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Bad Wedding Photographer

Eightball 15 14 United Kingdom
25 Sep 2010 1:32PM
I've not posted on here for a long while but felt the need to share this bad experience I've had. I hope no one else comes across a cowboy like this.

An old ex work colleague contacted me late last year. He knew from times past that I enjoyed photography as a hobby and told me he was now working as a wedding photographer. he asked me if I was interested in working with him at a few weddings as a second photographer to capture all the candid shots. He said he hasn't advertised yet as all the weddings he does have come from word of mouth. I had no reason to doubt his credentials at this point. I have no real interest in wedding photography or turning pro, its a hobby and I just enjoy it but after a long discussion with him I agreed to try it out as I thought it would be good experience.

It was ideal for me with no pressure, just get the moments of guests laughing and joking and kids running about having fun etc plus a few shots of groups from other angles. I would typically take about 3-400 shots and then edit them over the following week then burn them to a disc for the "pro". I would have no contact with the Bride and Groom whatsoever. Once the editing was finished that was my part done with.

I had worked with him on 5 weddings. The 6th (and last) wedding I worked on was for a friend of mine. The day went well and just after the speeches I sat down and downloaded all my images to my laptop to back them up. The "pro" asked me if I could back up his too as he had forgotten his laptop. I obliged and then the following week edited my shots as per usual. When my friend returned from his honeymoon he contacted me to see if he could see my images as the "pro" was apparently away on holiday. I visited him and his new wife to show them my shots. They said they thought they were stunning, needless to say I was more than pleased. A week or so later I spoke to my friend again who had now seen the main shots from the "pro" photographer and they were very disappointed with a lot of them. They said that he had not edited or deleted any bad ones but asked them to choose the ones they wanted and then he would edit those. Up to this point I hadn't looked at the copies of his images that I had backed up on the day of the wedding for him. When I did look I was shocked at what I saw, there were lots that were blurred and plenty more that I would have just deleted. When I looked at the metadata it transpires he had shot nothing in RAW, all on the smallest jpg setting and everything on AUTO. I had growing suspicions previously that he didn't know half of what I did and I'm just a hobbyist photographer. I have sinced had a converstaion with him where I told him in no uncertain terms what I think of him. I also told him to sell is camera and never to shoot anything other than his kids with a compact. He's not a photographer, he's just a bloke with a camera and a lot of bullshit!
quickordead 12 63 England
25 Sep 2010 2:45PM
Had a similar experience. Went to a friends wedding and took my kit in the car as usual. Day started good but as I watched the "pro" started to have some doubts. Bad composition, lighting, backgrounds and other missed ops, so I asked the bride Sarah if she minded me taking some and she was delighted, I asked the pro as well and she wasn't bothered. It ended up with the pro following me around shooting over my shoulder. One typical example was the Bride and Groom after the service were in the grounds of the old manor house with a beautiful lake she put them in front of a tree (coming out the grooms head) with the lake half in shot, let her do her stuff then re positioned them infront of the lake and shot portrait and landscape. Got the comment " Oh yea that would 'av been better".

In the end I produced a montage of the day, a portrait of the Bride and a canvas of the happy couple as their wedding present plus a disc of what I shot, all three are on the wall. Haven't seen any of the pros though Wink

BigRick 17 2.1k 3 United Kingdom
25 Sep 2010 3:03PM
I went to a wedding not too long ago (as the photographer for my clients), but while i was outside waiting for the party to arrive (it was a registry office 30 min job) i saw the couple before me getting togged and the woman had a terrible idea of where to stand the guests.... some good traffic cone shots and for sale signs in the pictures i should think though. Wink
25 Sep 2010 6:23PM
Is you friend called James?
whipspeed 18 4.2k 22 United Kingdom
25 Sep 2010 6:31PM
It had to be said Grin
Anthony 21 5.7k 17 United Kingdom
25 Sep 2010 7:50PM
lol at Barrie... Smile
sidaorb 16 3.9k 2 England
25 Sep 2010 7:58PM
:MOD hat off:


:MOD hat back on:

Behave Wink
User_Removed 18 17.9k 8 Norway
25 Sep 2010 8:13PM

Quote:Is you friend called James?

