An anonymous photographer has gone viral online after sharing the story of how she deleted her friend’s wedding photos at the wedding after he turned out to be a groomzilla.
The account was published by the photographer under the username Icy-Reserve6995 to the popular Reddit subreddit AmItheA**hole, in which people share disputes with the 3.1-million-strong community to have others weigh in on whether they were in the right or whether they were actually the “a**hole.”
The woman explained that she is a dog groomer who often photographs clients’ dogs to put up on her Facebook and Instagram accounts. She had been invited to a friend’s wedding, but the friend subsequently asked if she could be the photographer instead — she agreed to help out and accepted a “mate rate” that most wedding photographers would balk at.
“A friend got married a few days ago and wanting to save money, asked if I’d shoot it for them,” she writes. “I told him it’s not really my forte but he convinced me by saying he didn’t care if they were perfect: they were on a shoestring budget and I agreed to shoot it for $250, which is nothing for a 10-hour event.”
On the wedding day, the photographer drove around with the bride to various locations to document the preparations before arriving at the venue and covering the ceremony and reception. It was during the reception that the groom’s expectations for her rubbed the photographer the wrong way.
“I started around 11am and was due to finish around 7:30pm,” she recounts. “Around 5pm, food is being served and I was told I cannot stop to eat because I need to be [the] photographer; in fact, they didn’t save me a spot at any table.
“I’m getting tired and at this point kinda regretting doing this for next to nothing. It’s also unbelievably hot: the venue is in an old veteran’s legion and it’s like 110°F and there’s no AC.”
Finally, the photographer had an exchange with the groom that made her snap.
“I told the groom I need to take off for 20min to get something to eat and drink,” she says. “There’s no open bar or anything, I can’t even get water and my two water bottles are long empty. He tells me I need to either be [the] photographer, or leave without pay.
“With the heat, being hungry, being generally annoyed at the circumstances, I asked if he was sure, and he said yes, so I deleted all the photos I took in front of him and took off saying I’m not his photographer anymore.”
The photographer says she had originally RSVPed to the wedding as a guest and had picked a meal choice, but the groom apparently “took it away because I was no longer a guest but hired help,” she says.
This wedding photography dispute has since gone viral. It amassed roughly 18,000 upvotes and 2,300 comments on Reddit before hitting mainstream media outlets — publications that have shared the strange tale include Newsweek and The Independent.
Responses to the story are overwhelmingly in support of the photographer.
“For that price I wouldn’t even consider it as a job, it was more like a favor,” one commenter writes. “And that you were an invited guest that got uninvited for doing them a favor is just mind-boggling.”
“$250 is nothing for the amount of hours you worked,” writes a former wedding photographer. “Unfortunately the people who pay the least are usually the ones who want the most. When I shot weddings, I was literally forced to sit down and eat/drink by my brides/grooms, not just because it was in my contract, but because they respected me as a human being. I’m sorry you’ve been burned by this ‘friend.’
“If you’d like to save the photos, and you haven’t reformatted the card(s) they were on, you can most likely get them back by using a recovery software.”
Image credits: Header illustration photo licensed from Depositphotos
Wedding photography is a highly challenging genre, requiring the ability to put your creativity and technical skills to the test in a variety of quickly evolving scenarios, all with no second chances. As such, when you are new to it, it can feel a bit overwhelming to all take in. However, this helpful video tutorial offers some great advice that will get you on the right track.
Coming to you from Katelyn James, this great video tutorial discusses the importance of finding good light and avoiding bad light in wedding photography. At first, the advice sounds a bit simplistic; after all, all photography is about using good light, but it is something that new wedding photographers often really need to take to heart. New wedding shooters often get caught up in capturing every moment, and no doubt, that should be near the top of your mind, but that shouldn’t mean you forget completely about light; in fact, the two should be working in tandem to help you produce your best images. Taking time to observe and work with the light can make a huge difference in your final output. Check out the video above for the full rundown from James.
If you’re looking into hiring a wedding photographer, you may not have much experience with the profession. Although you can pick photographers you like, there is more to the story than just that. So, how can you make sure you’re hiring the right photographer? Here are seven tips that can help ensure you aren’t disappointed.
