Wedding Photogs vs. Videogs
On the rare occasion that I video a wedding, I usually find myself in a power-struggle with the wedding photographer. Photographers seem to automatically assume that the job they're doing is more important than the job you're doing. For example, during a couple's first dance, the photographer usually has no issue stepping in front of the videographer in order to get their shot. They also have no issue tapping the videographer on the shoulder and asking the videographer to move in order to get their shot. This behavior always makes me laugh, because while photographers might be snapping one picture every 30 seconds, videographers are taking 30 pictures per second. It is so much more practical for the vendor that is taking less images (the photographer) to work around the videographer in order to not wreck their continuous string of shots. Am I the only one that runs into this issue?
Yeah, I've run into this before, at weddings and other events.
I shot one wedding Florida, that had not one, not two, but THREE official photographers. Seems the couple had hired one, then found themselves with two more, a couple of pros who were friends, I think. I pretty much assumed I'd have a photographer standing in every shot, so I didn't get too crazy about it. But it wasn't all that bad.
If you have the chance, try to meet the photographer(s) before the even, just be a little friendly. Doesn't always work -- some photographers are just angry at the world or something. But in this one case, I was able to get a CD of stills from the photo-couple, which helped for coverage shots since at that event, I didn't have a B camera (never again, even if it is on a windy beach).
We did one first dance where the groom's uncle was also shooting the entire wedding as his gift. The uncle was shooting to VHS and had this killer 50w spot on top of his cam. I had nothing but my second shooter had a 160 LED on-cam light on top of hers. We were all positioned so we weren't in each others shots, with the uncle given prime location. I ended up with the photog on my shot but neither the uncle nor my second shooter had him in theirs.
Moral of the story.... on cam lights are NOT just for illumination. :-)
I've only shot a wedding once to help a friend, but did some mobile DJing while in college to fill in the gaps between club nights so I've been to very many weddings. So, perhaps I can offer a couple practical points to consider that you might find helpful ...
I'm just trying to help so I don't want to offend anyone, but you might consider that, to many people, still photos of a wedding are more important than a video. The photos are often displayed in a person's home, office, relatives' homes, etc. 24/7 and permanently. On the other hand, wedding videos are often only ever seen by the bride and groom and/or often only seen once or twice shortly after the wedding and/or many years later. Case in point, I can see my wedding pic from where I sit right now, but have never even seen my wedding video ... although I may be forced to watch it in a few weeks since we're coming up on our 15th. ;~)
Even so, the bottom line is what's most important to the bride and groom ... especially the bride (and her mother) since many men could really care less about the pomp and circumstance that both photos and videos somewhat represent. However, generally speaking, the fastest way to piss off any man is to upset his wife (that's his job, not yours). So, when it's clear to you that the people who matter most consider the video at least as important as the photos, perhaps enlist the help of the mother of the bride ... generally the one person at any wedding who no one wants to cross (only partially because she also happens to be the one paying in may cases). At the same time, you don't necessarily want to make enemies with photogs since they can help or hurt your business. So, if trying to reason with them first doesn't work at all, perhaps mention to the m.o.b. that you're having trouble doing the job you were hired for and it should help if she could subtly intervene.
David, the web is here. People are going to be watching our clients wedding videos over and over again anywhere in the world, not just in a clients office or home. I don't blame you for feeling that way either, you obviously haven't seen our wedding films ;)
Brent, your take is interesting. I guess it's just a personality thing. I don't have a problem asking a guest to move his big head out of the shot, but I wouldn't ever cause tension that could ruin the day for both the photographer and I, and potentially the bride and groom. I do make the best of what I got in post and make it clear to the bride and groom that we will give them an edited product and do whatever it takes to make it flow smoothly, and that means cutting out awkward moments. I actually like being at the weddings and want everyone to feel the same way. I want to document the day, blemishes and all.
I do however feel like our job is a lot rougher than the photographers and don't undercharge my clients. I don't understand how some photographers are pulling a bigger cut than the videographers.
"Just along for the ride"
That's a real good point -- the web is here. And, unlike 15 years ago when I first built a web site for a wedding I had shot, the average person these days looks at video online regularly. I had a same-day edit of the ceremony from the last wedding I shot online a few hours after the wedding ended.
So one can't simply presume that the photos are of paramount importance, video relegated to a soon-to-be dusty DVD/BD that no one will see. And the ultimate arbiter of this is the couple. This is something to discretely bring up with them, when discussimg their goals for the finished video.
Just make buddies with em as soon as you get there. Some like to cock block. I never cared. I always positioned myself to get what was needed and when/if the old photog wanted to put his bald head in the shot, that was between him and the mother of the bride next week when they watch it. It was certainly never anything worth fighting about on my end.
If you only shoot a few weddings, then it is an issue. When you shoot a lot of these, you tend to run into the same photographers and you have to communicate with them on your expectations.
The problem is Videographer's have let the Photographer's take charge and just followed them along. I don't let this happen. I make it clear that I have set times to get my shots between events, & I also tell them exactly where I'll be set up and let them know that they cannot walk in front of this location. I try to be as nice as possible about it.
Now, even though I go to these lengths, even the best of photographer's that I work with sometimes forget, and walk in front of the camera. As long as it's not continuous or they are obnixios about it, I let it go. But, I also remind them to be aware of my cameras.
I've only had one photographer...that I shot 3 weddings in a row....that I finally said...I cannot work with you again. If I ran into a bride with them, I said, I'm sorry, I will not be able to work with them. They were just so bad about this everytime. They said...oh, you have 3 cameras.....you can just edit it out.... Funny, they walked right up to the bride and groom during the ceremony and first dance to pose them.....and were in all 3 camera angles.....
Overall, you have to be firm and clear, but it doesn't pay to get angry about it. Also, they might end up sending you clients.
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I've found that most of the photogs that shoot wedding photography don't bring any type of lighting other than on camera flash, so when I light up the reception like its noon time, they are eternally grateful. Then we are on good terms.
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