How to deal with the groom's mother?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by nerelda, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. nerelda

    nerelda TPF Noob!

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    Recently I photographed my first wedding, which was very exciting for me, but the mother of the groom decided to make my job difficult.

    Throughout the night, she would constantly come up to me and tell me what to shoot and how to shoot it. Also, after the event, she wanted to know when she would receive her copy of the images and did not like it when I explained that wasn't the case, but that she could purchase a copy of the digital images or prints. She immediately demanded that she was entitled to a free copy of all the images since she was the mother of the groom.

    Yes, there is a contract. The bride and Groom are the ones who hired me and in the contract it does state that THEY will receive a disc of all the images, and that the files and any prints made from that disc are for personal use only, not to be copied or distributed.

    What is the best way to handle this kind of situation?
     
  2. TheSolicitor

    TheSolicitor TPF Noob!

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    I feel like they're going to run out a copy of stuff for Groom's Mom, going right through your copyright and contract.

    It's unfortunate that she behaved in that manner, but I think you did the right thing by not giving in to her--we've all got bills to pay! If you find that they have printed photographs or made copies of your disk(s) and given them to family and friends, in an effort to circumvent the contract, things get complicated. Do you pursue them legally, or try and handle it on your own?

    How would you know? If suddenly, orders for photographs are canceled or you don't get any orders would be an indication that your images have been distributed in violation of the contract. Hopefully honesty will reign and you won't have a further issue. Still pretty shoddy that the Groom's Mom would behave like that!
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Firstly, I think your package/contract is flawed. When I sell clients the digital files, I give them the right to make copies prints, and that includes giving them to their mother etc. To me, that falls under 'personal use.
    Besides, they will likely do that anyway, and how would you even know?
    So basically, I'm already getting paid for the digital files, so I don't care what they do with them (as long as it's not commercial use etc.)

    If the Mother or anyone asks about the files, I'll tell them to talk to the B&G. But I also tell them that I'll have the photos available on my website, where they can purchase the files of order prints etc.
     
  4. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm with Mike, (not going to repeat what he said :) )

    But for the future, if someone is telling you what to do and how to do it, you can try politely asking them to leave you the hell alone and let you do your job :D as for images and BS as such "Ma'am (or sir), these are the people who hired me (B&G in your case) you can talk to them regarding this (what ever it may be)."

    good luck
     
  5. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ooo... though one. I do whatever I can when this happens... AFTER I get what I'm bound to. At my last wedding, the groom's mom started on me with the same approach. I told her I'd be happy to make her photograph, just as soon as I finished what I was doing. Smiling, I told her, "I'll send for you when we're ready." Ten minuites later, she was no longer interested. Go figure.

    Just remember, she is someone loved by the bride and groom. I always say "yes" and demonstrate proper respect, but do what I promised first. It's not so easy to explain to the couple later if I behaved badly.


    Again, I would assure her she could have everything she wants... that the bride and groom had not made arrangements, but not to worry... it would be no problem. Of course, someone will have to pay, but I'd work that out later... not at the wedding celebration.

    -Pete
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    On the topic of someone telling you what to do (and how to do it)...it's usually (Always) best to be as polite as possible. If their suggestions are bad, or not what you want to do, then just play it off and do your thing anyway. If you give them a bad attitude, that will have farther reaching repercussions than just being 'un-cooperative' with the Mom.

    If it gets to the point where someone, even the Mom, is being so distracting that it prevents you from doing your job, then I'd consider taking it up with the Bride & Groom...who are hopefully the ones you signed the contract. On that point, it's always a very good idea to have the B&G sign the contract...and not a parent, even if the parent is paying for it.
     
  7. nerelda

    nerelda TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for all the feedback. I really appreciate it. You are helping me to put things into a different perspective.

    As far as being told what to do, It was all shots that I had either already done, or things that would pull me away from what the B&G had previously requested from me. Some of the images were of certain people dancing together. I don't mind getting images such as these, but do not want to be pulled away until I have the shot I'm working on atm. Unfortunately though, she would always wait until I am working on something and the song was nearly over, so I would miss whatever it is she wanted. I did however get hundreds of images from throughout the dance floor all night, so I'm sure I have at least a few of most of the people. I had also done several table shots to ensure every guest was in at least one photo.

    Another problem I came across that I just remembered was that when (on the rare moments) I would run to the restroom or grab myself a drink of water, I had the groom's mother on my case about "why aren't you taking photos?" I did my best in all these situations to be polite and explain that I had everything under control and ensure her that I was still taking plenty of images. Towards the end of the night, I felt like I was being watched every second and couldn't breathe without her getting into my business. I found that the only way to finally get her to leave me alone was to tell her "Don't worry ma'am. I already have XXX images and plenty of more to come!"
     
  8. Eco

    Eco TPF Noob!

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    Look on the bright side.....maybe she has other kids that will need your services:lol:
     
  9. nerelda

    nerelda TPF Noob!

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    :greenpbl: Actually this was her last one to be married thankfully. HAHAHA
     
  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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  11. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Most of the time (aside from the rare gone-off-their-meds-over-the-top mothers) these moms are suffering from separation anxiety mixed in with a little competitiveness towards the bride.

    Going about your business while talking with them about how he was growing up and her plans for any grandchildren and what family traits she would like to see passed along to them and various and sundry small talk will calm her.

    If you talk to her right when it comes time for her Special pose with her son you'll increase your sales by at least one large print. (suggest canvas ;))
     
  12. Platinumgoodies

    Platinumgoodies TPF Noob!

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    Hello,

    It's very tough job to hand a customer and i will suggest, You need to behave always very politely, It's very useful for your profile ........


    Best of Luck
     

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