what's your place II

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by mysteryscribe, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    Okay here is the real question.

    For those of you who answered what's your place one, it is noted who all did not answer. They sensed a rat I think.

    First of all I know we were, and you are all contractors. But do you consider that you are more than just a worker, like that caterer. He is a contractor as much as the florist ect. So how do you see yourself as mere hired help or more.
     
  2. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I'm not sure exactly what you are saying, but I don't see a difference between the florist , the caterer, and the photographer. There is artistry in it all. No matter what you are doing, you can just do it by the numbers for the money, or you can have a real invenstment in giving the customer something that really makes the day special. Same with the doctor and the lawyer, except there, your impact can be immense and affect the rest of the person's life.

    Personally, I couldn't do a by-the-numbers job. Even when I was coding, it was important to me to have a positive impact on those using it. Otherwise I feel dead and miserable.
     
  3. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    I would hope even the guys doing it by the number bring all they have to the game. Doing stock shots, if thats what the customer expects isnt somehow belittling to the photographer or the customer.

    The question is more basic. Do you consider yourself as hired help or something else if something else what?

    I say this because my Son in law recently went to a wedding and when it came time to eat, now this is a long wedding day shoot we are talking about here, while the guests had fancy dinners, the dj and photographer and other venders were taken to a "special" room with box lunches.

    It isn't about what you do it's how you see yourself that I'm asking. Are you just another employee or do you consider yourself more. Forget the box lunch it isnt important.
     
  4. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    How strange! Although my husband and I only shot weddings for 5-6 years, not once were we segregated from the guests in this fashion. It seems odd, I suppose mainly because it's the photographer's job to document the entire event - which (for me anyway) would include getting some candids during the dinner, discretely but getting them.

    I regarded us as part of the hired help, sure - forget the artistry we were attempting for certain shots; a good bit is lining up the wedding party and favorite relatives and herding them on and off that alter like cows. :lol: That's not the "glory of the gig" part, that's your grim responsibility in documenting the event. In that respect, definitely the hired help.

    We were usually invited to help ourselves to food and drink and to take a break by gracious hosts; not always so, and when we did we were grateful and made quick work of it.

    I think everyone who plays a part in a wedding must view themselves as hired guns. The florist is probably proud of the beautiful bouquets, just as the baker is proud of the six-tiered cake with cascading fresh flowers. We're all lending an artistic hand, but the photographer's is more of a work in progress at the event.
     
  5. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I didn't mean there was anything inherently wrong with simple craft; just that *I* couldn't do a job for very long where that's all there was.

    I don't know if the term "hired help" carries any connotations for anyone, but yeah, in the basic sense, that's what I think a wedding photographer is. I think it's rude to make someone eat off away from the guests, but it's a job, and you are there to do it.
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I'm fine with being hired help, and I don't see anything "mere" about it. The client hired me because they need help. I make the assumption that they want me, and everyone else they hired, to work hard and get the job done. It's what I would expect if I were the client.

    I've had clients invite me to sit down and eat with them and their guests, and I've had clients that never mention anything about eating. I wouldn't go into a separate room to eat, but that's because I usually don't eat when I'm shooting weddings/events, and as hired help who needs line-of-sight to get the job done it would make me nervous to be away from the action. I'll grab water, and some caffine, and maybe a quick snack I brought myself, but I'm definately not a guest or participant of the wedding, so I don't expect them to set a place at the table for me. I know that some wedding photogrpahers put the meal, and where they would like to sit, in their contracts.

    At a recent wedding I was appalled to watch the DJ voraciously shoving shrimp coctails down his gullet, making grunting noises, facial expressions, and everything, between playing songs. That guy made 20 trips to the buffet, ate for 2 hours straight, and padded his salary with his own body weight in seafood. As a wedding vendor I was sort of disgusted and embarassed. As I was leaving about an hour before the reception ended (I work by the hour, and had received the okay to split from the bride), he had the gall to chastise me for leaving before the end of the reception. I felt like telling him off, "I've been with the couple since this morning working my tail off. You showed up 2 hours ago, and you've got coctail sauce splattered all over your face and your CDs."