What Carl said Barrie... (with his MOD hat on)

( **smirk ** )


elconguero 16 34 United Kingdom
6 Oct 2010 8:17AM
I was at one the other week - and was surprised to see, or rather hear so much of the second shooter during the ceremony. For gawd's sake, switch OFF the autofocus beep!!
churchill123 18 233 United Kingdom
6 Oct 2010 8:53AM
Very hard for couples to know what they are getting. My son got married a couple of years ago did the research chose one who apparently had 23 years experience as a wedding photographer and still got a couple of trees growing out of heads! Paid a lot of money too.
Eightball 15 14 United Kingdom
6 Oct 2010 9:28AM
It seems there are lots of cowboy wedding photographers out there. The problem is that nowadays digital photography is so much more affordable and accessable to Joe Bloggs. He doesn't have to buy the most expensive kit either, it just needs to look the part to convince his clients. The average person at a wedding probably won't know the difference between an entry level DSLR and a top of the range one as they do look pretty similar to the untrained eye. In my experience the guy I worked with had the confidence to make it look as if he knew what he was doing and for a while I was duped as well as his clients. I only hope he takes my advice and hangs up his camera before he ruins someones day.

I enjoy my photography immensely as a hobby but thats what it is, a hobby. I have been asked by a couple of people to shoot their weddings as I guess a lot of members on here have also been asked. I have politely declined as I am not a professional and wouldn't want the huge responsibility that goes with it, I will leave that to the people who know their craft. However I do think there is a place for the budget photographer, not everyone can afford a top of the range car but those who do buy a more basic/cheaper version will still expect it to get them from A to B.
churchill123 18 233 United Kingdom
6 Oct 2010 9:39AM
Totally agree about the equipment I know a lot of people who buy an expensive DSLR & leave on auto. Like yourself it is purely a hobby which gives me great pleasure and I love learning. Classic case of your comment about the equipment, I was on holiday in wales a guy walking towards me dressed like Johnny Kingdom and a huge wildlife lens on his camera, set it up about 2-3 feet away from the birdtable on site! (there were red kites and buzzards flying above him) Someone said to him now that's what I call a camera to which he replied sternly "Yes, but it doesn't always take good pictures! Need I say anymore Smile

pulsar69 18 1.6k 6 United Kingdom
6 Oct 2010 1:31PM
Lol @ linda , you need not say more !

On the other side of the argument I would also point out that all good wedding photographers have to start somewhere , and I have a couple of friends who work with me as assistants one of which has started booking his first few weddings and doing them very cheaply in order to get experience and photos for demo books in the bag , he is however and excellent photographer and allready very good at handling the day , the clients and just now needs the experience and to build his style , the peope who manage to book him at a low price will be getting a very good deal .. just the other side of the coin if you like .

cyanide 13 1
12 Oct 2010 3:17PM
There does seem to be a problem with people able to buy cameras that focus expose in fact do everything bar compose the picture. They then think that they are top pro photographers because someone usually their family tell them how good they are. You all know what happens next. After just short of 40 years taking Wedding Photographs and being paid quite well I think I have some idea of what to do. I suggest that should anyone want a Wedding Photographer they should ask to see a complete wedding set more than one if possible. Most people should be lucky to get one or two pictures when they photograph a wedding so can compile a collection of images but asking to see a whole set of Pictures or more than one set should be a more worthwhile exercise. Also make sure that you tell the Photographer what you want in the way of pictures and make sure he understands so there can be no mix ups.
johnnyboy114 14 231 106 United Kingdom
15 Oct 2010 8:35AM
Re: Eightballs original story....I am staggered by that...

I know their are some cowboys out there but thats shocking. Just a few things on this though....

Firstly, this guy hasn't advertised and is only getting work through word of, am I being daft in questioning this (I am guessing he told you a load of crap), as if he was getting referrals, then the people who were "referring" him (I am guessing no-one) must have thought his work was pretty good in the first place to make that referral? Secondly, didn't the bride and groom actually ask to see some work of his, not just the stuff that he was prepared to show them? Anyone can flower up a PF, no problem.....I have recently got married and having done a few second shoots with a top, top pro myself, as well as taking on a couple of small weddings of my own, I came into finding a photographer for our wedding with a really sceptical mind and we didn't pick someone until 1) we liked him 2) we liked his work from his PF and 3) we saw complete albums of others that he had done, not just what he wanted to show us. In the end, we paid a little more, but he was worth every penny. Research, research, research....its supposed to be the biggest day of your life. Don't let some Uncle Harry with all the gear and no idea ruin it for you....

Its staggering this stuff still goes on and a bloody good job you were there to capture the day as well as a lot of money could have been handed over for not much return I would have said. I have real sympathy for this and gives me food for thought as at some point I would like to turn pro and weddings, although not my first love, I do enjoy doing them and they bring in the money. So I will definitely be putting everything out there for all to see.....sheesh....don't usually comment in forums, but this one had me from the start...bonkers....

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