Yeah, I know, I’ve ignored Brianized for a while. Hey, I work for a living too, you know? Still, I felt that pang of needing to write, that longing to spew vitriolic words at a computer screen just one more time.
Got your attention?
As most of you know, and if you don’t know, you should… I mean, it’s what I’m known for, I’m a Wedding Photographer. If you didn’t know that, well, I’m sorry, somehow I have failed in my marketing efforts. In doing that job, I come across a lot of people, some are funny, some are great, and some are downright annoying.
Today, let’s discuss some things that annoy me. Sounds like fun, right?
In an effort to maintain my non-biased journalistic professionalism (like that?), I will start with photographers.
Things photographers do that annoy me:
1) Claim to be PREMIER. Well… in another article way back when, I said this was stupid. Premier means either “first” or “best”, for anyone to say they are the “First Wedding Photographer” is almost as ridiculous as claiming to be the “Best Wedding Photographer”. Let’s be honest, there are thousands of photographers, who are you to make that claim?
2) Lying to clients. Yes… they do it. I spoke with a bride about some difficult situations she had at her particular wedding regarding timing, and lighting. She then asked a few other photographers their opinions, none of them voiced a concern. Now… that can be taken two ways: Either I have no idea what I’m doing, or, they lied to get the job. Well, I wouldn’t say I’m the Premier Wedding Photographer, but, I’m pretty good at this, and if I voice a concern, well, I’d listen if I were a paying client. Just sayin.
I can go on and on and on….
Oh! One more!
3) Learn to pose. Yeah, seriously, learn to pose your clients. That is the number one thing I hear from Clients, Coordinators, DJ’s, Cake Makers, Caterers and well… everyone! How is it that a person can get into the Wedding Photography Business, take photos, have a website, and CHARGE people money (in most cases more than they should, but that’s another story!), and HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO POSE PEOPLE? I mean, “Go over there and do something interesting.” is not posing. I can’t tell you how many of our couples had some other photographer “try” to do an Engagement Session for them and actually do that. Needless to say, the simple fact that I have heard this means it’s a common issue, since… the couples moved on and hired us.
On to… Coordinators!
Okay, first…. I know a lot of Coordinators. Most are really good people and know what they’re doing. Let me get that out there before I say what I’m about to say.
1) Be the Boss. This probably bothers me more than anything. You are not my boss, you’re not “in charge” of anything. You’re a vendor just like me. Your job is to try to keep a herd of cats going in a straight line. I get it, that’s darn near impossible. But… I still work for the bride, so does everyone else. If I say no to something that you “suggest” it’s probably because I know it won’t work, or I’m using my knowledge as a professional with decades of experience. I’m not just trying to fill out a timeline. I’m here to create and deliver a product, one the bride and groom paid for. If you get in my way, sorry, I’m likely to ignore you.
2) The Timeline. I get it, it’s one of your duties, to create a timeline. However… if you’ve worked more than one wedding, or, even one wedding, you know that time is relative when it comes to nuptual celebrations. I mean, I’ve seen some in 5 minute increments for every single event of the day. Then… others like to add things that just aren’t there. Hmm, no… I don’t recall the bride and groom telling me we’re hopping on a trolley and taking a whirlwind downtown photo tour in the middle of the reception. I’m fairly certain she would have said so DURING OUR CONVERSATION ABOUT THE EVENTS AND SCHEDULING OF THE DAY. Yeah, I do that. See #1, I work for the Bride and Groom, soooo it’s my job to know what we will be doing.
Next up! Videographers.
Now, I’m sure it’s no secret that I am generally not a fan of hiring a Videographer for your wedding. Why you ask? Well… most times, they get in the way. I know… 3, maybe 4 that don’t completely piss me off all day long. Anyway, on to my bullet points!
