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Archive 2013 · DJ's and cameras at weddings
  
 
MusicMeister
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p.1 #1 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


A former thread was recently posted to a group on facebook and I wanted to try to answer the questions that were posed. I'd have posted within that thread, but it's been closed.

Here's the thread in question:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/994630/0

First, I can assure you, as bad as you think the average wedding photographer is, many of us feel that way about the 'average' DJ.

Second, I've taken pictures at weddings. While I was living in Alaska we bought a Canon 20D to get great wildlife shots. After we moved to Florida we were using this camera to take a few shots at weddings.

And here comes the all important question:

Why?

I struggled getting photos from photographers. I have some photographers that I've begged for photos and I still haven't gotten them and it's been more than 5 years. If I hadn't taken photos then I wouldn't have ANY. Keep in mind, I WANT them to watermark the photos and I provide photography credit whenever possible.

Sometimes what I want to shoot you're not going to. I'm not talking about the dancing. I'm talking about certain lights and lighting setups. Although, I have asked a professional to come and take photos of my setup before an event started when I knew that a professional wasn't going to be at the event.

Sometimes I have a unique vantage point and a shot or two makes sense. This is true of the formal dances in particular.

Sometimes the professional steps outside and people want a photo. At one wedding as the photographer and second shooter were outside preparing for an exit, the great-Aunt of the bride was about to go outside and she realized she never got a shot of them together. She asked the groom to go grab a camera - I offered to take it instead.

But unlike many of the idiots mentioned in the thread I have a few rules:

1. I am not a professional photographer. I don't pretend nor tell people I am.

2. I am more than happy to give the photographer any of my shots. Sometimes I get lucky and have a great shot, but I ask they do the same. I WANT cross promotion.

3. I don't follow the couple around and I stay the hell out of your way. I only shoot from my booth. When I do a scripted piece I will have my wife take video for my own review later. For example, we're doing a flash mob at the wedding this weekend and there isn't a videographer. We'll have a number of cameras set up around the room to try and capture this.

4. I don't shoot when I need to be doing something else. And unfortunately (fortunately) it's been a mixed blessing. As a result, I hardly take any photos any more, but I've found that I work with photographers who are more eager to share as well.

But I have a few fundamental beliefs that may not be the norm.

I believe if we work TOGETHER we can create something better than either of us can on our own. That's not just DJ's and photographers, but ALL of the vendors.

I believe that if I do my job well, it means your work product is better. You'll have more emotion and more great moments caught on 'film'. (memory card seems so cold).

I believe that if I take a few photos it helps me to understand things that I can do to make your job easier. For example, when I set up something to happen, I think about sight lines. I'm concerned when the cake is placed in front of a plate glass window that looks into the hotel gym. When that happened, I took the backdrop I normally used behind me and put it on front of the window to insure that the 5 tiered cake that was AWESOME would have great photos. Not because I was asked to, but because I thought a little like a photographer and I cared about helping to create a great setting, it was the right thing to do. Yes, it would have been better to set up elsewhere, but this is just one example.

However, if a DJ was selling his photographs, bundling photography with their DJ packages, or had other ways they were trying to compete with you - I'd simply stop referring them. I'd find a DJ who I could work with to create great moments and helped me to create better work product and I'd refer the hell out of them.

Maybe I'm not the norm. But I care greatly about my clients and success of their event - and that means working WITH the other vendors instead of against them.

This might seem like a rant, but it's not meant to... I'm simply trying to show some perspective and hopefully open a cross vendor dialogue. Maybe together we can enact change for the better.



Feb 13, 2013 at 02:35 PM
mattgwilson
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p.1 #2 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


Here here. I too am a wedding DJ and I also take photographs for my own website. If I didn't I would have ZERO photographs for my website, what bride is going to book a DJ that has no photographs on their website?

PS. Just because you are a professional photographer, does not mean that I cannot take good photos and edit them well in photoshop.

I need to take my photographs in order to attract business.

Rant over.



Feb 14, 2013 at 12:23 AM
Ziffl3
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p.1 #3 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


well lets see here.

