Other Photographers Stealing your Moment? Tell them to back off! - Digital Photography School
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Other Photographers Stealing your Moment? Tell them to back off!

I noticed a thread on a forum today about a wedding photographer getting frustrated with an amateur stealing their set-ups and taking photos behind their shoulder. And these weren’t just the group photos, either, but the shoe shot, the individual portraits, the bride-getting-ready shots, etc.

It won’t be easy to voice your feelings at first. It takes time. But the more and more you’re made to feel uncomfortable by other photographers stealing your work, the more you’ll get the sense that you really need to have some lines prepared for the next time that happens. Eventually, you’ll get so fed up that you’ll just come out and say what needs to be said so you can do your work in peace.

{Portrait Sessions}

My contract says “there will be no other cameras allowed during the session. If someone whips out a camera during the session, I will have to ask them to put it away and this is an awkward moment that I would love to avoid.” Now, obviously during a one-on-one portrait session, you have every right to ask Grandma to please put her camera away. I would say it like this, “ooh gosh I’m really sorry, but I’m going to have to ask you not to take photographs during the session.” I think it will be obvious why. No need to explain. You’ll have asked them in a super sweet way to please put on their thinking cap and not take pictures and they will probably feel a little dumb for even thinking that was ok. But ya know…we’re educating people, too, and by showing them that that’s not ok, you’re setting the precedent that this session is about being hired and paid to take images which are making you money. Hopefully that will carry throughout the whole process and minimise them also thinking that it’s ok to scan and reprint the prints they’ve bought from you. Hopefully. But ya know…probably not.

{Weddings}

So as in the first part of this post, the photographer was experiencing a copy cat shooting directly behind her. If this were happening to me, I would have absolutely no problem whatsoever looking back and saying, “excuse me, could you please give me some space? Thanks.” You could even say, “Hi. I can’t help but notice that you’re very keen to take photos and you’re totally welcome to. Just let me get the shots I’ve been hired to do and then you’re welcome to have at it.” And of course, if you feel more comfortable throwing in apologetic lingo like “gosh sorry I’m going to have to ask…” then do that. Don’t be rude. They’re just excited. But there’s no reason you need to hide the fact that you’re confused/surprised that someone would think it’s ok to do that. Heck, hand them your business card and tell them that you only charge $1,000 a day to shoot along with you as a professional photographer. Lol…that’d go down well!

Now, a wedding IS a free for all and everyone will have a camera. So I wouldn’t have any problem with that, only when they try to horn in on my private session with the couple or the shots that I have to use all of my experience ad expertise to set up and execute.

During the group photos, the problem lies in the fact that with so many cameras around, the guests will have trouble knowing where to look. Make sure that everyone knows to look at you and you might need to turn around and say, “hey guys just let me quickly get these shots and then you’re totally free to take whatever pictures you want.” This is usually a pretty jovial and joyful moment for everyone so you can say it with a laugh and it will be received well.

I have a go-to guy who has been appointed by the couple to hold the groups list and gather auntie and uncle so-and-so when it’s time. He might just be the bossy, booming voice you need to get the whole thing over and done in a decent amount of time with little interference from other photographers.

What’s your approach to others taking shots during your sessions? We’d love to hear your thoughts below in comments!

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Elizabeth Halford is a Hampshire Photographer and keeps a rockin'photography blog where she writes about photography and business in "real.plain.english". She's addicted to Facebook and can be found answering photography and business questions every day here on her page

  • Victor Bruce

    For Crying out Loud!!!
    I have shot wedding for 25 plus years and have no problem letting all of you jerk weed babies how it is. First of all there is the person who has the audacity to set up “scenarios” and then is insulted when the pro “steals” their shot! The pro has been hired to capture moments and you have been arrogant enough to waste time creating one and wasting reception time, so guess what? The pro captured it!!! Grow up!

    Then there is one post saying that the guests captured moments that the pro missed or could not get. Again GET OVER IT! Why? Because real pros get the shots and if the “pro” does not, then maybe it is because of some hack that has gone into business by shooting over the shoulders of real pros and does not know anything about photographing an important event and “anticipating” the important moments!

    As for Adam, you “grow up” too and that is the kindest thing that I can say to you. Wedding “photojournalism” has just appeared in the past 4-6 years in full force and believe it or not, it takes a lot of experience to manage all of the personalities in a wedding party and the families in order to capture the images. Many couples and families still want the journalistic images but want professional formals as well. So when a pro forms a group shot with posing that has been gained by years of experience, in a certain location that moment and pose is “theirs,” and they sell that style and expertise to the family. If some idiot comes up behind and shoots it, that person will take complete credit for it with no regard for the pro! Most of you babies have no idea what it is like to carry the responsibility of capturing the images of this most important day! You all are guests of the Bride and Groom and should have no right to do anything else but attend and enjoy the event by witnessing it!

    Then there is the one who says that if a band acted this way they (e.g. as a photographer that asked for time to shoot alone with the party) should be fired. Well then, just grab a mic at the next wedding and start singing from behind the lead singer, out of key and see if the bride and groom appreciate it! I don’t think so! That is because they paid for professional entertainment, not wanna bees! By the way this has happened and that person is always drunk!

    In 25 years, I have seen all kinds of weird arrogant behavior. Most of the time from guests wielding cameras and a lot of this was in the film days, now it is out of control! Many times these people do not even have regard for the couple, they are just building their portfolios!

    It’s all in my contract because the bride and groom are paying for a professional coverage and they universally agree that they do not want it to turn into some kind of weird paparazzi scenario!

  • Victor Bruce

    Follow up thoughts…

    Because some of you who think that amateur photographers or guest with cameras should be able to shot whatever they want led to my impassioned response…
    You may think that I am one of those arrogant photographers at a wedding, or a “grumpy” as the older more experienced photographers are sometimes referred to by younger photographers who have no respect. Not so!
    Photography is a service industry as well and I am always polite, jovial and helpful to the bride and groom and their families. I have letters from my clients from the past 25 years thanking me for the wonderful images and for being there, and for being one of their great memories of the day because of the way that I behaved and made things run smoothly. Not a single person has ever complained about anything that I have said to a guest or the fact that I took control of their wedding coverage. That is because it got them to the reception on time!

    Another point is while that some have a wedding pricing model of “shoot, burn and run” for $1,000 or less. This is not my model. Why? Because my business is a profit deal and while I do include a disc option in my plans, I still make money from reprints and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. So if I pose a group and someone shoots over my shoulder and posts it or provides it, then it is costing me money which is not right because it is my business and my profit. hours of work go into a wedding before and about 3-5 business days worth of work after, so there is nothing wrong with this! This should not be a secret by now. I am the official of licensed photographer for this special event. The bride and groom know about my business model. It is no surprise to them! There is no reason why a snap shooter should cost me money. Some of the people above (and people in general) do not have the slightest idea of the costs and pressures involved in running a successful photography business. Many just assume that we are prima donas with cameras who are making a fortune. This is simply not the case. Most of us have families to support.

    Unfortunately, this is a prevailing attitude in the internet era. People think that they should have intellectual property for free. Some, not all, want the right to download music and movies for free and act like babies when they cannot or are caught doing it or told that they cannot do it. Grow up! Recording artists and motion picture studios spend vast amounts of money and time to produce those wonderful things for us and there no reason why they should not expect to profit from them. They have families to feed too! The bride and groom or their families have paid me to pour years of experience, technique and a keenly trained eye into capturing the moments of their special day. Why should I allow distractions? The responsibility for great photography lies with me.

    Last point (sorry for the long posts!)…
    So you are a friend of the bride and also one of these people above who expect the right to do whatever they wish during her wedding. So go up next to the pastor and start reciting scripture during the ceremony. See how that works out for ya! I guarantee that someone would ask you to sit down. Maybe when she gets back from her honeymoon you tag along to the auto service s center and you pull out some wrenches and get under the hood to “help” the mechanic or give her your own special version of automotive service when you have little or no experience as an auto mechanic. Check it out, see how it works out!

    I could go on and on with these, but the point is this…
    The professional photographer is no different and has every right to do his or her job without unnecessary distractions, especially distractions such as immature people who just want their own way. A wedding is not the time or the place for this.

    Thanks for bearing with me and please consider these things at the next wedding you attend.

  • http://www.alwynburger.co.za Alwyn Burger

    @ Victor Bruce: Awesome summary and spot on. I agree whole heartedly and did not manage to say it so completely although I did try.
    Thankyou.

  • Victor Bruce

    @ Alwyn

    Alwyn, what you posted was fantastic and if looks like what I posted expanded on what you said. And thank you for calling my rant “completely” :)!!! You did a great job and thank you for your comments!

    I have just seen so much rudeness and arrogance over the years (from non pro shooters), that I had to say it :)

  • http://www.sardamagnets.com Vijay

    @ Victor Bruce, @ Alwyn and all other “PRO”

    i’m a baby… w.r.t. victor’s comment… but i’ll have to agree with Victor to the point that a professional is hired and should be allowed to do their job… and quite frankly i recently hired a professional to do a PROFESSIONAL job during my own wedding…

    but… there’s one point of VICTOR which i dont agree.. and that is… “PROs’ ” dont have a right over which photo is AMAZING and GREAT… to quote his own words…
    “Because real pros get the shots and if the “pro” does not, then maybe it is because of some hack that has gone into business by shooting over the shoulders of real pros and does not know anything about photographing an important event and “anticipating” the important moments!”

    on that i’ll say… please GROW UP… there are generally about 20-40 other photographs at the wedding… all of them guests & babies (like myself)… may be it doesnt happen often.. but it happens every blue mooon… there may be some moment(s)… which are missed by even a PRO because he is busy taking picture elsewhere… just due to overlook or lack of time… during a wedding… 100..0000..000ss of things happen all at a time… for some.. which are pre-planned and informed to the PRO… he can be ready for.. but there are some candid times… which happens during the occation unplanned for which a pro may not be available… at those times.. he should give credit to the “BABIES WITH CAMERAS”….

    of course all grooms… like myself… hires a professional to do a through job… we expect and pay for that… i’ve asked my photographer to do loads of re-prints for posters and albums and what not… many of my guests asked me to give them a copy of the photograph (soft & hard) so that they can use it… i asked them to buy it from the professional and helped them get copies… they paid too…

    as Victor siad… its a service industry and everyone loves an amazing service… but even sometimes pros gets off the rock… i wont be neive to call Victor’s comment as a OLD BASKET BLABBERING… he has solid point…

    one thing i liked about @ Elizabeth Halford is that she renamed this post to a more opt one… i agree… everyone at the wedding should honour COPYRIGHT and understand that if the professionals have planned something special & surprise… it should remain that way….

    everyone likes memories… and taking photos and videos enable that…

  • http://Www.riversidephotographics.com Linda Maki

    @Victor Bruce Thank you for telling it like it is. For those of us who care passionately about creating beautiful imagery for our clients (and many of ours purchase framed wall art from us), the thoughtlessness of amateurs is more than an annoyance. That’s why we have a clause in our contract that states we will be the only photographers shooting the wedding. We’re a husband and wife team and our photography studio provides our income. We work very hard and produce excellent results. We shouldn’t have to work around wannabes who really have no idea of what’s involved in professional photography. Our clients hire us because they want the kind of images that we produce. They are happy to sign a contract that eliminates interference from amateurs. If they wanted an amateur to shoot their wedding they wouldn’t hire us and pay the fee that we charge.

  • Victor Bruce

    @ Linda
    Thank you for your nice comments great to see a professional couple with great practices such as yourselves and you are %1000 percent right!

    @ Elizabeth
    Thank you for bringing up this important topic!

    Cheers,
    Vic

  • Victor Bruce

    @ Linda
    Thank you for your nice comments great to see a professional couple with great practices such as yourselves and you are %1000 percent right!

    @ Elizabeth
    Thank you for bringing up this important topic!

    Cheers,
    Vic

  • Victor Bruce

    @ Vijay

    Thank you for responding with some valid points. It was also great of you to treat the professional as he or she deserved (i.e. directed your guests to their web site for sales, protected copyrights etc). Great!

    I need to clarify my stance and then I am not responding anymore because I have stated my case in all too much detail…

    I do not “forbid” guests from taking pictures in general, that would be insane, I just ask them to refrain during formals or to shoot in another area as long as they are not pulling people that I need to be around for the formals or posed sessions. During the reception, I do not care what they do as long as they are not in my way! I do not direct the reception!

    What I will not permit is the following:

    1) Someone shadowing or dogging me the whole day to build their portfolio or to save the client or some other family member some money (most of our clients do not fit into the latter scenario by the way!)

    2) An aggressive and / or naive relative who stands near me and says “let me get that, just one second” well those seconds add up and disrupt the flow and what is going on in my head. In other words I am then distracted and frustrated. Besides, most of the time those are the guests with the point and shoots that take about 3-5 seconds or more per shot just to focus and fire!

    3) Someone shooting in the aisle or in an improper location during the ceremony. Hey, I am unobtrusive and try not to attract any attention to myself during the ceremony, so I do not need to see the back of your head in my shot!

    Happy Trails Everyone and thanks for reading all of this!

  • http://www.pieceofmephotography.com Kami Myles

    I had a Mother shooting from the bushes at a comission only portrait session of the cheerleaders. The day before I had shot the JV. I made $1200. The next day I did the Varsity. Someone let me know that one of the Moms had shot the entire session from behind my back. She then posted them on facebook and tagged them all. My sales went down to $300. Do I have any rights to try to re-coupe the sales I would have had if she had not posted them for free on facebook?

  • victor bruce

    Hi Kami,

    I am sorry to hear about that situation! This is not right and in fact “stealing” in a way if it was a session that you set up as a business and creative opportunity. Many people have no shame these days. I have several friends who work in retail stores. The tales of customers shoplifting habits are amazing!

    I am not an expert, but I don’t think that there is anything you can do after the fact. Someone please correct me if I am wrong. There were posts here and elsewhere on the web about having a page on your web site, or something that you email clients before a session or wedding explaining your guidelines and why you have them. Since the loss was quite large, it would be quite advantageous to have an assistant along to watch your back as well as put a notice on the sales materials that you hand out in advance about the session being exclusive to you. The amount you pay the assistant would be worth it to me.

    I used to have my assistant deal with this at weddings. He would explain that this was a private session, ask the guest not to shoot and that they could shoot all that they wanted at the reception as long as they were not blocking our shots. Actually, we would ask people who were not being photographed to join the other guests at the reception and that the bride and groom would be there shortly.

    Please note that this is the way that I would handle things in my business if I were still doing a lot of consumer stuff, so I cannot be responsible for how it turns out for anyone else.

    Hope this helps!

  • http://www.RhondaThornPhotography.com Rhonda

    Here’s the real issue: I don’t mind someone shooting behind me, but if I am the photographer who is retained by contract at an event (wedding) I don’t want another pro there doing shots. In fact, it’s in my contract. Recently I shot a family wedding and a friend of the bride’s mother showed up with pro photo gear. She told me she was video recording the wedding. Next thing I see? Loads of still shots with “Insert Usurper’s Name Here Photography” on the bride’s Facebook page. >:(

  • treagan

    Just did my second amateur wedding. At the first wedding, had a woman show up with her expensive camera and follow me around, kinda ticked me off. Second wedding I am hired to do. Uncle Bob shows up with his 5000.00 camera, he’s 5 years in and has won awards for his HDR work, (very impressive) he follows me around, posted all his pics on Facebook the next day, here I am with my little Rebel, good thing is, boosted my confidence my photos were just as good straight out of the camera, yeah. And he later told me, he did not have the confidence to talk to people and pose them, he’s very shy and that’s why he followed me around. What is wrong with people? What happened to just common courtesy. I didn’t have confidence to talk or pose anyone either in the beginning, I had to work on that on my own, I took classes and paid to follow someone around. It takes a talent to know how to pose, find the right spot, why should you do all the work just to have Uncle Bob come up with his 5000 worth of camera and steal your shot?

  • Tammotsie

    I was accused of stealing a photo. A supposed friend and I were going into business together. One of our first projects was taking pictures of my daughter, her husband and my 6 day old grandson. I decided to let her shoot, because I was a little nervous, and I was helping with everything else.
    She immediately got a model release from them, then none of us were able to have anything to do with the pictures. I was telling her, I didn’t want a name on the front. They were B&W, and I personally think that is distracting. But she had her logo huge on it. Also, we wanted a few color shots. She even sent me a few to do.
    When all said and done, she got angry with me because after her claiming they were all her pictures, she never gave them to my daughter. Baby photo hostage, lol.
    But that moment can’t be recaptured.
    She gave me all the originals, and told me I could do what I wanted with them. I still have the e-mail. After a while I started working on one. Someone I didn’t know had invited me to a photo group on FB. The only picture I posted was one of those, that I was working on.
    Immediately, this other business partner, came on, accused me of stealing it, and would sue me. Boy, was that ever a set up. In me joining that group.
    I thought if you were in business, and both were shooting, that both could have rights to how they wanted things edited. It was like, I had nothing to do with it. Except it being in my house, my kids, and me a partner.

  • pokesaladangiephotography

    I was asked by the mother of the bride to do the photography and I said I would be happy to and as they were friends, that it would be my gift to the bride and groom. I spent a considerable amount of money going and paying for a hotel room. When I started to take photos, another photographer that had taken photography classes with the bride showed up. He had a much fancier camera and was actually rude to me. He would step in front of me as I was taking a picture, rearrange people and things in the shots. He charged a lot of money for his time also. I finally put my camera away and set down with the guests. I was rather upset and the mother apologized to me as she didn’t know her daughter had hired someone. I have made up my mind to do no more weddings and stick to my nature photography.

Some older comments

  • Tammotsie

    May 24, 2012 04:18 am

    I was accused of stealing a photo. A supposed friend and I were going into business together. One of our first projects was taking pictures of my daughter, her husband and my 6 day old grandson. I decided to let her shoot, because I was a little nervous, and I was helping with everything else.
    She immediately got a model release from them, then none of us were able to have anything to do with the pictures. I was telling her, I didn't want a name on the front. They were B&W, and I personally think that is distracting. But she had her logo huge on it. Also, we wanted a few color shots. She even sent me a few to do.
    When all said and done, she got angry with me because after her claiming they were all her pictures, she never gave them to my daughter. Baby photo hostage, lol.
    But that moment can't be recaptured.
    She gave me all the originals, and told me I could do what I wanted with them. I still have the e-mail. After a while I started working on one. Someone I didn't know had invited me to a photo group on FB. The only picture I posted was one of those, that I was working on.
    Immediately, this other business partner, came on, accused me of stealing it, and would sue me. Boy, was that ever a set up. In me joining that group.
    I thought if you were in business, and both were shooting, that both could have rights to how they wanted things edited. It was like, I had nothing to do with it. Except it being in my house, my kids, and me a partner.

  • treagan

    April 27, 2012 07:25 am

    Just did my second amateur wedding. At the first wedding, had a woman show up with her expensive camera and follow me around, kinda ticked me off. Second wedding I am hired to do. Uncle Bob shows up with his 5000.00 camera, he's 5 years in and has won awards for his HDR work, (very impressive) he follows me around, posted all his pics on Facebook the next day, here I am with my little Rebel, good thing is, boosted my confidence my photos were just as good straight out of the camera, yeah. And he later told me, he did not have the confidence to talk to people and pose them, he's very shy and that's why he followed me around. What is wrong with people? What happened to just common courtesy. I didn't have confidence to talk or pose anyone either in the beginning, I had to work on that on my own, I took classes and paid to follow someone around. It takes a talent to know how to pose, find the right spot, why should you do all the work just to have Uncle Bob come up with his 5000 worth of camera and steal your shot?

  • Rhonda

    April 3, 2012 10:42 pm

    Here's the real issue: I don't mind someone shooting behind me, but if I am the photographer who is retained by contract at an event (wedding) I don't want another pro there doing shots. In fact, it's in my contract. Recently I shot a family wedding and a friend of the bride's mother showed up with pro photo gear. She told me she was video recording the wedding. Next thing I see? Loads of still shots with "Insert Usurper's Name Here Photography" on the bride's Facebook page. >:(

  • victor bruce

    August 14, 2011 11:50 pm

    Hi Kami,

    I am sorry to hear about that situation! This is not right and in fact "stealing" in a way if it was a session that you set up as a business and creative opportunity. Many people have no shame these days. I have several friends who work in retail stores. The tales of customers shoplifting habits are amazing!

    I am not an expert, but I don't think that there is anything you can do after the fact. Someone please correct me if I am wrong. There were posts here and elsewhere on the web about having a page on your web site, or something that you email clients before a session or wedding explaining your guidelines and why you have them. Since the loss was quite large, it would be quite advantageous to have an assistant along to watch your back as well as put a notice on the sales materials that you hand out in advance about the session being exclusive to you. The amount you pay the assistant would be worth it to me.

    I used to have my assistant deal with this at weddings. He would explain that this was a private session, ask the guest not to shoot and that they could shoot all that they wanted at the reception as long as they were not blocking our shots. Actually, we would ask people who were not being photographed to join the other guests at the reception and that the bride and groom would be there shortly.

    Please note that this is the way that I would handle things in my business if I were still doing a lot of consumer stuff, so I cannot be responsible for how it turns out for anyone else.

    Hope this helps!

  • Kami Myles

    August 14, 2011 02:11 pm

    I had a Mother shooting from the bushes at a comission only portrait session of the cheerleaders. The day before I had shot the JV. I made $1200. The next day I did the Varsity. Someone let me know that one of the Moms had shot the entire session from behind my back. She then posted them on facebook and tagged them all. My sales went down to $300. Do I have any rights to try to re-coupe the sales I would have had if she had not posted them for free on facebook?

  • Victor Bruce

    July 26, 2011 06:37 am

    @ Vijay

    Thank you for responding with some valid points. It was also great of you to treat the professional as he or she deserved (i.e. directed your guests to their web site for sales, protected copyrights etc). Great!

    I need to clarify my stance and then I am not responding anymore because I have stated my case in all too much detail...

    I do not "forbid" guests from taking pictures in general, that would be insane, I just ask them to refrain during formals or to shoot in another area as long as they are not pulling people that I need to be around for the formals or posed sessions. During the reception, I do not care what they do as long as they are not in my way! I do not direct the reception!

    What I will not permit is the following:

    1) Someone shadowing or dogging me the whole day to build their portfolio or to save the client or some other family member some money (most of our clients do not fit into the latter scenario by the way!)

    2) An aggressive and / or naive relative who stands near me and says "let me get that, just one second" well those seconds add up and disrupt the flow and what is going on in my head. In other words I am then distracted and frustrated. Besides, most of the time those are the guests with the point and shoots that take about 3-5 seconds or more per shot just to focus and fire!

    3) Someone shooting in the aisle or in an improper location during the ceremony. Hey, I am unobtrusive and try not to attract any attention to myself during the ceremony, so I do not need to see the back of your head in my shot!

    Happy Trails Everyone and thanks for reading all of this!

  • Victor Bruce

    July 26, 2011 06:10 am

    @ Linda
    Thank you for your nice comments great to see a professional couple with great practices such as yourselves and you are %1000 percent right!

    @ Elizabeth
    Thank you for bringing up this important topic!

    Cheers,
    Vic

  • Victor Bruce

    July 26, 2011 05:58 am

    @ Linda
    Thank you for your nice comments great to see a professional couple with great practices such as yourselves and you are %1000 percent right!

    @ Elizabeth
    Thank you for bringing up this important topic!

    Cheers,
    Vic

  • Linda Maki

    July 26, 2011 04:19 am

    @Victor Bruce Thank you for telling it like it is. For those of us who care passionately about creating beautiful imagery for our clients (and many of ours purchase framed wall art from us), the thoughtlessness of amateurs is more than an annoyance. That's why we have a clause in our contract that states we will be the only photographers shooting the wedding. We're a husband and wife team and our photography studio provides our income. We work very hard and produce excellent results. We shouldn't have to work around wannabes who really have no idea of what's involved in professional photography. Our clients hire us because they want the kind of images that we produce. They are happy to sign a contract that eliminates interference from amateurs. If they wanted an amateur to shoot their wedding they wouldn't hire us and pay the fee that we charge.

  • Vijay

    July 26, 2011 04:04 am

    @ Victor Bruce, @ Alwyn and all other "PRO"

    i'm a baby... w.r.t. victor's comment... but i'll have to agree with Victor to the point that a professional is hired and should be allowed to do their job... and quite frankly i recently hired a professional to do a PROFESSIONAL job during my own wedding...

    but... there's one point of VICTOR which i dont agree.. and that is... "PROs' " dont have a right over which photo is AMAZING and GREAT... to quote his own words...
    "Because real pros get the shots and if the "pro" does not, then maybe it is because of some hack that has gone into business by shooting over the shoulders of real pros and does not know anything about photographing an important event and "anticipating" the important moments!"

    on that i'll say... please GROW UP... there are generally about 20-40 other photographs at the wedding... all of them guests & babies (like myself)... may be it doesnt happen often.. but it happens every blue mooon... there may be some moment(s)... which are missed by even a PRO because he is busy taking picture elsewhere... just due to overlook or lack of time... during a wedding... 100..0000..000ss of things happen all at a time... for some.. which are pre-planned and informed to the PRO... he can be ready for.. but there are some candid times... which happens during the occation unplanned for which a pro may not be available... at those times.. he should give credit to the "BABIES WITH CAMERAS"....

    of course all grooms... like myself... hires a professional to do a through job... we expect and pay for that... i've asked my photographer to do loads of re-prints for posters and albums and what not... many of my guests asked me to give them a copy of the photograph (soft & hard) so that they can use it... i asked them to buy it from the professional and helped them get copies... they paid too...

    as Victor siad... its a service industry and everyone loves an amazing service... but even sometimes pros gets off the rock... i wont be neive to call Victor's comment as a OLD BASKET BLABBERING... he has solid point...

    one thing i liked about @ Elizabeth Halford is that she renamed this post to a more opt one... i agree... everyone at the wedding should honour COPYRIGHT and understand that if the professionals have planned something special & surprise... it should remain that way....

    everyone likes memories... and taking photos and videos enable that...

  • Victor Bruce

    July 26, 2011 01:38 am

    @ Alwyn

    Alwyn, what you posted was fantastic and if looks like what I posted expanded on what you said. And thank you for calling my rant "completely" :)!!! You did a great job and thank you for your comments!

    I have just seen so much rudeness and arrogance over the years (from non pro shooters), that I had to say it :)

  • Alwyn Burger

    July 26, 2011 01:24 am

    @ Victor Bruce: Awesome summary and spot on. I agree whole heartedly and did not manage to say it so completely although I did try.
    Thankyou.

  • Victor Bruce

    July 25, 2011 11:26 pm

    Follow up thoughts...

    Because some of you who think that amateur photographers or guest with cameras should be able to shot whatever they want led to my impassioned response...
    You may think that I am one of those arrogant photographers at a wedding, or a "grumpy" as the older more experienced photographers are sometimes referred to by younger photographers who have no respect. Not so!
    Photography is a service industry as well and I am always polite, jovial and helpful to the bride and groom and their families. I have letters from my clients from the past 25 years thanking me for the wonderful images and for being there, and for being one of their great memories of the day because of the way that I behaved and made things run smoothly. Not a single person has ever complained about anything that I have said to a guest or the fact that I took control of their wedding coverage. That is because it got them to the reception on time!

    Another point is while that some have a wedding pricing model of "shoot, burn and run" for $1,000 or less. This is not my model. Why? Because my business is a profit deal and while I do include a disc option in my plans, I still make money from reprints and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. So if I pose a group and someone shoots over my shoulder and posts it or provides it, then it is costing me money which is not right because it is my business and my profit. hours of work go into a wedding before and about 3-5 business days worth of work after, so there is nothing wrong with this! This should not be a secret by now. I am the official of licensed photographer for this special event. The bride and groom know about my business model. It is no surprise to them! There is no reason why a snap shooter should cost me money. Some of the people above (and people in general) do not have the slightest idea of the costs and pressures involved in running a successful photography business. Many just assume that we are prima donas with cameras who are making a fortune. This is simply not the case. Most of us have families to support.