    On commercial shoots we almost always take a lunch break, and about half the time the client buys me lunch, although I wouldn't expect it. To be honest, I'd rather skip lunch, and just be done with the job an hour early.
     
  7. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    I was looking for a place to work this in without seeming too much out of step due to my advanced years so here goes. When I started it was with "old man flynt". He was eighty and I was his retirement plan. I did all the work he clicked the shutter. After me there were others Im sure.

    The story is Flynt had three rules carved in stone.

    You do not eat their food.

    You do not drink their liquor

    You do not flirt with their women.

    I had to ask of course why the rules. His answer was, "Do you think I expect my plumber to have dinner with us, to have a drink by the fireplace, and he better not be flirting with my daughter."

    Flynt defined professional photography for me. I was hired to do a job, and thats all I was hired for. If I could entertain the customers while I did it fine, but my job was to fix the damn pipes.

    By the way those rules had a lot more practical purposes. He told me once about something else. You only need to offend one customer to lose ten more. Not to mention alcohol and expensive cameras do not mix at all.
     
  8. danalec99

    danalec99 TPF Noob!

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    For me, it's another chance to do something that I love.
    From the client's pov I'm another vendor - but a vendor who'd give them a product which they'd keep for years and probably pass on to the next generation.

    I absolutely agree with the Flynt rules. We are there to do a job and it'd be nice not to be 'distracted', if I may. What I do not agree with is his comparing the wedding photographer to a plumber who fixes the 'damn pipe'. Nothing wrong with the Flynt mentality but just that he wouldn't be my client.

    I've been well fed for the weddings that I've covered. But I do not expect to be fed. It does not concern me at all. I'll have meal bars/Ensure/water in my bag. If ever they lead me to the pantry to have a cold sandwich, I'd thank them and politely decline the offer.
     
  9. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    This has absolutely nothing to do with the things anyone has said it just hit me funny after I posted the plumber comment. After the retro wedding thing on saturday I was working on a daylight film tank for 4x5 prints when I went into my utility basement. I found water, lots of water. A pipe was spraying water everywhere. I found the pipe decided I didn't want to fix it so I called a plumber. It took a dozen calls and a four hour wait without water but he finally came and an hour later left with a good sized chunk of my cash.

    What I remember most is that it never occured to me to call a photographer.
     
  10. Big Mike

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

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    As for the photographer & DJ being fed in a separate room etc. I think that may come from the number of guests and the caterer/location. Some places are quite strict about their maximum or at least the number of people they are feeding. You don't want to tell your great aunt Millie that she can't come to the wedding because you have to feed the photographer and the DJ.

    Also, the per/plate cost can quite often be a fair chunk of change. When planning the wedding, I could see people making the decision not to include the "hired help" in the meal. Maybe they realize it later and give them their box lunch or whatever.
     
  11. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I just consider this professional behavior no matter what I'm doing, at least with the boozing and smoozing on the clock. I had a couple once that got kind of dramatic when I wouldn't eat (I wasn't even hungry), so I sat down and ate a BBQ sandwich to make them happy. Like I said, I charge by the hour, so a lot of times I'm getting off the clock before the reception is over. Many of my wedding clients have invited me to stay for a few beers, but unless they are also friends outside of my business I never take them up on it. Besides, after a long day I just want to get home, and now with digital there is the whole back-up procedure to take care of when I get there.
     
  12. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I get restaurant gift certificates a lot, but they are usually to restaurants I don't eat at. I'm not sure I understand the whole tipping the vendor thing. I guess I could see tipping the vendor's hired help, like my assistant, or the waiters, but as a vendor I've set my prices to make money, and I don't expect a tip.
     

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