What to do when another photographer crashes shoot.

Discussion in 'Sports' started by john_e|2, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. Last Friday I was shooting a parent's night for a local football team. I was the official photographer on the field. Parent's nights are very hectic and usually start late. The shoot has to been done very fast because if the game doesn't start on time the home team will be penalized. at any rate the shoot was going along smoothly until I noticed a another photographer literally standing right next to me shooting over my shoulder. she was so clos to me she was almost Parent's became confused and didn't know who to look at so I finally had to pull my assistant off the line and stood her next to me in an attempt to block the other photographers shot. this caused the photographer to have to move away from me but she stayed as close to my assistant as possible. Parent's didn't know who to look at and most couldn't hear me yelling at them to look at me. As a result, I got parents looking away in many of the shots. I didn't say anything to the photographer at the time because I didn't know if she was a yearbook student ,teacher, newspaper photographer etc who may have had permission to be there. After the shoot, I pointed out the person to the organizer and explained what had happened. She took off to go talk to the person and wasn't happy. I don't know what the result was. Anyway, my question is how to handle that situation in the future? Has this ever happened to any one of you and how do you handle it? What is the etiquette in a situation like this?
  2. 1st - if you're shooting as the "official" photographer for a function, get a name tag for you and anyone helping you - even if it's just a white stickly with your name written with a felt-tip. This will also help the player's and parent's know who is "the" photographer. You should also try and get a student etc to help you as needed --- directing traffic around you - running errands if needed - you really don't want to stop shooting to deal with secondary issues. Don't be afraid to raise your voice to maintain control as most of the people who do things like this have skin as thick as an alligator.
    2nd - if they don't stop and walk away, have the assistant get the person who's running the show and have them solve the problem.
    3rd - when you're thru shooting try to find the offender and explain to them what they did wrong and make it clear why you are unhappy. Some people just don't get it. If you think it's bad at a sporting event, try shooting a wedding.
  3. Your first cause of action should always be to kindly and politely let the person know how they are causing you difficulty. Instead of a passive aggressive assistant body block or getting mad, try a simple "I'm sorry, it's a bit distracting to have you stand over my shoulder while I work, would you mind giving me just a bit of space please?" Use a pleasant tone, be sweet. They probably are unaware of the difficutly they are causing. If that doesn't work, get the people who hired you to step in.
    In the words of Marine General "Mad Dog" Mattis “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
  4. Next time just talk to the person in concern and tell them that you are the official photographer and that you need certain shots, which means, anybody stood within 30 feet of you would be impeeding your work.
  5. Nathan that's perfect, I'm going to keep it in mind at every event I shoot from now on. Seriously though I've had this problem at weddings, events, news stories, everywhere you can think of. Start off politely but especially where you are paid to be there, prepare to be firm with someone who is causing problems. I always like to pass that off to the person in charge of the event but once in a while it's time to stand as tall as possible and get out your warface.
    Rick H.
  6. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    This is not a question about shooting a Sporting Event; this is a question relating to shooting a Social Event (which occurs before the start of a Sporting Event).

    I will assume that “Official Photographer” means that you were paid to produce and/ or at the very least accredited by the Management of the Organization to be “Official” and produce shots for their use.

    What to do next time:
    1. I would have a contract with explicit mention of exclusivity or an out not holding me responsible for the final if I did not have exclusivity: I am not going to write the contract for you – I’ll just suggest those two guidelines.
    1a. (Did you have a contract?)

    2. Even if I didn’t have a contract: I would assume some exclusivity or power of having some exclusivity and priority and I would manage the situation such that I told, the other Photographer that.

