When You’re Not The Only Photographer At The Wedding

There’s a great discussion taking place over at PhotoCamel.com, with plenty of pros tossing in some creative solutions to a tricky wedding photography problem.kidw.jpg

A photographer was taking the family portraits as a guest snapped away behind her. The shoot over, the guest spent the reception showing the images to the family and promising them all free CDs, cutting deeply into the photographer’s reprint income.

Solutions have ranged from calling guest photographers “paparazzi” and telling them when to shoot, to letting them go first and waiting for the bride to ask them to get out of the way so that the pro can do his job.

A situation like this does raise real problems. Flashes can affect your exposure. Faces looking in the wrong direction will ruin the picture. Waiting for everyone to take their picture costs you time.

All of those are good reasons to keep the interlopers under control.

But I’m not sure that losing reprint income is a good reason.

If you’re so dependent on reprint income to make a wedding shoot worthwhile, you’re probably charging too little. Reprint income should be the cherry on your wedding cake, not the cake itself.

In fact, I can’t think of a better way to alienate clients, lose referrals and set up arguments when it comes to paying the final installment than to start telling a client’s guests how to behave. It’s acceptable if their behavior will affect the wedding or the photos, but not if it affects your bonus income.

Remember that any wedding photographer’s final product isn’t just an album filled with beautiful photos; it’s a pair of clients who can’t wait to give your number to their friends. You only get that by delivering the photos and helping to make the day memorable. You don’t get it by storming off the shoot until everyone else has put their cameras away.

Photo by FotoDawg.

[tags] wedding photography, photocamel [/tags]

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