Upload & Sell: Off
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:
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:
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.