I sympathize with the wedding guys here a bit , because I have to shoot alot of public events and often have a dedicated shot list that I have to get done. Sometimes we do setup shots of groups of schoolkids etc, on stage at awards type ceremonies, and will have literally less than a minute to do the shot. We may do 25 or so one right after another....on a stage in front of maybe 350 people waiting for us to get off so they can move on. We do 2 exposures, next group, 2 shots, next etc. ....there have been times, where people would get up there and try to get a shot and trip the synced strobes of whatever--the kids think it's done & they split--we miss the shot etc. Or, mass confusion, we look like idiots--the subjects don't know where to look. " Do I look at mom, or the photographer??" You might say "look at mom"...but I'm the one who gets yelled at if the shot doesn't turn out.....I had to shoot a big ribbon cutting type ceremony over the holidays--I was told there'd be like 5 people in this one group shot, and it turned into 25+ before my eyes.In a lobby that was packed with hundreds of people. I set it all up on a staircase and almost lost my voice trying to keep everyone in line--I had to yell, because it was so noisy. One person was AWOL, and they *had* to be in the shot...we waited about 5 minutes and everyone wanted to leave, go back to the party all around us. Finally, this person shows up, and I have to continually move this crowd back (unfortunately a long buffet table is behind me) and just barely get these people framed in with a 20mm lens. Now I'm sweating it out because I'm shooting with one strobe on a bracket. I get ready to do the shot, and then--bam!--there's like a half dozen people behind me with point-n-shoots shooting from all angles. The people are confused , because they all want to get out of there and think I did my thing...I have to politely put everyone back in place, move these people behind me out of there, move the buffet line back etc. Who am I to these people? I'm the staffer--the employee...who are they? These are not just "everyday" people...I'm not in a position to be pushy or rude here. But I had to be very clear and firm in the end-- to the point of being pushy....so put in perspective--you got some poor guy trying to do his job, let him do it. He's the one who'll get chewed out afterwards, when everyone has forgotten what Uncle Joe did etc. He's the guy y'all are complaining about now....

Like any working photographer, I have people approach me for weddings all the time. I don't do them. I tell them, no way. You hire a professional--too much work. But really, they approach me because they think as a photographer who's not a wedding photographer, I'll cut them a deal. They always mean well, but there's some sort of bizarre reasoning that kicks into intelligent people about any sort of commercial art or design. They think it's "fun"...."why should I pay you $2000 to shoot my wedding, when it's fun?". C'mon, fess up--who hasn't had someone ask them to shoot a wedding for the cost of film, because it's "fun"....Even if it's fun, it's still alot of hard work....

I've shot 5 weddings, everyone loved the shots. Me, though? It wasn't fun....I did it professionally at 3 of them, even though I knew all these people. I charged real money and worked my ass off on that day....and the days after it getting it all squared away. I let others shoot, it didn't matter to me as long as I got what I needed, but I made sure I got what I needed and I did it like I do at work--politely, but I make sure I get it, or try the best I can, even if I have to step on some shoes....

So what about the other 2? Well, both were courthouse weddings and they were actually fun. The first was my own wedding. I shot myself--no pun intended!--I took my old Nikon and a 20mm lens and a 283. I held it out at arms length, bounced it off the ceiling and shot it on tri-x...gave it to the witnesses and had them take some shots....we had all had a blast. The second one, my wife & I were witnesses for some friends of ours. I shot in on a couple of leicas and some fast film....to me, this is the way to do it. Save your money, have fun, enjoy yourself...but if you hire someone, or enter a business agreement? It's business, that's all there is to it.


KT

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