You know the ones I’m talking about. The people who are supposed to be guests, and yet, somehow believe it is their god-given duty to run around at their friend’s wedding snapping photos that the hired professional ‘might miss.’
Ah, the bumbling ways of a clueless amateur – or PODs as I like to call them: the Posers Of the Day.
They’re usually not hard to miss. You’ll find them either crouched beside the main photographer, trying to steal angles with their poorly configured DSLR, or photobombing precious moments, like the one captured in the image I’ve chosen for this article, taken from a rural farm wedding I shot a while ago. If you look closely, you’ll notice that even a groomsman was wondering WTF a random dude was doing, trying to sneak into a shed behind the ceremony 😂
All laughing matters aside though, what can we as pros do, when this sort of thing inevitably occurs from time to time?
Advice #1 – Ignore if possible
As passive as this sounds, sometimes just leaving these people be, is the best strategy. Don’t allow them to interrupt your rhythm or thwart your concentration. Focus instead on being even more on top of your game and see them as just another object to avoid in your framing, like an ugly jutting branch. Challenge yourself to make it seem like they weren’t there at all on the day, and take pride in the fact that you are booked pro, not them.
Advice #2 – Ask nicely
For times though when they are truly annoying beyond disregard, exercise patience, and in a temperate manner, invite them to move. You should find that with the right tone, more often than not, they are willing to comply and may even be apologetic for the fact that they were unaware their presence was sabotaging a scene. So calm your voice, and speak to them firmly but kindly.
Advice #3 – Explain clearly
Thankfully, this has only happened a handful of times over the hundreds of weddings I’ve shot, but every now and then, you may encounter someone who just doesn’t get it. They are disrespectful and could even be offended that you would have the audacity to tell them where they can or can’t be. So in these situations, I’ve used the tactic of deferral back to the couple and explained that I’m only asking for cooperation on behalf of the very people for whom we are gathered. Fortunately, no one has had a solid rebuttal for that reason yet!
In summary, don’t ever feel obligated to interact with potential meddlers, other than to request that they make themselves scarce if they become overwhelmingly pesky. And in all else, adapt and win!