1) I have yet to be been asked by a DJ for some images. And i Do talk to other venders.
2) I have had DJ roll out DSLR and video camera and stand right next to me at various time during the reception.
- Granted this was a wedding on the lower end of the price scale.

3) Generally, the DJ's in my next of the woods are pretty cool and stay out of the way.


and mattgwilson:
....tread lightly .... because i have seen DJ's talk like you here in the states and then turn around a year later providing photography services.

Realistically you need all of maybe 5 images from a wedding maybe 2 a year to stay fresh.

After this, i could technically void my contract with bride/groom because another professional was shooting.

1 last thought: sometimes, DJ's who are also trying to shoot instead of working the musical vibes and ebb/flow of the reception, can have a negative impact on the photographer.
The DJ's action, particularly if negative, can be linked to the photographer even though there are separate businesses.

I am not say it happens all the time .... just pointing out a different perspective.



Feb 14, 2013 at 12:55 AM
form
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p.1 #4 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


This thread prompts me to ask a question: Is there a market for a photographer to come in, take photos of setup/etc. for DJs?


Feb 14, 2013 at 01:04 AM
TTLKurtis
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p.1 #5 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


If I work with a DJ who is actually organized and does a good job handling timeline and not jumping into events without me there at the ready (in addition to being good at his job and personable), then I will certainly offer to send them photos and I often recommend a couple of great local DJs who are very professional and awesome to work with.


Feb 14, 2013 at 01:18 AM
MusicMeister
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p.1 #6 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


form wrote:
This thread prompts me to ask a question: Is there a market for a photographer to come in, take photos of setup/etc. for DJs?

Possibly. The problem is DJ's are notoriously cheap on the things that matter. But if nothing else, offer to swing by and snap a few shots - particularly if they do a lot of lighting. The issue will be that most DJ's think they can do the same quality themselves when I know for a fact that they can't.


FYI - We just had a call from a photographer who booked a bride who found her from our website. They didn't call us, but the link from our website and the photos on our site got the bride to click the link and seek her out.

Sharing the photographs provided there's a link can REALLY help. We're still hoping she calls to book... but even if she doesn't, she got a GREAT photographer.

I have to admit that I'm truly shocked that people aren't asking for photos. And the minute someone was hovering and shooting over your shoulder you should put a stop to it.

In fact, even though I'm a DJ, one of my questions is to find out if they have any friends who are professional photographers and to remind them to leave their equipment at home. Remind them that they want them to enjoy themselves and that's why they hired a professional photographer.


In the meantime, can photographers and videographers PLEASE stop wanting me to do a faux exit?

It makes everyone think they have permission to leave...



Feb 14, 2013 at 03:30 AM
sherijohnson
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p.1 #7 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


I agree with not doing a fake exit, it kills the party. I also remind people not to do their thank you's too early because sometimes people think the party is over when it isn't.


Feb 14, 2013 at 03:46 AM
VetraLens
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p.1 #8 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


form wrote:
This thread prompts me to ask a question: Is there a market for a photographer to come in, take photos of setup/etc. for DJs?


I am not a wedding photographer, but I have done that. Friend of mine will have me shoot at some of his events. Spent a couple hours at one of his high $$$ bat mitzvahs a couple weeks ago, at a prestigious country club nearby. He just wanted something for his website that was better than shots from his iPhone, because it was a pretty impressive setup. So it was a simple shoot and burn for me, I got paid and a free dinner.

He wanted 4 types of shots. 1.) Images of his lights/fog/etc while the room was empty 2.) Shots of he and his performers (dancers, crowd "pumper-uppers") performing 3.) He and the performers interacting with the kids and the kids enjoying it, and 4.) General good time the crowd was having. I was cleared by the family to be there.

However, even though it was made clear that I wasn't there to poach the hired photog's shots, I would stay out of her way at all times, and that the family throwing the party would never see the shots and not have access to buying any of them...the main shooter still had a conniption fit. In front of some of the kids, no less. Her argument was that if I photographed the kids with one of the dancers, they'd not want to have their photo taken again "officially." I understood, to an extent, though I'm fairly certain that 13 year-old girls on a dance-floor will pose endlessly for photographs.

