I never thought I would have to write this post. I had heard of other photographers having trouble, but honestly I never thought it would happen to me. (Ok, ok, now I sound like some sort of life insurance commercial ;))
Honestly I never did. I have had the opportunity to work some amazing vendors in the past few years who have been a JOY to interact and collaborate with. But recently I have noticed an ever increasingly popular (and disturbing) trend: Vendors with cameras.
And no, I'm not talking about vendors who bring a camera with them to the wedding day to document their work. I COMPLETELY understand other vendors wanting to take pictures of their bouquet, their centerpieces, their entertainment set up, their cake, etc. In this digital age it makes sense! Vendors want to post to their Facebook page, their blogs and their websites and share their work with their clients! (And as for the images that I take on a wedding day, I am always happy to share with other vendors!)
What I'm talking about is something completely different. A trend that is not only is in poor taste and jeopardises the integrity of the wedding photos, but also puts my Bride and Groom in negligence to their contract, without them even knowing it!! What I am referring to is the "Other Photographer."
In my contract I state that I will be the only contracted photographer at the wedding. I'm the professional that the couple has hired to document their wedding. Basically all that means is that I am the hired pro at the party and that there will be no other people ACTING as wedding photographer. Guests and vendors of course are more than welcome to take images during the day, but their actions shall not interfere with my job OR act in such a way that mimics mine.
Unfortunately, recently, I have experienced times where vendors have directly interfered with my job, acting as the "Other Photographer". Standing in the middle of the aisle during the ceremony, standing behind me during the ceremony, getting in shots of the Bride and Groom, physically getting in my way, standing on the dance floor during the First Dance, pointing direct flash at the couple when I'm using natural light, and in one case taking pictures the entire day. This is frustrating, inappropriate, unethical and unnecessary. Please, if you are a vendor, understand that this does not help your couple and creates great confusion for the Bride and Groom and their guests. In short it prevents us from doing our individual jobs to the best of our ability. Jobs that we were hired to do.
My advice to every Bride and Groom is to speak with your vendors BEFORE the wedding day. Make sure you communicate with each other your expectations of behavior. Don't be afraid to share your photography contract with your vendors so that they can be educated on what is appropriate and what is not. Believe me, this was something I never even dreamed of asking my vendors about when we were planning our wedding. But with the accessibility of a "good" digital camera, this is a trend that is becoming more and more prevalent.
I think it's important to state that this post is not meant to be some sort of scathing article about vendors who bring cameras to wedding. Again, like I stated before, I'm all for it! As a small business owner I completely understand the WHY and the NEED for taking pictures of your work! But what I think is important to remember, is that we must work together to give the couple the best experience possible. And while our individual parts of the wedding day are certainly important, the wedding experience as a whole is what is going to leave a lasting impression on the Bride and Groom.
Finally, my couple, I want you to walk away with amazing pictures of your wedding day. I think we (your vendors) can ALL say that we want the best for YOU. We MUST WORK TOGETHER to provide you the best experience possible. Through proper etiquette, professionalism, and cooperation, we can help create (and document) the wedding of your dreams!