    Unfortunately, this is a prevailing attitude in the internet era. People think that they should have intellectual property for free. Some, not all, want the right to download music and movies for free and act like babies when they cannot or are caught doing it or told that they cannot do it. Grow up! Recording artists and motion picture studios spend vast amounts of money and time to produce those wonderful things for us and there no reason why they should not expect to profit from them. They have families to feed too! The bride and groom or their families have paid me to pour years of experience, technique and a keenly trained eye into capturing the moments of their special day. Why should I allow distractions? The responsibility for great photography lies with me.

    Last point (sorry for the long posts!)...
    So you are a friend of the bride and also one of these people above who expect the right to do whatever they wish during her wedding. So go up next to the pastor and start reciting scripture during the ceremony. See how that works out for ya! I guarantee that someone would ask you to sit down. Maybe when she gets back from her honeymoon you tag along to the auto service s center and you pull out some wrenches and get under the hood to "help" the mechanic or give her your own special version of automotive service when you have little or no experience as an auto mechanic. Check it out, see how it works out!

    I could go on and on with these, but the point is this...
    The professional photographer is no different and has every right to do his or her job without unnecessary distractions, especially distractions such as immature people who just want their own way. A wedding is not the time or the place for this.

    Thanks for bearing with me and please consider these things at the next wedding you attend.

  • Victor Bruce

    July 25, 2011 12:41 pm

    For Crying out Loud!!!
    I have shot wedding for 25 plus years and have no problem letting all of you jerk weed babies how it is. First of all there is the person who has the audacity to set up "scenarios" and then is insulted when the pro "steals" their shot! The pro has been hired to capture moments and you have been arrogant enough to waste time creating one and wasting reception time, so guess what? The pro captured it!!! Grow up!

    Then there is one post saying that the guests captured moments that the pro missed or could not get. Again GET OVER IT! Why? Because real pros get the shots and if the "pro" does not, then maybe it is because of some hack that has gone into business by shooting over the shoulders of real pros and does not know anything about photographing an important event and "anticipating" the important moments!

    As for Adam, you "grow up" too and that is the kindest thing that I can say to you. Wedding "photojournalism" has just appeared in the past 4-6 years in full force and believe it or not, it takes a lot of experience to manage all of the personalities in a wedding party and the families in order to capture the images. Many couples and families still want the journalistic images but want professional formals as well. So when a pro forms a group shot with posing that has been gained by years of experience, in a certain location that moment and pose is "theirs," and they sell that style and expertise to the family. If some idiot comes up behind and shoots it, that person will take complete credit for it with no regard for the pro! Most of you babies have no idea what it is like to carry the responsibility of capturing the images of this most important day! You all are guests of the Bride and Groom and should have no right to do anything else but attend and enjoy the event by witnessing it!

    Then there is the one who says that if a band acted this way they (e.g. as a photographer that asked for time to shoot alone with the party) should be fired. Well then, just grab a mic at the next wedding and start singing from behind the lead singer, out of key and see if the bride and groom appreciate it! I don't think so! That is because they paid for professional entertainment, not wanna bees! By the way this has happened and that person is always drunk!

    In 25 years, I have seen all kinds of weird arrogant behavior. Most of the time from guests wielding cameras and a lot of this was in the film days, now it is out of control! Many times these people do not even have regard for the couple, they are just building their portfolios!

    It's all in my contract because the bride and groom are paying for a professional coverage and they universally agree that they do not want it to turn into some kind of weird paparazzi scenario!

  • Ana Cimpoca

    June 16, 2011 12:23 am

    Two weekends ago I had my first two baptisms. I had point&shoots (and even some DSLRs) all around me and it didn't bother me at all. Why?

    1. Because I was the main photographer and I had the "loudest" voice there. People knew I was the photographer :)

    2. Even if somebody had the same frame as I did, I didn't care because I know for sure my vision can't be copied.

    3. If I see somebody at list as passionate of photography as I am, I'm trying to help them, tell them what I know and learn from them if I have something to learn. I don't see it as competition; I see it as a learning experience.

    4. To me photography is a journey of discovery and it’s a way of life, I don’t see photography as a job. It’s an extremely beautiful experience and I don't intend to ruin it by thinking that somebody will "still" my frames or my work. Besides I strongly believe that if I want to become a photographer I will become an artist and, in this case, I should act like one: be more humble and work in improving my craft - that should be my main objective right now.

    Thank you :)

  • Markie

    June 14, 2011 03:37 pm

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say: If you really consider yourself a professional Photographer, you'd be watermarking your photos, so where ever & how ever they're used, you'd get credit. (This applies even if you're giving digital files).

    However, I don't see a problem with asking (or telling if need be) guests to back off or put away their cameras during portrait sessions. I did this when I was the bride, and continue to do it in my regular portrait sessions, so why wouldn't I do it during a wedding. If guests want to bring out their cameras during the reception, by all means, go for it, but the ceremony & portrait sessions are MINE! I have no problem telling Gramma or Mom to kindly put away their cameras during the portrait sessions until I'm finished, then they can go ahead and set up their own shots.

    As for the clause in the contract mine says "no others will photograph while the photographer is at work" and this applies to the portrait session so no one is shooting over my shoulder. It also says that in the event someone is in my way (not word for word, but essentially), I can stop what I'm doing and walk out, however the contract is still due in full. This is also the reason I require payment before I shoot, not wait until after. The likely hood I'll ever walk out on a wedding is null, but the option is enough. If for some reason a B&G refuses to agree to this, I'd gladly explain to them my reasons for not wanting other shooting over my shoulder (distraction, flash disruptions, etc). If they still can't agree, then yes, I'd turn down the job, because its a good example of how well we'd work together later on.

  • Chris

    June 13, 2011 10:27 am

    Seeing how it is the B&G's day, I would discuss with them first what they want. If they want their hired photographer to be the professional and to be able to get the best shots, then it should be determined in advance. I have been to weddings as a guest, where before the wedding party came in, the guest where asked specifically not to get in the way of the photographer or the B&G. It was announced and made clear that this was the B&G's wishes. Also, photo shoots of the bridal party where private and guests were not invited. It really needs to be clarified with the B&G what they want as it is going to be their photos. The photographer should also explain what some of the challenges could be, so that the B&G are made aware, and know what they can expect if they want the best pics possible. This does not mean guests can not take photos, it just means that the professional should have right of way as the B&G are paying him/her for his/her work and he/she can not do his/her work if people are getting in the way.

  • Andy Mills

    May 28, 2011 11:12 pm

    @Dan

    The flash point is still valid - it can and does happen, possibly more often than you think, especially when there are several people taking photos.

    http://img30.imageshack.us/img30/9193/flashimg6613.jpg

    But other than that, it is the distraction that is more of a problem, as you say.

  • Clay Riness

    May 28, 2011 10:33 pm

    To me, Dan's point (above) is the most sensible one yet. There is plenty of time at the reception for family and friends to gather up the posse and get photos. It's probably best, and most courteous, to let the professional do his job with the formals without distraction, given the short window he or she has to do it in.

  • Dan

    May 28, 2011 02:54 pm

    Any true professional will tell you, the guests flash has effect,what so ever, with their photography. A flash fires a 1/10,000 of a second. You have a better chance of hitting the 10,000,000 dollar lottery. The reason pros do not want gusts to photograph the formal session, is for the distractions. It is very natural for the people being photographed to look off at other cameras. I he been photographing weddings for 25 years. It happens all the time. Guests have the camera pointed at the couple and tell me "'Im not taking the picture". The people being photographed don't know this! Then I hear the comment of "why worry? you've already been paid for the job." That's like telling a pro athlete "Hey you don't need to do your best. You're guaranteed your salary". As photographers, our work sells itself. We rely on past jobs to secure future opportunities.

    If you are not the paid professional, get your group photographs at the reception. You will have plenty of time to get your shots. Please just leave the little time we have for families to the pro.

  • Laura

    May 27, 2011 04:32 pm

    @janet seavey

    I Meant in my last line......this does NOT make you the VIP

    @trevor

    Thank you, I think loving what you do is the best ingredient to be a wedding photographer.

  • Trevor

    May 27, 2011 03:56 pm

    @laura
    I think you hit the nail right on the head. I could not have said it any better. You are what all wedding photographers should strive for in regards to attitude.

  • Laura

    May 27, 2011 11:51 am

    @janet seavey

    Your comment is quite rude and I think you may need to get over yourself. As I mentioned in my last post, the B & G really look forward to the photo tour either by themselves or with their bridal party. It is a time for them to have time away from their guests and to capture the romantic and artistic portraits. I do not understand whay you feel that as a guest/family member you have the right to see every moment of the entire day. If the B&G want others to be a part of this time, then so be it, but I have never had this happen and I have shot many many weddings. 9 times out of 10 the B & G comment on how much their enjoying being away from it all and slowing down for a moment as the day tends to just rush past.
    Yes your a guest/family member and invited for a reason but this does make you the VIP!

  • mad editor

    May 27, 2011 01:24 am

    When I got married - back in the "dark" ages of $500 wedding shoots, complete with a big, fat wedding album and thank-you notes, parents albums, etc. I handed my camera over the wife of our best man. Back then we had a slide projector and I wanted slides of my wedding. The professional photog we hired was fine with it. Linda came along with us to a park where we were shooting the formals, and once the photog was done, she took shots of us and of the wedding party. We had an OK wedding albums - there were definitely some goof ups on some of the shots I wanted - but we had perfect slides.

  • Laura

    May 26, 2011 11:08 pm

    Wow, what a discussion! Alot of this irks me and there is so much that could be said but I will try to keep this short and sweet.

    I consider myself a "Professional Photographer" as I work full-time and earn all my income this way and have for over 10 years. Currently I am a wedding photographer in the Whitsundays. I visit all kinds of photography sites as there is always something new to learn and I wish to constantly better myself as a photographer.

    I have never told guests they can not take photos or to get out of my way or anything remotely like it.I treat every wedding as a unique and individual experience and feel honoured to be part of the couples special day.

    I am confident in my abililty and DO NOT CARE if guests/family/friends want to take shots with any type of camera. If you are worried this effects your income, then reasses your business plan. I have never felt that someone is in my way or stealing my shot as I am in control of the photography and I go about my business in a assertive way but also in a very happy, friendly, professional manner. I believe if everyone feels your a professional in control, this problem does not arise very often. I understand that sometimes you may come across that one excited guest that is getting in your way and perhaps then a very polite comment may be needed.

    It is so important to remember that this is a once in a lifetime and big event for the couple and their family and friends and you should respect this- even if its your 300th wedding. When shooting the posed groups after the ceremony, I simply tell the crowd to please let me get the shot with everyone looking at my camera and then the group will hold for a minute or two for the 'paparazzi',as I like to call all the 'other photographers'. People love this and most tend to listen first time, if not, I just repeat myself. I always keep it light hearted and friendly: it is not my day.

    I have never had anyone follow on the photography tour with the couple alone or couple and bridal party. If this happened I would talk with the B & G, raise any concerns I have but tell them that ultimatley its their day and their way. During my pre-wedding discussions with the B&G, I get them excited about this time, explaining what a fun and romantic time it is to have their photography tour away from all the guests. A time for them to be alone or just with their bridal party, breath, take in the fact that they just got married etc. By the time thismoment arrives, I think my B&G would tell the 'other photographer' to go away before I even had to think about it.

  • Andy

    May 26, 2011 03:03 am

    @janet seavey

    You appear to be upset, but are you upset by having to leave at certain times (which may or may not be due to the photographer), or by not being considered part of the main wedding party, which would not be the photographer's fault but that of your niece and family?

    But regardless of that, you can't have read the comments here - if you had yuo would realise that we, on the whole, do not want to stop people taking their own photos and to not exclude guests from the day (apart from any "private" sessions created separately for the happy couple).

    So please consider this before telling us to get over ourselves.

  • Janet Seavey

    May 25, 2011 02:41 am

    I recently attended my niece's wedding and didn't even have a camera with me. If you were not in the wedding party then you had to leave. There were allot of people that missed seeing some important moments because of that and I found it extremely rude. Get over yourself.

  • G-Love

    May 24, 2011 09:16 am

    @clay: yeah that makes perfect sense. And it's not like u were taking the formals. T was the candids. So I probably Wouldof said the same thing.

  • Clay Riness

    May 24, 2011 06:25 am

    My step-brother got married last summer. They hired a team of two photographers to shoot all the formal stuff, which was perfectly fine with me, as it would have been awkward doing a job that big and either 1) charging them normal rates or, 2) doing it for nothing. It was kind and respectful of them to consider my vocation and not ask for it for free. As my gift, I offered to shoot candids throughout the day and of the reception dance. They were thrilled, and in the end, the candids were probably more of a treasure. Lots of casual interaction, smiles, hugs and oh, the dance shots with that odd mirror ball and weird lights!

    The two women who shot the formal photos were very accommodating and courteous, to be sure. But I have to say, if they had told be to put my camera away, I'd have told them to bite me. I was carrying professional gear and well staying out of their way, and I was the brother of the groom. I wouldn't have tolerated being spoken down to.

    That's all I have to say.

  • Martha

    May 24, 2011 03:44 am

    I doubt they will be able to reproduce a professional's work. After all, you're using the exposure triangle, and they're probably on auto. Not to mention things like shooting with a kneeling position, etc.

  • Nicole

    May 24, 2011 02:44 am

    I like your ideas and approach to the 'problems'.
    Telling them to give you some space first and then they can give it a go, would be my choice to work with.

  • TomHawkins

    May 24, 2011 02:37 am

    I don't feel that the folks behind me taking photos of the group shots, etc... that I set up are competing with me. They are usually just trying to get a few shots for themselves. This has never decreased my sale of photos to my main customer, the bride. I have always been able to sell the bride and groom on nearly all the photos taken, as well as albums for the parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, etc...

  • Richard Gunther

    May 24, 2011 02:36 am

    I am an amatuer. I am asked all the time to photograph weddings. My reply is an emphatic NO. Weddings are many pro's bread and butter. If a couple can afford a wedding then they can afford a pro!

  • Myka

    May 24, 2011 02:15 am

    Our wedding photographer was kind enough to let friends & family have a chance for their photos AFTER she was finished with that particular shot, mostly so the P&S flashes didn't get in her way. However, I did get slightly frustrated because it took more time AND we had bought the rights to the photos and could make everyone prints which would turn out better anyway.

  • Lizzie

    May 23, 2011 06:55 pm

    People people. Please spell check before posting !

  • Elle

    May 23, 2011 01:24 pm

    Here's my deal...I was asked by a school to take photos at the moment the diploma was received. I charged a small fee for a package and about 50% of the students preordered. Another professional photographer was at the ceremony and took photos. That is fine, except I found out because suddenly I saw what I thought were my photos all over Facebook. On closer inspection, I realized he was directly behind me and his images are almost identical to mine. He shared high resolution photos to everyone for free. I also noticed that all of the students in his photos had not ordered from me. It was a public event so anyone could (and did) take photos. I guess I am frustrated because I feel like I lost revenue/marketing opportunities because it seems he had told people he knew not to order since he would be there (his neice graduated) and would give them their shots for free. I use these types of events for marketing via Facebook and therefore charge very little for my time and effort. I sell the packages, but freely give snapshots to requesting parents which drives visits to my page and then to my website. I think my main issue is that he got directly behind me and even I initially couldn't tell my own images from his. This is rambling...I've been trying to sort out my issue(s) with him in my head for a week and don't know if I just need to get over it. It just seems unprofessional to me.

  • Gavin

    May 23, 2011 12:35 pm

    G Day All,

    As some will see I'm a limo operator in Aust however always ask my clients if they mind if I took some photo's for my web site (Blog) most have no issue with it and as such I take some pics and use very few. I have deal with a number of Pro Photographers and so far no one has asked me to back off. I do not get in the way, I sometimes assist the photographer with shade, water etc and get on well with them.

    As most have said, they do not worry about me taking (set) shots and I'm guessing that’s because their work will be brilliant and more so, much much better than mine. In other words I'm no threat to their work or them. My thoughts are the same as Adam's if you are good enough I'm no competition.

    I've stated to appreciate more and more the work the professionals do that I purchased an entry level Canon EOS 1000D SLR so I can capture photos of my family and send pictures to their Nanna and Pop who don't leave near us so they can see my kids growing up. This new camera will also be used when I'm out doing jobs for weddings, school balls etc.

    Cheers
    Gavin

  • Dee Wheat

    May 23, 2011 09:28 am

    Yikes! Sorry, guys, my internet connection is wonky! Didn't mean to repost and repost LOL!

  • Dee Wheat

    May 23, 2011 09:25 am

    I don't shoot weddings except for friends. Working from a power wheelchair, it just takes way too much. One thing I do a lot of is marching band competitions, and there always seems to be someone who thinks I need their help.

    I'm sorry, but I had to quietly chuckle when someone mentioned people getting underfoot, because I have actually had a couple of people TRY TO TAKE MY CAMERA OUT OF MY HAND! I mean, clearly the old crippled woman needs someone to do her shots for her, right? Never mind that I can catch that drop of sweat on the kid half a football field away with no problem at all, all by myself. It has gotten so bad a couple of times that I actually took out my stun gun. I haven't had to use it yet, but a couple of times I had to take it out to get people to back off and keep their hands off my equipment!

  • Dee Wheat

    May 23, 2011 09:25 am

    I don't shoot weddings except for friends. Working from a power wheelchair, it just takes way too much. One thing I do a lot of is marching band competitions, and there always seems to be someone who thinks I need their help.

    I'm sorry, but I had to quietly chuckle when someone mentioned people getting underfoot, because I have actually had a couple of people TRY TO TAKE MY CAMERA OUT OF MY HAND! I mean, clearly the old crippled woman needs someone to do her shots for her, right? Never mind that I can catch that drop of sweat on the kid half a football field away with no problem at all, all by myself. It has gotten so bad a couple of times that I actually took out my stun gun. I haven't had to use it yet, but a couple of times I had to take it out to get people to back off and keep their hands off my equipment!

  • Dee Wheat

    May 23, 2011 09:25 am

    I don't shoot weddings except for friends. Working from a power wheelchair, it just takes way too much. One thing I do a lot of is marching band competitions, and there always seems to be someone who thinks I need their help.

    I'm sorry, but I had to quietly chuckle when someone mentioned people getting underfoot, because I have actually had a couple of people TRY TO TAKE MY CAMERA OUT OF MY HAND! I mean, clearly the old crippled woman needs someone to do her shots for her, right? Never mind that I can catch that drop of sweat on the kid half a football field away with no problem at all, all by myself. It has gotten so bad a couple of times that I actually took out my stun gun. I haven't had to use it yet, but a couple of times I had to take it out to get people to back off and keep their hands off my equipment!

  • joesh

    May 22, 2011 08:55 pm

    Wow, who would imagine such a response!

    What are the bride/groom looking for and should they maybe ask : "Would you mind if there are other photographers (i.e. people with their cameras)?" If the answer is "Yes", then you should maybe find another photographer who doesn't mind and can handle 'that' situation. Another possibility if you're the photographer is to set up a private session with the couple, and then open the floor to one and all.

    As for getting the best shot, well that is more up to the individual. All my years at art college (I'm not a photographer) showed me that some people just see the image and others don't. Of course some can be coached to get better results. As the likes of Bill Brandt and Co showed us it's not the machine it's the eyes behind it. The darkroom was also down to (experience of) trial and error results based on your eye, and of course a few tricks to do with development etc.

    Nowadays with photoshop, gimp and the likes, it's quickly accessible to many more people who are computer savvy and who understand buttons which immediately get a better white balance, help overexposure problems and the list goes on. However if you can't see it .... you can't catch it.

    I'm not a big fan of wedding photographs, but If one looks around a bit you can see that some photographers just photograph the wedding differently, maybe that's the secret. Here's two examples (there are 100s more of course) :

    http://bit.ly/jGV7c3
    http://bit.ly/3DoN3

  • Vijay

    May 22, 2011 06:56 pm

    I was at my cousin's wedding this summer and there was 2 paid photographer (pros) talking pictures. Before the ceremony, i asked them if it is ok if i tag along "AT TIMES" to take some pictures with my camera & gear (i'm an amateur)... they were super nice about it... they let me take pictures, even helped me frame a few and taught me a thing or two... after the ceremony, they asked if i can share with them the pictures i took...

    i was pleasantly surprised that they used about 20 of my shots... which i took alone with the couple... in the final album... of course i wasnt paid for it... but it made me feel real good that even pros sometimes likes pictures taken by others... its not true that ONLY THEY TAKE THE BEST SHOTS...

    i think if ppl like me goes beforehand n request... pros should allow and help.. i mean... how else will anyone get a chance to learn...

    if photography really is a journey... then why not help others... of course if they trouble u or disturbs u while shooting.. its a diff thing.. but....

  • Paul vS

    May 22, 2011 08:38 am

    @mark

    Let me repeat this: I don't sell prints so I give a damn about print services. In fact, prints are disposable cheap copies of digital files that I do hand out. At the last wedding I have been to, my client had an engagement photo of them (previously taken by me) printed on about 300 bottles for the reception. How long do you think these bottles are supposed to last?

    Anyway - your anonymous comment that is neither showing us your website nor contributing any content to this thread is just bashing me and Adam, while not expressing any appreciation for the free articles and the comments written on this website that you hate so much while the solution could be so easy: Just surf other websites.

  • LynnMarie

    May 22, 2011 07:53 am

    Back in the 70's when I was photographing weddings and constantly had the problem of others standing to close over my shoulder trying to get the exact same shot...( oh and their flash would hit me in the eye and blind me!) I would put my camera down right where I was standing, walk up to the shot - do a few minor fixes (ie dresses,hair etc...) and than walk back and as I stood up with my camera, I would put my elbows straight out from my shoulders - OOPS! than I would politely ask them to move out of my space and respect the fact that I am hired to do photograph this wedding. Many times I would, when we all came in for the shots at the alter - make an announcement asking every one to refrain from taking any shots until I was done and that I would allow time for them to sneak in their own photography, as we want to stay on time and get the Bride and Groom to the reception...most often this worked the best - sometimes I would just stop shooting , sit down and let them have at it - until the Bride and Groom noticed, and than I would vocalize...each group is different - some people just don't get it and so that is when I just stop! Good luck!

  • DanielR

    May 22, 2011 07:41 am

    @mark/all reading

    (I go by Dan but didn't want to cause confusion)

    mark - I think that everyone that was involved in this convocation/debate has left. Meaning that you’re doing the equivalent of shouting in an empty room… well except for me.

    mark - I think it's funny that you criticize others for giving their opinion without having experience but you yourself said that you don't do wedding, or people for that matter.... so why don't you ask yourself - "who are you to talk?".

    I've been watching this debate sine the beginning. I must say that I think it's funny, and telling of the general attitude of "professional" photographers that a few people who are not necessarily professionals can get the “pros” panties in such a wad by expressing their opinion.

    Just look at yourselves… professionals my ass.

  • Mark

    May 22, 2011 04:59 am

    @Paul vS -- you and Adam are so sadly mistaken that it is a pity really. Shutterfly and Costco prints are totally amateur stuff. REAL labs can be found online and if you charge for prints, you should be using them only!!!! I tried several, but White House Custom Colour won out in the end. Their prints are priced below Shutterfly and WAY BETTER QUALITY with truer color rendition. The fact that you don't know what a quality print is, indicates that you know very little about photography and should not be disparaging others on this site. Sadly opinions are like (you know what) and everyone has one. That said, not every opinion is equal today!!!!!

    I really hate that this site has degraded so much in the past year that it is nearly unusable!!! There use to be respect shown and a good exchange of information and ideas here. Now we have crap like this thread in its place!!!!

  • Mark

    May 22, 2011 03:32 am

    @adam -- I don't know who you THINK you are, but if I was the admin, YOU WOULD BE OUT OF HERE NOW!!!! Your rude behavior is unforgivable and your DELIBERATE misreading of the article is insane.

    To answer your question of how "this is stealing", the "portrait session" is just that; a private shooting session with the paid photographer. No other cameras should be in use. The rest of the wedding is likely open season. During the portrait session or group photos, the hired photographer is expected to pose and light the subjects in a flattering way and to produce "professional quality" shots. By intruding on these private shoots you are STEALING his/her creativity and lighting structure that requires a huge investment of capital and training. They have done the hard work of learning how to do this and you have not!!!!! If you want to gain the knowledge and learn how to do this, then work for a wedding photographer as a second and do your apprenticeship the right way. You have been deliberately obtuse on this issue all along and seem to think that owning a DSLR entitles you to be a jerk!!! NOT SO!!!!

    I don't do weddings or even people because I hate how rude many of them are. I much prefer wildlife on my own terms. However, if I did do these events I would stipulate in advance that no flashes are allowed in the church and that guests may not leave their seats during the wedding EXCLUDING the professional hired to take the official photos. This would be to minimize the distractions during the couples very important day. Professional Photographers are trained to minimize the distractions of their movements, guests do not have that training so please refrain from disturbing the ceremony! The group shots would be a CLOSED SET with no other cameras. And the reception would be open to all and I and my second would work around the guests shooting. THIS USE TO BE THE NORMAL ETIQUETTE!!!! Maybe in this day and age, it needs to be pointed out to the couple and to be their responsibility to enforce unless they delegate that chore.

    There have been a lot of other "disparaging" remarks made by others about professional photographers. I guess I really don't get it. Many of these same people aspire to be professionals some day, yet you claim to hate "snobby" pros!!!!! When you learn enough, you just might understand what this issue and article are about. Unfortunately, most of these comments only reveal that you are commenting without any knowledge of the situation and HAVE MUCH TO LEARN. Remember, an UNINFORMED OPINION IS USELESS!!! Try learning from those with ACTUAL experience and grow. Once you do an official wedding for pay and it is not a relative or friend, your opinion might actually have weight around here and might even earn you a little respect.

  • G-Love

    May 21, 2011 01:06 pm

    @Adam and Elizabeth: u guys? Well maybe the reason ive been "adoringly nice" to Elizabeth is cuz I'm a girl? U know. Sugar and spice and all the crap? Lol. But nope, I just appreciate people's kindness.

  • G-Love

    May 21, 2011 01:06 pm

    @Adam and Elizabeth: u guys? Well maybe the reason ive been "adoringly nice" to Elizabeth is cuz I'm a girl? U know. Dust and spice and all the crap? Lol. But nope, I just appreciate people's kindness.

  • G-Love

    May 21, 2011 12:22 pm

    @Adam: I wasn't. That's just how it was interpreted. And I really don't feel like going on with this arguement and uh, no? I don't know her other than her knowing that she defended me. Why?

  • Siddharth

    May 21, 2011 12:19 pm

    I read the blog ( and not the comments ) and wonder whether the same professional attitude would work in India. Typically Indian weddings are chaotic to say the least. You will have alteast a dozen camera's flashing at any point of time. If the photographer asks you to put your equipment away untill hes done - it would be ideal but would end up as a black spot on the guys reputation.

    I agree is frustrating , but these guys have to make a living so they adjust

  • Adam

    May 21, 2011 09:07 am

    @Andy Mills

    I get that you need to meet demand and if the demand is for prints and associated paraphernalia then you should provide that. It just does not seem like prints would be in as high of a demand as they used to be (when they were the only opinion). If the demand has changed then it seems that the business model should as well. This (prints not being in high demand) is my perception and I could be completely wrong but it does not seem like a good idea to have a business model where half your income is based on what I see as a declining demand. I'm not in the industry the same way you and others are... on this part it was really all conjecture on my part.