Anyway. I think DJs can have a legitimate reason to have a photographer present, but that obviously doesn't include using the images in a way that interferes with the official event photographer's business. The flipside is that I can understand the photographer's annoyance at having another shooter present. Like anything in this business, though, the real pros will conduct themselves like pros, and the others, not so much.



Feb 14, 2013 at 04:53 AM
BGP1
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p.1 #9 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


I'm not going to get all up in this crap but I can only imagine the things being discussed here are NOT what have been complained about. If anyone wants to politely grab photos of whatever I'm sure nobody has a problem with that. I believe where the real problems started to occur and people were complaining is when DJ's were running around with "pro gear" and causing a scene to which the actual hired pro was being looked down upon. That and I remember something about DJ's snipering shots and putting together crude slideshows and promising disks full of photos to brides and whatever. I remember that thread, and others. That = bad.

Me personally, I always make friends with the DJ. Most of the time I try to take a photo of them working or a photo of the dance floor from their perspective so I can say "hey dude/lady I took so and so photo I can send it to you if you want". I'm all about helping out but I understand not everybody is. What I learned from that topic and others like it was to always discuss it with every couple and make sure it's not going to be a problem(and put it in the contract). So far, so good. (for me at least)



Feb 14, 2013 at 09:28 AM
woodymirag
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p.1 #10 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


I own a DJ company in the Bay Area of California. A good DJ should NOT be taking photos of his/her setup during a gig. That's tacky. The DJ should be the DJ, focused upon the crowd at hand, the music, the vibe, etc. If the DJ is taking photos of their equipment and lights, they are not doing their job with the kind of focus that they should be.

When we have approached photographers for unwatermarked photos of our lights, guests dancing, etc., these pros have been more than accommodating, asking only for a photo credit and link to their website. We have over 80 photos on our website provided by over 20 different photographers. I don't buy the line, "If I hadn't taken photos then I wouldn't have ANY." That means you are not trying very hard. Cultivate the relationships with other vendors, especially photographers. They will be more than generous with their work. And if they aren't, ask the next photographer.

But stay focused on your craft. Be the DJ, not a DJ/photographer hybrid.



Feb 14, 2013 at 09:58 AM
 

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DigMeTX
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p.1 #11 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


Did you post this thread in a DJ forum or something?

brad



Feb 14, 2013 at 02:33 PM
MusicMeister
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p.1 #12 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


DigMeTX wrote:
Did you post this thread in a DJ forum or something?

brad

No, a link to the original thread I linked to earlier was posted on a facebook group for DJ's. I didn't tell any DJ's about this thread, but I wanted to open a dialogue for discussion.


As for taking photos, and the above comments. When my prices were average or even slightly above average for my area I had a nightmare of a problem getting photos. As my price went up I started working with better photographers who were more eager to share. Even now though, not all photographers are eager to share their work... but it's becoming easier because we are now being approached by photographers who want to work with us.

Keep in mind, I would NEVER take photos of my equipment or lighting during an event. I would do it before the wedding started and just walk the room taking some photos. Why? Because I asked every photographer except 1 for shots of the event multiple times and never got anything for nearly 3 years. That one photographer I didn't ask was using a point and shoot camera. Hint: If the DJ's 4 year old camera is better than the photographer's - there's something seriously wrong.



I would like to know though - other than shooting over your shoulder, what are some of the biggest complants photographers have with other vendors, DJ's in particular.

I could guess, other than 'playing photographer' it would be a lack of communication and leaving their 'dance' lighting on during the formal dances. But I'm curious... I'm the guy who worked a wedding with a wedding planner for free just to get their perspective so I could be a better DJ and have a better idea of how my performance impacts others... this time I'd love to hear from photographers so I can be a better DJ.



Feb 14, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Ziffl3
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p.1 #13 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


MusicMeister wrote:
No, a link to the original thread I linked to earlier was posted on a facebook group for DJ's. I didn't tell any DJ's about this thread, but I wanted to open a dialogue for discussion.

