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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old August 1st, 2010, 12:56 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Green Bay Wisconsin
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Yesterday I was paid a compliment

I shot a wedding yesterday. The first thing I did when I walked in the door was find the priest and asked for HIS rules about shooting in his church. He had one, it was very clear and said emphatically "Just stay out of my way". He then went into serious rant about some photogs he has experienced, I agreed and related how I too have experienced what they do to what I have shot as well. We went into the church then and he volunteered suggestions where people had shot from before, and was very accommodating to say the least.

I translated his rule of "just stay out of my way" to mean it would be best for me to NOT get directly in between whatever he was focused on, and him. When the wedding party entered and came down the main aisle, using his rule, I shot on a slight angle from right to center up the aisle, because to get a dead center shot of the aisle would have had me right smack in front the priest's face as he received the wedding party at the alter. For the readings, vows etc, I found a spot about half way up the main aisle, looked around to make sure I wasn't blocking some guest's view to badly, and zoomed to get what I needed.

Fast forward to the reception and am heading outside for a cigarette break. There's one guest sitting on the bench, I join him and start small talk about the weather or something. Early into the chat I says to me "you're the photographer, right ???" I said no, I am shooting video. He says "well you are good". I looked at him quizzically, as I can almost assure he has never seen our work, as weddings are a new area for us. "He sees the puzzled look on my face and said "no, you are good, I NOTICED you there at the ceremony, but I didn't SEE you there, you were inconspicuous." He then goes into almost the same rant I heard form the priest about some photogs at some weddings he has attended. I thanked him for his compliment, and he left to rejoin the reception.

It has made me think since, when we talk about referrals, we focus on the bride and groom and what they think of our finished product. I guess there are other people in attendance who also are paying attention to what we do, or don't do, who we might be alienating by "trying to get the shot". Something to consider I'd say.
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Old August 1st, 2010, 01:27 PM   #2
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Location: Chicago, IL
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It's my experience that the B&G are really too busy (hopefully) enjoying their day to really pay a lot of attention to the vendors UNLESS they really screw the pooch. Then they will pay all kinds of attention, but the guests, be it the vridal party, family, friends (even B list friends) really DO notice the vendors that are there. From the room, place settings and food to the music and personality of the DJ to the photog and vidguy (generic term). Over the years I have gotten a rather large number of jobs, wedding and otherwise from people who attended a wedding I've done.
I've had officiants also say stuff similar to what he said to you and I love working with them especially when it gets to be the 2nd, 3rd, 4th time and more. Each time they love you a little more and seem to give you a bit more leeway.
Anyway, glad you had a nice experience like you did it always feels good to hear stuff like that.
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
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Old August 1st, 2010, 07:12 PM   #3
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Hey Chip

It's always nice when you get a compliment from someone you don't know. It's also satisfying to know that you have got your shots without getting in people's way too much and being able to melt into the background.

What is also critically important is that when you use the same Church again you already have a good reputation and you can essentially go in and setup confidently knowing that you and the priest are on good terms!! I have a local Catholic Church where I have done quite a few weddings and the priest there knows me well and knows I will not cause any havoc in his Church so I'm always welcomed there with open arms!!

I think the important fact here (apart from behaving) is to go and meet the priest and as you did, find out his boundaries.

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Old August 1st, 2010, 08:01 PM   #4
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Location: Green Bay Wisconsin
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It was nice to receive a compliment, after I heard what it was for. Before knowing why he was complimenting me, honestly was wondering what he was talking about, whose work he had seen and who he was confusing me with.

What I walked away with most was the identical rants about photogs ruining it for more than just the video guy. Second, the fact that others do notice.....something I hadn't given thought to, up until then.

The photog yesterday, a real nice lady who actually owned a ZOOM lens and USED IT no less !!! I don't think I have anything of significance with her in it, for a change.
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