    Obviously my perception of what is in demand is wrong in your case - you are doing well and you said half you income is based on print orders.

    I said it a few comments back that another pro or amateur directly copying your poses, genuinely trying to get the same shot as the hired photog is not really kosher; in my opinion. I personally wouldn't worry about it for the reasons I stated but each to their own.

    Personally, I would not go after the same picture that you (the hired photog) were trying/getting. As I said I don't think it's entirely kosher and I don't see the point anyway. If I was around for the posed shots, then I'd probably shot way off angle from where the hired photog was shooting, I would not intentionally try to get the same angle and what I'd really be after is the "candid" shots of the hired photog setting the B&G up, things like that. I know that not everyone does, but I know better than to get in the way of the hired photog. I also know well enough to be aware and make sure that what I'm doing isn't causing an inadvertent distraction.

    In any case, like you said the plot has been lost... this is my last reply as well.

  • Andy Mills

    May 21, 2011 08:32 am

    @Adam

    "Do you think that in this day and age it's wise to base half your income on prints?

    Prints:
    You have offer what is required in your local area that you operate in, and what your target market demands - be it prints, digital, canvas, books, everything and so on. Someone who doesn't offer (or won't do) digital versions could be losing out, or they may not. It really depends upon the clients' needs/wants.

    Posing:
    "But say there is a someone like me who just likes to take pics. I'll may take pics of "your" posed shots, I may not. I'll most likely give my pictures to the bride and groom no charge, free of any copyright restrictions... as long as I'm not getting in your way, what is wrong with that?"

    I shall put aside the argument about people shooting over your shoulder and getting under your feet here as I believe you get this bit.

    I shall also put aside the more opportunistic shots that you and the guests may take. It is given that this will happen, and as the so called professional, (s)he should know how to get the better photos anyway. If (s)he can't, or it's that much of a "stresser", (s)he should look for a different job.

    But I am not sure you understand (apologies if this is patronising, it's not meant to be) the effort that can go into posing people (people who rarely ever have had any modelling experience). Yes, some lesser photographers will just ask the happy couple to stand there and smile, but a decent photographer will go to greater lengths than that.

    For example, a professional should know how to try and make the B&G look happy and relaxed, and will ensure that the veil is straight, the dress's train is neatly arranged (have you seen the photos with the train fanned out on the floor for example?), is the bride's hair looking OK? How is she standing, does she need to turn, are her hands in a good place, is something sticking out of her head, is she in directing harsh sunlight, is the background suitable? I could go on.

    As I said before, it's a moral point and not a legal one - it's the hired photographer and not any of the guests that has done all of this and more to set up a posed shot (even if it appears to take a relatively short time to actually do). Is it really fair/ethical for the opportunist to ride the photographer's coattails, and copy their set-ups? Can't the guest wait and ask the B&G afterwards and set up their own shots (if they are family/friends, surely the B&G should be happy enough to do this)?

    Even though there is the issue of distracting the B&G, it's not so bad if the guest is off to the side or taking their photos from another viewpoint. Again, I do not expect most photographers to get too upset about this. It's just not on to be copying what the professional is doing step by step.

    I'm going to be honest and say that I really do not want to reply to this thread again as I have now lost the plot with it, and people seem to be going round in circles. If I read it all again to pick up who said what and try to explain stuff, I think I will lose the will to live.

  • Best Exposures Photography

    May 21, 2011 06:27 am

    Attn: McguireUK

    I hope your first wedding shoot goes well. I would like to address what you said though.

    1. Other people taking shots can actually ruin yours - I have to throw out approx 4-5 pictures from every wedding shoot because of someone else's flash overexposing my images. I also have several situations PER WEDDING where someone wants to get a shot of something and doesn't realize that they hop into my frame and I have to wait for the picture to be taken till they move... and when things happen only once, you may not get another chance. I had one wedding where a friend of the family just purchased their first SLR. I was just about to take photos of the bride walking down the isle when this idiot jumps between me and her and shoots the entire time all the way up to the alter. Now, I had to walk side by side with him and take shots from where HE decided to stand because if I framed the picture the way I wanted to his body would ruin the shot. And there was no time to argue - it just happened and there was nothing I could do about it.

    2. I also have "only photographer" clause in the contract. And kudos to the appointed photographer assistant (sister in law) for pulling him aside and setting him straight but the damage was done. I find that having a bride appointed person for this is ESSENTIAL to a wedding photographers success.

    3. I have to admit that I was once in the novice photographers shoes. And I was really really pissed that I couldnt take some pictures with my brand new SLR. But the photographer did something that I really appreciated and I do it to this day. I offer to give the "offender" some tips and "how-to's"... and invite them to stand beside me, after I instruct them how not to get in the way. They actually get a lot more out of it, as I will discuss settings, etc with them and they feel like they just got a one on one for free. Its a pain but this way everyone is happy!

  • Adam

    May 21, 2011 03:06 am

    @Elizabeth Halford

    He (or she) is adoringly nice to you... part of what made me wonder.

  • Elizabeth Halford

    May 21, 2011 02:43 am

    @Adam: not that I know of :) I don't get to read all of the hundreds of comments that come through - hope he's been nice to me! :)

  • kathy

    May 21, 2011 02:36 am

    I really don't know how to approach this subject but maybe when you're having your inital meeting with the couple you might be able to phrase it in a polite way that you would appreciate it if they (the bride and groom) have chosen to have wedding programs for the guests that you would appreciate it if they would consider placing a short phrase in their program maybe somewhere near the bottom but where it can still be easily seen that is similar to this:

    Guests: Out of respect for us ( Bride & Groom's Name Here) and our photographer ( photographer's and/or Studio Name Here) we would appreciate it if you would refrain from taking photographs until after our photographer/he/she/they(their name/studio name) have completed their shots.

    Sincerly,
    (Bride & Groom's Name Here)

  • Adam

    May 21, 2011 02:34 am

    @Elizabeth Halford

    The 32x32px pic is a bit small to see how old you may be. But I also said "otherwise related to you". Just the way the kid is talking made me wonder is all. No offense intended.

  • Elizabeth Halford

    May 21, 2011 02:29 am

    Yes I confess...I had G-Love when I was 10 ;) Come now TELL ME I don't look that old! :*)

  • Adam

    May 21, 2011 02:21 am

    @Dan

    Just wanted to reiterate that I have no ill will towards you. Your obviously a very accomplished photographer and in that respect you have my admiration and respect.

    In regards to this discussion we'll just have to agree to disagree.

  • Adam

    May 21, 2011 02:15 am

    @G-Love

    Don't put words in my mouth. I never called you stupid. I made a general statement that was in no way specific to your ability to count or do basic math. Anyway, you've stated that you haven't read any of the comments so there is no point in having a discussion with you.

    However, I'd like you to confirm a theory I have - Elizabeth is your mom, or otherwise related to you in some way?

  • G-Love

    May 21, 2011 12:29 am

    @Adam: "Since you admitted that you haven’t read any of the comments (and your assumptions about what’s being discussed here show that you haven’t) they anything you say is meaningless" when said like that it is not *simply* just a suggestion. it is putting down another persons words for not worth anything and therefore mean. and when you say "
    I understand that counting and basic math may be difficult for some but it probably took me less than 30 seconds to figure out how many words he wrote and the percentages" your pretty much just calling me a stoopid kid. not does that sound nice to you? and no, *you* were missing *my* point. just the fact that you *did* that is kindof sad. it doesnt matter how long it took you, just the fact that you did. its like you *have* to prove everyone else wrong. and this goes for you, and pretty much all the adults argueing here (which is prettymuch everyone but elizabeth): you guys are seriously fighting *this* long? quoting others, bashing them, saying things you really have no right to say (i.e., telling *profesional photographers* that they dont know what their saying when you are a "rookie" as some might say?) im not saying that you dont have a point, but saying "oh thats the problem with you doing so many weddings, is they all look the same", you know.... how would you know? most of you probably dont even know who you are talking to besides a name and *maybe* a picture with it, so who are you to say what people do and dont know. now this may sound like im doing just that, but really im telling you guys that me, a 14 year old, can see just how dumb all this argueing is!

  • Ed Le Doux

    May 21, 2011 12:11 am

    I bring 'Guido' and 'Vito' with me... (LOL)

    Ed Le Doux
    North ('Nawt') Providence, RI

  • Dan

    May 20, 2011 11:05 pm

    @ Elizabeth

    We have several Canon 5D Mark II's. Until going digital, I never owned a 35MM. Yes, I did have 35mm through high school, (Olympus and Pentax) but not during my pro career. Our work was done with Bronica systems. It wasn't like I already had Canon or Nikon equipment, so I did my research and felt that Canon had more to offer. More variety in camera bodies and lenses at the time. I'm sure Nikon is just as good. I know many professionals using Nikon, which create great images.

    One camera I had back in HS was the Pentax 6x7. My friends called it a machine gun, since the mirror was very loud. Glad to see the gear lighten up.

  • Dan

    May 20, 2011 10:49 pm

    I agree with Elizabeth and G-Love. It's time to move on. For those of you who have weddings or other photograph assignments this weekend, let's get some great photographs.

  • Trevor

    May 20, 2011 06:33 pm

    I have done a few weddings as a freebee for couples who were on a tight budget. I can understand the opinion of the professional who takes pride in his work and has developped a reputation for his/her work, and may charge a substantial amount for their work. But as a professional they should realize that everyone will want some photos of their own, whether they are using a point and shoot or a DSLR. In the planning of an event like a wedding, the professional has to also plan for the hordes of other people with cameras, who may be stepping on their toes. The professional should pre-arrange with the couple that they have the right of way when it comes to photography as they are paid and the couple have expectations of what they will get for their money. The wedding rehersal is the right place for the bride and groom, or the paid photographer to spell out to the people in attendance how things are meant to be in regards to the photos, so on the big day things will flow a little more smoothly. But that said, I don't think that the guy who wants to build his portfolio, or the aunt who wants to give her collection of photos to the couple as her wedding gift, should be completely shut down just because there is a professional on site. As a paid wedding photographer, you need to consider the guests as well. Be a teacher and encourage those who share the passion for photography. Gain their cooperation through mutual respect, rather than ego or whatever. These are the challenges facing a wedding photograher. If you cannot achieve your shots with some obstacles like other photographers, then perhaps another type of photography should be considered like maternity shots, or portraits. As for the Facebook thing. It should be in a contract that if the professionals photos are used on a social networking site like Facebook, that their names have to be clearly labelled on the photos, or watermarked photos only etc. I guess what I am trying to say of the professional wedding photographer is that they have to rise above all to get the job done. Every wedding is different and there will always be the wedding from hell, but public relation skills have to be one of the most valuable traits, other that photographic talent, of the wedding photographer.

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 05:34 pm

    @G-Love

    "'anti-photography lighting’: well I’m sorry Adam but u really went through the trouble (however little it may be) to actually count the words and come up with percentages? Woow. And then you go into paragraph structure and thesis statements? Hah"

    I understand that counting and basic math may be difficult for some but it probably took me less than 30 seconds to figure out how many words he wrote and the percentages. If you'd read the comments you may understand the point I was making), or not. Whatever.

    I agree that this horse has long been pulverized and I'm guilty of beating it as much as anyone. But when people misrepresent what I've said, claim that they own light, or directly address me, I find it difficult not to respond. It's a fault.

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 05:17 pm

    @Elizabeth Halford

    I was not being mean to G-Love. Just suggesting that he read the comments before making assumptions. Re-reading his/her comments he/she apparently has no issues with leveling insults at others.

    @G-Love

    How was I mean to you? You said you didn't read any of the comments, yet you were commenting on them. I just suggested that you read the the comments before making comments on them.

  • Handy

    May 20, 2011 04:47 pm

    @digitalps
    Speaking of stealing, check this one out!
    http://stories.my/stolen-our-photography-images/

  • G-Love

    May 20, 2011 04:30 pm

    Thank you elizabeth. And adam. U know. Thers really no reason to be mean. I'm just trying to stop then arguments that happen with EVERY ARTICLE in this website! And for your information. I DO know what you guys are talking about because unlike you, I'm smart enough to KNOW WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT before I say it. And Thers no need to educate me about oxymorons because Thers a perfectly good example of one right on this page. And it's you. By what i can tell you really don't have that much experience and you shouldn't be going around 'mouthing off to elders' (no offense guys I'm not calling u old or anything) and you might think your clever by saying I'm not experienced to know. But how's this. I know enough to know that u have a point. Dan has a point. Elizabeth has a point. And so does everyone else who commented on this page. So just go cause more trouble where you'll actually get support because clearly you don't have any here

  • G-Love

    May 20, 2011 04:16 pm

    @Adam and Dan and whoever else is taking part in this seemingly unnessesarry conversation:
    Okay. I'm not gunna bother to read what you guys have been saying, but by what I have seen is basically, Adam is Probaly bashing the author of the website, and abunch of other people are either bashing him, or agreeing and bashing the people who disagree. But come on guys. Really? This place is to learn. Now I will admit i have done that a bit. But that's because my mother made me and doesnt trust my photography skills :/ (I'm still an minor) and I understand that u may be trying to save a few extra bucks, but you know. It's kindof like tracing another artists art and saying it's your own. And if you don't want to pay for it, then why would you have them there anyways? And besides. You can always ask for a copy of it. I doubt people will follow the whole copywrite rule. But u know whatever. Thats their choice. But the point is; that you shouldn't follow them around like a puppy,but if it's like a Wedding then you know … but if it's a private shoot Then you know... And also. I'm not trying to butt in or anything but that argument about the 'anti-photography lighting': well I'm sorry Adam but u really went through the trouble (however little it may be) to actually count the words and come up with percentages? Woow. And then you go into paragraph structure and thesis statements? Hah. Im sorry but u know. That's sounds pretty desperate. And like judging by the fact that Dan's name is in blue ima guess that he's an admin or someone importand to DPS where as you are just adding a comment (I'm not saying ur not important. I don't even know you).

    Sooo really what I'm saying is Get over it and move on! Thers no point in filling this comment section with contemptual arguing when the intended purpose of this comment section is to write suggestions. Discuss the ARTICLE and talk about your experiences as a photographer. So please just stop this rediculouse griping and use this site for what it's meant for.

  • Elizabeth Halford

    May 20, 2011 04:14 pm

    ...or better yet, let's start a new argument. You may pick either of the below subjects:
    HDR
    MAC vs PC
    Nikon vs Canon

    Ready....set...GO!

  • Elizabeth Halford

    May 20, 2011 04:13 pm

    Fight amongst yourselves, by all means, but please leave 'G-Love' alone. He/she is just a kid. You may now resume filling my inbox with your arguing.... :*)

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 04:04 pm

    @G-Love

    You say this is an unnecessary discussion yet you took the time to comment on it. Hum, that's what I call an oxymoron.

    Since you admitted that you haven't read any of the comments (and your assumptions about what's being discussed here show that you haven't) they anything you say is meaningless.

  • G-Love

    May 20, 2011 03:56 pm

    @Adam and Dan and whoever else is taking part in this seemingly unnessesarry conversation:
    Okay. I'm not gunna bother to read what you guys have been saying, but by what I have seen is basically, Adam is Probaly bashing the author of the website, and abunch of other people are either bashing him, or agreeing and bashing the people who disagree. But come on guys. Really? This place is to learn. Now I will admit i have done that a bit. But that's because my mother made me and doesnt trust my photography skills :/ (I'm still an minor) and I understand that u may be trying to save a few extra bucks, but you know. It's kindof like tracing another artists art and saying it's your own. And if you don't want to pay for it, then why would you have them there anyways? And besides. You can always ask for a copy of it. I doubt people will follow the whole copywrite rule. But u know whatever. Thats their choice. But the point is; that you shouldn't follow them around like a puppy,but if it's like a

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 03:28 pm

    @Dan

    "I think one thing Adam is forgetting. It’s not about the guests, nor the photographer. It’s all about the bride and groom. It’s their day. They have hired us not to take snapshots, but beautiful photographs of their special day. If our work was worthless to them, they wouldn’t have hired us in the first place.
    If you have any respect towards the bride and groom, you would let them have their professional photographs taken and not think about yourself and how you might save a few bucks, by shooting the professional posed images."

    Well you've changed your tune since the discussion first started. Before it was all about your shot, your moment, your light, your picture...

    "If you have any respect towards the bride and groom, you would let them have their professional photographs taken and not think about yourself and how you might save a few bucks, by shooting the professional posed images."

    How many fraking times do I have to say it? I do not advocate getting in the way of the hired photog. In fact I'm vehemently against it. Go back and read my comments, I never said that I or anyone else should be allowed to get in the hired photogs way. And what does my desire to take pictures at a friends wedding (for example) have to do with me "saving a few bucks"?

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 03:19 pm

    @mike

    "Your biggest problem is your lack of experience. You don’t understand what constitutes interference by the guests. If you did you would know that there is more than just direct, your head is in the way interface. There is suttle interface like people watching making the bride or groom uncomfortable… And my ego as a photographer is very small, other aspects of my life are a different story! I know I can’t own the light, but I can own how I use it."

    I suppose I could see how people watching the pictures being taken could make the bride and/or groom nervous which could effect your ability to take pictures. If that's the case then that constitutes interference and as I've said many, many times I'd be ok with me or anyone else being asked to leave if that were the case as I don't have any desire to interfere and I'm sure most other people don't either. At that point it just comes down to how you ask, as the pro, ask (i.e. not tell).

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 02:43 pm

    @Dan

    Just quoting you here so you know which of your comments I'm responding to:

    "I’m not even going to copy and paste your remarks that makes no sense what so ever. How can you debate about this subject, that you are rudely uneducated about??? So far, you have completely shown that you know nothing about lighting. And if you are so well educated in photography, I’m sure you would understand lighting ratios, watt seconds and dragging the shutter, just to name a few. You are clueless!!! All are critical for the work I do. It just happens that other flash units will trigger the one light.
    Since your such an advocate on this subject, maybe you should contact the all the lighting manufacturers to fix this problem you seem to have. Might make you sleep better at night.
    And your final comment on where I should put the optical slave, just shows how immature you really are. I feel sorry for those who have to deal with you on a daily basis."

    In a previous comment you described a lighting setup that you use to keep people from taking usable pictures. I referred to this setup as your "anti-photography lights" in one of my responses.

    This seemed to confuse you - "Not sure what you mean by anti-photography lights" - so I explained your comment to you and why I called the particular lighting setup you described as anti-photography lighting. Whether or not the lighting setup you were describing is beneficial to your photography work or not, you were mostly touting the benefit of it rendering pictures from guests unusable. This is what I was pointing out.

    I'm perfectly aware how an optical slave works. I don't own one but I have used one an am familiar with their operation. I understand that you may not set your lighting up to intentionally prevent guests from getting usable pictures, your primary goal is to get your picture and you set you lighting up for that. Still, you spent a good chunk of a paragraph describing how the setup can work for you in terms of discouraging guests from taking pictures.

    It would seem that by pointing this out to you, I've upset you. If my joke about placing the optical slave(s) on your head was immature then so be it. How immature it is for you to spend so much time devising ways to ruin other peoples pictures, and don't tell me that you don't spend any time - you've obviously spent enough time thinking about it to discover the side effect of your lighting setup.

    Lighting ratios I don't know about. Watt seconds I have a vague concept of. And I know what dragging the shutter is; I've done it. But what does it matter if I define these things for you? You'll just claim I Googled them.

    Suggesting that one should know what these terms mean in order to speak on the subject of photography (especially when the discussion isn't about lighting) is like me telling you to get the frak off the Internet unless you can define each of the 7 layers of the OSI model. It's irrelevant.

    More to the point, even if I don't know what I'm talking about - several professional photographers here have agreed with me. It would seem that I might not be speaking out of my ass as much as you imply.

  • Mike

    May 20, 2011 01:50 pm

    So what do you do when you ask nicely and they continue to do so and even give you attitude? There are people out there who are naturally confrontational and there are situations when you're on a very tight schedule and just don't have time to argue/explain yourself. This has happened to me several times before and I just continue shooting because if I ask and they refuse (rudely), the monopod strapped to my camera bag might end up getting used for purposes other than what it was made for.

  • Dan

    May 20, 2011 12:00 pm

    I think one thing Adam is forgetting. It's not about the guests, nor the photographer. It's all about the bride and groom. It's their day. They have hired us not to take snapshots, but beautiful photographs of their special day. If our work was worthless to them, they wouldn't have hired us in the first place.

    If you have any respect towards the bride and groom, you would let them have their professional photographs taken and not think about yourself and how you might save a few bucks, by shooting the professional posed images.

  • Pashminu Mansukhani

    May 20, 2011 11:29 am

    I have experienced the same thing with people shooting with their awful mobile cameras, pointing their mobiles towards the subject and blocking my view. It is very irritating, the results that they get are going to crappy to say the least.

  • mike

    May 20, 2011 11:07 am

    @Adam

    Your biggest problem is your lack of experience. You don't understand what constitutes interference by the guests. If you did you would know that there is more than just direct, your head is in the way interface. There is suttle interface like people watching making the bride or groom uncomfortable... And my ego as a photographer is very small, other aspects of my life are a different story! I know I can't own the light, but I can own how I use it.

  • Dan

    May 20, 2011 10:41 am

    Let me guess, Adam is going to be Googling a lot tonight on photography.

  • Dan

    May 20, 2011 10:38 am

    @ Adam

    I'm not even going to copy and paste your remarks that makes no sense what so ever. How can you debate about this subject, that you are rudely uneducated about??? So far, you have completely shown that you know nothing about lighting. And if you are so well educated in photography, I'm sure you would understand lighting ratios, watt seconds and dragging the shutter, just to name a few. You are clueless!!! All are critical for the work I do. It just happens that other flash units will trigger the one light.

    Since your such an advocate on this subject, maybe you should contact the all the lighting manufacturers to fix this problem you seem to have. Might make you sleep better at night.

    And your final comment on where I should put the optical slave, just shows how immature you really are. I feel sorry for those who have to deal with you on a daily basis.

  • Jody

    May 20, 2011 10:38 am

    I had that problem at a ball recently. Had others snapping in the studio room, and since I didn't charge to attend the event, they were in effect, taking any sales I could have made. Then there are mobile phones as well, they can take good quality photos these days. How do you manage to stay focused and take photos whilst at the same time telling a heap of students to put their cameras away? Even a few teachers were doing it.

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 10:01 am

    @Dan

    "I see I left you speechless :)"

    Hardly... just a rogue press of the Enter key.

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 09:59 am

    @Dan

    Here is what you said:

    "I have a simple way that solves the problem of guests shooting around the area where we are working. After the ceremony, my assistant sets up two studio lights to light my groups at the alter. One light is connected to a Pocket Wizard, the second light is triggered by an optical slave. Once someone shoots with their flash, the optical slave will trigger the one light, causing a very noticeable uneven exposure from one side of the image to the other. Guests will generally stop shooting once they see the results, without a word even being said. Am I wrong for doing this? Absolutely not. This is the type of lighting I need to create well exposed images. I’m sure Adam will find fault in me for doing this, but hey, that’s his problem, not mine."

    Let's break it down:

    "I have a simple way that solves the problem of guests shooting around the area where we are working..."

    This indicates that you are going to tell us about a method you use to keep guests at a wedding from getting good pictures (at least of a specific shot).

    "After the ceremony, my assistant sets up two studio lights to light my groups at the alter. One light is connected to a Pocket Wizard, the second light is triggered by an optical slave. Once someone shoots with their flash, the optical slave will trigger the one light, causing a very noticeable uneven exposure from one side of the image to the other. Guests will generally stop shooting once they see the results, without a word even being said."

    You then go on to tell us how you setup your lights and how this particular setup causes "a very noticeable uneven exposure from one side of the image to the other" which you then indicate keeps guests from trying to take more pictures.

    Since you wait until the end to say "This is the type of lighting I need to create well exposed images." it indicates that the primary goal of this setup is to prevent guests from taking pictures. Out of 137 words you use 98 (71%) to describe how this setup prevents guests from taking pictures and only 13 (9%) to describe how you use it to get good pictures.

    Thus my conclusion was that the primary goal of the setup you described is to prevent guests from being able to get a usable picture. Anti-photography lights or rather anti-photography lighting.

    ---

    I have an idea for you - take a optical slave and put a strap on it so you can wear it on the back of your head. This way if anyone behind you tries to take a pic it will trigger the strobe and ruin their pic. You may also want to wear some on the sides of your head to keep the guests to your left and right from being able to get a usable pic.

  • Dan

    May 20, 2011 09:49 am

    I see I left you speechless :)

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 09:28 am

    @Dan

  • Dan

    May 20, 2011 08:51 am

    @ Adam

    Not sure what you mean by anti-photography lights. I'm sure it's just another one of your negative comments. I wouldn't expect anything less of you. It's the lighting I prefer to use and the results my clients expect. The optical slave is very sensitive, setting the light off even with a P&S from a good distance. It's not trouble to set up at all. My assistant set them up for me and my second shooter, while the guests are going through the receiving line.

  • Grant

    May 20, 2011 08:45 am

    I do agreee with most of Elizabeth's article. But I take issue with one part of it. When I was married we hired a good, established local photographrer, but could only afford a limited number of prints at the time. When we wanted more, the photographer had gone out of business and moved away. We were stuck with what we had in the first place. SInce then, I will only hire people on the basis that the work done for me belongs to me. That includes negatives, RAW files etc.

    Once burnt, I do not put my hand back in the fire.

    Not only is it, "okay ok to scan and reprint the prints they’ve bought from you." It is my only option.
    And that saracstic phrase " Hopefully. But ya know…probably not." Well, hopefully the photographer's business will last longer than my needs for the pictures... but possibly not.

    Read more: http://www.digital-photography-school.com/other-photographers-stealing-your-moment-tell-them-to-back-off#ixzz1MqCk9HK7

  • Daryl

    May 20, 2011 08:06 am

    At the time when I got married I worked in a camera store. A co-worker of mine wanted some experience shooting at a wedding, so when I negotiated with my wedding photographer - someone picked out of a phone book in my wife's home town - I made it clear that my friend was to shoot behind him. I don't care if is was fair, and the photographer didn't have to agree. We could have found a different one. But he did agree.

    Later I found out that he told my friend to buzz off, and didn't let him follow us to the formals. In the end our photographers proofs were uninspired, and few. When we asked our friend for his pictures, he said he didn't get many because the photographer told him to leave. We were so mad we didn't pay the photographer anything.

    Now I've done a few weddings and I get great shots. i have friends and family shooting over my shoulder, and SOME of their shots are better than mine. So what? I don't have to worry about getting in their way, I'm the one getting paid, and everybody's happy.

    BTW, while straying eyes are a problem, as photographer you can be fairly insistent that all eyes are on you while taking your formals. You can even call out the talkative mother or sister in the pictures, and tell them that these expensive pictures just will not work as long as they're talking!

  • Lucia

    May 20, 2011 08:03 am

    @ Adam

    not at all, if he would post them like Photo by Lucia or whatever, I would be cool with that, and I told him to feel free to post any photo that I took of him or the three of us, but the point in my story was that sharing the few things I knew about photography with him made us have a point in common and better friends even after the backpacking experience

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 08:01 am

    @Dan

    If that's how you roll then that's how you roll. Seems like a lot of trouble to go through though. What prevents someone from just moving so that your anti-photography lights do not affect them?

    ----

    If they are not in your way, not interfering with your work, then what’s the problem with other people taking pictures as guests of the wedding?

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 07:54 am

    @Alwyn Burger

    I do agree that my perspective might be different if I relied on photography as my sole source of income. But I don't think so.

    The crux of my argument is if they are not in your way, not interfering with your work, then what's the problem with other people taking pictures as guests of the wedding?

    "I won’t sue because I protect my space."

