Dear Fellow Wedding Photographers: Please don't...
My last week was pretty much a write-off as I had to participate, as a guest, in an Indian wedding ceremony. In case you don't know: Indian weddings are one-week events with various rituals being performed the days leading up to the ceremony, followed by various parties at both the bride's and groom's family. It is - quite frankly - a lot of work.
Since I had nothing better to do, I observed my fellow wedding photographers at work, after all: There is always something you can learn, right? If nothing else, you can learn what NOT do. And boy, did I learn a lot.
Before I start ranting I would like to point out that none of the following points are related to the actual imagery the team generated. Oh no... They are - come to think of it - not even related to weddings specifically. This is about action professional(!) in your job, and focusing on providing a customer experience that transcends beyond what you are hired for on paper...
"Too Much" is... well... "Too Much"
Or: Get the shot, not in the way!
You want to impress. I get it. With your gear. Of course. With the amount of people you show up. Ok... Fine... You want to demonstrate that you are not a one man show. I get that, too.
However, if the bride and groom are sitting on a ceremonial stage, which is about 10ft long, and you can't see the bride and groom because of no less than 6 video/photographers, 9 tripods, 2 umbrellas and various video lights (I swear I am not making this up), you are becoming.... an obstacle!
Seriously: 500 guests (yes: five hundred) come to see the ceremony. No one saw anything but the backside of your team. I don't care how good the images and videos are (they better be!) - FAIL!
Oh btw, and if most of the guys are just standing around with their hands in their pockets, you are not helping your case!
For (@#^#!$ Sake: Dress Somewhat Appropriate
Or: Wear black - no crack!
It's simple: You show up to someones wedding. Guests are dressed up to the nines. You show up in washed out jeans, t-shirt and runners. Two of the guys are showing their crack to the guests when checking their cameras. Uhhhhh I wish I could purge the visual... FAIL!!!
There Are No Do-Overs!
Or: You are not the boss here!
You don't interrupt the ceremony so you can try and re-do the shot you just missed. Are you kidding me?
Come On - Be Nice
Or: This is NOT you stuff!
You are not the only vendor there. You don't just unplug the DJ's stuff without asking, so you can power your equipment.
Or: This is not a paid model!
The bride is leaving the family. Everyone is balling their eyes out. It's emotional. Trust me: I get it! That's the kind of shot you want, but don't push a bright video light right into the bride's face - literally within inches of the eyeball.
You are a videographer, not an interrogator. You work for the bride - not the army! What are you trying to do anyway? Macro shot of the tear? Let people have their moments!
Guests Are Important, Too
Or: Oh man... what are you doing?
When you got your shot, switch your stupid video light off, or at least don't throw your light over your shoulder and shine it straight into the guests eyes. It's very(!) unpleasant... Besides: People are there to see the wedding, not "walk into the light"
Don't Chimp Every Single Photo
Or: You may be good but it really doesn't show!
We all know it. I admit I never really paid attention to other photogs do it, either. This time i did. Trust me: You look like you don't know what you are doing.