Sometimes I come across an AITA (Am I The Asshole?) post that has so many red flags that I immediately end up siding with the one posing the question before they even get into the crux of the story. Such is the case with a post from a dog groomer who decided to do a friend a solid by being hired as a photographer for their wedding.
I’m not really a photographer, I’m a dog groomer. I take lots of photos of dogs all day to put on my Facebook and Instagram, it’s “my thing” if that makes sense. A cut and a photo with every appointment. I very seldom shoot things other than dogs even if I have a nice set up.
A friend got married a few days ago and wanting to save money, asked if I’d shoot it for them. I told him it’s not really my forte but he convinced me by saying he didn’t care if they were perfect: they were on a shoestring budget and I agreed to shoot it for $250, which is nothing for a 10 hour event.
I can count 10 red flags in this scenario, and we haven’t even gotten to the big “asshole” moment of the post.
Red flag #1: The photographer isn’t even comfortable with doing this job, as it isn’t something they specialize in, so much so that they don’t even call themselves a photographer. They just take pictures to help their dog grooming business, but their friend has a “shoestring budget” and has decided to take what they can get, I guess? Speaking of …
Red flag #2 – #10: Friend offers a measly $250 to shoot a whole-ass wedding, screwing over their friend and wedding photographers in general.
I don’t care if they claim that the pictures don’t have to be perfect. $250 is offensively low for event photography, especially for something like a wedding. Do you know how many aspects of a wedding get photographed? I’ve been to weddings that have multiple photographers in different corners of the room just so the couple can look at the same shot in twenty-five different angles. I’ve also been in weddings where we all have to take beautifully staged photos BEFORE the actual ceremony, followed by the ceremony photos, and concluding with every single aspect of the reception.
Photographers aren’t just out here getting the bouquet toss; they’re getting the hair being done up, the nails, the inside of the closet, and the walk to the venue.
The one posting the story said as much about how much work they ended up doing. “On the day of, I’m driving around following the bride as she goes from appointment to appointment before the ceremony, taking photos along the way. I shoot the ceremony itself, and during the reception, I’m shooting speeches and people mingling.”
$250 for all that work? Yeah, whatever you’re about to say, you’re not the asshole here.
I started around 11am and was due to finish around 7:30pm. Around 5pm, food is being served and I was told I cannot stop to eat because I need to be photographer; in fact, they didn’t save me a spot at any table. I’m getting tired and at this point kinda regretting doing this for next to nothing. It’s also unbelievably hot: the venue is in an old veteran’s legion and it’s like 110F and there’s no AC.
Excuse me? They didn’t let you EAT?!
Now, I know I said that damn near every inch of a wedding gets photographed, but that doesn’t mean you don’t let the photographer take a break. The people you hire to work for you get to have breaks. A quick Google search of “do photographers eat at weddings” answers how couples go about making sure the photographer eats—especially if they’re working for you all day the way this photographer did.
According to The Knot, “You should plan to feed any wedding professional who will be there with you at the reception. This includes your photographer, videographer, DJ, and band. The best way to broach the topic with your pros is to put it in the contract. Unless your vendor prefers otherwise, plan to give them a meal off the same menu as your guests.”
Your Perfect Wedding Photographer adds the following:
If your photographer will only be there for the ceremony and reception then food probably isn’t needed, however, if they are there for the whole day, from first thing in the morning right through until the night then that is a very long day and a long time to go without any substantial food.
Some couples like to have the photographer join them at their table for dinner allowing the photographer to grab a few shots and then moving around the other tables to get other photos.
On the other hand the photographer may wish to have a break away from it all for a moment where they can take a breather and have some food. They may also prefer this as they may not prefer to sit with guests as they may find this awkward as they don’t know anyone and would prefer some quiet time briefly.
I also kinda feel like it’s common sense to give folks a break if they’ve been working for you all day, especially with something as taxing as photographing a wedding. Then again, this “friend” only offered $250 knowing damn well photography would include filming the bride in action, the ceremony, the reception, and every other part of this that screams $250 DOESN’T EVEN COVER THE DOWNPAYMENT FOR THE SERVICES YOU ARE SEEKING.
“I don’t care if the pictures are perfect” my ass. You knew exactly what you were doing by convincing your friend to take this job. If anything, the fact that it’s a friend makes this even more despicable. I can’t believe they had their photographer working for six hours straight, and then, instead of letting them take a break, they proceeded to have dinner? Without letting the photographer eat??? Were they just gonna eat in front of them knowing they hadn’t had a break all day?????
The story continues with, “I told the groom I need to take off for 20min to get something to eat and drink. There’s no open bar or anything, I can’t even get water and my two water bottles are long empty. He tells me I need to either be a photographer or leave without pay.”
I’m delighted to let you know that the next part of this story is as follows. “With the heat, being hungry, being generally annoyed at the circumstances, I asked if he was sure, and he said yes, so I deleted all the photos I took in front of him and took off saying I’m not his photographer anymore.”
Needless to say, the ruling on the story is that this poor photographer is “not the asshole,” though one user brought up a good reason to have kept the photos: “OP shouldn’t have deleted the pictures. As satisfying as it is, they should have just left, and then when her friend asked about them later should have said she’d sell them the pictures for double or triple the price.”
Yeah, that’s a pretty solid response. The moral of the story: Just because you hire your friends doesn’t mean you get to bend the rules on common decency. Pay your wedding photographers for their time AND LET THEM EAT.
(featured image: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
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