    I think that your missing the point - you won't sue a "rouge" photog because you would not have a case against them. See my last reply to mike for clarification on why I was making this challenge.

  • Dan

    May 20, 2011 07:40 am

    I have a simple way that solves the problem of guests shooting around the area where we are working. After the ceremony, my assistant sets up two studio lights to light my groups at the alter. One light is connected to a Pocket Wizard, the second light is triggered by an optical slave. Once someone shoots with their flash, the optical slave will trigger the one light, causing a very noticeable uneven exposure from one side of the image to the other. Guests will generally stop shooting once they see the results, without a word even being said. Am I wrong for doing this? Absolutely not. This is the type of lighting I need to create well exposed images. I'm sure Adam will find fault in me for doing this, but hey, that's his problem, not mine.

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 07:22 am

    @mike

    You are misconstruing what I said... and your way off base.

    Even if the hired photog and client (bride & groom) had a clause in the contract that barred other photographers and someone started snapping pics, the suit would not be for copyright infringement, it would be for breach of contract. The hired photog would sue the client, not the rouge photographer.

    What I was saying is that you cannot own a pose, and you don't own light and therefore cannot sue the rouge photographer for copyright infringement, much less anything else. Maybe, the client could sue the rouge photographer for damages after you sued them but I imagine it would be difficult.

    "But the one thing that all wedding photographers should have is an exclusive shooter section in their contract, and that means yes they do own the light, poses, and anything else they need to get the JOB done."

    No, it does not. How can someone "own light"? My challenge to this erroneous idea was for a a lawsuit to be brought against someone for taking a picture of the same thing that you are. The case would be thrown out because you can't fracking own light, or a pose, etc. You also implying that if the hired photog needed a car to "get the JOB done" he could just take whatever car he wanted because if he/she needs it to "get the JOB done" then they own it...

    "You do not have experience in this field, so offering your opinion is useless."

    And yet more than one professional photog has agreed with me on several points that I've made. Yep, must not know what I'm talking about at all. And I actually do have experience in this field, limited as it may be.

    "IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH EGO"

    Well, when you claim to own light it's either ego,stupidity, or insanity. Take your pick.

  • Dan

    May 20, 2011 07:12 am

    @ demelza

    What you need to watch out for, when letting others shoot with you, is the straying eyes. It is very common (when you allow this) that the subjects eye's will be looking off at another camera which creates a lot of retouching, that would not be necessary if you did have people shooting with you. Trust me, I have been shooting weddings and events for over 25 years now. The more you do to perfect in the camera, the less corrections you'll have to make on the computer. Good luck with your first wedding. I'm sure you are excited.

  • Alwyn Burger

    May 20, 2011 07:06 am

    @Adam

    Well, yeah, I sort of implied that from your comments it was obvious that your opinion has no foundation based on experience but that it is only an opinion...which is ok of course.

    I won't sue because I protect my space. And by that I mean the entire area in which the group photography happens. Unlike you we don't have day jobs that pay the bills. the wedding pays my bills and I will protect my work environment (with the blessing of the wedding couple seeing as they carefully selected me and are paying a premium for the pictures they expect to receive). But there are still some guests who will always think that requests don't apply to them, which makes the article pertinent.

    Thanx to DPS for hosting this hot topic.

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 06:54 am

    @Alwyn Burger

    If you were being sarcastic then ok. As I said I wasn't sure but was covering my bases none the less.

    "so not suing you or anybody else..."

    Which proves (for lack of a better word) my point - that while you may like to think that you own a pose, or shot, light, etc. you don't. You own the image once it's taken, that's it.

    Apologies if my use of the word "whatever" bothered you. I was not trying to belittle your Miss World analogy. If you read back I actually was agreeing with you on the point you were illustrating with it. My use of "whatever" was just my contempt for such pageants coming out. Apologies.

    "If you “just like taking pics”, and mean no offense, then manners would have it that you introduce yourself to the togs and feel him/her out."

    I don't think that it would be appropriate for me to feel the photog... No, really, seriously - when did I ever say I wouldn't? i don't particularly think that it's necessary, but I never advocated being an ass to the hired photog.

    "What do you do Adam? other than take wedding pictures for free? while us poor working togs have to try charge for it…"

    I'm a network admin. I'm a professional Geek. It depends on how you define "professional" but I don't consider myself a professional photog or amateur for that matter. It's just something I do.

    I've done quite a bit of video and photography work that I have gotten paid, or otherwise compensated for if that counts for anything. My most recent project (finished it a couple of weeks ago) was a promo video for the local elementary school yearbook; I did not get paid for that other than my son will be getting his yearbook for free (which is comical because I spent $30 licensing music for the video. The yearbook cost $15). Other than that I've not done anything "professional" in quite awhile.

    Anyway, I'm not really what that has to do with anything. Unless you mean to imply that because photography is not my day job that I don't know what I'm doing and/or my opinion on matters such as this do not matter?

  • Demelza

    May 20, 2011 06:18 am

    I have my first pro wedding shoot coming up, and don't have a problem with guests taking their own photos with their little point and shoots, so long as they don't get in between me and my subject(s). I did this couple's engagement photoshoot too, and they much preferred mine to anything their friends and family came up with. Of course, I have the advantage of the bridal party shots being taken at a site away from both the ceremony and reception venues, so there will only be the people actually listed to 'be' in the photos who will be there which will reduce the problem somewhat.

  • mike

    May 20, 2011 06:16 am

    @ Adam
    She could sue and she would win. What you THINK should be the right thing, and what the right thing is are two different things. You seem to have an answer for everything, but you are wrong. You do not have experience in this field, so offering your opinion is useless. Most wedding photographers have a big thing in their contracts about this and go over it at length with the bride and groom. 99% of the time this is what the bride and groom want too. The faster they can get through pictures the sooner they can enjoy their day. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH EGO. This is our business, and we want to do it well. Something you don’t seem to want to do, because you are spouting out all this nonsense when you probably should be working. I will give you this, some photographers do take themselves way to seriously, and talk about the art… But a wedding is not art and there are 1000s of other photographers that can do the job same as you . But the one thing that all wedding photographers should have is an exclusive shooter section in their contract, and that means yes they do own the light, poses, and anything else they need to get the JOB done.

  • T-Fiz

    May 20, 2011 06:11 am

    Take this for the $.02 that it's probably not even worth (LOL)...I had a similar situation where I was taking pictures at an outdoor baptism at a lake last year. After he was baptized my friend got re-dressed in his suit and stood with his family and posed for shots that their family, friends, and others were taking, which was close to 20 people standing straight-on with the subject...meaning that they would ALL end up with the same typical, run-of-mill shot. Thinking quickly, I moved over the extreme left of the subject and took side/profile shots using a zoom lens, focusing on my friend and his grandpa standing next to each other. It was a candid shot of them posing for other cameras. I later b&w'd the photo and emailed it to my friend who was baptized...he loved it so much that it was his Facebook profile pic for 2 weeks straight! Needless to say, I ended up with an absurd amount of candid, unique, and intimate shots...and many compliments as well!

    One of my points is this: *maybe* it's time for pro & semi-pro photographers to 'up the game' and start thinking outside of the "typical shot box", and since you have the equipment, use it! Ask yourself something along this line, "If I was doing a macro shoot, in what new way could I show an ordinary object to make it look interesting?" Amateur and novice photogs will automatically aim for 'the typical shot', just to get a shot...pro photogs should aim for capturing the moment and creating a memory.

  • Alwyn Burger

    May 20, 2011 06:06 am

    @Adam
    LOLOL, not ego swelling at all. Rather, I am serious about my assistant and reflectors, but it was sarcasm at your comments. You only want to see your self serving point of view, and will justify it no matter what. If you "just like taking pics", and mean no offense, then manners would have it that you introduce yourself to the togs and feel him/her out. You being "whatever" is a tactic to make others analogies unimportant?
    What do you do Adam? other than take wedding pictures for free? while us poor working togs have to try charge for it...

    i rest my case, so not suing you or anybody else, but I go with Dan and Elizabeth on this score.
    till next time our opinions meet (*_*)

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 05:56 am

    @Corey

    No, there are more left. Dan has not compared his work as a photographer to be as stressful as a firefighter's yet.

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 05:53 am

    @Alwyn Burger

    Again, people interfering is not cool. A literal professional who is snapping pics behind you with the intent to sell them (as in your miss whatever example) to whomever is also not cool and is ethically reprehensible. I'd even go as far as saying that an armature or casual guest snapping pics with the intention to sell them to to whomever is not cool. But you can't really know people's intentions so wada gonna do? Behavior like that though has a way of working it's way back to the offending person... like in your miss whatever example.

    But say there is a someone like me who just likes to take pics. I'll may take pics of "your" posed shots, I may not. I'll most likely give my pictures to the bride and groom no charge, free of any copyright restrictions... as long as I'm not getting in your way, what is wrong with that?

    "Come on a wedding course for which I will gladly transfer my knowledge to you (at a fee)."

    Of course you'll charge me... you've gotta pay for that fancy website of yours somehow.

    "As for the copy right the light…yes, it is my assistant with my reflectors creating the light, I pay a large part of my wedding fee for helpers to make the most of the conditions. That is then mine exclusively!"

    Ok, my quip about patenting light was sarcasm... so you may be begin sarcasm back to me but I think that your claiming that you own light. You may want to go get that ego checked, it's starting to swell.

    Seriously though, you can't possibly claim to own light. for frak sake do you have any idea how ludicrous that claim is?

    I'd like to see you try to sue someone for copyright infringement because they took a picture of one of your posed shots.

  • Corey

    May 20, 2011 05:43 am

    Wow the most interesting thing here is the use of html... thread is over people. Their is no more analogies left. Lol

  • Cyn

    May 20, 2011 05:42 am

    I can handle Nanna and Grandaddy, but what do you say to the other guy getting paid?

    Ok, so here’s the thing; What the heck do you do with the ‘other professionals’, namely the videographer, who feels it necessary to be front and center at the wedding? I’m an event photographer - I shot my first wedding (as the wedding photographer) a couple of weeks ago, I was hired by a friend who had seen my work and saw how I worked at other events (I try really hard to not be noticed, I get the posed and created shots, but prefer the ‘in the moment’ photos). I seriously couldn’t get this guy out of the way, I shot ‘the kiss’ from the back of the isle, zoomed in on the Bride & Groom. Ready set, kiss... video camera in the shot. I think the videographer was as close to the bride as the groom was! He seriously took over, posing, positioning, he even put the groom on the spot and asked him to pick up his new bride and carry her. He asked, loudly, and in front of everyone “Are you able to pick her up?”.
    I saw his finished product, it looks great, but for Pete’s sake!

  • Alwyn Burger

    May 20, 2011 05:35 am

    @ Adam,
    Thanx for your comments. Let me clarify. I often have an assistant tog to shoot the other angles BECAUSE there are great shots to be had there, off the same group pose that I narrate. I have to create those poses under pressure unless I have a set of poses that go from wedding to wedding (which I don't, I work with each group and yes that work in that instance is original! MINE. Years ago, the wedding party went off for photos with the pro for an hour or more. We had no interference as such other than maybe 1 slr who was serious about his/her hobby.
    The digital onset and the change in trend where weddings happen all in one place have changed that, BUT what has changed most of all, are peoples bad manners. We live in a world where we all think we have every right and have no respect for other's rights. I get paid to capture the wedding and they have every right to expect great pics from me, this becomes very difficult when my groups are being called to look all over the place (because every snapper is selfish and want a pic where the group looks at their camera). If I am doing a shoot for any other corporate client, my rights would be expected and the corporate client's PR won't be there with their digital snapping over my shoulder???

    and lastly, working amongst other pro's and shooting their poses will get you a very bad rap! Some years back I was doing a shoot with Michelle Maclain (Miss World at the time) I got a 10min session and the news togs got 3 mins each. One chap sneaked shots while another was on his 3 mins and this caused a massive reprisal and a escort out the venue. Such bad behaviour will not be tolerated by professionals when NOT in a free for all environment. A wedding is NOT a free for all. i am paid to cover the photographic record in my artistic style which the B&G felt would be suitable of their wedding. You as the amateur guest have no right to "use" the opportunity to learn photography from me. Come on a wedding course for which I will gladly transfer my knowledge to you (at a fee).

    As for the copy right the light...yes, it is my assistant with my reflectors creating the light, I pay a large part of my wedding fee for helpers to make the most of the conditions. That is then mine exclusively!

    I have no objections to cameras being at the wedding, but only during the open sessions, not when I have to create and narrate the poses and light.

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 05:33 am

    @wayne

    We just did pics for our son who plays baseball. The photog simply asked everyone to wait till he was done before they started taking pics themselves...

    He (the photog) probably realizes that being a jerk and not letting parents snap a quick pic would not be good for future business. After all, at the point they are ready to take the pic the photog already had the money and order form in hand... so letting the parents snap a pic is no skin off his back.

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 05:27 am

    @Geoff

    Do you think that in this day and age it's wise to base half your income on prints?

    "if guests take casual or extra pictures, please do not email them or post them online for three days."

    So, because you're slow, or behind the technology curve, you place a temporary embargo on what people can do with their property? Classy.

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 05:20 am

    @Lucia

    Ok, claiming another photgos work as your own is not cool. I understand why you'd ask him to remove them...

    Curious, if he had posted them but properly attributed them to you would you have an issue with that?

  • Geoff

    May 20, 2011 05:18 am

    I can't believe some of the crap being posted here.....

    "it’s not the client’s fault if someone is taking pictures. I say ask politely, but if the “free” photographer is taking shots and not breaking any laws, then get over it."

    That's one of several that just don't understand the situation. The photographer has a contract with the client to take wedding pictures and to sell prints to family members, guests and others requesting them (it's how SmugMug and several other album providers work).

    Somebody else comes along and takes pictures with their cameraphone, compact or even a quality DSLR and gets them online first (maybe even using the same phone they took the shots with) onto Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa or whatever. So all the friends, relatives and guests of the wedding (and perhaps many more who couldn't make it) have the pictures and can even make prints of them and so don't need for the professional's work.

    That deprives the professional of at least half of their potential sales - and they've probably already had to keep hiring costs low to get the job and have had to rely on sales. Somebody has 'broken the contract' here..... so whose fault is it? Sorry, but it's the clients, unless they make it clear to guests that only the professional can take pictures - which, being a nice young couple, they won't, and who can blame them.

    I'd advocate a compromise - it would be easier if one wedding VIP (Best Man, Chief Bridesmaid, Father of Bride) tells people that:

    a. the professional has been hired to take certain shots - please don't interfere with him/her.
    b. if guests take casual or extra pictures, please do not email them or post them online for three days.

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 05:16 am

    @Lydia Selk

    That sucks but it's something to learn from. Next time, ask the guests to hold off till your done with your work. Perfectly reasonable request.

    Shouting at them, telling them to "back off", calling them an ass for having a DSLR, or claiming ownership of light, are not reasonable.

  • Adam

    May 20, 2011 05:11 am

    @Alwyn Burger

    "When you get the florist in or the caterers, will it be ok for all the aunts and moms or guests to interfere with the cooking or flowers, changing table decorations around?"

    This analogy (which Dan has used several times) does not work. If I went around undoing the florists work, or getting in the way of the caterers then that, as you said, would be interfering. I've said over and over again that interfering with the hired photogs work in not ok.

    Me standing off to the side, being quiet, not purposefully detracting the person(s) the hired photog is trying to take pictures of is not interfering. It's not the same thing as someone going around re-arranging the floral arrangements or getting in the way of the cook. And don't even start talking about passengers flying commercial jets.

    "so why is it ok for other photographers to copy the pro’s work? It is MY skill & creativity that arranges groups in a certain creative way, or ask the individuals in the wedding party to pose like this or that. that is my work, and it is NOT ok for somebody else to snap away at what I am putting together. Yes, planning well beforehand where i will shoot what..."

    I'm sure that all your work is 100% original? You've never "copied" the style, or subject matter of another photog? By your reasoning no one can take a picture of the same thing that anyone else has taken a picture of. Ever.

    Besides, I'm thinking that if I'm standing off to the side from you, I'm really not getting the same shot as you, it's not the same picture... so it's really not "copying" anything.

    "most negative comments here come from people who have no experience doing this work on an ongoing basis. And maybe charging “cheap” to get a job or not at all. that all affects our ability to put food on our tables."

    Yes, everyone here who has a dissenting opinion from the (egotistical) "professional" photogs is an idiot who has no clue what they are talking about... and by golly won't someone think of the children!

    I just think that as someone getting paid to be a photog it's a prerequisite that you check your personal issues at the door. That includes whatever personal feelings you have about other people taking pictures (again, if they are not getting in your way).

    I'm curious, if you were say up in Seattle at Pikes Place where at any given time you'll see dozens of photographers, professional and otherwise. Would you get in the face of someone standing behind, or to the side of you, taking a pic of the same subject you are? How far does this perceived ownership of light extend?

    Also, I thought that I'd inform all of you that I patented light. All light derivative works belong to me.

    ------

    (note: my "I patented light" quip was a slightly modified quote form a commenter on this post: http://www.boingboing.net/2011/05/17/lady-gaga-demands-ph.html)

    (note 2: nice to see you back Dan. Guess you got all your important work done. Good for you.)

  • Lydia Selk

    May 20, 2011 04:37 am

    I shot a wedding for the first time last spring. It was a favor for my neighbor who is a long time family friend. I did not mind other people with their point and shoots until I got the photos in the computer. The flash of other cameras ruined some shots, and the family group shots, I am not sure I got a shot where everyone was looking at me. Everyone was looking at a different camera. sigh.... I was too nervous in the moment to see what was happening.
    If I had it all to do again, I would speak up and tell the other people that their flash was messing with my shots, as well as the fact that the family is paying me to take these shots and I need the subjects full attention. Also I am naturally a loud person, so during the group shots I would say "All Eyes HERE please!". sigh... they were happy with what I gave them, but I realized that day that I did not want to become a wedding photographer.

  • Dan

    May 20, 2011 04:28 am

    Well said Alwyn!

  • Dan

    May 20, 2011 04:23 am

    @ Jill

    We place a card at each seat at the reception, with an image of the couple (from their engagement session), along with information on viewing the images on line. Gives our website, password and when to expect them to be up and ready. We also include a nice note thanking them for allowing us to capture the moments of the couple's special day. From this sight, they can order desired prints, which are shipped directly to them. We receive may orders across the country.

  • Linda Maki

    May 20, 2011 03:47 am

    Our wedding contract states that we will be the only photographers shooting the wedding, professional or amateur. This gives a couple a polite way of telling their over-zealous Uncle John that he will NOT be shooting their wedding - they've hired professionals to do the job.
    Of course we understand that everyone will bring their camera along and will be taking shots, but we don't allow them to interfere with the rapport we build with the groups we're photographing. It's important for every person in a family portrait, for example, to be looking at the camera and feeling the happy connection we establish with them. If they're hearing, "Hey, Mary! Look over here!" from someone on the sidelines, it will ruin our shot and we'll have to get the group involved with us again to get the expressions our couple will want to see.
    Before we do the family photos we tell the crowd that they have 15 minutes to take as many photographs as they want, and then it will be our turn. That way, they are satisfied that they've got the snapshots they want, and they leave the professional work to us. When we're working with the couple, we don't allow anyone else to shoot over our shoulders, as, again, this ruins the atmosphere and emotions that we pride ourselves in capturing. We're creating art, not snapshots. We're not elitist ...but we are very good at what we do, and that's what our clients want from us.

  • Momneedssleep

    May 20, 2011 03:04 am

    I was totally guilty of this at my BIL's reception, and luckily so. The professionals had two shooters, and the pictures they returned are complete and utter crap. Editing can't even save them. It's a serious hobby for me, and I'm grateful I had the guts to take the shots I wanted to, and so his my new SIL.

  • DSLRGuy

    May 20, 2011 02:41 am

    This entire comment exchange is extraordinary. As someone who loves DSLR photography, has a full-time job not related to photography, and having just booked a wedding photographer, the topic is of particular interest.

    No one is arguing that if behavior of guests interferes with the hired-gun it should be remedied - we all agree about that, but suggesting that someone who brings a DSLR to a wedding is an asshole is a bit much.

    If you spent thousands on equipment, classes, lighting, and have a clue what you're doing - your shots should be amazing compared to uncle bob shooting over your shoulder. If they're not, why the hell did they hire you and not uncle Bob?

    We hired a photographer for our wedding that takes amazing pictures - he's also been known to give pointers to other shooters at weddings and help them take great shots themselves. He's confident in his work - he knows no one can take pictures and post-process like he can - and so do we - which is why we're paying him the equivalent of a few house payments to shoot our big day.

    Unless someone is physically stopping you from getting the shots you need, chill out and have some confidence in what you do. To restrict others from shooting at all shows a clear insecurity in your ability to provide your clients a valuable product.

  • Michael

    May 20, 2011 02:31 am

    I was a pro photographer back in the 70's-80's and I know what all you are saying about stealing shots or photo's... It was a killer. I did some photo's of some high school football and later driving down a high way, I saw one of my pix on a billboard selling a bank or service. I almost ran off the road!!! I should have gone after the AD agency, But realized that the court would be in favor of the AD agency. So I gave up on that one. Relatives in Weddings were also a killer for us also... Boyfriends were bad also, in doing modeling portfolios It got to the point of banding all guest at a shoot... managers etc... just the model, makeup, assistance and me...
    As much as I loved photography, I had to get out of it... due to boyfriends, husbands, relatives, etc... You run people off and you turn around and you have other people stealing your photo's... I would never recommend anyone going prop. Unless you have a great business since, and get a manager to take care of the crap so you can focus on your photography... And don't expect to stay married if your working with female models.... I finally got with one of the major news org. and life became good again...!!! THAT'S A FACT!!!!

  • Aleeya

    May 20, 2011 02:31 am

    Every wedding I have attended, the photographer would make an announcement that everyone could take all the pictures they wanted after he was finished because everyone's flashes going off while he was shooting would mess up his shots. No one has ever been upset by this request plus the bride and groom have already paid the photographer so he's still getting his money regardless of whose shooting over his shoulder. I don't recall ever seeing a bride's wedding album full of snapshots from grandma's camera. She paid good money for the photographer, those are the photos she's going to show off.

  • Alwyn Burger

    May 20, 2011 02:24 am

    eish, clearly a contentious point...but as a Pro, I agree with Elizabeth. I have been at this since 1990. When you get the florist in or the caterers, will it be ok for all the aunts and moms or guests to interfere with the cooking or flowers, changing table decorations around? no, of course not, so why is it ok for other photographers to copy the pro's work? It is MY skill & creativity that arranges groups in a certain creative way, or ask the individuals in the wedding party to pose like this or that. that is my work, and it is NOT ok for somebody else to snap away at what I am putting together. Yes, planning well beforehand where i will shoot what.
    At a recent wedding, I decided to let bride & groom have a break and a drink as they looked tired of smiling and so i can get some casual sneaked shots of them while I work with other family shots to the other side, but all the happy snappers then got B&G to pose for them and had no break. Same issue with group work, they need to look at my camera, not being called everywhere else, especially when there are flower girls or page boys who are easily distracted...

    most negative comments here come from people who have no experience doing this work on an ongoing basis. And maybe charging "cheap" to get a job or not at all. that all affects our ability to put food on our tables.

  • Laura

    May 20, 2011 02:22 am

    When my husband and I were married 25 years ago, our professional photographer made some serious mistakes which resulted in terrible photos. Two of our guests had taken photos, and gave us the rolls they had shot. Had it not been for them, we wouldn't have such lovely photos to remember that day! So I always make a point of taking a lot of photos and giving them to the bride and groom as a gift. There are so many opportunities for candid shots that someone who knows the guests would be able to catch. As for the posed photos, it is much more fun to get the out-takes, or shoot from the side where your shot includes the pro photographer. I agree, it's not good to get in that pro's face, but some of them do act a bit insecure. Remember, they are still getting paid for their work, even though others are shooting for free!

  • cindy

    May 20, 2011 02:13 am

    I'm not a pro and I've only shot a couple weddings but I have to agree with the pros here on most points. I hate when everyone gets out their personal cameras during posed shots from the hired photographer. And my main reasons are 1. The subjects don't know where to look 2. There flashes can mess up the shot, and 3. It takes this not so fun time much longer than it needs to be. And that's coming from someone who didn't even get paid. I think a good solution is to offer the copyright release of images in your upfront cost, then the bride and groom can print those images at wally world for their family if they want to.

  • jill

    May 20, 2011 02:05 am

    Two comments:
    1. The last several family wedding had professional shots that we told the b&g we REALLY wanted with extended family including elderly family members. We begged to purchase the pictures, even asked for the photographers contact to get the pictures...no luck.

    May I suggest the "pro" hand out a business card to those clicking away? With a "special event discount" for ordering later?

    2. I loved the idea of letting everyone have camera time with guests, then allowing just the pro to work. Friends and family often get the memorable candid shot simply because they know their family member or friend so well they catch the moment the photographer wouldn't have seen. It won't be professional quality, but makes up for that in other ways.

    I have heard of weddings with pro artists hired to capture the day in fast water color sketches. Also poets are hired to capture the mood in words. Photographs, paintings and poems each work at a different level, and each serves for a different purpose.
    Interesting that there are no boundary issues mentioned between videographers and still photographers. Video workers bug me the most at events, talk about messing up shots!

  • Matt Granz

    May 20, 2011 01:57 am

    I recommend getting an assistant. I have been lucky to have an assistant who does crowd control well. He's good with having one liners that put people at ease while telling those who make things confusing to get out of the way. During the formal portrait sessions, it can be frustrating to have 10-20 other people with cameras taking advantage of the scene you are setting up, in that they can be terribly distracting. My assistant will kindly, and loudly remind everyone being photographed that they need to be looking at my camera. Still, I will wind up with several shots where people are looking away even then. I greatly encourage all wedding photographers to also take the wedding party away from the reception if possible and away from other peoples' cameras. Have a local spot that is scenic where there will be no others around. I have found this to be a very successful component to getting my formal shots. I hope this all helps.

  • wayne

    May 19, 2011 08:15 am

    I do a lot of group sports shots and I always have some one behind me trying to horn in so I always have a assistant stand right in front of the group then when I'm ready I have them move at the last min. Then I say I'm done and the group will seperate quickly not giving anyone a chance to get of a shot of my setup.

  • photoglov

    May 19, 2011 05:27 am

    Adam,

    I really admire your tenacity. I also get the point of the Pros on here here are steadfast and passionate defending their profession. But I have to agree with you Adam. I am new to photography. I own a Prosumer DSLR, and I bring it along to all the weddings I've been a guest at. Thank God no one's confronted me and called me an asshole for it. I 've never gotten in the way of the Pros at the weddings, and never given any photos to the Bride and Groom as free gifts, unless they specifically ask for it. Just like any profession, you work hard for it, and you want others to respect it, but you don't have to exert your overbloated egos and threaten a Dslr-carrying guest just because they brought it to a wedding. Geez! Show me a wedding where at least one guest doens't bring a DSLR camera. If I ever saw a Pro do that at a wedding, you can bet that isn't exactly good marketing .

  • Adam

    May 18, 2011 01:52 pm

    @Dan

    The lazy quip was tongue in cheek apologies if that escaped you. If your going to say that I called you stupid then please cite your source. Putting words in people's mouth is generally considered bad form.

    "I don’t need to mention my opinion of you"

    Oh, you already have. look a few comments back. You think I'm an idiot... I'm also an ass too. All because I have a dissenting opinion.

    As far as your question about Paul vS post processing time... As he said, it was irrelevant to the topic of discussion. I'm curious to see how you would have responded had I not mentioned that I thought it was a trick question.

    Any way, I have no ill will towards you Dan. I hope you do well in your work and business. Take care of yourself. I was just reading that a photographers job is more stressful than an airline pilots.

