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I just had my 37th birthday, so maybe it's my transition into middle age that's concerning me. Anyway, last night I got a back spasm from carrying our little Norfolk Terrier (how pathetic is that!?) and if I'd had a wedding today then I simply wouldn't have managed it. I'm so rarely ill or injured that this has never really come up before, but wondered what contingencies people had for this kind of situation. I have another photographer I recommend to people if I'm already booked, but what about these last minute problems where my associate is likely to be booked too? Thanks everyone.
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Those who are members of a professional association can contact the local chairman or put an SOS on the association forum asking for a substitute.
In my 15 years as a full-timer, I've picked up 2 weddings from colleagues who were ill.
Daniel, 37 is young - the same age as our younger daughter!
yep I wish I was 37 again!!!
Ive done weddings not feeling my best but I have a handful of photographers I would be happy to ask to stand in for me and visa versa.
Interesting topic, i would think legally you would have an obligation to take the images one way or another, i cannot see any court siding with you because of an illness, you should have plans in place just in case such a problem arises, i knew a few fellow photographers that i worked with who i normally managed to arrange to be on call prior to the event, failing that i have had to do them ill but what happens if you have an accident on the way to the event? i have worded into my contract that should 'acts of god' or such like happen i cannot be held responsible (i should stress its never happened), i think when your taking a clients money you have to plan for every possibility. Presently i have stopped taking all photographic work due to poor health, it was exactly this worry that led me to refuse any further work until i'm in a better position health wise.
It's really those last minute problems that I was referring to. We can all have a few back up photography friends we trust, but if you break your leg the morning of the event then you're a bit stuck because it's too late to call on anyone. I was also thinking of paying half the other photographer's bill on behalf of the client as a nice idea. That peace of mind could book you far more weddings than the amount you'd lose if the problem ever actually occurred. I'll also have to check my insurance, but I doubt it covers this kind of thing.
something you have to be prepared for; as the youthful William said if you are a member of the SWPP; MPA and/or BIPP you can put out an SOS; I can't speak for the BIPP or MPA but the SWPP has a very active and lively forum.
Like the acting profession the show must go on and it is incumbent on all us wedding photographers to take a great interest and responsibility for our own health and fitness and if infirmity creeps up due to age, debilitating illness or reckless and hedonistic lifestyle it is high time to hang up the wedding cameras for the sake of our clients.
Did a wedding last year while suffering from sickness and the Bombay belly.... had to chuck it after 5pm but the couple were very good about it.
Yeah, I have a number of people I would trust, but the forums is a very good idea in an emergency.
Hi William, the easiest way around a problem like ill health or any other problem that may arise is, have a clause in your contract that states that if you are unable to carry out the photography on their wedding day, a suitable and qualified photographer will take the photographs on your behalf. The price and prints etc will be identical and no other changes will be made.
Talk to other photographers who will agree to take over if you are ill or unable to make the wedding and they also agree to the package and prices you agreed with couple getting married.
I'm sure you will find the couple will be more than happy to agree to this, as they will feel you are looking after their interests, by making sure a photographer will turn up on their big day.
Hope this helps
You wouldnt need to be a member of any organistation as such to put out an SOS its just a case of ringing round a few people and to be honest you will probably already know someone in the business who can help , we have a couple of assistants we call on if needed and no amount of insurance or letters after your name can beat that.
If your really that worried then speak to other togs and come to an arrangement now and then its one less thing to worry about if it comes to it.
Thanks for the feedback everyone. My action points are to add some details to my contract and maybe get a few more backups to my backup photographer in case he's busy. The trouble with an SOS is that a huge part of a photographer's job is not photographic. I might look at someone's profile and think they're a decent photographer, but if they're not a decent person it will still reflect badly on me because they're my substitute.
Quote: I just had my 37th birthday, so maybe it's my transition into middle age that's concerning me
Blimey, I've got 13 years on you and I haven't reached my prime yet, let alone middle age!
Daniel, the whole point of getting another member of the professional association is that he/she is likely to be a known quantity. We meet other members at training events and the like.
Wedding photographers would be wise to use something like the MPA standard contract which has been tested by Trading Standards and found to be fair to both parties. It's most unwise to insert any clause that tries to duck responsibility because it'll just be thrown out by a Court. The judge is likely to take a dim view of the snapper and the case is lost almost before it starts.
If you have a binding contract signed by all parties, you are covered.
My contract says if I cant make it on the day, then I owe them nothing more than their money back? Never had to use it yet.
I cant imagine having togs just waiting by the phone on a saturday mornign to turn up cold at a wedding and produce the goods, unless you are of course talking of SWPP quality lol (not that being part of an organisation like that means your not good, but it doesnt mean yo are)
Quote: If you have a binding contract signed by all parties, you are covered.
Not if the contract is with a consumer and the judge reckons that one of the terms is unfair!
Just giving them their money back in the event of non-appearance or photographic failure DOES count as an unfair term as quite a few snappers have learned to their cost.
The MPA spent a small fortune getting their standard contract watertight and approved by Trading Standards.
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