Assistants who offer no assistance

There is a troublesome issue that has Roger and I a little perplexed.  We call them our “extra assistants” or “GWACs” (Guests With A Camera).  And I’ll tell you – we don’t speak fondly of them.  Maybe it’s all this rain, or the fact I’ve had a little case of insomnia lately, but while editing photos from last weekend’s wedding Roger showed me all of the pulls we have thanks to our GWACs – and I got peeved.  I may upset some GWACs with this post, and for that – I offer no apology.  I think sometimes when we are offending someone – we need to know that we are being offensive.  Perhaps no one has ever had this discussion about this increasing problem and therefor – I want you to know about it.  That’s what friends are for, right?

It’s wedding season.  It is likely that if you are on this blog you are either planning a wedding, in a wedding, or will be attending a wedding this year.  Weddings are FUN.  And I know that everyone has access to a camera these days.  You’ve either got one on your phone or even own a nice camera.  At which point you will probably take photos if you attend a wedding.  Fabulous.  I love taking photos too!!  In fact – people PAY me to do so!!  I know – it’s crazy right?  But here is something some people don’t think about… it MAY be really hard for me to do my job when other people are trying to take photos too.  Especially when some people have a flash on their camera OR find it nessecary to step right in front of me with their camera.  Or our assistant’s camera.  Or Roger’s video camera.  And I’d like to show you WHY this becomes a problem.

Exhibit A – The double flash

I literally shudder at the fact that these photos are being shared on our blog.  I hope to GOD someone doesn’t look at these without reading this and think – “man – these people suck at photography!”, but I think it’s my responsibility to inform you as to what happens when a camera flashes at the same time our camera flashes.  It turns into THIS!  A ruined photo.  Please – help us end this growing epidemic.  (note – all the photos on this post were from one wedding.  And these are a drop in the bucket – there are TONS more ruined!)

Exhibit B – The I’m going to stand directly next to the photographer and take photos too!

I’ll admit – this is mild.  There have been plenty of occasions we have more paparazzi than this.  If the bride and groom enjoy you being in the background (or foreground) of their photos – then great, snap away!!!

Exhibit C – The who the hell should I be looking at?This happens all the time – especially with children.  But you can’t blame them – if you are 5 and have 7 cameras to look at – you’d be confused too.

In conclusion I have written a mental letter to all GWACs that I’d like to share.  If you remember my mental letters – you know I’m really good at this.

Dear Extra Assistants and GWACs,

Hi.  My name is Karin and I am a professional wedding photographer.  My job is to go to a lovely couple’s wedding and take photos.  I get paid to do so.  When you bring your DSLR to a wedding because you think you’ll either be doing the bride and groom a favor by doing so, or you want to “practice” honing your skills so you can one day have a job like me… you cause me great stress.  When you take photos of your friends, or fun shots here and there – that is super.  But when you stand 2 feet behind me during posed photos or step in my way during the cake cut – that is REALLY annoying.  Wouldn’t you be annoyed if I came to YOUR job and made it impossible for you to do your work?

A wedding is stressful.  I’m working on a timeline and when you ruin my photos – you sort of ruin my day.  And PS – you aren’t doing any favors for the bride and groom!  You are ruining the photos they PAID for.  And they get every single one of them on a disc, so you do them no favors by getting extras.  They already will have the shot.  Taken by the professional.  Who really wants to give them the best print possible.  Who is really annoyed by you.

You are probably already mad at me for this mental letter, but I just have one more thing I want to tell you…

Perhaps if the couple wanted YOUR photos instead of mine… THEY WOULD HAVE HIRED YOU!!!

Best Wishes,

Karin Doolin

Please friends – if you are the bride and groom and you see people doing this at your wedding- tell them to stop.  If you have a friend with this disorder – take them out to lunch and tell them why their behavior isn’t o.k.  Or – if you are this person who has not meant to be rude, but just unknowingly are camera happy – please listen to my pleas.  Help a sister out and do what you learned in grade school and wait your turn.

I apologize to anyone this post may have offended.  (not really)  😉

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Sabrina Torti - Proposing Dreams - You know me girl, I’ll tell them to knock it off!!

Amanda Zika - Girl! You hit it right on the nail. Thank you so much for posting this. Truly, people need to realize the nuisance they are when they do something like this. It can ruin someone’s wedding. Did you see the photo I had where the lady, take it, after I told her I was going to get the shot of the bride and groom exiting, takes her camera and walks right in front of me. What the heck? Love you 🙂

Tracey - I once had a family member get in the face of the bride and groom during their first dance. I let her have her glory then kindly asked her to move. After a few minutes she refused to move then I asked her if she wouldn’t mind reimbursing the couple for the missed pictures of their first dance because of this. I knew she would understand after our come to Jesus conversation. I’m glad you brought this topic up. Thank you Karen. Everybody can have their turn but after the pro gets theirs first.

Karin - Good to know we aren’t alone Tracey! You said it perfectly!! I am perfectly considerate to those who are considerate to me!! And Amanda – thank God you were there to witness the madness! At least it gives us something to complain about I guess!!

Beth - Love this post…I could add to your list…like when the kids in the bridal party crash the first dance…and their parents allow it….sigh…

Karin - Beth – I almost added that exact vent to this post, but i figured I’d better hold back before people thought I was REALLY crabby. Trust me when I say I have a entire “mental letter” to parents who let their kid run wild at weddings and pretend they don’t notice. Too funny!!

Dawn Devall - I’m laughing, because there is always one! And trust me, I’m a camera happy person, but it’s common courtesy to look around you and make sure you aren’t in the way. But I am nervous too, does this mean I’m not going to have anyone shooting directly over my shoulder anymore? Great, more pressure:) Or the one that always shouts, “Now over here guys!” when they don’t realize there is more than one camera going off! Really Karin, WWJD?

Ruth Gierer - My sister-in-law is so that person!!! Oh my gosh!!! Thank you for writing this…she drives me crazy at every major family function with her inappropriate and unwelcome use of her personal camera! Thank you for speaking the truth!!!

Jessica Plocher - I have a confession. I used to be one of these people. But now will I not only sit back and try to stay out of the way of the pro, I will completely stop. You’ve changed me!

Sherree Schneider - Damn Karin…you ruined it for me…I had not only ONE…but TWO camera’s ready to go for the next wedding. LMAO You should have mentioned something about the kids. At my wedding, Randy’s 4 year old grandaughter thought it was fun to walk all over the train of my dress while we were at the alter. Everyone kept trying to get her off of it…well everyone except her mother who I guess thought it was okay (I should have returned the favor when she married Randy’s son a year later). We have shots that were taken from upstairs looking down that have her standing on the middle of my train. I couldn’t feel her because the train was to long. We also have several of the “who do I look at” family group photo’s, where everyone was looking in different directions. I’m glad you blogged what you did, sadly only a small portion of people will see it. You should have written to the paper under one of those “Sound-Off” columns from readers.

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