  • Lucia

    May 18, 2011 12:35 pm

    @ Adam

    hey, just to make things clear, I ask my friend to delete the photos in his facebook, not because he took the same shoot, because he actually, copied my files and posted like he was the one who took that photos, oh yeah, and also I'm not a professional....

  • Paul vS

    May 18, 2011 11:26 am

    @Adam: Thanks!

    @Dan: Thanks for sharing the labs. I spend about 12-18 hours on post processing a wedding of 8-10 hours shooting time.

  • Dan

    May 18, 2011 11:04 am

    @ Paul

    No, I am not here to head-bash anyone, but when you start taking cheap shots, don't expect me to sit back. Yes, I may be from the old school, but keep up with the latest trends and technology. I have been shooting weddings for over 25 years now and proud (just like my clients are) of my work and the service I have provided them. I have come across just about every situation imaginable at a wedding and know how to handle it professionally. No, asking you how much time you have in post production work was not a trick question as Adam would think. I was just curious. You seem to have some nice work on your website. I simply thought that offering your clients an option for an album might help in creating more sales. I will tell you, I am not all about sales. I just supply my customers needs in preserving their most important day of their lives.

    As far a labs go, I use several. Buckeye Color, Millers Color Lab and White House Color Lab to name a few. They offer high quality prints my customers expect. I will tell you, they last much longer than Shutterfly.

    @ Adam

    No, I am not lazy or stupid. I don't need to mention my opinion of you. Your comments speaks for you.

    I am finished beating this dead horse.You may continue, I have better things to do than to listen to someone who has no idea or experience of a wedding photographer.

    Adios!

  • Paul vS

    May 18, 2011 09:46 am

    Thanks for explaining. Makes sense. Content-wise not too much though... ;-)

  • Adam

    May 18, 2011 09:46 am

    @Paul vS

    Dan's question about how much time you spend in post is a trick question. It's a trap.

    You could say you spend and hour or a day in post on each and every image. Dan will either say that you spend too little time, meaning that you don't care about your work, etc.. Or he will say that you spend too much time you don't take good pictures to begin with and have to spend too much time in post fixing them in post.

    Either way you answer you lose.

    Personally, you take great pics and I like the blip on your site:

    "I'm offering competitive prices and you get all photos on a DVD.
    No copyright restrictions and I'm not holding your photos hostage!"

  • Adam

    May 18, 2011 09:39 am

    @Paul vS

    The link is from when Dan copy and pasted your comment to quote it. A script is running on the site that automatically inserts the referral link when you copy and paste something. Dan is either unaware that it's happening or too lazy to do anything about it.

    It's poor web design and one would think that the ProBlogger would know better. Alas you'd also think he'd know better than to have an pop-up/overlay show every time you view the page...

  • Paul vS

    May 18, 2011 09:24 am

    Dan,

    your link refers back to this article, I don't really get that.

    Consider my opinion PR or not, I believe in my service being a service not a sales point for prints. If arguments here are considered PR than you are doing PR for your print-based service as well.

    "I hope your clients don’t read your post." I guess I know why YOU hope that.

    I'm in the business because one of the things that drives me is that I'm capturing memories for my clients that their children will look at in 50 years. These memories will be online and won't burn down with the house like your prints. Or fade out like your prints... right your prints won't fade out because you've been in the future and came back with the information that your lab dude's work is so much better than those crappy online services.

    I also don't really get your argument on how I'm selling my clients short. They get the digital files and they can print and reprint them anywhere, anytime. Shutterfly was just an example. They can use other print services if they are better. A print is just a medium, cheap nowadays. I hand out the material to reproduce unlimited, you keep it for yourself.
    Maybe for the sake of all of us you can give us some recommendations for good labs here? Seriously, why not.

    In my opinion YOU are selling your clients short. They will have to rely on your prints lasting for generations and if they want to reproduce they have to get back to you. Do you store your client's photos for the next 50 years for generations to come...?

    My customer's satisfaction is also priority but I'm not writing that here because that's some sales blah written on pizza boxes and insurance ads.

    Part of this customer satisfaction btw is also to support a cheerful event (the wedding) and not to yell... sorry ...tell the guests to back off !

    Why are you curious how many hours I put in post-production? Is that anyhow related to this discussion or do you plan on using my answer to take this to an even more personal level because you don't like my arguments and all you have to give me is this "prints for generations to come" which is a contradiction in itself.

  • Dan

    May 18, 2011 08:40 am

    @ Paul

    Also who cares about prints maybe fading in a couple of years…

    Read more: http://www.digital-photography-school.com/other-photographers-stealing-your-moment-tell-them-to-back-off#ixzz1MeSYBVXJ

    Well, Paul, that's real great PR for yourself! I hope your clients don't read your post. Not really sure why you are in this business. My customer's satisfaction is top priority. I want their prints to look their best for generations to come. Shutterfly is not what I would call a pro lab. I can tell you REALLY like to sell your clients short.

    As for albums and wall hangings. We have a big demand for them here in Ohio. California may be different, but not here. We sell upwards of 30 or so high end albums a year. My customers expect it.

    I am curious Paul, how many hours you put into post production work? I was just wondering.

  • Adam

    May 18, 2011 07:52 am

    @Paul vS

    You said pretty much what I was thinking on Dan's comments about prints. Dan is obviously old school and still uses some of the scam-ish tactics to sell prints to his clients.

    I woudl say that people like me and you, who don't see any real need for prints are still a minority. People still want prints for their wall, desk, etc. But they also want them for their FB, etc. In nay case as you pointed our that does not justify the extortionist prices many pros charge for prints.

    On the (very) rare occasion I need them, I get prints at Costco, never had an issue and you can even download printer profiles for PS. The other day I even gave a copy of a pic to a person knowing full well that she'd get it printed at Fred Meyer's.

  • Adam

    May 18, 2011 07:42 am

    @Dan

    "Let me ask you this? Why would not pose the bride and groom yourself??? Is it because you don’t know how, or that the professional photographer would do a better job?"

    This is a silly question given the topic...

    Obviously that would be interfering with the hired photogs job. Which I've said, over and over, is not cool to do. Obviously.

    If there was an opportunity and I thought that I could get something worthwhile, sure, I'd ask the bride and groom to pose for a pic.

    I think whether or not a pro would "do a better job" is subjective. Photography is art. Experience sure helps though, so yes I'd say that a pro would do a better job. But it's all subjective so...

  • Paul vS

    May 18, 2011 07:40 am

    @Dan

    Who gives a rat's ass about an lab employee being able to fix his printer? You can order that stuff online and so can your clients. Mpix, Shutterfly etc have also every possible print product offered at their website. Don't tell me the big online printing companies are all bad quality and just you and your local lab dude will give the client the quality you will tell him that he needs.

    Also who cares about prints maybe fading in a couple of years... welcome to the world of digital image files ;-)
    Who can tell what kind of products there are in 20 years to print your files on (or to display them on). 30 years ago you (or at least the standard consumer) couldn't print your photo on a mug or upload it to a digital photo frame. Have fun with your prints or buy a good scanner...

    Sorry, I don't want to sound offensive but these are all lame arguments to stick with the old film-age strategy of selling prints to the client. "Professional prints, wall hangings and albums is the major part of the business of photographers" ...who stick with this old model.
    My grandmother had prints. My mother has some prints. I have no prints at all and I don't want that stuff and I certainly wouldn't want to let my photographer decide when where and in which size and quantity to print for me.

    Again, this printing for the client thing is an old model that just benefits the photographer and nobody else! I have seen a couple of photos taken by me printed out in various sizes and in different frames, hanging at the wall of a clients home, arranged in a photo book and placed next to the guest book at the reception. I didn't charge for any of those prints because I'm selling a service of taking photos and not the photos. These are not my photos, these are my client's photos (or at least you could call them "our" photos as I have stated shared copyrights in my contract) and that's why I'm not holding them hostage like any photographer would need to do to sell prints.

  • Adam

    May 18, 2011 07:31 am

    @Dan

    In a previous comments I pondered if the demand for prints was really that high. I can't imagine it is. I'd think that people woudl be more concerned with getting digital copies to share on FB, etc..

    In my last response to you I asked your opinion on the matter. I never claimed that it was gospel that the demand for prints is less now than before; hence the use of the "?" Indicating I was asking you a question.

    In any case your rant about drug store prints aids my point. Why do you care so much about someone giving away pictures when the clients are bound to come to you to get prints of their guest's crappy pictures when the "drug store" prints disintegrate?

    In any case the debate here isn't about where to get your pictures printed. And you really didn't address any of my points in my last response to you. I was asking a question(s) hoping to get your professional opinion. But you can't see past your ego enough to see that and decided that the professional thing to do would be to insult me.

    One thing this post serves as - a good list of photographers not to hire.

  • Dan

    May 18, 2011 07:24 am

    @ Adam
    Let me ask you this? Why would not pose the bride and groom yourself??? Is it because you don't know how, or that the professional photographer would do a better job?

  • Dan

    May 18, 2011 07:08 am

    @Adam

    Is the business model that your photography company really that reliant on clients ordering prints from you? Isn’t this a fragile foundation considering that most people are more concerned with getting their pics on FB than in a book?

    Read more: http://www.digital-photography-school.com/other-photographers-stealing-your-moment-tell-them-to-back-off#ixzz1Me3T7IRl

    You certainly are showing your lack of knowledge when it comes to photography. Professional prints, wall hangings and albums is the major part of our business. Our intention is to supply professional prints and albums to our clients. They expect that from us. There is a major difference between your drug store prints and professional lab prints.

    1.The person at the drug store has very little experience running the equipment. Basically, they know how to take the print and place it in an envelope. Where as the professional lab employee understand color replenishment and tight line control of the processor. If the equipment breaks down, they know how to fix it. The drug store, they have to shut down and call someone in to fix it.

    2. Drug stores us inferior paper and chemicals which will cause your prints to fade and/or discolor within a few years. Why do you think the prints are so cheap? Professional labs stand behind their prints. Most are warranted from fading or discoloring.

    3. Drug stores usually only offer a few items. Pro labs offer way too much to list.

    As I said, you should educate yourself before posting. You wouldn't look so much like an idiot here.

  • Adam

    May 18, 2011 06:34 am

    @Dan

    Well your more liberal than some of the other photogs that have commented here. Some of them would have you flogged just for bringing a camera...

    "Professional Photographers spend a lot of time and hard earned money ($500 or more per class) taking classes on composition, lighting and posing through seminars put on through PPA and WPPI, just to name a few. Much time is then spent on perfecting these poses."

    So, because you spent time/money "perfecting" poses that gives you the right to invited guests, friends, family, not to take pictures of them at an event that your being paid to work at? Isn't your complaint that someone is "stealing" your pose, moment, whatever invalid because in the context of a wedding your sort of granting a license to that pose? Or do you gouge the eyes out of the guests before you start taking pictures?

    I don't get it. Sure you spent time/money "perfecting" these poses. What's the issue with someone taking a picture of it, at least in the context of a wedding, so long as they are not interfering?

    Going back to the wedding guest who brings his/her DSLR to take wedding pictures to "build their portfolio": if they in fact take pictures of "your" poses and they use those pictures to build there portfolio I see two possibilities:

    1) They learn something from you. By allowing them to take pictures your indirectly passing knowledge on to them. I don't see this as a bad thing at all. After all, isn't imitation the sincerest for of flattery?

    2) They don't learn anything. They don't practice your poses, techniques etc. but use the pictures in their portfolio anyway. A day will come along when a client asks them to replicate that picture and they can't, there caught in their own trap.

    What's wrong with either of those possibilities?

    As for the possibility that guest(s) will take pictures and give them away. Is the business model that your photography company really that reliant on clients ordering prints from you? Isn't this a fragile foundation considering that most people are more concerned with getting their pics on FB than in a book?

    My point is, if they are not in the way... so what?

  • Dan

    May 18, 2011 05:59 am

    @ Adam

    You have a misunderstanding of what we are try to convey. When I say that I do not allow guests to take photographs, I am talking about the posed photographs that we are creating. Guests are certain welcome too shoot anything else, including the reception. Mater of fact, I encourage guests to shoot anything and everything. Just not the posed photographs we are composing at the alter or out on location. Professional Photographers spend a lot of time and hard earned money ($500 or more per class) taking classes on composition, lighting and posing through seminars put on through PPA and WPPI, just to name a few. Much time is then spent on perfecting these poses. To have someone then come by and snap away at our posed images is a great insult. Sure they may not realize what the are doing, but it is up to us professionals to make them aware of it. If they still do not understand, it is just pure ignorance on their part.

  • Adam

    May 18, 2011 05:25 am

    @Dan

    Please point out where in the comments I've made on this post where I said that it was ok for someone to literally get in your (the hired photog) way.

    If you can't do that (and you can't because I never said it was ok) then whatever point you were trying to make is moot.

    --

    Beyond that, your the guy who compared the responsibility of flying a commercial jet, weighting hundreds of thousands of pounds, consisting of thousands of moving parts, carrying 300+ human lives to taking pictures...

    Yeah, any respect that I might of had for you (as much as you could gleam form me, us having never meet) pretty much fizzed up with that.

  • Adam

    May 18, 2011 05:14 am

    @Andy Mills

    When did I say it was ok to get in the way of a hired photog? When did I say it was not ok to ask people (guests) to take a step back and let you do your job?

    I never did. Because I understand that as a hired photog you have expectations to meet and people getting in your way is not going to help you meet those expectations.

    My complaint of this post and the comments were of the overblown sense of ownership, that because your hired you somehow have an exclusive right to be the only one allowed to photograph it. The use of the word "stealing" . The derogatory attitude towards amateurs or budding pros.

    And seriously, I'm an ass for owning a DSLR, you own poses, another person's wedding is your event... No ego does not play into this issue at all .

    (note the use of you and your is not necessarily meant to "you" as in "Andy Mills" but is used in a general sense)

  • Dan

    May 18, 2011 04:52 am

    @ Adam

    Most of the weddings take place in a public area. That is not the point. The point is that people are interfering with our work., not the exact location. All we are asking is for you to show some respect to the wedding couple and their family, by not ruining their photographs.

    I don't know what line of work you are in, but let's say you are in sales, and you are meeting someone at a restaurant to talk business. Would it be appropriate for me to sit next your table and jump into your conversation, giving a line of bull, not knowing what I am talking about? You most likely would be very upset with me. I would probably ruin your sale. But, from your analogy, I would have every right to do so.

    We are just asking for a little respect while we provide a service to our clients.

  • Andy Mills

    May 18, 2011 04:47 am

    @Adam, @m, et al

    I think you are not seeing what I, and some others are trying to say (including the article author), and I am not sure I am able to get that point across. Some appear to be taking the fact that on occasion the photographer has to take control, as being egotistical.

    Unless the couple want a totally "reportage" style where the photographer is expected to just stay back out of the way and just record events as they happen, the photographer often does have a say at certain times as to what happens, and this does mean taking control of people (especially if the couple want certain family group shots).

    You may be lucky and be able to ask the couple to do something again, to allow you another shot at them signing the register for example. But this is not always possible (you can't go back and re-shoot a wedding if there are mistakes or something's missed, it is a one off event). Just remember that if you fail to get certain shots because someone else was being an ass, or selfish, or ignorant, or careless, or whatever just because you were too polite to ask them to wait or stand aside for a couple of minutes, then the real people who suffers is the couple who hired you as they are the ones who do not get what they want or expected/paid for.

    As I said, it's (for most photographers - I am not denying there are bad/egotistical ones out there) not about ego, but getting the shots that you have been paid to get. It's a job. You have been paid. You are expected to provide what is expected.

  • Adam

    May 18, 2011 02:40 am

    @m

    "It seems to me that the above writer and many of the professionals in this thread feel that by being hired to take pictures, they own the space, which is simply not true. If someone came to a photographer’s studio and took pictures, that’s wrong because it’s an invasion of someone’s professional workspace. A wedding is different. You are hired to come into a couple’s personal, familial space and record an event."

    Exactly. Unless the wedding is taking place on property that the photog owns then they have no say. In fact, no one can ban you from taking pictures in anyplace where they do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Even private property that's accessible to the public (say a supermarket). The only thing they can do is tell you to leave if you violate their rules (such as not photography), but that's a trespassing issue and has noting to do with "owning" a pose of whatever some loon photog wants to claim.\

    "And that’s to say nothing of shocking extenuating circumstances, like the couple I know who waited over a year for their photos because the photographer got ill and refused to let them have the raw images. Or if a photographer got into an accident and lost the images, etc. For the photographer, it means losing one gig. For the couple, it would mean losing a visual record of their union."

    Or, someone hiring a student photo, having a verbal agreement with them and 2 weeks after the wedding them backing out of the agreement. If my wife and I had bared other people from taking pictures we'd not have any pictures of our wedding.

  • timgray

    May 17, 2011 03:47 am

    A simple sign works great. I have done this when I used to do weddings and it eliminated a lot. But then also being a prima donna and daring to ask the bride's mother to not take a shot with her junk pocket camera? Not realistic. You dont upset the client for any reason on their big day.

    What's worth more, being a jerk and doing this plus the badmouthing you will get from the family, " Yeah great photos but he asked mom to not take any of her own!" Yes you may hold copyright, but it's THEIR wedding. you don't own the wedding, and it;s not worth upsetting the family over it.

    Now, real reasons like " Can you not use the flash? It's messing up my photo shoot of the couple", or " I need you further back to stay out of the shot, thanks!" they will completely understand.

  • M

    May 17, 2011 03:41 am

    It seems to me that the above writer and many of the professionals in this thread feel that by being hired to take pictures, they own the space, which is simply not true. If someone came to a photographer's studio and took pictures, that's wrong because it's an invasion of someone's professional workspace. A wedding is different. You are hired to come into a couple's personal, familial space and record an event.

    If someone interferes with your ability to capture an image, then yes, someone is directly interfering with what you were hired to do. But to suggest that someone cannot take their own pictures of a bride getting ready, etc, are ludicrous. They are recording their view of their loved one's big day.

    But the most ludicrous is the commenter (Kris Gay) who suggested that no cameras, or no DSLRs, should be allowed, and that to bring one makes you look like an ass. (Not surprising since this is also a person who calls someone short of funds a "cheap ass.") Posed pictures aside, there are a myriad of moments that a photographer doesn't capture that can only be filled in by friends -- the things happening while the photographer is focused on the couple, the groups of friends and family, the point of view of the guest, the later festivities once the photographer has left. And even more importantly -- close friends or family will capture moments or expressions that perfectly exemplify the couple, person, or event that the hired photographer can't because they're not personally familiar with the bride and groom -- a reaction to a certain part of a speech, a song, a distinctive look in their eyes, etc.

    And that's to say nothing of shocking extenuating circumstances, like the couple I know who waited over a year for their photos because the photographer got ill and refused to let them have the raw images. Or if a photographer got into an accident and lost the images, etc. For the photographer, it means losing one gig. For the couple, it would mean losing a visual record of their union.

    I think Ceri Vale has it right. Photographer should work WITH the guests. Setting up a few poses and letting guests take some images is a great way to ultimately save time and frustration.

  • Adam

    May 17, 2011 02:17 am

    @Andy Mills

    No, photography is not my profession.

    It also depends on how you define a "professional photographer". I've been up nearly 72 hours straight (1 maybe 2 hour naps when I could) doing video work. I've gotten paid (or otherwise compensated) for my video and photography work.

    Does that make me a professional? I don't know, frankly I don't care. My day job is a network admin. Am I a "professional" network admin? I guess you could say that.

    Maybe I would look at it differently if it was my primary source of income. I never said it was not hard work, I never tried to belittle the profession. I'm really quite in awe of people that can manage to make it their primary source of income.

    The problem I have is the attitude. The whole "stealing my pose" business. The insinuating that no on else can get a good picture because they are not a "pro". Calling people an ass for owning a DSLR... More than one "pro" here has said they don't allow DSLRs at the event their shooting... really? What are these people afraid of.

    If I was a photographer professionally then I'd sure not have a business model that relied on people ordering prints. It's 2011, I'm thinking that the market for prints is in decline and not something to base your business around. Maybe I'm wrong.

    If I was a photographer professionally then I'd license all my work under a Creative Commons License.

    If I was a photographer professionally then I would not care if my "professional" pictures were mixed with non-professional pictures on someone's Facebook. This seems like a rather inevitable thing these days. I cannot imagine making someone sign a contract barring them from sharing their wedding pictures on Facebook.

    If I was a photographer professionally I would not care if guests at a wedding were taking pictures. So long as they were not in my way, DSLR or P&S, let them have at it. Let them make 1000 prints and give them away to the bride and groom and everyone under the sun. Again, I'd not base my business model around people ordering prints.

    Maybe my perspective would be different if it was my day job... who knows. All I can do is comment on my persepctive as it is now.

  • Tim

    May 17, 2011 01:52 am

    @Dan

    Go re-read my last reply to your analogy and look up the definition of hyperbole; you missed my point.

  • Fiona

    May 17, 2011 01:05 am

    @Adam

    Seriously, you're too much. Well I hope to be a pro photographer next time... if I can stop using my point-and-shoot camera too often. :P

  • Andy Mills

    May 17, 2011 12:38 am

    @Adam

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I can see you do not earn your living through photography, or it is at least not your main source of income. I think if you did, I'm relatively certain your view on many things discussed here (like everyone giving away their photos for free) would be different. Earning a living as a photographer is hard, and very cut throat, so you need to do what's necessary to deliver above and beyond what is expected to keep work coming in. Sometimes it does mean telling someone to back off so you can do you job to get "the shot". It's not nice, and people on the whole do not like doing it, but sometimes, just sometimes, it has to be done.

    I only do this on a semi-professional basis, most of what I do is still for myself. But even then, there have been times when I've been up through the night to 6am working on images, and this is not uncommon amongst photographers (you don't get paid overtime for it either.)

    Obviously I am working off of an assumption there, but I've not seen you say anything to make me think you do work as a photographer, and your web site doesn't say anything about it either (I only had a quick look so may have missed it).

  • Andy Mills

    May 17, 2011 12:18 am

    @Kashyap

    "But one time I got told by another professional that taking lot of pictures with a DSLR is not good for the camera… LMAO (OMG!! Really ??? Actually we both were taking pics at almost the same speed). I really don’t know what made him do that…"

    There is some truth in that (I don't know how he worded it, so it could have been genuine advice, or not). I don't know what camera you use, but a "prosumer" camera like the 60D has an expected shutter life of up to around 100k actuations. His being a professional model (you'd hope) will last longer.

  • Kashyap

    May 16, 2011 10:23 pm

    I had never read any COMMENTS (Articles... I read them all and take a print of what I feel is required for improving myself) for any other article from top to bottom till date. But today i did so.

    Myself an ordinary guy who is having my DLSR from 6-8 months now and uses it whenever there is an opportunity. (Not at all professional… but having a basic knowledge of setting up the camera and taking shots. I just do it as a hobby and I can just call myself a beginner still.)

    I do enjoy taking photos at weddings and engagements even though there is professional hired to do the job. Most of the comments I could see here are from professionals so I thought I’ll put my dimension into the matter.

    Indian weddings have lot of rituals involved and provide a great opportunity to take lot of photos. I think lot of people will agree to it. I never have any intention to give a different angle to the whole event and gift the same to bride and groom etc. etc. But I do feel the need to capture lot of happening around during the ceremonies for my own sake.(and if asked will surely give it to the couple). Also I venture doing this only where I know the bride/groom (family members or close friends) and they are comfortable with me taking photos.

    Most of the times I approach the pro upfront and tell him what I intend to do. I do have the basic knowledge not to cause any hindrance to him as has got a job to do. And I do have to accept that he is bound to get a better shot at the things as he has the EXPERIENCE with him to do so. It so happens lot many times that they teach a thing or two and help me improve my skill. (They do not have to fear that I’ll be eating up their business in future. LOL…. Photography is not my profession.)

    I remember one of the photographers shared quite a bit of his knowledge when I was doing photography alongside him for the day and later gave me his card. Probably hinting that it’s only a pro’s job and mostly hoping that I call him to do my wedding. (I may do that too. :-) He was real good.)

    But one time I got told by another professional that taking lot of pictures with a DSLR is not good for the camera… LMAO (OMG!! Really ??? Actually we both were taking pics at almost the same speed). I really don’t know what made him do that…

    Whenever I’ve felt that I need to get exactly similar shot to the one being taken by the pro, I give him the first chance to do so and then go ahead with mine. I case taking pic of people from a different angle then again I let the pro go ahead first and then seek the attention towards my camera.

    Also sometimes when I see something god and trying to take the shot fellow person may bring his SLR / P&S in front of me and make me loose the shot... Should I be pissed about it??

    I have never been told of by any of the photographers till date… Will share that experience if it ever happens...

  • Dan

    May 16, 2011 09:06 pm

    @ Adam

    Yes, they would be arrested. Why? Because the TSA is in control, just like I am in control of my sessions and events. I'm not going to sit here and beat a dead horse. You run your business the way you see fit, I run mine as I see fit. If you want to lose sales and have extra hours retouching eyes, because people were distracted by the guests with their cameras, have at it.

  • Ceri Vale

    May 16, 2011 07:36 pm

    I've only photographed one wedding (too nerve-wracking for my taste).

    When we got outside the church, I posed the B+G and then did a Robbie Williams - I got everyone with a camera together and gave them 2 minutes to get what they wanted. I then, very firmly, sent them all away to "photograph each other". Worked like a charm. I had a full, uninterrupted 20 minutes with the B+G, walking them around the churchyard and to a few nearby locations I'd chosen.

    When we got back to the throng, they were STILL taking photos of each other.

    The group shots were then very easy because the participants already had the photos they wanted.

  • thomas

    May 16, 2011 06:47 pm

    hi,

    happens not only during sessions, but also during events, concerts, travel & street photography, people & portraits, ...

    not only stealing but also actively destroying the mood & situation of a shot.

    would like to hear if other people are facing similar experiences "on the road", not only in a hired situation.

    thomas

  • Adam

    May 16, 2011 03:08 pm

    @Andy Mills

    No worries. I was responding to comments you made and making general statements to the crowd...

    I understand that the current copyright laws are such that you own the rights to any creative work as soon as you create it. You don't even have to do any paperwork, copyright is automatic. It get that.

    It's also why the copyright system we have in place is so broken. I'd love to see more pros, and amateurs embrace Creative Commons licencing for their work. The world would be a better place.

    Again, whole other debate.

    ---

    I agree that it's kind of an ethical issue in terms of "stealing" poses, etc. But I'm still stuck on the whole "stealing" thing. How can something that you don't own be stolen from you? And more to the topic, so what if some dude with an DSLR or Polaroid is taking pictures of the same thing you are?

    If they are not in your way so what? And to sit there and give excuses like "guest won't know where to look..." is BS. You tell them where to look. Isn't that part of the hired photogs job?

  • Adam

    May 16, 2011 02:52 pm

    @shanlybret

    "That being said, I firmly believe that it is high time the photography community as a whole rethinks the way we charge for our services..."

    I completely agree with you there. I said it a few comments back - if your business is so reliant on people ordering prints you should probably reassess your practices. Especially these days when people don't care about prints so much as they care about posting their pictures on their Facebook.

  • Adam

    May 16, 2011 02:48 pm

    @Dan

    You analogy is invalid for several reasons...

    First, a passenger would not be allowed to talk to the pilot. At all. Ever. Period. They don't even let kids see the cockpit anymore (damn shame too).

    Second, if the passenger even tried to talk to the pilot they'd likely be arrested and subjected to a cavity search.

    Third, Even if you hypothetical situation were to occur to the point that the passenger was able to ask the pilot to fly the plane. I'd bet my left nut that 10 times out of 10 the pilot would not allow the passenger to fly the plane.

    Fourth, I looked up hyperbole in the dictionary and found your analogy used as an example.