As we moved out of lockdown in the U.K and event regulations were lifted, I started to get a lot more messages from friends and acquaintances about photography. The bulk of these enquiries were asking for my advice on wedding photographers, which is a tricky topic to approach. For the most part, I’m hesitant to recommend anyone I don’t know, but they aren’t usually asking for me to decide for them, rather help them make an informed decision. For example, how do they know which photographers will be good? How do they know which ones will not let them down? Is the photographer charging a fair price? While these questions apply to wedding photography, they apply to more or less all types of photography that involve the hiring of a photographer. So, here are some of the tips I offer to anyone asking for advice on the hiring of a wedding photographer.
This won’t be an exhaustive list, so if you have any tips you can share to help people, please leave them in the comment section below.
1. Ask for Full Galleries
When I am sent links to other photographers to review, I give the usual cursory glance at the quality of the first shots they show. This is typically an indication of their ceiling or best work to date, and while interesting, it’s seldom useful. Instead, what you must assess is the photographer’s consistency. That is, what is their average?
The best way to tell this is to ask for a couple of full, delivered galleries. In these galleries you want to look for key shots, the quality of most shots, any areas the photographer excels or is lackluster, and ask yourself whether you would be happy with this standard of results. With wedding photographers, if you can find a gallery at the same venue as you have booked for your wedding, this is a major bonus as the photographer will know good locations and the lay of the land.
2. Testimonials and Reviews
Testimonials and reviews are important to any business, but when you’re entrusting something so important to someone you don’t know, they can be crucial in ruling candidates in or out. Testimonials are typically cherry-picked, but if there are enough of them and they are verifiable, they can be comforting at least. With reviews, you’ll likely have to do some legwork to find them all, using Google, Facebook pages, and so on. Search for the name they perform their wedding photography under (i.e. Robert K Baggs Wedding Photography — this isn’t a promotion, I don’t shoot weddings anymore!) and see what you can find.
If you do find complaints, do not instantly rule the person out, but rather read and assess it. I am in multiple communities of photographers where legal advice is the premise of the group, and I would say 75% of the requests for help are from photographers who are dealing with a problem couple. There’s something about weddings that brings out the worst in certain people.
3. Meet With Them
I cannot recommend this tip enough. I appreciate it may not always be possible and you will just have to settle for a video call, but where possible, meet the photographer face-to-face. Typically in business, personalities complementing each other is a bonus, but not a requirement. With wedding photography, I would say it’s far closer to a requirement. Not only does the photographer need to put you at ease and make you feel comfortable as you’re having thousands of images taken of you, but you want to be able to have some sort of friendly relationship to give yourself the best chance of great, natural shots.
When I used to get wedding enquiries, I would offer a heavily discounted engagement shoot out at a nice location for a couple of hours. This would tick a number of boxes for us both: it would see if we work well in each other’s company, the couple can see if they like my shots of them, and we can get to know each other without the pressure of the day. If you can do this, I’d certainly recommend it.
4. Experience With Specifics
This is a lesser-known tip and one that touches a number of other areas on this list, but it’s an important consideration. Once you know your venue and the types of shots you want, you need to find a photographer who can deliver that and at the venue you have chosen. For example, if you’re having a wedding in an old building in the middle of December, a natural light photographer will be — in all likelihood — a disaster. Conversely, if you’re having a late morning wedding on a tropical beach in the summer, somebody who stylizes a lot of their shots with lighting techniques may not have the same impact you had hoped for. The former is far more likely than the latter and if your venue is particularly dimly lit, you are going to want to ensure the photographer you hire can handle it.
Now we move onto one of the most obvious considerations, but one that’s crucial nonetheless: style. When you’re choosing a photographer, you must find somebody whose style you enjoy. This sounds as if it needn’t be said, but too often, couples ask a photographer to adopt a different style and that will rarely result in the sort of imagery they are hoping for. Rather, find a photographer who has delivered galleries in line with the style you like.
