The other thing that I’ve notice happen time and time again is that people don’t want to pay for a professional photographer, so they get someone in the family to take photos of the event in question. Perhaps Uncle Bob has a “really good camera” and can therefore automatically take amazing shots in low-light with no actual training as a photographer. The camera does all the work dontcha know!
Earlier this year my husband’s distant relatives invited us to the christening of their twins. I asked if they had a photographer, as I’m always on the lookout for potential opportunities (although photographing for family is usually more hassle than it’s worth!). They said they had the photography covered as the mother’s sister was going to do it. Ok fine, no worries. I thought I’d bring my camera along anyway, as it is not often that twins get christened, and I thought I’d get some practise in to keep my skills honed. We’re talking Greek Orthodox here, where a christening is a big event and the baby gets fully submerged in the font, not just a splash of water on the forehead. The ceremony is also pretty boring, so I like to keep myself amused by taking photos.
Come the christening day, I had set up my camera settings and was just mucking around taking some shots of the church, which was absolutely stunning and had skylights so there was an amazing beam of light coming down right on the altar, lighting everyone’s hair up in a halo effect. Too awesome not to photograph! The sister turned up and to my horror she had a mid-range P&S, which as most of you will know, is next to useless when it comes to taking a number of photos in rapid succession – the load time between shots is insane! Plus you can’t get a fast enough shutter speed, as the one she had didn’t have manual controls and would have picked a slower speed over aperture (and ISO? what is that?). To cut a long story short, I took a bunch of photos (making sure I kept out of her way, since that is only polite), and learned first-hand how challenging it is to try and photograph two babies at once!
A few weeks later I was asked by the family if they could see my photos. Apparently they hadn’t gotten anything useable from the sister and they were devastated. They ended up offering me money for my photos because I’d gotten ones that were actually in focus, and so I ended up getting paid for it after all, yay! I’m not that altrustic that I would have just given them the shots….shame on me?
This happened AGAIN last Sunday, at another Greek Christening. The cousins-in-law said earlier in the year that they were going to pay me to do the photography. I never heard anything else on the subject, and in the end was given an invitation to attend the christening as a guest. I’m at a stage where I have written family off as clients, because of disappointments like this. I took my camera along anyway because my parents-in-law were overseas, and hubby and I would have had our arses in a sling if we didn’t give them some photos of the event, lol. Turns out that the father’s brother had been roped in to do the photography. At least he had an SLR! With an external flash!!! However, the flash was facing forward with one of those pointless “diffusers”, and he hardly took any photos! This particular church has shocking light and I know from experience that using any kind of flash is going to either light everyone up horribly, or give the effect where foreground is lit up and everything else is hideously blackened, in a fine example of inverse square law. I myself shot at high ISO with no flash, and used Lightroom to smooth out the noise afterwards.
I can’t wait to see the photos that they got…these are wealthy people and they could have easily afforded a professional. I don’t understand why they didn’t. It didn’t have to be me, but surely you’d want to have someone who knows what they are doing for an event as precious as a christening????? People are cray-cray! Mind you, the mother once told me that I have a ‘nice camera’ when she saw some photos I took…..kind of says it all really.
Not that I’m bitter 😉