    --

    You compare the responsibility of flying a commercial jet, weighting hundreds of thousands of pounds, consisting of thousands of moving parts, carrying 300+ human lives to taking pictures.

    If you believe that, well then I really don't have anything else to say to you.

  • Dan

    May 16, 2011 01:10 pm

    @ Paul

    I take my business very serious. When I don't, it's time to get out of this line of work. I owe it to my clients!

  • Paul vS

    May 16, 2011 11:03 am

    Dan: "You board a commercial jet. Still sitting at the gate, you over hear a passenger tell the pilot that he has flown a private plane a few times, and has always wanted to fly a big jet. [...] "

    I'm not Adam but let me say: LOL. This comparison of lives being at stake with photography just serves as a good example for some photographers taking it all too serious.

  • ShanlyBret

    May 16, 2011 09:54 am

    In resopnse to the comment that this article sounded rude and childish; many photographers depend on the profit they get from selling prints to pay their bills and put food on the table. So don't be quite so quick to judge.

    That being said, I firmly believe that it is high time the photography community as a whole rethinks the way we charge for our services. The. Idea of charging less for shooting the phottos and then depending on the client to buy high-priced prints to make a profit has boggled my mind from the get go. Plus, one of the number one complaints I have heard from clients, friends, and family is about the photography pricing system.

    I personally charge a slightly higher rate for my sessions, and then either sell them a disc of images for a flat fee or sell them prints for a minmal (read $1 or so) markup. My cliants are happy and I still make a profit.

  • Dan

    May 16, 2011 05:40 am

    @ Adam,

    First, let's define the meaning of "getting in the way". To be or create a hindrance or obstacle. This does not pertain to distance someone is from you. Many times, other shooters do not need to be right next to you. They may be 20 feet away or further. As long as they are in eye sight of the subject, they are in the way. It is natural for a person to look at a camera. Eyes tend to stray, leaving extra work in retouching. Now, I'm from the old school of photography. Back in the film days (I'm sure most pro photographers here will agree) we were always taught to fix the problem in the camera and not after wards. This would include eyes straying away from the camera. Professionals need to have control over the situation. I control my lighting, poses, backgrounds and subject matter. Anything less, and I have not fulfilled my obligation to my clients.

    Another example for Adam to ponder. You board a commercial jet. Still sitting at the gate, you over hear a passenger tell the pilot that he has flown a private plane a few times, and has always wanted to fly a big jet. The pilot says "sure, go ahead." Do you stay seated, or do you get off the plane?

    Waiting for your response.

  • Shelley

    May 16, 2011 04:58 am

    I had a similar issue recently, while trying to take photos of an event. Every time I would set up a shot & get ready to take it, another (presumably professional) photographer would jump in front of me & take the shot. He may have decided that I was an 'amateur' & therefor it was ok to ruin my shots, I don't know. Maybe he was a budding paparazzi & thought this was ok in any situation. Whether or not I was a pro or not (I was there taking shots for an online site) & whether or not he was a pro or not, I really think he was wrong in his actions. It wasn't a studio setting & he didn't already have shots set up. I must have been setting up some nice shots, for him to jump in front of me like that. I got some ok shots, but I would have had better ones without him around.

  • Andy Mills

    May 16, 2011 03:50 am

    @Adam - please note I am not pointing a finger at any one person in particular with my comments. My points are meant to rebuff those who have (possibly) read too much into what the author wrote in her article. I just feel that some remarks towards Elizabeth and this article have been less than fair in some of the comments made here, especially after all the articles and help that she has given to others.

    It has been so for decades that at least a few people in the family and friends will have a camera at a wedding or similar event, and will be taking their own photos, and in today's world, we have to accept that just about everyone there will have a camera in one form or another. I don't believe for a minute that most people here are debating that, and I don't believe that most photographers would prevent them from taking any photos at all.

    The point the author made is that there will be times when someone will get in the way and prevent you from doing your job, and you will have to deal with people when this happens.

    A professional model in a photo shoot is used to what they are doing and can usually concentrate well enough to ignore most distractions. Children and "normal" people who are not used to being in front of a camera can't. I have had some otherwise fantastic photos ruined because someone has been distracted. And that is the point of not allowing other people to take photos during a photo session. There's nothing to say that they can't take their own photos after, though (just not through the shoot).

    As for owning poses, etc. This is an ethical debate, not a legal one. Just imagine that you have spent a considerable amount of time throughout the day setting up various shots. From various family members, the happy couple, the rings, the cake and so on. Is it really fair/right/just that someone keeps taking almost identical photos from behind you or to your side all day? And doing so without putting any effort in themselves?

    These photos the other person takes may not be as good as yours, but the clients may use these free versions rather than order reprints from you, hurting your potential profits. It may all seem kind of egotistical, maybe even a little penny pinching, etc., but when you rely on these things to put food on the table and pay the bills, it's a different matter.

    "In fact if you, as hired phtog, shouldn’t claim that you own the pictures you take, since your being paid to take them. They are owned by the person who is paying you. But again, that’s another debate that’s rife with overgrown egos."

    This is a whole other debate, but unless you sign anything in a contract saying otherwise before the job, then legally whoever presses the shutter release (you, unless you hand your camera off to someone else) is the legal copyright holder and "owner" of any images taken, regardless of whether they are paid or not. Without this restriction, the client will be able to use, copy and print photos without redress and the photographer will lose license sales, reprint sales and so on.

    This is a case of protecting your income and being able to (again) put food on the table and pay bills, and not of ego. Of course, it is up to the individual photographer to offer packages and/or a business model that suits them, and they may decide to offer all images on a CD or similar that the client can print at will, but they will have to charge accordingly as they will lose reprint sales, etc.

  • Adam

    May 16, 2011 03:10 am

    @nick

    May I ask what do you think makes a professional photographer a professional?

    If it's simply a matter of having gotten paid for (monetarily or otherwise compensated) photography work then yes, I am a professional photographer; several times over.

    If it's a matter of ego, then no. I'm afraid I have not transcended to the professional photog's ego level yet.

  • Adam

    May 16, 2011 03:01 am

    @nick

    What I should say is that I have not directly leveled an insult at anyone. Yes, I've been snide and mocking. But it's all based off the comments that people have made. How they have chosen to represent themselves via their comments. I've not said, or pointed out anything that wasn't obvious from their comments.

    You might be thinking of @Kris Gay who's called me an ass (or was it asshole?) for owning a DSLR. The implication being that she is the only one who should be allowed to own one.

  • Adam

    May 16, 2011 02:55 am

    @nick

    I've not insulted anyone.

  • Nick

    May 16, 2011 02:32 am

    @Adam Who in the hell are you and who do you really think you are? I don't even have a decent camera yet and even I can understand the frustrations of these pros. None of your replys make any real sense at all but serve only as a forum for you to hurl veiled insults and inuendo as to a PROFESSIONAL photographers character. I will not rehash all the items in this post, I don't need to. Also I am not going to sit here and assasinate your character, I have never met you, but really, you need to check YOUR ego at the door,wake up, grow up and shut up.

  • Adam

    May 16, 2011 02:05 am

    @mike

    "@kriss, I agree with just about everything you are saying. The only thing I disagree with is the bringing the dslr. These days it is common for that to be someone’s only camera. But to those fools saying you have an ego problem, they have never shot a serious wedding. It’s not about ego, it’s about doing what you were paid to do. If the bride asks I will get up infront of every one and make an announcement to please not use flash, or get in my way. Of course I am nice about it, but I don’t mind being an ass. Usually by the wedding day I have a better relationship with the bride than most of the guests. The bride trusts me, and that makes great pictures! BTW this site has some great stuff. Don’t let these people keep you away. There is always something to learn!"

    When did I advocate that people should get in the way of the hired photog?

  • Adam

    May 16, 2011 01:59 am

    @Andy Mills @Kris Gay @Everyone else with a dissenting opinion or otherwise

    Look back through my comments here. I've never said that you (as the hired photog) should let someone get in the way of you doing your work.

    As I've said, the problem that I have with the post is it's assumption that as the hired photog you "own" a shot, or "own" a moment. You, hired or not, cannot own a pose, shot, or otherwise.

    In fact if you, as hired phtog, shouldn't claim that you own the pictures you take, since your being paid to take them. They are owned by the person who is paying you. But again, that's another debate that's rife with overgrown egos.

    As I've also said before the real issue here is that many "professional" photographers have an ego that is too big for them to allow even the possibility of competition. As much competition that Uncle Bob would be anyway.

    Take Kris Gay, by all accounts an accomplished "professional" photog. She's good, In my humble opinion. She's done over 300 weddings, and counting. She knows everything there is to know about photography (according to her).

    Yet, Kris Gay would be afraid of me, think me an ass, for bringing my little ol' D90, with the three lenses that I have for it (two of which came with the kit). Really? Is her ego that fragile? Apparently it is.

    ----

    There are four issues at work here:

    1) Someone literally getting in the way, preventing the hired photographer from doing their job. This is not cool and should be dealt with in the most professional manner possible. Griping to the bride, or groom about it should not be your first line of defense. Note, this interference in doing your job also includes rouge flashes, AF assist beams, etc. Someone casually, or non-casually taking pictures, but not interfering, or preventing you from doing your job, is not something to get upset about... unless one of the following conditions apply.

    2) Someone using a camera that even looks remotely like a professional camera which threatens the ego of the professional photographer as they should be the only one in the world allowed to have a professional looking camera.

    3) Someone using a DSLR, or P&S camera that could possibly be taking/getting better pictures than the professional photographer. This has to be nipped in the bud quickly as the ego of the professional photographer can only allow them to be good at taking pictures.

    4) Someone using a DSLR, or P&S camera that could be taking really bad pictures. This also needs to be nipped in the bud quickly as the ego of the professional photographer cannot allow for the possibility that their good pictures will be mixed with bad pictures taken by peasants, and low-life asses with DSLRs.

    ----

    Kris Gay's attitude also strikes me, and is not at all uncommon for "professional" photographers. She lambastes people for loving photography, for being the beginner, or trying to build their portfolio, or not knowing everything she does. I guess we are all to assume that she was birthed from her mothers womb with a camera in her hand and the knowledge and ability to take perfect pictures. She never had to learn, or be taught, or took a bad picture. She has earned her ego by being born with a natural talent and knowledge and therefore should be looked at with awe and wonder. Don't bring your DSLR within eye-shot of her as she, and others like her, will think you an ass and strike you down.

    If anyone would like to gaze upon the mighty Kris Gay, just go to her website. The first thing you see is her mugshot. No, not much of an ego at all.

  • mike

    May 16, 2011 01:07 am

    @kriss, I agree with just about everything you are saying. The only thing I disagree with is the bringing the dslr. These days it is common for that to be someone's only camera. But to those fools saying you have an ego problem, they have never shot a serious wedding. It's not about ego, it's about doing what you were paid to do. If the bride asks I will get up infront of every one and make an announcement to please not use flash, or get in my way. Of course I am nice about it, but I don't mind being an ass. Usually by the wedding day I have a better relationship with the bride than most of the guests. The bride trusts me, and that makes great pictures! BTW this site has some great stuff. Don't let these people keep you away. There is always something to learn!

  • Adam

    May 16, 2011 12:56 am

    @Paul vS

    +1

  • Andy Mills

    May 15, 2011 11:41 pm

    @Kris Gay - I personally don't have problems with people using a DSLR, the problem is what they do with it. If they are discrete and really are just there to take snapshots and don't interfere, it should be OK IMHO.

    The story above of the uncle with the full professional kit (and shooting for his portfolio) on the other hand really is taking the p***. And it seems like he didn't even ask the bride & groom's permission.

    ---

    I personally don't do weddings, but I mix with many other photographers who do - these are seasoned professionals who (mostly) do not have over inflated egos, and they have all had problems Elizabeth has outlined. It really is not about ego, it is about trying to do your best for someone who has paid YOU a bucket-load of their hard earned money to provide photos of a one-off event that simply cannot be redone. You simply CANNOT let someone else's selfishness get in the way of that, otherwise it is the Bride and Groom who will lose out (and you cannot rely on the other person's photos being that good).

    I was covering an event recently and one guest there was handed a DSLR by another guest so that he could have some photos of himself for Facebook. No problems there, but the chap went ahead on a "spray and pray" mission, taking photos of everyone. You could tell the other guests were getting annoyed and feeling "papped" (you have to remember his flash was going off much more, as well as mine going off). I asked him to cool it for a while and to give it a break, but he feigned that he thought I said something else, laughed and carried on. The result of this was many of the guests did not enjoy themselves as much as they should, and I had to junk many of my photos where he got into them, his flash interfered with mine, and so on. I did actually have the authority to kick him out, but I didn't (perhaps I should have flexed my authority more and stopped him for the guest's sake) - so this was not an ego thing, but an issue where he was preventing me from doing my job properly, for which I was being paid to do.

    I mean, what do I say to the person who hired me? "Sorry, but some amateur ruined my shots/got in my way"? I was lucky in that this was not as important as a wedding and that I was still able to get a few good photos. But otherwise, my reputation would be ruined and I'd not get hired again. Nor would I get any referrals from him (probably the opposite I imagine).

    This is just something that some commenters here just don't seem to get. It's all very well being altruistic and letting people do what they want, but it really is just not always practical, and I think that unless you have been there and on the receiving end, I'm not sure you can truly understand the position/quandary it can put you in.

  • Lynn

    May 15, 2011 11:29 pm

    I did an event shoot where I was selling pictures with Santa on a Harley for $5 on CD and I had people trying to just get on the bike and take their own pictures. I wasn't getting paid for the event itself and I had to pay for the props and set everything up. I double checked with the manager of the location and then had to tell people that if they wished to purchase a CD I would be happy to let them fire off a couple of shots with their own camera. It just made an already nerve wracking event that much more difficult.

  • Justin

    May 15, 2011 09:25 pm

    Incompetent photog's will worry about shit like this we their focus should be on the couple. Believe in ones self and forgot about the guests will, and should produce the work you were paid for.

  • Paul vS

    May 15, 2011 06:55 pm

    Apparently it can happen, that somewhen after the 10th wedding the learning-curve flattens out while the ego-curve goes straight through the roof...

  • Adam

    May 15, 2011 04:43 pm

    @Kris Gay s

    "And heck yeah, I have every right to not want my shots mixed in with crappy ones. I don’t want other potential clients thinking that I took those shots."

    "That’s not ego. That’s smart business. DUH?!
    If they want to put that stuff in another folder of photos on their Facebook page then fine I guess. But don’t mix it in with my stuff!"

    Ok, I'm not being flippant when I ask this. It's a genuine question. I presume that you make your clients sign a contract that stipulates they cannot upload the wedding pictures that you took along with the pictures guests took? It seems like a difficult problem to solve. Keeping your pictures form mingling with the rift-raft's pictures that is...

    Anyway, I'm really dubious to the idea that they are your pictures to begin with. Since your being paid to take them and they are of someone else's wedding... anyway that's another debate.

    "Taking a DSLR to a wedding when you are not the hired pro does make you look like an ass. That’s like taking your own skillet to the reception and wanting to help cook the food for the couple because you love to cook. DUH!?"

    So, if I'm not in your way and not even taking the same pictures you are. I'm automatically an ass because I brought a DSLR? Hum.

    "your analogies are totally different than what I am explaining so just stop trying to make your point because you are twisting everything to suit your opinion (really? someone singing at the reception is totally different and would be cool)."

    The problem is, and I should have pointed this out in the beginning rather than try to dance around them, is that your analogies don't make sense.

    Just butting in on the cooks would be an ass move. No question. Just as butting in in the hired photographer would be an ass move, as I've said. Your analogy of someone barging in on the cook, or caterer is not the same thing as someone casually taking pictures of a wedding.

    Again, again, again, if they are in your way that's one thing. Off to the side not preventing you from doing your job what's wrong with that?

    In the situation you described it sounds like there were people who were in your way. The way you described it initially it seems that you just went running to the bride. Which seems like it would not be a good thing to do, considering the nature of the event. With the added details I can see it more from your perspective.

    But seriously, I'm an ass because I bring a DSLR to a wedding? Common, is your ego that fragile?

  • Adam

    May 15, 2011 04:24 pm

    @Kris Gay

    "I stopped by because there was a post on Facebook about it. Otherwise, I would NOT have stopped by the site because I’d never heard of it until today. Evidently it is full of smartasses such as yourself who feel empowered by calling out working pros for having an opinion."

    I am a smart ass. I'm good at it too. Just ask my wife.

    I don't care that you have an opinion, your entitled to your opinion, Just as I am mine. I just that that the author of this post and other commentors such as yourself have the wrong attitude.

    "You also have not really read what I wrote in any of my posts. Either that or you are exactly the type of person that I am describing who thinks it is totally okay to shoot his DSLR at another pro’s wedding for whatever reason you want. Which is it?"

    Honestly, if I was invited to a wedding I'd ask the couple if it was ok that I brought my camera and took pictures, or if they would rather I didn't. I would not just assume that it was ok.

    I went to a wedding about a a year ago. Didn't know anyone there but my own wife. I did not bring my camera with me because a stranger taking pictures of a strangers wedding would have been odd.

    But if I knew the couple well enough. Sure as heck I'd bring my camera, why else did I buy it then to take pictures?. I'd still probably ask (the couple, beforehand) if it was ok too.

    "My opinion… Just because you own a DSLR doesn’t mean you should take it to a wedding."

    Great. My opinion, bring whatever camera you want to. I think that your opinion stems from feeling threated by someone else with a camera as nice, or nicer than yours. As we all know it's not just about the camera. Just cause you have an DSLR does not mean you can take good pics. You know that as well as I do.

    "That’s exactly WHY it drives me nuts when I have someone all up in my ass all day with their camera because they just LOVE photography and want to give the couple a few extra shots or build their portfolio."

    That's an odd thing to say... I'm sure it's possible that you were born with a natural ability to take amazing pictures. But I highly doubt it. At some point you were the person who just LOVED photography (I presume you still are?). I'm sure that at some point you were just starting out trying to build your portfolio. Why such hostility towards people who share your passion?

    Again, if they are in your way, preventing you form doing your job that's one thing. But if there staying out of the way what's the problem?

    If you are in such high demand (and I don't doubt you are your pics are very nice) then you have noting to fear from Uncle Freddy who just got his DSLR from Best Buy. Right?

    Question, do I earn extra brownie points since I bought my DSLR from B&H and not Best Buy?

  • Kris Gay

    May 15, 2011 04:13 pm

    You're changing what I said to suit your opinion on the subject.

    And heck yeah, I have every right to not want my shots mixed in with crappy ones. I don't want other potential clients thinking that I took those shots.

    That's not ego. That's smart business. DUH?!

    If they want to put that stuff in another folder of photos on their Facebook page then fine I guess. But don't mix it in with my stuff!

    And yeah, you should take the pink point and shoot to a wedding instead. Taking a DSLR to a wedding when you are not the hired pro does make you look like an ass. That's like taking your own skillet to the reception and wanting to help cook the food for the couple because you love to cook. DUH!?

    And having a band and a DJ is not the same thing as what I said. Again, you are either not reading my posts or you are twisting my words to suit your own purposes. Either way, you just don't get it.

    I don't have a huge ego about it but I am very smart about this being my BUSINESS. My livelihood. How I pay my mortgage. How I feed my kid.

    I've only had someone become a true problem maybe 3-4 times in over 300 weddings and only twice have I had to say something more than once to the person and in both of those cases the guest was being extremely rude and was completely up in my ass with their camera either. One was an uncle shooting for his portfolio and one was an aunt that just loved photography and wanted to shoot all day and give the couple her photos as her gift to them. Both people who being assholes who were completely in my way and I will not apologize for thinking that. They were completely in the way and rude. Neither one listened when I repeatedly tried to be nice and ask them to stop even when I tried to explain. So yes, I asked the bride to discuss it with them and that was unfortunate. Both people still persisted after the bride so I had to step in and tell them just loud enough that other people heard me (just within a few feet) instead of whispering to the person which is what I had done earlier with those two people.

    Who brings their camera and shoots photos as their gift to the couple when the couple already has a hired pro anyway? How cheap ass is that?! Buy a real gift and leave your gear at home.

    Again, don't bring a skillet and expect to help with the food. Don't bring your weekend warrior PA system and play a few songs for the couple when they already have a DJ. And Adam, your analogies are totally different than what I am explaining so just stop trying to make your point because you are twisting everything to suit your opinion (really? someone singing at the reception is totally different and would be cool).

  • Adam

    May 15, 2011 04:03 pm

    @Kris Gay

    Your last rant there just proves my point. Your ego is the problem. Not guests taking pictures. Everyone is just too stupid.

    "but to bring a DSLR seems like overkill to bring to a wedding..."

    But I only have a DSLR. Well not true. My wife does have a point and shoot, but it's pink. Not really my color. Of course there is my iPhone, but that's slow. Yep, I knew there was a reason that I have and use a DSLR as my primary camera.

    "I don’t want crappy digital photos of rings, flowers, and first dances from guests mixed in with my shots on the couple’s facebook pages..."

    FSM forbid that your work should be mixed with the work of the peasants. Right?

    "Vendors have a right to be pissed off about guests overstepping their bounds. If you don’t get that, you can’t possibly be a pro shooter that shoots a lot of weddings."

    Um, Not really. Just my opinion but ya know as long as your getting paid and they are not getting in the way, what's the big deal. Oh, right, your ego. I've made it clear several times that I'm not a professional photographer.

    I can't comment about the food, or flowers. But certainly I've seen people get up and sing during the wedding or reception. I've never heard that the DJ complained that their bad singing would ruin their reputation. I've even seen a band and a DJ (not from the same company) work together and yes they each brought and used their own equipment.

  • Kris Gay

    May 15, 2011 03:51 pm

    I stopped by because there was a post on Facebook about it. Otherwise, I would NOT have stopped by the site because I'd never heard of it until today. Evidently it is full of smartasses such as yourself who feel empowered by calling out working pros for having an opinion.

    You also have not really read what I wrote in any of my posts. Either that or you are exactly the type of person that I am describing who thinks it is totally okay to shoot his DSLR at another pro's wedding for whatever reason you want. Which is it?

    My opinion... Just because you own a DSLR doesn't mean you should take it to a wedding. Point and shoots are generally totally okay and don't get in the way. It's the DSLR's with the infrared focus assist that project the red criss cross pattern on the couple during their first dance while I am trying to get my shots, or the guy who wants to shoot for his portfolio, or the overbearing aunt of the bride that just "loves photography" that has the rings and bouquet doing some kind of artsy set up when you need to get your hands on them, get your shots, and get out of the room so you can move on to the next section of the day or cover the groomsmen that drive me nuts. And rightly so.

    No, I don't have an overblown ego. You don't know me, Adam, so I can't expect you to know that. I go way of my way for my wedding clients which is why I am an in demand wedding shooter (30-40 per year) that also teaches professional level workshops and classes to other working professional photographers. I go out of my way to make each wedding absolutely as unique as I can make it. That's exactly WHY it drives me nuts when I have someone all up in my ass all day with their camera because they just LOVE photography and want to give the couple a few extra shots or build their portfolio. Seriously? Would you stop into the kitchen at the reception hall and insist on helping with the food because you just love to cook and it will be your gift to the couple?

    Honestly, if you can't see why it's wrong for someone to take their DSLR to a wedding and shoot like THAT (portfolio or providing extra shots to the couple) then you are just... I don't know. Completely ignorant of what it takes to professionally shoot a wedding and how real working pros think, I guess.

  • Kris Gay

    May 15, 2011 03:42 pm

    Point and shoots sure but to bring a DSLR seems like overkill to bring to a wedding. I can't tell them not to bring them but I can tell them to stay out of my way and to NOT shoot for their portfolio at the event where I am the paid professional. That is well within my rights and it is in my contract.

    I don't want crappy digital photos of rings, flowers, and first dances from guests mixed in with my shots on the couple's facebook pages. And that's exactly what happens. Unfortunately, the general public can't always tell the difference between a half assed shot that some dude with a DSLR from Best Buy took and the fancy lighting with on camera and off camera flash that I studied my ass off to be able to produce. And yeah, that ticks me off. Does that make my ego fragile? No. It makes me pissed that the general public has the artistic literacy of cheese whiz and Nascar and that I have to work so hard to differentiate myself and my work and have someone "get it."

    People who take their DSLR to a wedding do look like assholes for doing so. There is a paid photographer there already. Take a point and shoot and grab a few happy snaps. You are not there to create some artsy photo or provide extra coverage. Leave the big camera at home and stay out of the way. I don't know how much plainer I can say it, Adam. Would you take extra PA equipment and use it at the reception just because you could? Would you make extra flowers and put them on the tables right next to the hired florists' work just because you love flowers and wanted to do extra for the couple? Vendors have a right to be pissed off about guests overstepping their bounds. If you don't get that, you can't possibly be a pro shooter that shoots a lot of weddings. I don't know how much simpler I can explain it.

    Yes, I get paid either way but... Well, if you don't understand, you just aren't a pro shooter. That's all I can say. If you haven't had to deal with it over and over again, then you just don't get it. It drives pro shooters nuts but most of them try to be too nice about it because most photographers are artsy types who don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or ruffle any feathers. My photography is how I make my living full time and I have every right to protect my work environment because I am LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE for creating that work or it could potentially cost me money if the couple decides they want a refund due to missed shots.

    Again, I have only had to fuss at someone a few times in over 300 weddings, so it is rare that someone is TRULY in the way, but I do have to kind of corral the crowd of relatives when I am in a time crunch and that does happen quite often- nearly every wedding actually. Most people understand when I tell them how much time we have and that they can take photos from behind me as long as we don't have to stop for them. If they're not okay with that, then too bad. I don't yell at people but I do make it clear that I have a job to do and if they can fit into that, then great. If not, then they will just have to try to get their photos later. I often have only 20 minutes to do group portraits after the wedding before the church wedding coordinator lady is kicking me out of the church.

  • Adam

    May 15, 2011 03:35 pm

    @Kris Gay

    You know what the real problem is with "professional" photographers like yourself; besides your overgrown ego. Is that you've done so many weddings that they all look the same. It's just a job to you so you just do the same shots over and over again.

    It's no wonder it's become popular for couples to invite their guest to bring their cameras, or provide cameras, to get the shots that you don't want to get, or simply can't.

    I'd also like to as out Miss. "I've shot 300 weddings" why are you visiting a website called "Digital Photography School"? You clearly know everything there is to know.

  • Adam

    May 15, 2011 03:28 pm

    @Kris Gay

    Who are you to say that it's not ok for someone to bring their camera to the wedding. It's a big thing these days to give point and shoots to the guests to take pics.

    What is it a slap in the face? Don't you get paid either way? Is your ego really that fragile?

  • Kris Gay

    May 15, 2011 03:21 pm

    In my experience (ten years and over 300 weddings so what do I know right), 99% of wedding coordinators are inexperienced, overpuffed, bitchy women from the church who like to be in charge but generally are clueless and are of no help whatsoever in ANY situation. They get paid to unlock the church, turn the lights on, and yell at people for not bowing at the end of the aisle correctly. Seriously... I have NEVER had a wedding coordinator help me with this type of situation. EVER. And YES, I have asked the wedding coordinator (even the wedding PLANNER who was at the reception and supposed to be well paid and knowledgeable) before and again NO HELP WHATSOEVER. So yes, I will go to the bride and explain what is going on and ask her to either intercede on my behalf or have her maid of honor or mother do it. If that doesn't work or they won't do it, then I have to do what I have to do.

    Again, all of you people who are playing the nicey-nicey card on this are not full time pro shooters who are really experienced with YEARS of weddings under your belts. If you were, you would have a different attitude. I haven't had it happen but just a few times but when I did get someone "up in my ass" all day long who wouldn't stop and who wouldn't listen to the bride either, I did tell the person off just loud enough that people next to them could hear and the person was embarrassed enough to finally knock it off.

