My DJ/florist/planner/trolley driver offered a bonus photographer!

Yup, here at the Leah Haydock Photography Blog I don't hold back from telling it like it is and today's post is all about "other photographers" at your wedding.

I'm not talking about guest photographers; your uncle with his new fancy camera or your sister who just took a course on photography (always so well-meaning and frankly that's another post altogether!)

Nope, today's post is about your wedding vendors who may offer/suggest/request bringing along "another photographer" for no charge just to capture [whatever] and stay out the way of the main photographer." [Whatever] may be the flowers, people dancing, invitations, new uplighting....I am always happy to share watermarked images with them for promotion of their businesses but some vendors have other ideas....

They may forget this is your wedding day and not a promotional shoot for their business.

Here are the reasons that having "other photographers" at your wedding is a REALLY BAD IDEA:

1. The "other photographers" don't have your best interests at heart. They're working for the DJ/other vendors and they won't hesitate to accidentally block my shot and potentially ruin critical pictures of key moments for you. 

2. The "other photographers" are often new/portfolio building - they'll try to shoot over my shoulder which leads to pictures of your family or wedding party looking in the wrong direction. They may be there to take a picture of a full dancefloor for the DJ but they won't be able to help themselves and before you know it they're lying in the aisle trying to get a killer shot of your kiss.

3. I don't control the "other photographers". With a discrete hand signal/gesture my assistant or second photographer know to move into another position to give me a clear view of the couple, this doesn't work with independent photographers. I just recently lost a number of beautiful images when the "other photographer" brought along by the trolley company decided to sit amongst the wedding party to get "candids" for the trolley company website. 

4. Your guests will assume all photographers are part of my company and it can be confusing when friends and family get their picture taken by the "other photographer", maybe the shot is out of focus and then they're asking me/you where it is...

5. Any images I post online (blog/website) are perfectly (yet subtly!) retouched so everyone looks their absolute best. This isn't always the case with the "other photographer". I've seen random and unexpected slideshows posted on couple's walls with less than flattering images posted - again, the objective of the "other photographer" is to make the vendor look good vs. make you look good.

6. Couples that hire me to document their wedding generally place a high importance on photography and invest accordingly. It's really not a great use of my time if I'm having to deal with the "other photographer". I recently had to repeatedly ask a photographer who had accompanied the DJ to a wedding to move at least 5 times so I could get a wide shot of the venue for the couple's wedding album. He was fairly belligerent and was still in the background of a bunch of images.

7. If we decide to submit your wedding for publication in a wedding magazine or blog then they usually require exclusivity. If the "other photographer" had tagged you in unflattering images all over social media sources/with your venue/other vendors etc this can reduce the chance of publication.

I honestly think that other vendors who offer to bring the "other photographer" to your wedding mostly mean well/want images for their own promotional purposes but they're not thinking things through. It's your wedding day. It's not a promotional shoot for their business.

I like to cook but I wouldn't dream of walking into the kitchen at your wedding to say "Hey! It looks like you're doing a fairly good job of cooking the appetizers the couple requested but let me make something they're not expecting!"

I'm a big music fan but I can't imagine saying "Hey DJ! Yeah, this music is great but I have my iPOD with me and I just know I can play some music that you haven't even heard of yet!!! Where should I plug it in?"

I buy flowers every week but I don't ever plan on finding the florist and suggesting "Hmmm, these hot house peonies look beautiful but I just took a course at Home Depot on gardening and I think I can make some improvements to those bouquets..."

Yup - the above examples are fairly factious but that's kind of how it feels when random "other photographers" arrive at your wedding.

Ultimately I want to give you the very best images that document your day and your relationship yet "other photographers" can inhibit this. All of my couples sign a contract that has an exclusivity clause but I am always loathe to try to communicate this to other vendors in the interests of keeping happy relationships for all at your wedding! Should any of your vendors suggest bringing "other photographers" I would suggest something like this for your email/conversation:

Hi awesome vendor!
Thanks so much for the offer of additional wedding photography! We appreciate the gesture however we must request that you do not bring another photographer to our wedding. We have carefully selected our wedding photographer, there is an exclusivity clause in the contract that we have signed and we do not wish to jeopardize this. In addition, we don't want our guests confused about where to look for pictures/who they should ask for pictures along with the potential issue of your photographer being in the background of the images captured by our chosen wedding photographer. 
Thanks again! We look forward to you doing a fabulous job of [DJing/planning/flowers/rentals] and are so excited to work with you!
Wedding Couple xxx

UPDATE: This post is getting a lot of "likes" and reposts which is awesome! I've had a ton of messages from photographers just like this one "We just had the DJ last night who would not leave us alone. Had a 5d Mark ii 70-200 and 580 ex II on all night. Wouldn't get out of our shots...actually carried his camera around while he did his DJ thing and would switch to photographer mode" so it's a fairly common occurrence. Feel free to share/copy and paste any of the text into your own blog post (would be nice if you credit back to me but I'm cool either way!) anything that helps couples to understand the perils of the "other photographers"

1 comment

  1. Great post, Leah. Although I own a fairly nice camera and bring it to every event, it usually stays in the bag because I'm too busy with my entertainment responsibilities. Still, when I do use it, it's just for a quick dancefloor shot and usually only when the hired photographer has finished for the evening. In general, I'd rather build a solid rapport with the photographer that the bride and groom have selected - they always get better shots than I ever could, and most have no problem sharing their work with me for my website or blog.