Well, I shot my first wedding Saturday, and I did it for free because I didn't have any experience to sell myself with. I will be posting some of my favorites from the wedding on here in the next 2 - 3 days, but I wanted to just share a little about the experience and see if you guys have any valuable feedback. I arrived at the wedding about 3 hours early because I wanted to walk around and get a feel for the place and I was nervous because this was my first wedding as "the photographer". I started out just snapping photos of everyone doing the decorations and getting ready and trying to get a feel for the inside and outside lighting at the small church, and trying to find good backgrounds for my posed shots. After being there about 30 minutes some guy just showed up with a bunch of cameras around his neck and tried to hire himself to the family as the photographer - I didn't run into him until he was leaving. It was interesting because I couldn't imagine trying to last minute solicit people to be their wedding photographer. Anyway, shortly after this "Uncle Tony" showed up. I don't know whose uncle he was, just that he introduced himself to me as Uncle Tony. I didn't really see him talk to any of the family before during or after the ceremony, but he brought a Nikon d70 with him. He started a conversation with me about how he had bought his camera a year or two ago and had taken it out of the box yesterday and went up to the shop and bought a lens and flash for it on the way to the wedding. The lens looked like a (17 - 50 Wide Angle?) and the flash was maybe a SB-600...I am not familiar enough with the equipment to be anywhere close to sure. Anyway, he tells me how he wanted to try out his camera during the wedding and would be taking pictures too. I'm not getting paid and just doing the wedding for the experience and the right to keep the photos for my portfolio so I say okay, that's fine. Immediately Uncle Tony starts using direct flash indoors. I go up to him and explain to him what I know about bouncing flash and about the idea of purchasing some type of diffuser. I let him know that his direct flash is creating strong shadows on my pictures and messing up the lighting in some of them. He thanks me for letting him know and says he will be more careful. This was the beginning of my misery. I guess out of some kind of photog rage he begins to snap pictures pretty much in sync with me. He starts calling the subjects of the poses towards his camera while I am shooting...I have several photos with multiple subjects where half are looking at me and half are looking at him... He begins to actually physically stand up against me trying to take the same shots from the same angles as me, etc. - I have some photos of him where he jumped in front of my camera. Overall, he drove me slowly insane. I made it to the reception avoiding him and losing him as best I could. He was eating while I was trying to get shots of the cake cutting, but of course he runs over at the last minute and I don't see him and he flashes just as I take my shot of the bride and groom feeding each other cake and casts a strong shadow on the bride's arm from the cake decoration. I managed to photoshop the shadow out without completely ruining the integrity of the shot, but I hate the idea of heavy duty editing like this. So, I leave shortly after the cake cutting because there is an argument going on between the bride and her sister that is getting pretty nasty and driving home I am starting to feel pretty good because I made it through the event. I get home and start looking through my pictures and I'm happy because not as many are damaged by Uncle Tony's flash as I first thought. (Of course, I still have to worry about the ones I ruined through my own ignorance). I begin to feel pretty good about it....and then Uncle Tony calls. Uncle Tony asks me if he can have a disk of all the pictures I took. I advised Uncle Tony that I took pictures for the bride and groom and he could contact them after I deliver to them. I am still fuming that he had the nerve to ask me for my photos.... Anyway, I know standard contracts protect against this type of stuff in theory, but what do you do to prevent it from happening if you have people like Uncle Tony who won't cooperate? I didn't want to be rude to the groom/bride's family and I couldn't just leave the wedding because I needed the experience. If this happened to you, what would you do? Would you leave the wedding and keep the security deposit? Or most of you collect full payment before or on the day of the wedding, right? Do you refund the customer? Do you get rude with Uncle Tony? Please give me some advice because I'm not sure how I will handle this if a similar situation comes up again.