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Old September 18th, 2004, 02:15 AM   #1
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Relatives ruining my shots!!!

What is it about weddings where every single relative feels it's their duty to video and photograph the wedding for the couple even though they hired professionals to do so???

I recently filmed a wedding and set a second stationary camera in the back to get the bride and groom leaving the church and an alternate angle of 'the kiss'. As soon as the bride and groom went in for the kiss, every relative lunged out of their seat and into the isle like a mob to take a picture.

Same with the cake - I'm standing there beside the photographer, ready to capture the cutting of the cake, when uncles 1, 2 and 3 jump right infront of me with their handi-cams to film the cutting of the cake. I thought, "are you kidding me?" I got a fantastic shot of the bride's uncles' bald spots! I filmed some relatives saying 'good bye' to the couple and heard them saying things like: "I'll send you the video [or pictures] I took!"

So I'm wondering: do the relatives NOT see that the bride and groom hired a professional videographer and photographer to document the wedding? Why do relatives STILL feel compelled to ruin our shots?

There was a guy with an old SLR and flash running across the front of the church and around the altar taking pictures -- the photographer looks at me and shruggs, saying, "He's not one of my guys!"

What do you guys do when a relative ruins your shots?
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Old September 18th, 2004, 02:28 AM   #2
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I tell them to move! Most people see the gear and move out of the way, but just to be safe, I always jack the tripod up all the way to get above peoples heads as best I can for important shots. You could always tell the dj to make an annoucment for you, I hear that at weddings all the time.


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Old September 18th, 2004, 02:40 PM   #3
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if they rent you a professional , it is probably as they expect you know every trick to avoid all the problems you mentioned.
At least it is the way i see it when i accept a job.
My responsibility is to bring back the good pictures, no excuses.

As nice guy i hate doing this, but as mentioned above, do not hesitate to be rude (but always polite) with people interfering with your work.
Get dressed in a way nobody can think you are from the relative, so they know you are here for business reason.
Anyway if you are the first at the place where everybody will go at the climax , it is no use. Try to anticipate where and when people will move so you can be on the other side. This way you will get the main subjet AND the relatives in background.
For few secondes , do not hesitate to be where you are no supposed to be. if it is the right moment , nobody will notice.
I got the same problem when filming music performance on scene.
To be at the right place at the right time, yo always need to frustrate some spectators. I try to limit this to the minimum and move frequently so nobody will goes really crazy (seems the common limit is about 2 minutes).
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Old September 18th, 2004, 08:59 PM   #4
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Heres what you do:
I solve this problem by being very aggressive. In my oppinon the video guy should have the top priortity. Cause you only need 1 frame in 1 second for a photo but you need a lot more time for a good video shot.
During the cake cutting You have to flippen get there first and block them out of the way and stand your ground .Be a linebacker. You have to think of yourself as the most important person there - besides the tallent. A lot of the time I will get in the way of the photographer and block him/her out. Its either me or them in tight areas. Stand in front of people and Dont appologise for it. Even if they have a camera. You are the alpha gorrilla.

This goes for the reception mostly though. During the ceremony you need to do your best to be discrete and not draw any attention to yourself.
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Old September 19th, 2004, 08:28 PM   #5
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From what I have observed, the people taking the photos are not members of the immeidate family. They don't think they will receive any photos of the event, and so are getting their own record. They are also pretty oblivious just about everything else.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 08:45 AM   #6
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"I solve this problem by being very aggressive".

Unfortunately, I have to do this at every wedding... I'm usualy first in line, with my photographer (we comunicate by "eye contact" and make way one for the other :) ) and mage to block anyone else trying to get in front of me!
But I am not rude. When the "action" is over I apologise if I blocked someone.
And than I'd block him again if I'd need a particular shot! :)
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Old September 20th, 2004, 08:37 PM   #7
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That's why it is a very good idea to have an assistant to help keep the crowds back. Between the photographer an myself with our assistants, we rarely have a blocked shot.
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Old September 21st, 2004, 03:52 PM   #8
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I have to admit that my crews rarely run into this. I think that most of the people who see us step aside as they watch the crews work and realize that they need to be out of the way. All lot has to do with how you carry yourself and knowing where to be and when. That will solve a lot of your frustration.

And I disagree about the aggressive route to handle the problem. It's what we all want to do at first but never forget that these are friends and family of the people who hired you. Treat them with respect. And if they ruin the shot, let the bride and groom handle them later. Don't get worked up about it. It's only video. I tell the guys to always be polite and respect the guests and we've had amazing success with that approach.

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Old September 21st, 2004, 06:41 PM   #9
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<<<
And I disagree about the aggressive route to handle the problem. It's what we all want to do at first but never forget that these are friends and family of the people who hired you. Treat them with respect. And if they ruin the shot, let the bride and groom handle them later.

Ben Lynn -->>>

I concur. Besides, I taking 1800 pictures a minute. A few lost here and there is no big deal. Most are edited out in post. Those that can't be edited out...oh well.
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Old September 24th, 2004, 01:18 PM   #10
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I don't shoot weddings as a business, but I have done it before. I used the same tactics as when I shoot ENG stuff where there is competition with "the big boys".

1) Look for angles that no one else will think of. Everyone knows the best place to shoot their crappy snapshot of the cake cutting is right beside the cake and B&G. Find a better spot (they're out there).

2) Get ready to go high, the advantage of our smaller cameras (XL1 is small compared to a DSR570) is the you can just lift it straight overhead and shoot down. That's better than the back of heads.

3) Shoot with two cameras, that way when one shot gets F-ed up, you can cut to the other angle.

4) Stick your elbows way out when you are shooting, if someone tries to cut in front of you, they might just catch my elbow to the side of the head. Oopsie, did *I* do that? Sorry.
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Old September 25th, 2004, 08:24 PM   #11
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Oh yeaahhh. In last wedding, people were doing that. It ruined alot of my shots...And on top of that, the wedding was outside and the sun was facing the audience...arrgghh.
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Old September 25th, 2004, 08:44 PM   #12
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I'm finding that you've got to stake out the best spot for each shot and be polite but firm about protecting that space. Get as close as possible to the action and position yourself such that it's physically difficult for people to get past you to get in the way. I had one event where the couple was lifted up on chairs and some guy was circling continuously around them with his video camera until I moved closer so he couldn't do that, and I didn't budge when he nearly ran me over.

My biggest problem is the dang wedding photographers, who often seem to think that I can just remove their head from the video in post. They don't seem to understand that it's important to have *continuous* video of certain things, like the couple's first kiss or whatever. Some of them also seem to think pretty highly of themselves and not very highly of anyone else, especially videographers. We need to find some way to convince them that this should be a cooperative effort.
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