"WTF? The coordinator brought her own photographer!"

  • 21 October 2020
  • 2 replies
  • 268 views

Userlevel 1
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That’s the message I got via #AskShootProof. OUCH.

This very thing also happened to me several years ago. I was shooting one of the most elaborate weddings I’d ever photographed on a private estate in Florida, and the wedding coordinator showed up with a literal TEAM of photographers. They took getting ready photos… they photographed all the details… they shot the ceremony and through to the first dance… then they left.

In the end it all worked out. I got the wedding featured in a major wedding publication and the coordinator referred me for other events. But I was seriously PISSED that it had even happened.

At the time I thought it was a one-off experience; but as it turns out: a LOT of coordinators and caterers and DJs bring their own photographers to get marketing photos for them. I get it. Makes total sense. But GAH does it irk me.

  • Who else has experienced this?
  • What did you do about it?
  • Did it actually hurt you/your business/your shooting in any way?
  • Did it create conflict between you and your client?
  • Did it create conflict between you and a vendor?

I want to create a blog article that will help this photographer and others who encounter this challenge.

Let’s collaborate to help other photographers handle this kind of situation with kindness and business savvy!

TIA!


2 replies

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Hi Annie,

We’ve had this happen a few times, but it was nothing like your wedding where they were essentially there alongside us.

It was a higher end wedding in upstate New York and the planners had gone above and beyond for the decorations, particularly the florals. They had hired a photographer unbeknownst to us to document the decor and some of the wedding. Luckily the photographer was very respectful to us and it all worked out just fine. Like any respectful working relationship, we just had a quick conversation at the outset and everything was totally fine! The hired photographer ended up getting everything he need of the inside florals during the ceremony, so we were out of his way and he was out of ours. Win win for everyone.

Funny thing though, the company that had hired the photographer ended up really liking our images and ended up using them on some major national outlets! 

In the years since we’ve experienced it a few more times with DJ’s and florists who have hired their own photographers. It’s never really been an issue, but we’ve always had conversations around how our job is to be there for the clients first and foremost. After all, it is their wedding and they hired us to do a job to the best of our ability. :)

Cheers,

Max

 

Userlevel 4
Badge +1

What’s annoying is that I include in my contract, “I am to be the only photographer at this event capturing your images.” This can happen because the couple/client has zero way of knowing what other vendors are going to do. It’s one of the major reasons why I ask for vendor information earlier in the process so that I can make an introduction and say, “HEY! I’m gonna be there taking photos. If you want images of your stuff to use for your marketing or whatever, let me know!” And I typically give it to them for free because of the referral chain it creates.

The only way to avoid this is to get in front and offer to be that photographer before vendors hire their own team.

I find it really disrespectful that other vendors would bring their own marketing photographers to get their stuff photographed during a paid event. That’s why styled shoots have been so popular. Personally, I would never pay to get my marketing photos done while I’m being paid to work for someone else because I won’t be focused on my client. That’s strongly signaling to the client, “My business is more important than your event or the money you’re paying me.”

The real question is whether they are asking the client, planner, etc. if this is okay and that party signs off without notifying the official event photographer? I think photographers are more aware of this dynamic than other vendors just because of the nature of our business. 

It’s a tricky balance because, as a photographer, you can come across petty and diva-like if you say, “There cannot be any other photographers PERIOD at this event for any coverage of any vendors. I will be the sole photographer, full stop.” It’s out of our control what other vendors do. And you don’t want to go to your client and say, “I can’t get my full coverage of images because some other photographer is here. You should tell them to stop.” Not a good look.

So my advice is to get out in front early and offer to be that photographer (within reason). Beyond that, if you find yourself in a situation where other vendor photographers are present, try to figure out what they’re photographing and then figure out how everyone can get the images they need without issue. And hope they don’t try to dominate photographing the client… If they are, then find your spot in front of the client and stick to them.

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