(Closed) Mother Wanting to Use Photographer for her Own Personal Family Photos

posted 6 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 16
621 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

annemw333:  full time wedding photographer chiming in here . . . as a hired wedding photographer, I do not allow these requests from family/extended family and do not shoot formals that do not include the bride and groom. I’m happy to take more informal group photos at the reception if there is a lull in activity, but during the wedding day I am there to photograph the bride and groom and their guests, not shoot a handful of separate family photo sessions for everyone who wants it. Family photo shoots are a separate thing and they cost money. I have never had a wedding timeline that even allowed for this sort of thing – most timelines are packed as is, and any extra time that I would have I would want to spend shooting with the couple getting married. Most photographers will not be happy about being asked to do this. It would be important to communicate to your family that if there is time you may be able to squeeze a few shots in but that it shouldn’t be a foregone conclusion. <br /><br />I’ve actually had brides in your exact situation email me telling me about this and asking me if I could play the bad guy and just say no there won’t be time so that the brides can keep peace with their families. Wouldn’t be a terrible idea to see if your photographer would be willing to do the same. 🙂

Post # 17
1150 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

annemw333:  Mmm see I still don’t agree with the theory that ‘she’s paying so she can do what she wants’. Its still your wedding day! I just don’t get all these people offering to help their children pay for wedding things but putting conditions around it?? It seems really selfish to me, the money should be a gift and left at that. You don’t gift someone something but tell them they can ‘only use it for this or that’ at any other time so I don’t see how this is different.

It’s possible that when you gave in to your mum on the guest list thing she saw your weakness and jumped on it.. be strong with this one otherwise it could snowball. Yes you can get lovely family portraits but just the ones you and your Fiance want. End of story.

Post # 18
1150 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

mariematt:  Great suggestion. OP, shift the blame if you don’t think you can stick to your guns on your own!

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 8 months ago by  Miss_E_xx.
Post # 19
1521 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

I kind of agree with your mom. But my family is pretty big on family photos. Especially if you have a large extended family, it’s not very often where you will all be together, unless you live close to each other. And even then how often do you bother to get everyone dressed up and together just to take photos? But like I said, I come from a family that loves to look through old photos and reminisce. 

Post # 20
679 posts
Busy bee

I don’t think an extra 5 min tops to get a few quick formal photos of the family would be crazy. I’ve seen plenty of these sort of photos in wedding photo arrays. You will be photographed to death that day. Trust me, you won’t miss not being in every single shot. 

Post # 21
850 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013


annemw333:  We deliberately asked for two photographers so that we could have one of them taking shots of family groups while we were doing the main ones with bride and groom. Most of our guests got a formal photo of themselves/family in their thank you card as a gift.

Post # 22
2480 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I’m astonished that your photographer thinks it’ll take 5 minutes to take a formal picture! Although if this does involve the inevitable “herding cats” nightmare that can be gathering up the guests then perhaps it will.

I’m also afraid that no amount of “It’s MY DAY” protests are likely to be totally effective if you aren’t prepared to pay for the photography yourself. 

I do think there can be a compromise though. It shouldn’t be impossible to set aside a very limited period of time to get the sort of formal family shots that would probably be included in your wedding coverage anyway. But this has to be arranged beforehand. There’s no way your photographer can be expected to drop everything and suddenly shoot a series of family portraits. 

However, if you want realistic coverage of the day, you need to expect that you might not be in every single picture anyway. So don’t look at this problem from an extreme “either/or” angle, but instead, be prepared to make a sensible arrangement that doesn’t take away from the coverage of the day but also allows a little leeway for some of the shots your mother would like. 

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 8 months ago by  .
Post # 23
2598 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

annemw333:  tell her no – that the photographer will be too busy taking photos of the wedding and reception. You could maybe relent on the pic of her and your dad, or if the people she wants photo end happen to be right there and it’s a quick snap but that you want pictures of your wedding day and that will come first. 

If I were you I would give your photog a heads up about this with instructions on how you want them to handle your mom if she tries to interrupt their work for her own purposes.

Post # 25
7059 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

annemw333:  As a photographer, I can say….put your foot down and tell her no. I personally am an editorial photographer. I like to capture the beautiful moments, but also capture as much candidly as I can. It is a HUGE time suck to be branching into unnecessary portrait groupsings. I have on occassion done this, however, it typically ONLY happens at small weddings and elopements. There is no reason why, at the reception, your photographer can’t capture an image of a family together – but you need to ask yourself if you really want it to be a free for all of family portraits eating away at your package time.

Post # 26
1000 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

annemw333:  As a full time wedding photographer, I am going to whole-heartedly agree with Mariematt and Starfish. Show her this thread if you have to, but I have no qualms with coming out and saying, THIS IS MY PET PEEVE. What your mother is doing is attempting to hijack your wedding photographer (who will in turn have less time for bride and groom photos for the two of you) to get a FREE family portrait session. I do NOT allow this, and as I get many more years into my career, I become even more firm on that… I don’t give a cat’s tail who is paying… I was NOT hired for Not Wedding Related family formals, and the wedding photos I WAS hired for will suffer should I attempt to fulfill a request like this. This is also the fastest way to peeve off your photographer (as you can tell by the others who commented here), and a bitter taste in their mouth about being taken advantage of like this can affect their concentration and motivation to get stellar images for you.

Also, 3-5 minutes per shot is not unreasonable at all. You have to take into account the amount of time it takes to get all the appropriate parties together for each shot, AND get them to pay attention to you and your camera. Sometimes I have to take an absorbitant amount of shots, because all the aunts, uncles, cousins with their DSLRS are distracting the group I’m trying to photograph (saying “look here!” at THEIR cameras) and I have to WAIT for them to be done with their photos before I can take mine. Also, if you need to set up lighting, and be meticulous about posing that’s more time. If there’s food around, good luck dragging people away from it… lots to think about but I tell my brides the same 3-5 minutes per and it’s almost always accurate.

Post # 28
5154 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2014

annemw333:  Are you doing pictures before/after the ceremony? Would you be able to tell your mom she can do those types of pictures but only if they are done before your wedding pictures start? For example, we’re taking pics around 3 pm for our 5:30 ceremony. I’d tell her she can use the photographer for 1/2 hour to take the pics with the nieces or whoever else starting at 2:30. I would NOT let it cut into my wedding photo time because you’re going to end up missing your reception! 

Post # 29
3222 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

The thing that boters me over and above what everyone else has already pointed out is, it is your wedding. You will be in a big (poofy?) dress. There is no way that a family photo is going to NOT look like a wedding photo unless you are not in it. How on Earth would it be fair to have you Excluded from a family photo at your own wedding?

is there a chance everyone will be around the day before? Can you squeeze a short formal session in then? That way presumably you could have everyone pull together and help with whatever last minute task you need done.

Post # 30
213 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

As a photographer, I deal with this a lot – it’s not too big of a deal.  Most photograpers are expecting this, and know how to bang out a quick photo in under 2 mins.  I would let her do it, just supervise (i.e., if it takes more than 10 mins, steal your photographer away and tell your mom they’ll shoot candids during the reception).  Hope that helps!

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