As for taking photos, and the above comments. When my prices were average or even slightly above average for my area I had a nightmare of a problem getting photos. As my price went up I started working with better photographers who were more eager to share. Even now though, not all photographers are eager to share their work... but it's becoming easier because we
...Show more

The DJ's that are looked as equal footing from photographers are the ones who come to the event to work as a team and provide their 1/3 or 1/2 of the evening venders to create a total - seamless event. The 1/3 is if there is a wedding coordinator who is actually involved.

You could add the venue in there as well. (food service)

But there is nothing like a DJ that understands the flow of the night. If I am working with a DJ that gives the photo/video crews 5-10 minutes heads up regardless to a wedding coordinator ..... priceless.

Anything that hampers this is an issue.
As far as laser lighting .... I will talk to DJ's letting them know to kill those particular lights at specific moments and let the DJ roll with them the rest of the night.

Its a give and take.

Just my 2 cents....




Feb 14, 2013 at 03:25 PM
sboerup
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p.1 #14 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


I bring an iPod and a boombox to the wedding. What bride would hire a photographer that doesn't bring their own entrance and background music?

That statement makes as much sense as a DJ "needing" photos for their website to attract business. You provide music and ambiance, a video of you working makes a LOT more sense than a motionless, audio-less photograph.



Feb 14, 2013 at 04:27 PM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #15 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


MusicMeister wrote:
other than shooting over your shoulder, what are some of the biggest complants photographers have with other vendors, DJ's in particular.

I rarely have a problem with DJs. Most DJs I've encountered have been more than willing to work with me on things like timing the sequence of events, lighting issues, and the like -- the stuff that's really their territory, but which affects my output.

For example, sometimes the DJ has been ready to go for a while by the time the bridal party and I get to the reception, and would love to jump in to announcing the party. But it's very helpful to me to have a few minutes to set up strobes and assess the room before that happens, and I've never had a DJ outright refuse to wait for a few minutes. I'll be disappointed the first time I run into that problem, but simply being friendly is usually enough to buy a few minutes.

It's covered extensively in other threads, but for those DJs who use lasers and spotlights with or without gobos, the lasers ruin most photos if they hit people. Lasers on the ceiling is one thing; lasers on the dance floor is a problem I can't solve. I appreciate DJs who are flexible about how, when, and where they point lights.



Feb 14, 2013 at 04:52 PM
MusicMeister
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p.1 #16 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


sboerup wrote:
I bring an iPod and a boombox to the wedding. What bride would hire a photographer that doesn't bring their own entrance and background music?

That statement makes as much sense as a DJ "needing" photos for their website to attract business. You provide music and ambiance, a video of you working makes a LOT more sense than a motionless, audio-less photograph.

Does it?
While I understand why you might feel that way, I must disagree.

Why? Because the commoditization of what DJ's do is in fact just 'music and ambiance'. When you commoditize it, photographers are just 'pictures'. And videographers are just a 'video'. There's no difference between photographers and videographers besides price when you do that.

At the lowest level, commoditizing what we do (DJ/photographer/videographer) removes something from the equation. That something is US.

I don't feel as though I provide 'music and ambiance'. Music is a tool to me. It's just something I use like a photographer uses a memory card or a flash or a camera. The difference between me and another DJ isn't the tools I use - it's ME. It's HOW I do what I do that sets me apart.

This is exactly why two people with the exact same cameras might capture completely different photographs or video. It's not the equipment that sets them apart, but the decisions we make in HOW we do what we do that creates those differentiations. There was a blog post where a photographer showed a picture a wedding guest snapped over her shoulder and the shot she got. They were both the couple with a potentially lovely background - but the difference was night and day between the two.

That difference of HOW is a derivative of style and talent. I have a friend that used to shoot sports photography for the Oakland Raiders. He's burn through film (it was a long time ago) like no tomorrow to get the shot. The lead photographer didn't. He'd take a single photo or two and get the perfect shot every time. He was more talented than my friend. He made more money than my friend. They both used the same equipment - the difference was in HOW they used that equipment.