There is, of course, no right or wrong style, but as I mentioned in point four, be wary of exceptionally bright and airy styles if you’re getting married in the bleak midwinter; those weddings are beautiful in a different way and you want to match the style of the photographer not only to your tastes but to the style of the wedding, too.
One of the most common supplementary questions I get asked after I have given most or all of the above advice is about price. Is this photographer worth the price? Is X a fair amount to pay? Which package should I pay for? There isn’t a great deal of advice that can be given here as value is relative, however, there are some factors to weigh. The biggest red flag for me — and this is a little sad — is when the price is too low. The chances of you hiring a talented and experienced wedding photographer for your full wedding for three figures is dangerously close to zero. However, if someone is expensive, they damn-well better justify that price.
When I am looking at photographers who are above the budget for the person asking me, I’ll focus on a few areas. Presuming they tick all of my other boxes mentioned above, I will then go to more advanced enquiries: do they have exceptional composition? Do they have unique work? Are there packages inclusive of more than the usual? One example of this would be our writer Jason Vinson, who I genuinely believe to be one of the most memorable and unique wedding photographers I have seen. I have no idea how much he charges for his wedding packages, but he ought to be above the average because his results are anything but average.
7. Avoid Friends and Family
I’ve done a lot of weddings for friends and family, despite my better judgment, and I would like to recommend that you avoid it where possible, despite the fact I have no horror stories to share personally. There are so many reasons that it deserves an article of its own, but I’ll summarize: the downsides almost always outweigh the upsides, for both parties. If anything goes wrong it’ll be a disaster as you’re not just a client to the photographer, money becomes an awkward discussion, that person won’t be able to enjoy the day if they’re working, and so on.
Photographers, What Tips Can You Offer?
Most of the articles and guides to hiring wedding photographers are written by wedding planners and wedding blogs, which have their views colored by one side of the relationship. As photographers, we have our views colored by the opposite side, and so, this can be a way to balance out the scales. If you’re a photographer, add your tips in the comment section below to help people Googling the question in the title.
Fujifilm’s GFX series rewrote the rules on medium format, bringing it to the price level of upper-level full frame options and opening an entirely new format to many photographers. The GFX 100S continues that, bringing a top-shelf sensor and capabilities at a price ($5,999) that is about as aggressive as you will see in any camera. As such, it is an intriguing option for wedding photographers. This great video takes a look at the camera and if it can keep up with the demands of the genre.
Coming to you from John Branch IV Photography, this awesome video takes a look at the Fujifilm GFX 100S medium format mirrorless camera, particularly in the context of wedding photography. The GFX series has rewritten the relationship between medium format and full frame, offering highly impressive image quality while also pairing it with features traditionally reserved for full frame and APS-C cameras, such as more advanced autofocus and faster burst rates. And while you will not be shooting sports with one, those features make the system viable for genres like wedding photography and more, and their prices mean they are not totally unreasonable compared to more traditional options. Check out the video above for the full rundown.
Emerald Holding, the parent company that owns both the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) and the Photoplus Expo (PPE) has announced that it has acquired The Wedding School, an online wedding photography education platform.
The Wedding School was founded by photographer and educator Susan Stripling. After she found success in online teaching through Creative Live, Stripling started her own platform in 2016 with the same team that launched Sue Bryce Education and The Portrait Masters — two other platforms recently acquired by Emerald. It now joins a large lineup of brands as part of an expansion from the historically in-person business model into online education.
Emerald Holding has stated that Stripling will remain involved in the business as a consultant and will “continue to draw on her real-world experiences to contribute to the growth of The Wedding School.”
“Running a business is a lot,” says Stripling. “And as all wedding photographers know, it’s not just about taking pictures at weddings. It’s meetings and editing, emails and emails and emails. The photography takes up only about 10 percent of what we do! Running The Wedding School was similar, she says, and the acquisition by Emerald “means that we can all do what we do best. I can go back to my first love: content creation and production. As a consultant I can create and find new instructors, produce new classes, delve deeper into community support, and put all of my efforts and endeavors behind that.”
