Wedding Nightmare

snphoto2016

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I'm sorry in advance but I just need to vent about my experience this weekend. Just a little bit of background. I booked a low paying wedding to help build my portfolio. I currently shoot mostly families and seniors and while I love it, I get a lot of wedding inquiries and would like to at least have some options to those potential clients. Anyway, I did all my homework and was well prepared for the any contingencies of the day, except for one...the people. I don't know if it was because I was a "cheap photographer" or if it was because the M-O-H "does pictures too" but these bridesmaids treated me like I was the enemy. I was all smiles when I entered the hotel room to get shots of the bride getting ready and you would have thought they were going to a funeral. I understand that wedding days are stressful but this was depressing. I tried complimenting their dresses, engaging in conversation about some details about the day, nothing worked. I asked if everything was going smoothly so far and they said it was. So I follow the schedule and get my shots, trying to make the best of it while still getting beautiful images.

The ceremony goes off without a hitch and we keep moving.

Then comes time for family formals and I kid you not but I have 2 UNCLE BOBS! One of them who flat out told me where I needed to be shooting. The Maid of Honor is at this point trying to fully direct the post ceremony session of the bridal party with uber cheesy poses (which is not what the bride discussed wanting from me). So I do the thing where you give in a little and then redirect so you can keep everyone happy and still get your shots in. In the end I still got all the images on my shot list and it was a great learning experience but I've never dealt with such pushy subjects before. I've done several weddings already this season but this one takes the cake for the worst so far. I remember when I was portfolio building for my portrait business and dealing with the same thing, not being treated as a professional because you come cheap, or being exploited by the client because they are just looking for a "deal". I know this is probably not the worst horror story out there and a little more experience under my belt would have me shrugging these attitudes off, but at one point the Maid of Honor announced she was going to get her camera because she claimed I was leaving (which totally confused the bride because I was contracted to stay for some sunset portraits) and I think she was hurt that she wasn't asked to shoot the wedding so maybe this is something of a unique situation.

I should add that the bride was barely aware of any of this. I simply kept shooting throughout the day and making sure she was happy with the schedule.
 

SquarePeg

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We don't get enough wedding posts on this forum! Let's see what you got. I particularly want to see the MOH!
 

jaomul

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Sounds like you needed to take some other type shots......not with a camera though :)
 

vintagesnaps

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'Low paying' and 'cheap' pretty much says it all, doesn't it? If someone doesn't view you as a professional with expertise then I guess they may treat you accordingly, and being cheap seems to attract people who will take advantage because they want a deal, etc.

What about doing some second shooting with an experienced established wedding photographer? It seems like you need to do this not just for portfolio photos, it's a matter of getting the experience to be able to do this professionally. Once you have a portfolio you'll need to be able to produce that quality on a consistent basis.

Sounds like you got the job done and got the photos you needed so it probably wasn't a total loss.
 

smoke665

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Perhaps the next time it might be wise to have an assistant who could run interference for you.
 

Designer

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Helpful hints after the fact are cheap, so here's mine:

1. Always have at least one, and preferably two assistants. They will be tasked with running interference with "Uncle Bob" and any other photographer.

2. If you don't own professional gear, rent it. Lots of it. Including top-end lights and modifiers.
 
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SquarePeg

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3. When someone starts to direct the wedding party, put your camera down, give a huge sigh, and stand there for a few minutes before announcing that you will resume after the amateurs have taken their shots.

I think you were being facetious...but not sure!!! I've found that the opposite is more effective. I don't do weddings but when I'm taking group photos at family or school events and the iPhone paparazzi shows up around me after I've taken the time to pose everyone just so, I always take charge and ask them to let me get my shot first then I'll have everyone hold their pose and let the others sneak in. I also loudly say "OK first look over at me!" so I don't end up with confused subjects all looking at different photographers. Once I have my shot I then say "OK now look at Uncle Bob etc. "

Sounds like the OP made the best of a situation with bunch of people who were obnoxious. It won't be the last time it happens and each time it will be easier to deal with. Experience will help a lot.
 
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snphoto2016

snphoto2016

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please forgive the bad layout, I just threw a few into a photoshop doc for you to see :)View attachment 145980
We don't get enough wedding posts on this forum! Let's see what you got. I particularly want to see the MOH!
layout1.jpg
 

Flash Harry

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You're the one being paid its you who needs to control the show and take charge otherwise theres shots you'll forget, I used to ignore all the uncle bobs and anyone else hobbying and made sure I got what was required to justify the payment regardless, more often than not I'd remove the couple from the chaos and take them for a solo shoot with me for at least 30mins then you can interact, they relax and you get the stuff they want. Taking a step back while the 'guests' take over isn't going to get you anywhere, you're the boss of the shoot and need to assert yourself. Weddings for what people want to pay these days aren't worth the stress but they're all about 'people management' so if you have trouble doing that without being rude I'd advise you think very carefully what you're prepared to put up with, even princesses and prima donnas need putting in their place now n then.
 

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