It seems almost every week I’m asked if I get provided with food at the weddings I’m commissioned for, and it’s long been a hotly debated topic amongst photographers (not always for the right reasons – more on this later). So let’s slice through all the kerfuffle and spill the beans on this one.
For the engaged couples planning their wedding… I am completely sympathetic. Planning an event of this scale just isn’t an everyday occurrence. The logistics alone can be daunting at first; finding the right venue and location, where all your loved ones can practically get to, and on a date which makes sense for the season and likely availability of others. Then co-ordinating all of your industry professionals to the right place and the right time for the day itself. It’s not just an A-B-C procedure either, but a highly symbolic event in your life, which you have to work into the details to make it distinctly how you wish it to be.
Considering all that’s involved, if you’re then asked to feed your photographer, it could seem a bit much. You’re expecting them to wash themselves the day-of too, right? So surely they can feed themselves? It doesn’t seem much to ask.
But here’s the thing which many engaged couples can use to their advantage: your photographer is just another guest, really. Logistically, it’s just adding another head. Consider that you’re commissioning that photographer, specifically, to photograph this once-in-a-lifetime event. There are probably a whole bunch of reasons that you chose them over anyone else; no less then you genuinely trusting them, and that you got on with them well. But it’s always coming down to the work (or at least should do) – so why not fuel them?
Speaking from experience, you rarely get time for lunch because that’s when you’re working during the morning, following everything over into the ceremony, and it’s not until the wedding party itself stops to eat, that you’ll really get a break to re-fuel. So if you have food prepared for you that you can easily get, it really does help. You know the way to my heart!
Yet, it’s not a big deal.
I think it makes sense to fuel someone who’s there all day, but I’d never make a big deal out of it because there really are far more important things, especially for those doing the planning itself. I dress myself, meticulously prepare all my equipment and backups, have numerous plans in place for weather, and alternate travel plans. This is just the very basic planning. Does it seem too much for me to prepare food which will give me more energy later in the day? Even as a backup solution? I don’t think so.
So when I hear stories about some photographers having a clause in their contract demanding they are fed… I am somewhat surprised to say the least. Some even arguing with the on day co-ordinator or not even eating at all because of disorganisation. It seems a lot of people go bananas over this and I’m just not sure why. But there is a way around this: by interviewing your photographer and asking the right questions. You’ll see if you get on with them, but you’ll begin to understand their character and how professionally they’ll handle working for you.
When it comes down to it, you need to trust the person you’re commissioning to see and photograph the right moments on your wedding day, and to do so in a professional manor.
I wouldn’t accept anything less than this.