Within the last four months, Emerald Holdings has purchased the top three online education platforms for the wedding and portrait industry, positioning itself to cleanly pivot to digital, or at least offer an even experience between online and in-person.
From a business perspective, these recent acquisitions makesa lot of sense. The organization has historically relied entirely on in-person events, and the onset and continued issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have caused substantial damage to any industry that is reliant on in-person attendance. Despite Sony’s choice to pull out from the show last minute due to concerns about the delta variant of the coronavirus, WPPI is set to go as planned this week in Las Vegas.
Emerald’s pivot away from full reliance on in-person events did take place at last year’s Photoplus when the show went fully digital. It’s likely that Emerald recognized that its ability to transition to digital across all its properties and with education would be far faster and more sustainable if it were to purchase outlets rather than try and strike out on its own. With three mammoth education platforms under it now, the company is set to not only navigate the uncertain waters of a current and post-pandemic world, but flourish in it.
A judge has ordered a wedding photographer — who failed to provide the photos and videos to his clients for six years — pay a couple $22,000, chastising him for “deceitful behavior” and unsavory business practices.
As reported by the Vancouver Sun, Kaman and Ramandeep Rai — a couple from Surrey, British Columbia, Canada — originally hired photographer Aman Bal to take photos and videos of their wedding in 2015. Bal, who has operated as a photographer for nearly 20 years and who has also shot music videos and fashion shows in addition to weddings, claimed he withheld final products from the couple because they did not complete the final payment of $3,500.
Judge Valliammai Chettiar disagreed and cited the five times Bal had been sued in civil court between 2011 and 2019, saying that he showed a “pattern of deceitful behavior that frustrates innocent people to the extent that they just give up” and stop pursuing him.
“There is not a shred of evidence to support this assertion,” said Chettiar with regard to Bal’s claim that the couple did not complete payment. “He appeared to be making up answers on the spur of the moment.”
She then called him an unreliable witness and rejected his evidence.
The couple said that they had sent repeated texts for the first two and a half years requesting the completed photos and videos, and were given repeated assurances that delivery was coming. Initially, he represented himself as “Elite Images” but told the couple in 2018 that he no longer worked there and said that the images and video were being worked on by someone else, but was unable to say who that would be or what company they worked for. He was also unable to tell them where their photos or videos were.
Judge Chettiar said that it was clear that Bal purposely made his contracts confusing.
“[Bal] deliberately used different names in his dealings with the Rais, creating confusion and possibly a path for him to escape liability, if necessary, by obscuring the true identity of the contracting party,” she ruled.
“The court must denunciate such behavior and deter Mr. Bal for further victimizing others from his unsavory business practices,” she continued, clearly upset at the defendant as she uses language that is normally reserved for criminal trials in this civil case.
The court awarded Kaman and Ramandeep Rai $7,000 for the cost it would take to turn the raw photos and videos into albums and other finished products, and another $10,000 for mental distress. Bal was also ordered to pay $5,000 in punitive damages for a total of $22,000 in penalties for the photographer. In determining the fees, Judge Chettier cited the delay, mental distress, missed opportunities to share wedding memories, and the lack of peace the couple suffered as well as the legal fees that were necessary to bring the matter to court.
Wedding photography requires you to be at the top of your game, as there are a lot of must-have shots and no second chances. One of the most important sets of images is the family formals, and this helpful video tutorial will show you how to shoot them quickly, effectively, and with as little stress as possible.
Coming to you from Katelyn James, this great video tutorial will show you how to efficiently take family wedding formals with as little stress as possible. Family formals are some of the most important images from a wedding, and they can often be a bit pressure-ridden given that you have to wrangle a lot of people together in different combinations and most of them are probably itching to get to the reception. That is why it is so important to have a system in place well before the wedding day and to stick to it. Check out the video above for the full rundown from James.
Unfortunately, wedding reception venues are not really designed with photographers in mind and are often quite dark, but your clients will still expect high-quality photos of their special day. So, how can you ensure that you are getting top-notch images? This helpful video tutorial features a seasoned wedding photographer sharing five tips to improve your wedding reception lighting.