    What I honestly can't believe are the people on here who do shoot professionally who have been "guilty as charged" of being part of the wedding paparazzi. Really? Were those shots THAT important? Your gift to them? Would you cook extra food and put it on the banquet table with the caterers' food as your gift to the couple? Make extra florals and put them up with the florists' work? Would you bring your own small PA system and insist on playing a few special songs for the couple at the reception even though they already hired a DJ? Well, that's exactly what you are doing when you bring a DSLR to the wedding to "just grab a few shots." It makes you look like a total asshole to the photographer even if you aren't in the way. It's just wrong.

    Now, if someone called me up ahead of time and wanted to follow me at their friend's wedding to learn, I'd be all for it. I generally have someone following me to learn at almost all of my weddings. I am an open book and teach workshops and photography classes often anyway. But the crazy relatives trying to do extra photos for the couple is just a slap in the face to the photographer. You can bet if you cooked extra food as your gift to the couple and put it on that banquet table at the reception, you would have an angry chef in your face in a heartbeat. Why are photographers such pansy asses about it? For God's sake people, grow a set or stop charging for your work and go take pretty pictures of flowers in the park.

  • Adam

    May 15, 2011 03:06 pm

    @Kris Gay sa

    Seems to me that if someone was really getting in your way the "professional" thing to do would be to talk to the wedding coordinator. It's their job to handle details like this. Getting in the brides face about it seems rather un-professional.

    But again, I'm not a professional photographer so what do I know right?

  • Kris Gay

    May 15, 2011 03:02 pm

    Be nice about it until it becomes a problem. That's what I say. But if someone is truly making a pest of themselves (shooting PORTFOLIO shots at a wedding or generally being in the way or distracting), then YES, I will say something and I will only be nice once or twice. After that, if the person persists in being in the way or being rude, then I will have to do what I have to do. Generally I will try having my clients help me deal with the person in question before I will outright tell someone off. I've only had to tell someone off TWICE in over ten years and over 300 weddings. I've only had to tell someone to step off maybe 3-4 times total. The two people that I had to tell off TOTALLY DESERVED IT and were really being rude and would not stop. Other than that, I generally haven't had too many problems.

    I can see where having a gazillion cameras around would rattle a newer shooter but a seasoned pro usually can deal with it and stay in charge easily enough. I just don't like it when every other person has a DSLR and is horning in on every shot I'm doing, following me around, or WORST OF ALL- "shooting for their portfolio." I can not stress this enough... The clients hired a pro. DO NOT shoot your portfolio at another pro's wedding!!! And don't take your camera and try to get artsy shots to give to the bride and groom as "your gift to them." That's rude and it's like saying the hired pro can't get everything they need. Again, would you do that to the caterers, florist, or DJ? I think not.

    Just because you own a camera and perhaps even know how to use it doesn't mean that you should bring it to a wedding. Let the hired pro do their work. Grab a couple happy snaps with your point and shoot of your kids all dressed up and leave it at that.

  • mike

    May 15, 2011 01:47 pm

    If the photographer is smart it is in their contract, no one other than you can take pictures. Most of all other flash will ruin your shots. That can lead to a very unhappy bride. And that can cost you money.. Those of you that think it's crazy to make a big deal about this, don't shoot weddings on a regular basis. You would never let someone come and take pictures at a portrait session. And a wedding is basically a glorified portrait session. They pay for your best, and the only way to give your best is keeping aunt Sally and uncle Jim out of your way!

  • Adam

    May 15, 2011 11:14 am

    @Andy Mills

    Yes but she's (the author and many other commentors) claiming that something is being stolen from her when someone shoots over her shoulder. The author, and others making this claim of theft have failed to explain how someone can steal something that you do not own.

    Also, there is this derogatory tone to the post and others comments that makes it seem that only the "professional" is capable, or should be allowed to take pictures.

    And how are you supposed to interpret a title that advocates yelling at guests of a wedding: "Tell them to back off!"

    If the author (and you by your comments) are so sensitive that some Schmuck with a camera distracts you then maybe you should work on that. Are you not supposed to be the professional?

  • Andy Mills

    May 15, 2011 10:26 am

    I really cannot believe some of the replies people have made to this article - you really are reading too much into it.

    1) Unless you are a cut price wedding photographer (who possibly wouldn't care that much anyway), the bride and groom have paid you, the photographer, a lot of money to do the job and NOT the other person. Anything they supply is a bonus.

    2) There is a problem with someone taking photos over your shoulder - it can and does distract the subject, who may be looking at them when they should be looking at YOU. You cannot always control this and it may happen at a crucial moment.

    3) Again, over the should shooters are distracting for you, taking your mind off of your job. It just adds stress on an already stressful day.

    4) She has said most of this in her article, and that she has no problem with other people shooting, only that she will ask that something people wait until she has finished. What's wrong with that?

    I've been following Elizabeth's posts here and her blog for a long time now, she has been nothing but very helpful to other up and coming photographers, and with that in mind I cannot believe that she would act in the way that some of you are suggesting, and then saying not to hire her?

    Seriously people, get a grip.

  • Kris Gay

    May 15, 2011 07:52 am

    It IS rude for other people to snap away if they are truly in the way during a wedding. At a portrait session, I would NEVER allow someone to have a camera out while I was shooting either. But for weddings, many relatives and friends will have cameras there.

    The problem comes when other people are using flash and the subjects don't know where to look. I've shot weddings professional for over ten years and have personally photographed over 300 weddings as the main shooter. What drives me nuts is when someone who is "shooting for their portfolio to get into weddings" follows me around and is underfoot to the point that I can't make a move without stepping on them. I just flat out don't put up with that and will tell the offending shooter to put their camera away or I will go talk to the clients and stop shooting until they comply with my contract.

    If you want to "get into weddings' then shoot someone's wedding who has no money or ask to apprentice for a professional. DO NOT take your camera to a wedding and practice. That is SO RUDE.

    Anyone here can say that I am being mean but I don't care. If you shoot professionally and this is how you make your living, your attitude changes about the wedding paparazzi. I could care less if there are 200 people with point and shoot cameras going nuts as long as their flashes aren't distracting the couple from looking at me. BUT- the minute someone hauls out their prosumer DSLR and starts trying to get some kind of artsy type shot for Facebook or as their "gift to the couple" that is just wrong in my opinion. The couple hired a professional. Let the professionals do their jobs. Would you cook extra food for the couple and put it on the banquet table as your gift to the couple? Would that offend the caterer? Would you insist on playing a song at the reception on your sound system as your gift to the couple? Would that offend the DJ? You bet it would! The "wedding paparazzi" family and friends at a wedding truly don't understand how rude they are being when they behave this way. It is up to the professional photographer to educate them in a way that is both professional and polite without coming off as being nasty.

    I try to explain to people that it's hard for the subjects to know where to look, that infrared focus assist red patterns show up on their faces in my photos from other photographer's cameras (hate that!), and that (at times) their flashes can set off my flashes which prevents me from using my own equipment (when it's set up with one of the set on a slave) which prevents me from getting the shots that I am LEGALLY bound by contract to produce. I try to be nice about it but I have had to get mean maybe 3-4 times in ten years of over 300 weddings. One time I had an uncle of the bride show up with a Canon 1D series body and all L lenses in a big bag in the choir loft of the church right next to our video equipment. He climbed the stairs of the church with a bad knee right after surgery. He said he just wanted "a few shots" but he had about 35-40 pounds of equipment in that bag and two digital bodies. Yeah, right. I told him to leave and put his cameras away for the day or I would go get the bride and discuss my contract with her before the wedding started. He went to the regular pews and started to shoot again. I did have to get the bride to go talk to him. She hadn't asked him to shoot anything for her (I wouldn't allow that anyway), and it turns out that he was shooting "for a portfolio" because he was retiring from his other job and had always done photography as a hobby so he wanted to try out all of his new gear on a wedding. Nice. NOT. The bride had to tell him that this was not allowed and that if he wanted to shoot a wedding for practice, he needed to set up an apprenticeship with a pro instead of horning in on another pro's shoot. GUH! I had tried to discuss the issue with the uncle twice already and it really upset the bride before the wedding to have to deal with it.

    He would have been in the way and it was just WRONG to do that. So all of you who are saying that the pro shooter has no right to tell people to not shoot at the wedding are just wrong. The hired pro has every right to do so and should have that in his or her contract as well. Again, you wouldn't cook extra food and put it out with the caterers' food on the banquet table, play an extra couple of songs for the couple at the reception on your own DJ gear that you brought along, or make extra florals and put them up right next to the florists' work, so why do people think it's okay to do the same thing with photos from the wedding? It's NOT. Again, point and shoot cameras and DSLR's in happy snap mode that stay out of the way are just fine to me, but it's when people get a little too "into it" that it becomes a problem and must be shut down completely before it gets out of control. It can be a little difficult to deal with it the first couple of times it happens, but unless you want to be run over during a wedding that you are LEGALLY BOUND by contract to shoot, then you need to GROW A SET as the professional photographer and politely take charge of the event that you are legally responsible to shoot and from which you must produce the same quality of images that you displayed to the client when they hired you.

  • rexroller

    May 15, 2011 07:28 am

    Oh man thats what I should have said to the other photographers when I was photographing Fabienne Cherisma, boy is my face red.

  • Adam

    May 15, 2011 06:12 am

    @Rusty

    What you did sounds perfectly reasonable. People were interfering with your work and as I've said that's not cool. I get that.

    Thank you for not using the "they were stealing my shots" language.

  • Tanya

    May 15, 2011 05:54 am

    OMG people!!! What the author is talking about is he is being paid to take pictures at the wedding! The bride and groom are going to expect GREAT pictures! Not something grandma could have done with her point and shoot!! Otherwise, why pay him? If everyone else is there with the camera then the subjects are confused as to where to look, the process takes too long and so much other stuff!!! Put your camera down or next time you get hired as the photographer!!!! Geeeez!!!!

  • Rusty Sterling

    May 15, 2011 05:54 am

    The biggest problem I have had is people behind me during the formal shooting using flash. Some of my flashes use triggers to fire and when they use flash just before I'm about to take my shot I have to stop and let the flashes recycle again. Before the session I did ask everyone very nicely to turn off the flash on their cameras and why. Still, most of them did not do as I asked. At one wedding it got so bad I did actually have to snap at the people and eventually tell them they could not shoot until I was finished. Fortunately, the bride and groom had seen and heard what had gone on previously and they jumped in and told the crowd to go inside and that they could take picture later.

    I personally don't have a problem with someone shooting over my shoulder at times. If they get too close and start to crowd me I'll say something pithy with a smile on my face and they will back off.

    But the flash things was really annoying. I'd get the shot the way I wanted it, the group posing as I wanted, and suddenly before I could fire my camera the triggered flashes would fire and the whole setup was blown for me. So now I make it a habit of telling people beforehand they during the formal shooting they could not take pictures. Of course, I always discuss this with the bride and groom ahead of time so that if I have to tell someone to back off they will back me up.

  • Adam

    May 15, 2011 05:50 am

    @Ryan Gonzales

    "There is not case law of supporting ongoing cases that copyright posing. I am specifically speaking about someone stealing your posed shots and preventing you from selling more prints to family members or friends. If someone steals “your posed shots” how can you guarantee that you will get more sales from that wedding or not."

    So stop saying that someone is stealing something from you.

    My mom and sister did horse shows, barrel racing, there was a photographer that had been there for years. He'd take pics of everyone doing their run and print them right there to sell.

    I came along (at the age of 16 or so) with my dad's 35mm SLR to take pics of my mom and sister, and my moms friend. Somehow others caught wind that I took good pictures and asked me to take some of them. I obliged and gave them the prints at the next show.

    This irked the photographer and he asked me to stop taking pictures of other people because he was losing business. I checked with the owner of the facility to see if he (the photographer) had any kind of agreement with them barring other people from taking pictures. He didn't. So I kept taking pictures.

    Like the author of this post, this guy was just jealous that someone else was capable of operating a camera.

    Seems to me the better business practice would be to not be a jerk, but what do I know... I'm not a professional.

  • Adam

    May 15, 2011 05:33 am

    @Elizabeth Halford

    "Hi all. I never said that others shouldn’t be taking pictures at weddings I think this post was pretty clear unless you were reading between the lines At portrait sessions, yes the client has a responsibility to let their mom know that they signed a contract saying she wouldn’t be pulling out her camera. And if they don’t let them know, I kindly will."

    The title of your post is "Other Photographers Stealing your Moment? Tell them to back off!"

    The first part implies that someone is stealing something from you and again I ask how can someone steal something from you that you don't own?

    The last part ("Tell them to back off!") indicates (by your use of an !) that you'd yell at a wedding guest.

    The post also assumes that you, the "professional" are the only one capable of taking a picture and because of your grand photography powers should be the only one allowed to take pictures.

    The whole complaint is based around the complaint that if someone is taking the same shot as you that they could "steal" the shot by giving the picture, or selling it for less than you would. So what. Don't you get paid for your time, and the prints that the party has pre-ordered?

    Is the success of your business so reliant on follow-up prints that you have to worry about guests snapping prints? If it is I'd be worried too, I'd also be re-evaluating my practices.

    Like others have said, this post serves as a good example of the type of photographer that you should not hire.

  • Corey

    May 15, 2011 05:28 am

    And I didn't need to pay some overpriced lawyer to pull out his contract templates and add my name on a few lines to prevent myself from being sued. I'm a firm believer in doing things yourself. Not having to rely on other people.

  • Corey

    May 15, 2011 05:25 am

    Ryan, Have you been in a situation when someone was up your ass all day when you were trying to work. I have. He was bumping into me all day screwing up my shots. So just because tou don't know your gonna sell prints, then you should just let that person run all over you all day? Not trying to be a dick but apparently you don't know what your talking about. I asked the guy nicely to give me some space and he did.

  • Adam

    May 15, 2011 05:20 am

    @Bruce Clayton

    So, do you have some kind of agreement with the owner of the property that you have exclusive rights to a specific spot? If not I'm unclear as to how you'd get security to kick someone out.

    Again, the tone of this post and the tone of a lot of the commentors makes you all sound like a bunch of five year olds fighting over a toy.

    Get over yourselves. Your not the only one who can take a picture.

  • Jana

    May 15, 2011 04:23 am

    hmmm, this stirred up a heated discussion...I usually don't read all of it, but I did. I enjoyed reading everyone's responses (and learned quite a bit!) However, after reading all the comment, I went back up and re-read what Elizabeth had shared, and I think for the most part it was taken slightly out of context (and I can certainly see how/why it was). I have not shot a wedding (yet-and frankly I'm a little frightened now), but I do have in my portrait contract that no cameras are allowed at the portrait session. I did a home session for a newborn, and other family was there, and they DID pull out a nice point and shoot camera and took some pictures of my 'set up'. I kindly let them do so without making a fuss, partly because I knew it wasn't going to turn out well in the low light situation. Their photos were immediately uploaded to FB the next day and looked horrible! My fear was that people would see them and think I took them! hahaha! Of course when I shared mine, it was a huge difference and didn't even look the same at all. :-) I think it's certainly ok to be respectful and ask a party to kindly step aside to get 'the shot' if it is becoming an interference, but all in all, it's family and they are EXCITED!
    Elizabeth, thank you for sharing....even as debating as it turned out, I came away with a wealth of information!

  • Ian Worthington

    May 15, 2011 03:55 am

    I have never seen a photographer at a wedding request all guests to put away their cameras. I would find it very disrespectful of the nature of a friends and family event. You are not in charge, the bride is.

    Any photographer who does this has lost sight of the fact that their next clients are likely to be amongst those they are pissing off: not good marketing.

    I would suggest two ways of dealing with this:

    1. Price your package so you don't make significant profit per print, but rather have a bundle price.
    2. If it *really* annoys you, use a longer lens and push the folks behind you so far back they can't get a good shot.

    To add to the comments re Mexico. I also live in Latin America and when I shoot school events there's always a bunch a pros trying to scrape a living by selling services. They've never got annoyed with me for shooting and I neither with them, even when they go stand in the middle of the action to get their shot. And I make a point of never allowing parents to contract my services, but send them on to the pros.

  • Ed Wilson

    May 15, 2011 03:44 am

    The last wedding I shot, the Mother of the Bride followed me around with her camera. When I had a setup ready, she'd step in front of me and take a couple of snaps.. Then she'd turn around and give me a dirty look. Apparently she thought the photographic fees were too high. Eventually her camera memory card filled up. I asked her if I could loan her one. She seemed very surprised at my offer. Then I told her, "I get paid in advance" "I have already deposited the check and your daughter only has to select her images" . "The pictures you are taking won't be in her album or in the wall photo's she has prepaid". I don't mind your taking pictures, but it seems you are intentionally interfering and sabotaging my coverage. " "The guests don't like having to wait for several different photographers to make the same picture" " It seems to me you are ignoring your guests in favor of getting some cheaper photographs" "You are missing your daughters wedding"..Without a word she walked away without taking any more photos in front of me. She did, however, check to make sure I had been prepaid... She is (as far as I know) still pissed at me. That is why I gave up weddings..

  • JCP St. Petersburg Photographer

    May 15, 2011 03:40 am

    This is yet another increasingly problematic issue that has caused me to put wedding photography on the back burner and focus on car and commercial photography instead. The last wedding I photographed some guest with an entry-level DSLR who I asked to politely to not shoot while I was replied with defiance. I then told her you will interfere with my work and put at risk me being able to get the shots I had been hired to get. This meant nothing to her. From the ceremony to the reception this occurred. I was working as a sort of freelance for photographer for a wedding company so this job was not under my own contract. Had it been, I would have been much more forceful with this person as I allow no photography while I am working and no DSLRs period.

    It is just shocking how selfish people are that they would risk ruining the wedding photographs of their family/friends.

    ***************
    I am saying this in every comment i write on dPS & I cannot believe more people do not mention the extreme annoyance of a fadeout popup coming up on every page on dPS begging us to subscribe to their news letter. Right in the middle of reading a post, that experience gets interrupted. This practice should be completely stopped, and at the very least if you have entered your e-mail the site should remember you and not ask every single time you return. If you are extremely annoyed by this, please comment as well.

  • Ryan Gonzales

    May 15, 2011 03:36 am

    @Adam There is not case law of supporting ongoing cases that copyright posing. I am specifically speaking about someone stealing your posed shots and preventing you from selling more prints to family members or friends. If someone steals "your posed shots" how can you guarantee that you will get more sales from that wedding or not. My experience is, if someone steals a shot that was setup by you the photographer, you backend sales have been sacrificed because this family member or friend is going to offer it to that person for free or for some type of fee. In regards to my contract, I paid an attorney alot of money to write my paperwork to help prevent my company from being sued. I am not saying that being sued will never happen to any of us, because there is that one client that each of us will meet sometime in our career that will sue just to sue! So like I said, this type of situation is usually handled without further incident by either the couple or a family member. I have never had to leave because this was not taken care of, because it gets taken care of right away.

  • Kare

    May 15, 2011 12:53 am

    I see a lot of references here to the ceremony, reception, etc and to me of course, those are open-season for anyone and everyone taking photos. But my question/concern is the contracted time to take the professional group photos away from the ceremony - is that also open season for guests to follow the photographer around? If the photos are taking place in a totally different area from the ceremony and reception, do you expect people to leave the wedding guest group and follow along? That's what we ran into and it surprised me because I have never seen people doing that before.

    My brother took some shots at his friend's wedding where the professional had posed everyone but they were doing the photos about 6 feet away from where all the guests were gathered after the ceremony. I can see that happening - but if the couple has chosen a different location for the portrait session, the 'formals' session, do you think guests should randomly follow along to that as well? Personally I see a difference there, but apparently others do not lol.

    At all the previous stuff like the bridal party getting ready, the bridal party arriving at the wedding spot, then during the ceremony, we expected others to be snapping away with their own cameras of course - but were surprised when people followed us around the formals session that was after the ceremony/before the reception in a different location.

  • Bruce Clayton

    May 15, 2011 12:44 am

    I shoot a Pro Billiards event 2x a year..Last time during the trophy presentation, a guy climbs into the area where I was shooting, with the winner..Just as I'm ready to shoot, he calls out the winners name and says "over here"...Now I just snapped a shot with the winner looking at him, not me..After this happen again, I asked him to please stop..he didn't..The promoter asked him to stop, he didn't...I could have had security remove the "fan"..but I would have lost the moment...What would it have accomplished? Lesson learned..Next time it just will not be tolerated..

  • Sandy McCurdy

    May 15, 2011 12:35 am

    I've never commented before, but this is one that urks me, a different situation, but frustrating none the less. I'm a small town photojournalist, covering the local events of the county in rural Iowa. We have a newspaper in a neighboring town thinking he will cover same things. He waits till I line up people for the shot, steps up and takes it for himself, and even comments in his paper that it's "his" shot, not ours. Excuse me! I now wait for him to line them up, take his shot, then I rearrange and get my own. But it's annoying!!!

  • Gideon

    May 14, 2011 11:59 pm

    Apparently this article sets off quite a string here from pro's and amateurs alike, good!
    Freedom of speech X2! See this :
    -No one owes an angle, pro's are being paid for their over all quality!
    -some pro's can't possibly take better pictures then the man with the compact camera because the man with the compact camera enjoys himself and that's very VERY good for 'your eye'.
    Get it?

  • Anthony

    May 14, 2011 09:47 pm

    Something to keep in mind... no matter how frustrating it gets, the people around you are potential customers. Especially if they are able to compare their results with yours. With putting cameras on tables as a standard ploy to get more candid shots, there is an expectation for the guests to take pictures.

  • Yeelen

    May 14, 2011 09:29 pm

    Oh boy, my father and (soon-to-be) stepmother are getting married in July, and they've hired a semi-pro, which is a colleague of my stepmother. Of course, I'll be taking some shots as well, so I hope the photographer won't get irritated because of me. I wouldn't want to follow him around anyways, as I'd be more disappointed than anything else if I got the same shots as him.

    PS: Small capture of the family I'm mentioning :) http://www.flickr.com/photos/yeelenmoller/5649291096/

  • Peter

    May 14, 2011 07:46 pm

    Elizabeth

    If you do not want your Grandma showing you up by taking better photos than you can, then send her to make the tea.
    On the other hand take her with you to the wedding and she can poke the other photographers with her stick. that should work and she will probably get a great deal of enjoyment from it.

  • Jake Townsen

    May 14, 2011 07:16 pm

    In the industry we call them "Uncle Bob". Which is pretty much anyone at a wedding (other than the hired photog) that has an slr and shoots the wedding like they were hired. Usually the guests with point and shoot cameras or cell phones aren't the gutsy ones.

    I've shot hundreds of weddings with Uncle Bob snapping away from over my shoulder. It's all good. It took awhile to get used to it, and it was frustrating when I missed a shot. But you learn to adapt and work around them, or just incorporate them in. We are there to make friends, and hopefully future clients. Last thing we want is to offend a guest with any kind of comment, and worse off have them complain about you to the couple. If you are confronting them about photography....it can be easy to offend.

    During portraits we actually love it when mom or family shoot. GREAT time for candid and off angle framing. Just be careful if you use the same lens as Bob, which is usually a standard zoom or kit lens. Your shot may just look the same.

    That being said - before my ceremony/reception of 460, I personally asked all the guests to not take any photos, and please turn off their cameras. It worked. For the reception we had disposable cameras at every table. :)

    Elizabeth, on a personal level I agree you with 100%. On a professional level...I understand why you would use those tactics, it makes sense. Though I would never do it.

  • Elizabeth Halford

    May 14, 2011 05:35 pm

    Hi all. I never said that others shouldn't be taking pictures at weddings :) I think this post was pretty clear unless you were reading between the lines :) At portrait sessions, yes the client has a responsibility to let their mom know that they signed a contract saying she wouldn't be pulling out her camera. And if they don't let them know, I kindly will.

  • Chris Nixon

    May 14, 2011 05:10 pm

    Haha! If I was taking photographs at a wedding and the official photographer told me not to, they would swiftly be told where to stick their camera.

    The official photographer is there to do a job, and part of that job is working with...and around...the guests.

    I wouldn't hire a wedding photographer that was unable to work like this in the same way that I would hire a band that was unable to work like this.

  • F-64 stopper

    May 14, 2011 04:17 pm

    I would love to see you tell a mother to back off... Watch how fast you loose business.. Deal with it. Everyone has a camera comparable these days.

  • Kare

    May 14, 2011 04:07 pm

    @ Adam My friend has had a LOT of criticism for her choice but she just sticks with it. In a way, she is selling the copyright to them immediately but charges a much lower price than others would for that bonus. In exchange, her favorite photos have a small watermark on them with her photography name. It's a small price to pay for advertising and keeping her work going. Our main focus is trying to get the best shots we can so the clients will be thrilled, and then of course word of mouth is the best source of advertising anyway. A lot of people she takes photos for are in our city temporarily through work so that also makes it next to impossible for them to track her down again in the future if contact info gets lots or changes (like if they want more proofs, etc). Once they have their CD, they can post the images anywhere they like, get any copies done in any sizes, make some copies to give to family and friends, etc. I love it, personally. She did my family photos and I still access the CD years later if I get an idea for editing one myself, etc etc. It's their photos and their faces, their big day, and that's how we look at it.

    We are still discussing the issue and at the front in my mind is discussing it with clients before a contract is written up. If the clients agree that it's better to have a fully private session at some point, then that will go into the contract and if I am helping, I will also be the one to explain it to guests with a 'Don't worry, we will all be right back!' comment before dashing off lol. I think that will work best.

    But in some cases, I do think that the photographer has 'some' ownership if a particular pose is thought up and executed - as in 'artistic ownership' I suppose you could say. We don't always do standard posing, we try to do some funky stuff based on the attitude and likes of the couple, so when photos are taken by others hanging around and then popped up over the internet, they take ownership of that photo, but never mention that this 'cool idea' came from XXX-photographer. She had a couple of sudden impromptu ideas come up on the spot that were then also plastered across FB the next day and the comments were all like 'wow thats a great shot' etc - which it was - but all planned and orchestrated by the main photographer - not the one who uploaded the photo. So I can see where some issues may come up with artistic integrity vs who-really-owns-the-photo.

    In the end though, the professionally edited photos will be the ones that are the most striking most of the time I would imagine, so they still look great in a portfolio, and great for advertising - however, the tag-a-long may look like they have an awesome professional portfolio as well when in actuality, they did not set up or plan any of the poses. I think that's where the line can be blurred sometimes.

  • Adam

    May 14, 2011 03:51 pm

    @kare

    The bride and groom receive a photo CD with all of the finished images for their own use. Many photographers do not ‘like’ that style either, but my friend has found it to be much more user-friendly than having the couple needing to return if they want more prints done. This way they pay a fee and are free to make whatever copies they wish, whenever they wish.

    Please, and I'm not being flippant, give your friend and yourself a pat on the back for being so progressive. I never understood the industry practice where someone pays a photographer to take pictures and then the photographer insists that they own the pictures and essentially holds them for ransom, forcing the client to go to the photographer and pay them (again) anytime they want a copy/print, whatever.

    I also agree (as I've said before) that people can get in the way and/or be distracting. It's something to discuss with the client and establish a protocol beforehand. But to insist that someone is stealing something from you (as others, not you have) by taking pictures at the same time, for the same thing you are is ridiculous.

    To steal something from me is to imply that I own something. I cannot own a shot. I can take a picture, then you could stand in the same spot and take the same exact picture. Did you steal my picture? No, and for me to claim you did would be ridiculous.

    The attitude of the post, and of many commenters, serves only one purpose - to demonstrate the type of photographer you should not hire.