1) Show a little respect. You’re there to record the day, not be the obtrusive honking huge camera in the middle of everything. I had this conversation with a “high end” Videographer whose company will remain unnamed. This was at Sacred Heart Church, for those of you who are familiar. It’s a gorgeous church, very expensive and normally has a waiting list to have your wedding there. Yeah, it happens with churches too…. (sigh). Anyway, I notice the Videographer setting up a HUGE tripod right at the end of the center aisle, you know, the middle, where the Bride comes down? And I mean… RIGHT in the MIDDLE of the AISLE. As in, the bride would need to go around this thing to get to the front and her intended. So, me being me, I get a little flustered and go to speak with the Videographer. Now, at this point, I was mostly polite and said, “That’s not staying there, right?”. His response will forever be burned into my memory, “Sometimes you have to sacrifice quality to get the shot.”. Now, I can understand this, in theory, but… you expect the bride to go -around- your equipment at the pivotal moment of her walk down the aisle? What are you smoking? Anyway… he continues with, “None of my brides have complained.”, to which, me being me, reply, “I’ve been doing this longer than you’ve been alive and EVERY ONE OF MY BRIDES WOULD HATE THIS.”. He moved the rig.
2) It’s not about you. Seriously, it’s not, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this isn’t Hollywood, you’re not some Big Time fancy director, you’re just not that important. Neither am I, don’t feel bad. That said, I don’t want you in every photo, so… move. That’s right, I said it, get the heck out of the way. If you have to be 3 feet from the Bride and Groom throughout the day, don’t you think that just might you know… interrupt the moment? I mean, it’s their wedding, not yours. Record it sure, but don’t hoard the couple. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to “politely” inform a Videographer of this. Oh, and if you tell me your camera can’t light them from more than 3 feet away, maybe you should invest in new equipment, I know a few videographers that have no trouble backing up from the couple. So… maybe you’re doing something wrong. Just a thought.
3) Touching my stuff. I can’t believe I even need to say this but… really, we are a team for the wedding but, that doesn’t mean I want you rooting through my camera bag. Sadly, I’ve seen this happen. I even had one guy think it was perfectly okay to put his drink next to my bag, instead of near his own gear. Guess what? He spilled it too. I kid you not. Just stay away from my stuff, it’s a respect thing.
1) Actually do your job. Should go without saying, but… your job is to get the names of everyone being announced in, and pronounce them correctly as you make introductions. What? You don’t -do- introductions? Oh… you must be a club DJ. Well, shit. Now we have a situation, you see, you lied to this couple and said you could do a wedding. If they wanted someone to push the PLAY button for music, they didn’t need you. They hired a person, a personality, someone to read the crowd, interact with said crowd, alter the mood when needed, and make introductions. If you can’t do that, don’t charge people good money to ruin their wedding for them.
2) Lasers. Yeah, just don’t go there. Lights are cool, and all that, but the pin point lasers are bad. How bad? Well… they blind people for one, and they -can- destroy cameras, which includes not only mine (which I would sue you for), the Videographer (Pretty sure they’d sue you too), but any guest with a cellphone or camera. In addition, if they don’t destroy the camera’s chip, they ruin photos. Why do this?
3) Work with me! Okay, so you have a timeline… either one you made up, or one the coordinator gave you. It’s time to cut the cake. Do you: a) Announce for everyone and their brother to rush the cake and have the couple cut it? or b) Talk to the photographer and let them know the cake cutting is coming in… 10 minutes? Heck, even 5 minutes is enough. Let’s go with option B. Trust me, things will go better for you if you do.
Okay… to answer that lingering question on everyone’s mind…. YES, I do feel better now. I’ve been in this business a long time. Sadly, in that time, I’ve seen people more interested in money than making a person’s once-in-a-lifetime day special. Too many times, I watched inexperience, misinformation, or a simple uncaring attitude make someone’s wedding less than it could be. This bothers me. Why? Glad you asked!
To us, those that work in the Wedding Industry, it’s just another wedding. Just another couple, just a day at the office. For that couple and their family, it’s THEIR DAY. How many days in your life can you call… YOURS? Truly yours. For that reason, we all need to suck it up and work together. That means putting on our professional hats and doing the right thing for our couples. Sometimes that right thing is saying “No” to an idea that is a bad thing to do in that instance, sometimes it means going the extra mile to make someone smile when it’s rainy or cold. Sometimes it means a hug, or stepping out of our shell and stepping up to do something special for them. So for this one day, their day, let’s be a team, and work together for something greater than ourselves.
I don’t just photograph weddings for a living, it’s who I am, who I’ve worked really hard to be, and something I plan to do until I’m no longer capable of doing it. So please, vendors, don’t screw this up, yeah?