Coming to you from John Branch IV Photography, this awesome video tutorial shares five helpful tips to improve your wedding reception lighting. While getting good lighting is of course crucial, one particularly important tip is to not be afraid to raise your ISO. A mistake beginners often make is trying to keep their ISO low for better image quality by using a longer shutter speed that is sometimes too slow for the action. It is much better to come home with a noisy but sharp photo than one with motion blur, as you can always apply noise reduction to an image, but once it is lost to motion blur, there isn’t much you can do. Check out the video above for the full rundown.
Wedding photography is a challenging, high-pressure genre, and anything you can do to be as prepared as possible will help you to ensure that when the big day comes, you can deliver the shots your clients want. One way to improve your abilities that you might not have considered is street photography, and this excellent video will show you why you should practice it.
Coming to you from John Branch IV Photography, this excellent video discusses how you can use street photography as a means for improving your wedding photography skills. While the actual creative output is often quite different, street photography can be an interesting emulation of the wedding environment, with constant motion, continually evolving compositions, and the need to be quick with your eye and camera in order to create compelling shots. This can make it a very good way to improve your wedding photography skills on your own time and without the higher pressure of a ceremony situation. Check out the video above for the full rundown.
A wedding venue in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom has just published an incredibly ambitious, scripted, single-shot first-person view drone video that takes viewers on a 500-meter journey through the full grounds of its picturesque rural location.
Clearly influenced by the recent viral videos produced by Jay Christiensen of Minnesota-based Rally Studios — like this one that flies through a bowling alley or its follow up that tours the Mall of America — the video titled “Elmore Flies Again” integrates a soundtrack as well as foley audio and mixes aerial perspectives with other unique angles not yet seen by any other first-person drone pilot.
Elmore Court, a wedding venue, enlisted the skills of Andy Lawrence, the same drone pilot responsible for this impressive flight through Manchester City’s arena. Lawrence is responsible for some of the aerial stunt videos for both Top Gear and The Grand Tour. The video was produced in advance of final preparations for the restart of its ability to host weddings after a temporary closure of the facility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Weddings may resume at the venue starting on June 21.
The tour takes viewers on a bird’s eye view as guests arrive and then through a series of intricate manoeuvres in the main house, the grounds, Gillyflower ballroom, and kitchens of the estate.
The wedding depicted in the video was put together by actors and was not an actual live wedding due to COVID restrictions, but does an excellent job painting the picture of what a real one might look like. Elmore Court was able to put together the production by enlisting the support of its wedding suppliers as well as friends, family and through recruiting 30 wedding guest ‘extras’ via a public call-out. The entire shoot was completed in just a few hours, according to the venue.
“It took a couple of practices before the final successful drone flight was achieved to everyone’s delight,” the Elmore Court says.
The only break in the full single take happens early on as the drone moves from its high, wide-angle down behind the couple entering the main doorway. After that, the impressive video is one complete, uninterrupted take.
“The main section of the film is a genuine one take flight with no camera tricks or CGI,” Elmore Court’s owner Anselm Guise elaborates. “In order to eliminate the buzzing of the drone we overlaid an audio track post-production to enable us to listen in to some of the idiosyncrasies of the wedding party as they get ready alongside some bespoke music written by some good mates from the techno trance scene.”
The pilot, Lawrence, says it was one of the most fun and elaborate projects of his career.
“The challenge of flying the drone on a journey of 500 meters in and out of a building over 750 years old with walls over a meter thick in some places, has to be one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever done,” he says.
What differentiates Lawrence’s video from Christiensen’s originals is how the pilot melded flight with a landed, fourth-wall-breaking shot. Near the end of the video, the drone is “caught” out of the air and delivered onto a tray before being walked through the last section of the venue. Combined with the tight turns that preceded it, the production of the video must have taken considerable scripting and detailed coordination.
Elmore Court says that it believes that this is one of the most ambitious drone videos shot in the UK to date, alongside the aforementioned video produced for Manchester City.
Image credits: Photos provided courtesy of Elmore Court.
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