    If you don't want other people around during your shoot. Fine. Handle it beforehand with your client. Discuss it with the wedding coordinator (who's job it is to handle these sorts of things). Put it in your contract. Walk away if you don't get your way. But don't claim that you own something that you can't possibly own, and don't claim people are stealing something from you that you can't possibly own.

    Again, good job on being so progressive in your work. Others should take notes from you.

  • Kare

    May 14, 2011 03:25 pm

    @ Adam, this is definately something the main photog will have to think about for future events. But there are many others out there talking about the same thing. For example, the 'Wedding Photojournalist Association' has a section on this page www.wedpix.com/articles/005/wedding-day-portraits/ that is called 'Kindly Ditching The Relatives', suggesting a contract stipulation that requests everyone stay away from private sessions.

    My friend and I will be discussing possible solutions and ideas for any future shoots and possible contract wording changes if the couple wants it that way. Normally the bride and groom have requested photos taken outdoors and away from the ceremony building so tag-a-longs have not happened very often, or for only a few shots here and there, but in this case the formals session took place in the same building, but a completely different floor than where the ceremony and reception were taking place.

    As I said, it is situational too because we do not actually order prints based on the proofs on behalf of the couple and therefore do not make or lose money that way.... The bride and groom receive a photo CD with all of the finished images for their own use. Many photographers do not 'like' that style either, but my friend has found it to be much more user-friendly than having the couple needing to return if they want more prints done. This way they pay a fee and are free to make whatever copies they wish, whenever they wish. However, at the same time, with people tagging along, the couple has already received a copy of every single 'pose' and setup that we came up with in order to try to offer more creative styles and ideas for unique portraits. No, they will not be as refined and finished or altered with effects, but it's not always as exciting to finally receive your wedding photos from the professional service when you have already seen 5 copies of each pose from different angles in the weeks prior.

    I find these days that it's both an etiquette issue and a 'delaying gratification' issue. People no longer want to wait for the good stuff - they want everything right now or want to be the first to do or have something. I find that to be true in sooo much in this techno age (I must be getting old lol). With me as backup photographer taking shots when the main one was changing lenses or making adjustments (I was going for the casual moments), and then I felt as though I was blocking the view of family trying to take photos behind... (keep in mind, this was my first time shooting with a professional for a wedding so I was extremely shy and did not want to upset anyone lol)... but it was a bit of a gong-show at times when there was only a small window to take the formals before letting everyone relax and start the reception.

  • Joshua

    May 14, 2011 03:17 pm

    Noted. Do not hire this article author as photographer.

    I'm sorry but the tone is this article is rude. A Professional should at least know how to work around any difficult situations. Would you not take the job by refusing to remove the "no other cameras allowed" clause? I doubt it. Brides and Groom wont want a Pro photog at their wedding pisses their guests/family off. If you can't work around the problem, then maybe you shouldn't advertise yourself as a Professional.

    Don't forget wedding is family and guests celebrating the union of the bride and groom.

  • Rich Copley

    May 14, 2011 03:13 pm

    The formals sessions are the main places where this can be a problem, particularly if members of the bridal party are getting confused and looking toward other photographers. Maybe a solution would be asking the couple if it is OK to, or asking them themselves to explain to members of the party, "please focus your attention toward our hired photographer during the formals, because that is the person we have hired to capture these moments." Others can shoot - and it is hard to ask them not to without coming across as a jerk - but your shots will be the ones they are focused on.

    As for people jockeying for position during a ceremony, if you're not the hired photographer at the wedding, you should remain seated during the ceremony. Shoot, if appropriate, but from your seat.

  • Adam

    May 14, 2011 02:06 pm

    @kare

    I understand where you and others are coming from. People interfering with your work is not cool. But you should take the time to discuss this with clients beforehand. It's part of your job to explain to the client that you have a limited amount of time and your going to have to "run the show" during the formal shots to keep things on track. If it's time for formal shots, it's time for formal shots. Why are you worried about if anyone else go their shot if you got yours? You shouldn't be.

    If someone is literally interfering with your work, ask them to stop. But just because someone is behind, or to the side of you, taking pictures while you does not mean that they are stealing anything from you, as others have stated.

  • Adam

    May 14, 2011 01:52 pm

    @Ryan Gonzales

    "if anyone else is stealing my posed shots..."

    Please explain how one would "steal" your shot? Are your poses copyrighted, or patented?

    I'd love to see you in small claims court telling a judge you left because the brides mom was taking a picture with her point and shoot. I mean if it's in your contract, it's in your contract but seriously, you saying that you'd walk out proves nothing other than your capable of being a dick.

    Is there any case law, or other legal precedent that would allow for a photographer to claim that their shot is being "stolen" by someone taking a picture of the same thing?

  • OsmosisStudios

    May 14, 2011 01:21 pm

    As much as I agree with the point being made here, the author's tone is so condescending as to be insulting.

  • Kare

    May 14, 2011 12:56 pm

    It is something that could be dealt with by saying things as suggested during contracted times such as the after-ceremony formals (especially when these are being done in a different location) - like "Would you all mind giving me just a few minutes to get these shots? Thanks SO much". And then it's up to the bridal party if they stay in position for more shots or not.

    Another thing I found issue with at the wedding was, for example, only having a specific amount of time contracted to take the formal photos before the reception started. When others had followed along to take their own candid shots, it was difficult to get the bridal party moved to each photo location. They were unsure whether to hang back for everyone else to take photos, or get up and move along. It did become awkward quite a few times. In that case, it doesnt really work to say 'Okay I'm done! Everyone else go for it!' because you are looking at the time and knowing you got paid to take a certain amount of photos in certain groupings, but time is running out due to others following along, and that can make things hard as well.

    To me, anything that is already group-oriented like the ceremony, reception, arrival of the bride, etc is all fodder for anyone and everyone to take photos and you get whatever shots you can amongst the excitement. But 'formals' time is something different in my eyes at least. The bridal party separates from the crowd and goes 'on location' with the main photographer, and to me that is not a time for other cameras to come running along behind. Of course everyone is excited, it's great! It's a wedding! Everyone is happy! But in all my past years before digital cameras and even disposeables - I have very rarely seen anyone but the main paid photographer taking the formals shots when 'on location'. If the photo shoot was in a park somewhere, would the photographer expect that some of the guests would hop into their cars and follow to the park? I have never seen that before either.

    It's a change/advancement in technology that everyone has to adjust to I suppose - people can take as many shots as they want without having to worry about developing cruddy photos because they can just hit 'delete'... but I still think a line should be drawn during certain sessions. I don't believe it is wrong or rude to think that way.

  • Ryan Gonzales

    May 14, 2011 12:21 pm

    I add it into my contract that if anyone else is stealing my posed shots that the couple appoint someone to let people know that it is a violation of the contract. They also know that if the appointee does not handle the situation we will pickup and leave. Usually it is handled rather quickly without any further incident.

  • Adam

    May 14, 2011 12:00 pm

    @Neil

    Yep, that's why I said: "I understand if someone is literary getting in your way and preventing you from doing your job."

    I understand the the hired photog has a job to do, expectations to meet, etc. Getting in their way is not cool and I'd never advocate it. That includes someone taking a flash photo behind the hired photog, ruing the shot they are trying to get. Politely ask them to wait till your done, or turn their flash off. But you have no right to tell them they can't take pictures in the first place if they are just as welcome as you are.

  • Adam

    May 14, 2011 11:53 am

    @anthony edward er

    You said (and a lot of other commenters have made similar remarks):

    "Uncle Joe and Aunt Joan plus some gear heads"

    Your assuming that everyone but you has no clue what they are doing?

    I'm not a professional photographer, but I do have a bit of a clue of what I'm doing behind the camera. Just because I'd take pictures of a friends wedding out of the kindness of my heart, and not for the benefit of my wallet, does not mean I don't know what I'm doing.

    You and others might want to check your attitude at the door. Lest you be reminded that you (a "professional") are visiting a site called Digital Photography School.

  • Neil

    May 14, 2011 11:53 am

    Adam -- I agree with you for the most part. I would only have issues if they were physically getting in my way. Also, if a certain shot is ruined because of guest photography, I don't think the main photographer should be responsible if the bride and groom permit guest photos.

    I don't have issues with people sharing photos on Facebook, etc. the next day, because I know there are notable differences in the shots they post and the shots I am getting. I've also been a guest at many weddings with my pro gear too and I realize that the main photographer is getting much better photos. It isn't a competition!

  • Adam

    May 14, 2011 11:42 am

    @lucia

    I like the photon example TIm gave.

    What on Earth gives you the right to tell someone to delete pictures they took off their FaceBook? Just because your a "professional" means that you own the exclusive rights to every photon of light that your standing in front of? Sounds to me like you were suffering from a bit of jealousy.

    This post is a farce. I understand if someone is literary getting in your way and preventing you from doing your job. But unless you somehow own the copyright on a pose, lighting technique, or (like Tim said) the photons of light, what right do you have to tell someone they can't take pictures?

    Go to Pike Place in Seattle sometime. Dozens of photographers, professional and otherwise. Many of them taking pics of the same thing, person, etc. Do you think that you'd have the right to tell anyone of them not to take the same picture you are?

    Really, the author, and many of the commenters need to get over themselves. You all sound like your five year-olds fighting over a toy. You many own the picture that you take... but you don't own, and cannot control what other people do. If you want that kind of control then take pictures on your own private property.

    In case your wondering why I'm so vehement - I've dealt with a "photographer" who had the same type of attitude that the author (and many commenters) of this post seems to have.

  • Neil

    May 14, 2011 11:36 am

    On my contract, there's a clause in there that pretty much says I won't be held responsible if shots are missed due to the involvement of guest photography. I think it is pretty standard thing to have on the contract.

  • Kare

    May 14, 2011 11:35 am

    I think also that it would depend on what the situation is.... if photos are allowed during the actual ceremony, then of course it's going to be a free-for-all with cameras flashing every 5 seconds. That comes with the territory - but where I experienced this myself was during the 'Formals' time slot sessions that were agreed upon between the couple and the photographer. This is what the photographer had scoped out earlier and it was during this pre-determined time that random people were following along taking photos as well. It was difficult because there was so much going on while trying to round up all of the bridal party, parents, grandmas, find the flower girl, etc - we didn't always notice when someone had crept up behind and started taking photos. This is the first time it happened to me so I had no clue how to handle it gracefully and nicely. We had a list of spots and poses that we wanted to do, and this person took photos of every single one of them. Those were the 'big money' shots that the head photographer charges the most money for within the grand package total.... and someone else gave them to the bride before we even had a chance to go through all the photos. That was quite discouraging.

    The professional photos will be 'better', some random background lights are being cloned out, lighting fixed, effects used, etc - but the bride saw every single shot the very next day due to the tag-a-long amateur photographer. I would never in a million years decide to follow a professional photographer around on their private photo shoot, it wouldnt even cross my mind. I would be anticipating the prints along with everyone else.

  • fantasmic2tek

    May 14, 2011 11:29 am

    There was a post on the forums where someone had it put in their contract that either the bride or someone else had the responsibility to make sure nobody got in the way of the photographer. If this did happen it was a violation of the contract and the bride was responsible.

  • Neil

    May 14, 2011 11:00 am

    I believe that it is about space more than anything. The first wedding I ever shot, I felt like I was jockeying for position during the ceremony. It should never be like that.

  • Lew Kline

    May 14, 2011 10:47 am

    When working for a local pro, we (or he) would always state when doing the group shots in the church, that we didn't mind everyone taking photos, but please let us get ours first and then (as the article states) have at it. However, you can't let this become a free for all either...there are schedules to be met, other groups to get together, so time cannot be wasted on the person who just bought their camera and is still fumbling around.
    As to the person above who stated the pro should have more confidence in their abilities, the guests should have enough respect not to follow the pro around, steal the shot, and then give it to the bride for free...and I believe that does happen sometimes. The whole idea is to be polite but firm in giving the rules for other photographers. I actually knew a photographer who refused to let anyone take any photos at all at the church. Talk about a buzzkill.

  • Virginia Smith

    May 14, 2011 10:43 am

    Thank you for this. I am portfolio building as a second shooter and I have seen how bad the wedding papparazzi can be. I also recently went to a wedding and took pictures for my own memories of a great day knowing I will never see the professionals images. (Not everyone uses the internet.)

    I thought long and hard about what camera/lens to bring (a midrange dslr with a prime lens) being sure to stay out of the way. I was going to blog about the wedding but I blogged about taking pictures as a guest with a link to your blog. I would love to know what you think, did I do the right thing? http://oldmamadognewtricks.blogspot.com/2011/05/so-i-went-to-wedding-and-took-few.html

  • Anthony Edward Er

    May 14, 2011 10:00 am

    I shoot weddings too. While there would be Uncle Joe and Aunt Joan plus some gear heads pulling out their newest SLR whenever I'm shooting weddings, preplanned advise with the bride and groom can make the shooting sessions better. We always announce before hand that when the hired photographer is at work, others are refrained from interfering. It works, most of the time. You need to show who is the BOSS and your stance of being one becomes an effective commander-in-charge, silent, and socially accepted.

  • Ron Stransky

    May 14, 2011 09:56 am

    Unless of course you are shooting in a public location, in which case everyne has a right to shoot. I would say if you are getting paid for it, others should at least stay out of your way. "Giving Space" sounds most appropriate to me.

  • Cathy

    May 14, 2011 09:33 am

    I have this issue quite a bit. Basically it is a real nuscience as a photographer - it really irks me, but guests haven't thought about my perspective, and probably don't care that much either, they just want a nice photo for facebook. In this world of instant media sharing, people think differently, so I find it's just a matter of doing the best I can.

    I always ask politely if people can stand aside while I do group shots - people will naturally look at Uncle Mary or whoever has their camera out, rather than the photographer they don't know. If someone is getting in the way of other shots, I just ask them nicely if they could give me some room, or ask them to help me (to get a chair to stand on, pass me the bouquet etc)

  • Nathaniel Albrecht

    May 14, 2011 09:20 am

    Yeah, I read that article yesterday... It was thought-provoking. Totally agree on the studio/portrait/engagement/any other "private" session!!! The client paid you and its your poses and reflectors that are being used... Another person shouldn't be allowed to, in a sense, STEAl the use of your equitment. On the wedding side, there isn't much you can really do. You have to live and work with it and around it... That's being a good photographer. If there is a specific person who is blocking a shot or messing the shot up then you can politely say to them, "Excuse me for a second, I need to get a shot, *take the shot*, Thank You!"

    Thanks for the read :)
    Photoguy2801

  • Kare

    May 14, 2011 08:52 am

    I recently helped out at a wedding for the first time as a backup photographer (hired directly by the main photog), and aide (helping set up etc) and I got to see first hand what can happen if someone else is following you around.... First of all, the photographer had gone to the place three times to look around and write down ideas for shots, places, setups, etc so it wasnt just a point and shoot thing once the wedding party arrived- it was all planned and thought out days beforehand. Then, a family member was coming along taking photos - no they might not turn out the same due to differences in cameras and equipment, but these were all shots and poses that the photographer had set up and thought of so it was a bit strange to have someone shooting in the background, not to mention possible lighting changes when someone else's flash keeps going off, casting different shadows than expected.

    Another thing I noticed is that one shot in particular that turned out really awesome showed up on the bride's facebook profile the very next day because of course the photos were downloaded right away and given to the bride... so it's not a 'surprise' to see the professional photos after that. It can cost thousands of dollars for a wedding photo shoot these days, and if the bridal party sees all of the shots several weeks before the professional proofs are ready, it very well may cut down on the number they order, or they could be disappointed because they have already 'seen those photos'. Why pay a grand for photos that someone else handed you for free the day after the wedding? It can make the photographer feel strange taking all that money, and for those who offer to print the chosen photos as well, that could take away some revenue.

    I dont believe it is 'healthy competition' when the other photographer ( family member, etc) did not set up any of the shots, did not put the wedding party in specific poses and under certain lighting - all they did was wait for someone else to do all of that and snap photos. It's not 'their' creative idea. to me, it's akin to having someone else create a painting, and then me scribbling my name at the bottom and saying it is mine. Or taking a photo of someone else's painting and selling the prints. When I got married, it did not even cross my mind to have someone else come along on the photo shoot and take pictures alongside the photographer, and that was back in the day when it only cost $300 for a shoot. I feel that if the bridal couple hired a photographer for a certain time slot, that should be time for the photographer and bridal party only - not others who are dragging their cameras along. It could be especially problematic if there is more than one person hanging around with their camera. Who does the wedding party look at? What if the other people are calling out 'look over here! smile!' etc when the main hired photographer is trying to keep a handle on things? I can see more problems than good coming out of this situation and I have only witnessed it once.

  • andre

    May 14, 2011 08:41 am

    I'm afraid I disagree with this article.

    A photographer may put whatever he or she wants into a contract, but it's not the client's fault if someone is taking pictures. I say ask politely, but if the "free" photographer is taking shots and not breaking any laws, then get over it. You may have simply put an unenforceable clause in your contract. Kind of like saying the client must not cause bad weather to happen, then getting ticked at bad weather.

    Instead, just ask politely. Or, if the other photographer is not getting in the way, be flattered that he is copying you. Maybe he is learning. If you are the professional photographer, and are good, don't worry, your photos will be better, right?

    I am guilty of this, so am biased. The bride and groom loved the photos their paid photographer took, but they were also glad to have mine. One or two of mine were actually good, and they caused no harm to the pro's business. He got paid, they liked his work, and nobody got hurt. I was careful not to be in his way, but felt I had every right to shoot what I was seeing in this public place. And maybe I learned a couple of things from the guy.

  • Andrea

    May 14, 2011 08:26 am

    mcguireuk: I do understand your point, however, I think you might think just a wee bit differently about it if you had spent several hours shooting before, during and after a wedding, only to browse a very popular social network and see the very same shots that you actually composed using your creativity and know-how with not one credit to you as the "hired" photographer whatsoever. Uncle Charlie gets the credit for the time, effort and energy you've put into your work. It really could potentially limit the print order you might have gotten had the entirety of all the bride & groom's 3500+ friends & family on social networks hadn't already seen what you were hoping to be the "wow" shots.

  • Mark

    May 14, 2011 08:20 am

    Wow Eric, that's horrific!

    McQuireuk- it's not so much that they're trying to get my shots, it's more that there's someone in my space, so it's going to have an affect, also the B&G have paid good money to have them looking in the right direction for their shots, this isn't easy to do when there's cameras clicking off left, right and centre taking their attention away.

    Personally I don't have a problem with asking someone kindly not to take any photos while we're doing what we're doing, I also don't have a problem with people doing it at specific times, but when I need that shot, I'm going to ask, the driving force behind this is the final image- I want it right. I've never had a problem with asking someone to hold off for a bit while I'm shooting, I think for a guest it's a respect thing to the B&G, the guests realize quickly once you've mentioned it that if they take it further they'll be upsetting them, so they usually don't.

    My worst experience was a father of a bride to be at a family portrait of the two families, he thought it was a great idea to start talking about the more scientific details of digital photography then proceed to argue about the pixels. From the beginning every question was directed to 'catch me out', every question I answered politely hoping to shut the conversation down but he wouldn't let up until he thought he had me. Basically I ended up having to agree with him for him to stop, but the problem was what I was agreeing to wasn't actually the truth. It was arrogance at it's best & a horrible experience.

    So, I agree with you Elizabeth, there's no need to be off about it, you just need to take control of the situation in a nice way.

  • LJOP

    May 14, 2011 08:17 am

    What about when the paid photographer steals your idea? I'm strictly a hobbyist and while attending a nephew's wedding, I spied what looked like an interesting shot. I like props and the bride & groom had worn cowboy hats into the reception hall. Late in the evening, while the dance floor was going strong, the hats were sitting on their head table. There were champagne glasses, a bridesmaid bouquet, and a cupcake tree. All came together in my mind to make a memorable shot of their special day. I began experimenting with various angles/shots when the pro popped up at my shoulder and said, "What a great idea!" He immediately began rearranging the props and jumping on a chair to get elevated shots. While I was flattered that he thought I had a nice idea, I was also a bit put out that what I'd hoped would be my special gift to the couple would now be trumped by most likely a better shot with better equipment. Ultimately at a function like this there should be some give-n-take. I've had plenty of friends who were so grateful for the extra "candid" shots taken when their pros failed to get some of those desired shots.

  • Paul vS

    May 14, 2011 08:13 am

    I don't care about guests taking photos on weddings where the couple hired and paid me, and I will never approach any guest as this is an happy event.

    During the ceremony it can be very bad though when guests e.g. standing up and getting in front of the couple walking down the isle ("I hope you got a good shot because I don't thanks to you..." (me thinking but not saying)). I'm addressing this issue with my clients when talking about the wedding beforehand but I think there's not much you can do about it. By doing so I'm hoping they could forward my concerns when their friend with the SLR is telling them about him taking photos.

    During group photos I will ask people to let me do the group shot first (or after) before they start confusing people about in which lens to look. And just telling people in front of the camera to look into my lens won't work because they are not listening in these emotional moments after the ceremony (when the group shots mostly happen).

    About copying the prints: I'm not too much into the idea of selling prints to my clients. They'll get a high-res DVD and they can do whatever printing they want. It's an old business model that people adapted from the analog age where it made sense and now they are using this with digital prints and holding their client's photos hostage. Like it or not, the 'selling prints' model only benefits the photographer and is bad for the client.

  • Larry Hullum. Jr

    May 14, 2011 08:13 am

    you know this happen to me at an anime convention i went to last year this month. i was in the middle of a photoshoot and i was much more a rook at the time so, i didn't really know how to handle it. the guy BASICALLY just took my photoshoot totally over disregarding that fact of who had the subject 1st place, totally rude!! > : l it does not matter if he was a semi-pro or pro, she was still my subject i will be going to the same con again this upcoming thursday and best believe that i will tell any other photographer who tries to steal my photoshoot again, that this person is currently my subject and they (the other photographer) are going to have to wait until i'm done to take there shots if the subject allows them to. i know i'm a novice but, it's rude and not fair to me and all the others novice at the con who want to better there skill if higher level photographers like the guy i was talking about earlier, steals there photoshoots.

  • habed

    May 14, 2011 08:08 am

    I have a similar problem at churches here in Mexico. In every single church you'll find at least one photog (sometimes up to 3 plus a videog) they just go and take photos of the whole thing and contact must of the times to the bride or groom's parents, ask for their phone and later that week they show up to sell prints.

    The problem is I can' tell them to go away and since they are full time in a particular church they know every single move of the priest. They know how is he gonna place the couple for the rings, for the lazo, for everything so they are always a step ahead of you taking the best angle. They even get so acquainted with some priests that the priests place the couple in a way that the "in house" photog gets the shot in case I got the best spot.

    There are a few of those that the momment thay see I show up with my cameras and that I know the cople and other people just walk away and don't even get in to the church. But those are just a few.

    The recepcion rooms also have a in house photog but it's what's called a "risk photog" they go to every table, take photos from the guests and a few of the couple and they then go away like for 2 hours and come back with the prints which they sell for $50.00 (About 5 USD) The problem with them is at the group shots because they feel are at their turf (hahaha.... sounded like the warriors movie, their little piece of turf) and want to tell people how to be placed and where to look.

    What I do now is, the first thing I do when getting to the reception is to find him or her and just talk to them, just small talk. I don't tell them anything about not getting in my way. The small talk works almost everytime in a way they feel bad if they get in my shots.

    Now, since I can't do anything about both the churches and receptions rooms photogs I send the bride and groom an email a week before the wedding telling them about the photogs and asking them to make sure to always look for my camera and ask their guests to do the same. I've been in a couple of weddings where the bride tells the photog to move away since they hired me after she was asked by one of them photogs to pose for a pic.

    In the other hand, another problem is all the people with cameras trying to get a shot. In a baptism 6 months ago there were 15 guests (my videog counted them) plus 3 magazine and a "in house" photogs at the altar with me shooting photos and I lost important shots.

  • Tim

    May 14, 2011 08:04 am

    I totally agree that as a hired photographer that having people get in your way is not ok.

    What I don't agree with is the tone that the author has in the post - that somehow they own, or have exclusive rights to the photons of light that are being emitted at the time they are taking their pictures.

    In doing video work I've found that most photographers have an overgrown ego and are rather snooty about giving me copies of the wedding pictures for use in the wedding video. Often I hear something about "maintaining creative control of their work... bla, bla, bla". So it's not out of the ordinary for me to go along with the photographer and snap pics behind them. I maintain my distance, I am respectful and stay out of their way. I don't see a problem with it and no one has ever told me it was a problem.

  • karen shivas

    May 14, 2011 07:54 am

    well it works both ways too,i was asked to take some unpaid,alternative shots at the brides mothers and was snapping away and the pro came in(i didn't know she was coming)and started copying some shots what i was doing! and no i didn't get in the way of her

  • Lucia

    May 14, 2011 07:53 am

    something like that happened to me in my last trip to Spain, I went with 2 friends, and one of them realice that I really enjoy taking photos, and they were kind of good, so he published them in his facebook acount, obviously I talked to him he apologized and deleted the photos, but after that he beggined to do this exactly, shooting behind my shoulder it was soooo anoying, I started to take pictures of trash cans, and he did the same!!!! :O finally I gave up, and started to teach him the few things I knew so he started to take his own photos and we shared and criticize our shoots... all end up well at the end

  • Lisa

    May 14, 2011 07:53 am

    I went to a wedding of a friend, took photos until the professional requested cameras be put away. I was getting shots away from his action- he was concentrating on the couple- I was concentrating on the guests, flower girl etc. After the wedding, the bride asked me quite frantically- did you put your camera away or did you take pics? I had to tell her that I had put mine away. She then told me that it meant everyone else but me, because she knew my gift was my photos. Also her professional had screwed up every photo by using the wrong speed of film. The only pics she had was mine, done by an amateur. She had no pics of the kiss, none of the unity candle but I had taken one of her walking down the aisle with her father so she did have that. Remember, even pros make mistakes! This was twelve years ago, times have changed, now I do the weddings, but I let the amateurs get shots too, because I never know when I might be the one that misses a good shot, like the flower girl placing rosebuds on the bridal train during the kiss!

  • Shnon

    May 14, 2011 07:51 am

    I know it's a little frustrating when I've shot a wedding and before I've even had a chance to finish editing some of the shots that the person following along behind me with a camera took are on the couple's facebook page.

    During the group shots I tell the group standing behind me that unless they want the back of my head in all of their photos let me get what I need and I'll step away and give them a chance. To me it feels fair on this because Great Aunt So-and-so probably won't get a chance to see or have any of the photos from the wedding and I know that everyone will be looking directly at me with open eyes and that's not a guarantee for all the followers.

  • mcguireuk

    May 14, 2011 07:26 am

    Nothing wrong with a little healthy competition.... We all start some where, besides I think the pro should have more confidence in you abilities to get the best shots. (even with some trying to copy the exact shot) They won't get it as we all now its more about frameing, lines, rules, lighting, time etc.

    I would agree with this if they were in trying to get in front of you or triping over you trying to get thier shots.

    Besides does it really matter if other family/guests are trying to get 'your shots'. You've already been paid for the days work and what customer pays for a shoot and then wouldn't buy any images just becuase thier friend or relative managed to get 'one lucky result'.

    I do kinda agree with you Elizabeth but I think thats just something a pro has to put up with...

    But I may change my mind after next weekend when I've done my first hired wedding shoot...

    I'll let you know :)

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    May 14, 2011 06:54 am

    Hi

    We rented some studio space for a photo shoot with a pro model. We brought our favorite guitar props in and had a great session. Both myself and my partner were shooting, so aside from the tell tale beeps of the strobe units, it was hard to know who was firing. About a week later, I find this model featured on the studio owners website...which guitar and all.

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/fierce/

    She must have been snapping away throughout our paid session!
    Needless to say, we are never going back there again.

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