exposure and blending with a posed shot, or creatively as a full bleed background in a coffee-table type album with reception or ceremony insets. Takes 2 seconds and provides lots of creative options later if you wish.

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