    3. If the other Photographer was still getting in the way: I would get in front of her . . . and etc.
    In other words
    a) I would begin politely explaining, simply but firmly, that I was engaged as the Official Photographer and explain that her actions were impeding that function.
    b) given that you specifically stated that the function was happening very quickly I will assume that there was NOT time for you to leave your job and to get a Management Official to step in to manage the other Photographer - therefore I would elevate it to hustling and bustling very quickly if she/he did not get out of my way.
    c) I would manage the situation such that I did not miss a shot; that every Parent knew by my body language or my oral instruction that I was the Official Photographer; I would ensure that if either of us had to - the other Photographer would be the one to have to stop shooting and allocate her time to move about to get the shot and/or seek assistance from the Management.

    Of course I would be very certain that I was indeed officially engaged before I did any of that.
    That’s one reason why a contract is important – even for a pro bono shoot.

  7. Thanks for the tips.
    "Official Photographer" means, I am the photographer the school "hired" to take pictures of the students and parent's as they are being recognized on the field before the game. the parent's purchase the photo from me. School's don't pay for anything. It's very lucrative which is why I do it. there are typically 100+ players plus cheerleaders, dance etc. and 99% will purchase a photo at $20 pre-paid before the shoot starts. they allot 30 minutes to do this and usually they get started late, which is why it's rush, rush, rush. The official in charge had her own problems to deal with and was 50 yards away managing the parents and players that were in line to walk out onto the field.
  8. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    ""Official Photographer" means, I am the photographer the school "hired" to take pictures of the students and parent's as they are being recognized on the field before the game. the parent's purchase the photo from me. School's don't pay for anything. It's very lucrative which is why I do it."
    That extra information adds another dimension to the OP and in one respect is contrary to my understanding of the OP.
    1. The new information implies that you attend many schools or the same school many times or both; either way it is repetitive exercise.
    2. It also mentions that a School is now the other entity in the arrangement with you NOT a Football Team which was mentioned in the OP. This latter point might or might not be as important as the first.
    In respect of this being a repetitive activity, I think that if this occurrence with another Photographer happens again, you need to identify who this other person is and for whom they are working: even if you do this after the event.
    Did you get a photograph of the other Photographer on this occasion?
    I have already covered the fact that I think a contract is important, even for a pro bono shoot, but that comment was made with the information that the other entity was an (amateur) Football Team and also that these shoots were not necessarily an ongoing occurance and certainly not involving the same entity.
    If you don’t have a contract and this is a ‘whole of season gig’, then mention of a contract could be more problematic to you: you should consider that mention of a contract could make a School think about their own slice of the pie.
  9. John -
    What I've seen happen at similar events is that the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing.
    Ex: A local high school has contracted with the same photographer for years to do "T and I" photos. Last year during the Football team's photo session, another local photographer, who does a lot of work for certain booster club members, showed up and started grabbing seniors as they were done with their individual shots. Needless to say the "paid / official" photographer got upset and words were uttered and threats made. Turns out that the booster group, had, in fact, without knowledge or authority of the athletic department, contracted with photographer B to do a "Senior Yearbook" for the parents and players. Both the AD and booster club claimed authority to "hire" a photographer - since each was for a distinctly different audience and purpose. Finally the president of the booster club (which donates thousands of dollars annually to the school) and the AD got together and settled it - saying that going forward one photographer would do the T/I shots, and the the other photographer would be on the other side of the field (100 yards away) doing just the seniors.
    Often all that is needed is a quick word with the person doing the photography - who is "not supposed to be there" - I've been in that situation and initially ask - "who / what are you shooting for? " Information is power. Find out (without interfering with your flow) what they are doing. Once you know why they are shooting - then determine a course of action.
    If they are "shooting for the fun of it" then I ask them nicely to please back up / go away- since they are distracting people who have paid me for the shoot.
    If they are doing it at the request of a group or another person - I ask who their contact / contract is with. I write down the name and contact info and at the first opportunity give it to the person who hired me. About 50% of the time they know the person and can figure it out. Again I ask them to move or stop - because I am the official photographer and am working through the organizers.
    If they are with the yearbook or school district - I ask them if they will wait until I'm done or if they can "settle" for copies of my images. Usually they will wait and back off.

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