Feb 14, 2013 at 05:49 PM
kwhaley29
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p.1 #17 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


I agree wholeheartedly that being a DJ isn't just about the music and the ambiance. In a lot of ways you are a master of ceremonies and you have the ability to set the tone at the reception. However, I think what Spencer was trying to point out was that a video goes a long way toward giving people some insight into your service and skills, whereas photos of your lights and equipment - not so much.


Feb 14, 2013 at 07:01 PM
MusicMeister
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p.1 #18 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


Ahhh.... and therein lies the confusion on my part. Pictures of the lights and equipment isn't what I want - although we did have the discussion go that way.

When I ask for photos, I don't ask for photos of my equipment or myself, I ask for photos of the guests and client's reactions to what happens. I want emotion in the photos - not equipment.

Uplighting and the like is nice to get shot because that's a function of lighting design and implementation. It's decor. It's also tangible which makes it easier to 'see' in a photograph. In the past I did have some of that shot professionally though. I've since focused more on my own performance and now lend my experience and knowledge to another company who we refer for any major lighting project.

On the flip side, my performance is an intangible and much harder to capture. Because of that, I tend to look for shots with emotion in them for my website. I can talk about what I did but the pictures express the results. It's this aspect to which I was referring in my last post.



Feb 14, 2013 at 07:17 PM
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p.1 #19 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


I lurk often and chime in rarely.

In this case however I feel I should say something.

I am a wedding photographer AND a DJ. We have owned our DJ company for over 20 years. I was always a shutterbug. As a DJ in our area I noticed many if not all wedding photographers were leaving as soon as the dancing began. We started to take pictures AFTER the photographers left. After about a year of this we began getting requests to shoot weddings we were involved in as THE photographer. These were typically lower budget brides looking for an all in one solution. Finally we began to get requests to shoot weddings in which we were not supplying the music. For us this was a logical progression. Today the two businesses are completely separate and equally successful. We have a line in our photo contract which states that we are to be the only hired entity for still images.
This eliminates most of the issues mentioned in this thread.

Now for the bad news.
In reading this thread and the referenced thread there are WAY too many "shots" taken at the DJ. Statements like "They just use I-tunes" and the like have no purpose in a professional discussion like this board. Rarely will you find a breed with more fragile egos than the photographer, self included. We are so angered when some uncle bob with Costco equipment is making our life miserable at a wedding. Yet all too many photographers are willing to minimize the workload and efforts of a quality DJ. As a DJ when I perform at a wedding I supply an average of 30k worth of gear, all of which has backups just like my camera equipment. Handling drunks, in-laws, outlaws, grandparents and your actual client all at the same time requires as much attention to detail as camera settings, background, subject and pose. Do not convince yourselves that what you do is in some manner more "magical" than any other vendor at an event. I understand there are bottom feeder DJs who can interfere with an event but remember a bottom feeder DJ can ruin a moment but a bottom feeder photographer can ruin a memory. I am in a unique position of working with DJs as a photographer one night and working with a photographer as a DJ the next. Photographers who want to show up and set the itinerary on the spot after I as a DJ have worked with both the Coordinator and the client for hours is equally damaging to what we are trying to create.

We should not lose site of the fact that we are all on the same team with the same goal, to make the day the couple has spent so much time and money on as memorable and remarkable as possible. If we approach each other as equals and with respect, together we can bring the industry to a higher level. Future clients will come to request your caliber of professionalism and specific brand. We must be certain they are glad they did.

Insert rant apology here.



Feb 15, 2013 at 05:47 AM
sboerup
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p.1 #20 · DJ's and cameras at weddings


While my statement was certainly a bit facetious, the justification of a DJ actively taking photographs during the wedding still doesn't stand. Just ask the photographer for a few snaps, you'd be surprised. Be on their side of networking rather than looking like the enemy, who in this case carries more weight in their recommendation against you than vise versa.


Feb 15, 2013 at 06:53 AM
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