During a quiet moment at one of the weddings I photographed on the weekend a guest came up and thanked me. He had experienced wedding photographers in the past who were aggressive, disruptive and condescending to guests trying to grab photos on their little point and shoot cameras. I was the first wedding photographer he had ever encountered who actually helped him get the shot he wanted.
It was a little thing. I moved slightly and indicated to him to grab the photo he wanted. After I’ve got the images I want, I’ll often encourage guests to get closer and rarely a wedding goes by that I don’t help someone with an unfamiliar camera. In the days of film I often was asked by a guest to reload their camera.
But why? Aren’t I doing my hip pocket a disservice by letting people take their own photos? Sure, I might miss a sale here or there but I’ve just helped people one step down the path of loving photography as much as I do. I’m confident that no matter how much help I give them at the wedding, my photos are still going to be better. However, when they look at their photos and see that they have taken some of the best images they have ever taken in their entire lives, they do remember the wedding photographer who helped them get the photo they are now proud of.
And then, when one of their own family members is getting married who is going to be the photographer they seek out? The pleasant guy who helped everyone get a good photo, or the surly sad sack with his restrictive rules on who could take photos where and when?