Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Uncle Harry and Cousin Mary - Get Out Of My Way!

Good Afternoon Everybody,

NYC PhotowalkI coming to you today from NYC. We left early this morning, landed just before noon, and were settled in to our hotel by about 1:00 p.m.  And speaking of New York City, how many of you are going to join me on our Photowalk on Saturday?  Here is the link to sign up. We still have plenty of room.  And remember, it's for a good cause, Operation Smile, so I really hope we that we have a large number of participants. Hey, refreshments on me after the photowalk;~)

It's a light day today but I picked up an idea from one of our DPT readers, Eric Cameron, who emailed me with a question and the image below, "How do you handle all the bride and groom's relatives with cameras shooting while you're trying to get your shot?".

Uncle HarryThis is actually a REAL Uncle Harry who literally jumped in front of Erik during his wedding session! He couldn’t resist and snapped off this classic Uncle Harry image. 

You know, it's a great question and I've got a simple solution.

Uncle Harry and Cousin Mary - Get Out Of My Way!

OK, I don't quite go that far in handling a situation that has only gotten worse with everybody and their brother owning a digital camera.  But the fact of the matter is that every Tom, Dick, Harry, and Cousin Mary could be seriously affecting the final result and quality of your wedding images.

Before I go any further, let me say that I really don't get upset when I see all the cameras coming out during my "alter return" session with the moms and dads, wedding party, and family members.  It's all in how you handle the Uncle Harry/Cousin Mary situation.  And now let me say that the situation MUST be handled with the upmost level of professionalism and courtesy!

Here's what I do:

GroupHugsEverybodyChpt10Pt050131859D[2]1. Ask the bride and groom to join you in the front of the church.  With the bride and groom standing in the front of church with me and with me doing all the instructional talking, their close presence gives you a greater air of authority in speaking to the crowd. In effect, it's implied that all three of us are giving the directions.

2. Get everybody sitting away from the wedding party and family members.  I usually ask the the wedding party and family members to have a seat comfortably on the left side of the church about 5 pews back.  Anyone else is asked to please be seated behind them.

3.  Let everybody know that you've got to work quickly so everyone can get to the wedding reception without delay and to do that you(and the bride and groom) needs everyone's cooperation.

4. Give the speech that makes it happen and keeps Uncle Harry and Cousin Mary at bay during your shooting session.  Here it is:

"Hi everybody.  My name is David Ziser (get your plug in) and I know you are all anxious to get to the reception.  I'm going to be working very quickly and need your help to make everything go quickly and smoothly.

I'll begin with the moms, dads, and grandparents so they an be on their way to host the guests at the reception.  Next we'll need the wedding party standing by for the wedding party group photographs.  Please try not to wander off (for a smoke) - we'll be taking those images in just a few minutes. 

After we get the wedding party photographs you guys and girls can head for the limos, check that all dressing rooms have been cleared, get the air conditioning turned on (and grab a beer).  I need just a few more minutes with the bride and groom so we will be right behind you.

(Now to handle the Uncle Harry/Cousin Mary issue). I know a lot of you are anxious to get photos too, but PLEASE wait till I take my photographs.  If you take your photos at the same time as I'm taking mine, there is a good chance several of the "eyes" will be looking into your camera instead of mine.  That means quite a bit of additional cost to the bride and groom for the expensive Photoshop corrections that would need to be completed on the final images.

Also, I'm going to be working very quickly so as to not hold up everyone getting to the reception, so if you could please hold your photographs until we get to the reception, that would be greatly appreciated."

0010DPTWedPost0250DZ_IMG_86666DAZNOTE:  I'm trying to message three things here.  First, that the request is coming from the bride, groom and myself. All three of us are standing in the front of the church with me making the request on their behalf.

And secondly, that the errant family photog could cost the couple money. They usually get he message.  And finally, that we don't have much time to get the photographs so please don’t slow down the process.  Back to my speech...

"So if you could please hold you photographs till I get mine, the bride and groom(Mary and John) sure would appreciate it."

I will only need approximately 35 minutes to capture all the photographs so get ready to give me your best smiles.  Thanks everybody.  Ok, can I ask Mary's mom and dad to come forward...."

DAZNOTE: BTW, at one of you pre-wedding meetings with the couple, be sure to cover this point so they know what to expect too.  The couple may do the job for you by passing on the message to the camera toting relatives.

That is how I've engaged the cooperation of the bride and groom, wedding party, and family members for years. This procedure has all but eliminated any major interference from the Uncle Harrys and Cousin Mary's tagging along at a wedding.  Give it a try, it works like a charm ;~) But of course be charming yourself too ;~)


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  We just touched down and I'm getting told to switch off my iPad.  I'll plan to see you tomorrow for another Business Day Thursday post.

Have a good one, stay cool -  David


  1. I've done this with uncle Harry too. I thought it might have been your suggestion but tell them I will hold the pose to let them get a picture after I get mine. I will admit that it takes a few minutes extra.

    Off topic question: I know you are big on vendor relationships. I've been trying to build them too. I took some fairly nice food shots (I thought). I was going out of town so I sent low res images in an email and said I would get them some prints when I get back. The response was, just send me the hi res files, I dont need prints. Do I send them the files? Do I create prints and tell them I don't supply hi res images? Not sure direction to take.