Monday, May 21, 2012

How to be a Great "Uncle Bob" at a Wedding.

Last weekend I had a great "Uncle Bob" experience.

If you don't already know, "Uncle Bob" is an industry term we photographers use for the person at the wedding who thinks they are a professional wedding photographer.  Not to be confused with the guests who bring cameras and snap photographs all day... Uncle Bob has an expensive DSLR and is determined to photograph the wedding like a pro.  What he ends up doing, is getting in the way of the actual hired photographer, spoiling shots and annoying people.

But not always.

Last weekend, my Uncle Bob was the sister of the groom.  She has a Nikon Camera, she loves to take a photograph, so don't take her Kodachrome away (Paul Simon FTW!)  But she was cooool.  In fact, she was the perfect example of how you should act if you bring your big camera to a wedding.

We photographers notice things.  We notice when you are about to take a bad picture, when you are about to take a good one and when you are about to take a good one and you know you are about to take a good one.  So, when I noticed a guest taking a picture of the flower girls before the ceremony, in a crouch with one foot holding open a door behind her to let in natural light... my ears perked up.  "Uncle Bob," I thought.  But I also thought, "Uncle Bob has some skills."

During the ceremony she never left her seat.  During the formals she never took a picture (that I noticed).  However, she did point out several details to her family members when they were posing.  Little things like a stray hair or a hand out of place.  Good things to notice.

She introduced herself to me, told me she was a serious hobbyist and said, "Please let me know if I get in your way at all."  Thank you!

She didn't bring a flash, just a 50mm f1.8 lens.  She stayed back and worked on low-light candid shots.

She never got in my way and was a complete joy.

We wedding photographers can get a bad rap sometimes.  Many of us have been accused of being grumpy and rude and there are some of us who are sometimes.  But most aren't... we are just under a lot of pressure and we don't always have time to explain why you shouldn't be on the dance floor during the couples first dance because you want to practice.  You are in our way and worse, you are in the shot. So when we come across someone who is passionate about photography and also conscious of the job we are doing and respectful of the boundaries, we love them.  :)

Booray Perry is an award-winning wedding photographer in Tampa Florida.
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