Wedding guests with professional equipment

Started Jul 18, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Wedding guests with professional equipment
Jul 18, 2010

I was hired to shoot an upscale wedding of a bride and groom in which there was a lady with pro equipment that took more photos than me and my second shooters combined. At the church the wedding guest approached me with two digital SLRs around her neck with 580ex II flashes attached and a big bag of equipment. Her question was is it OK if I take some photos as long as I'm not in your way? She approached me 20 seconds before the wedding party started walking down the aisle.

Now I'm pretty lax when it comes to guest photography (you would think otherwise from my contract and conversations with bride and grooms though). Most guests have cameras these days and a bunch have digital SLRs. This lady wasn't here to just get a 'couple of pictures'.

I make it very clear to bride and grooms what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to guest photography do to time constraints (and there is a full page in my contract). In my contract I even request that couples include a couple of statements regarding guest photography in their wedding invitations.

I could not believe this lady during the wedding ceremony. There had to be 1-2 shutter clicks every second. The pastor of the church made it very clear that the only photography permitted during the ceremony was from the professional photographers and flash wasn't permitted at any time. The other guests at this wedding probably thought she was part of our photography crew. She probably took 3K+ photos that night. One of the brides maids spoke to the bride about the wedding guest (before I mentioned it to the wedding planner). This lady was going around taking 3-4 table photos of all the guests! My blood was boiling. I could tell that some of the guests were annoyed having their photo taken by another photographer.

We produced some great photos that night although there were a couple of times in the night where I felt like leaving. Has anyone out there left an event because of this?

In the end I'm sure the bride and groom will get a nice album from this 'professional lady' as a wedding gift. Will it have the same attention to detail and quality the bride and groom originally hired us for? Why didn't they hire her?

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