I’ve been wanting to talk about them for awhile, but the time was never quite right. Anyway, there’s another part to this that I’ll be writing in the coming weeks.
In the wedding photography industry you hear this term pretty often. And no, it’s not restricted to just ‘uncles’. It could be your aunty, your cousin, your friend, even your brother or sister (this is rarer because they’re usually involved with the wedding, but hey, who knows). Just Google ‘Uncle Bob Photography’ and you’ll see the grief.

By loose definition, these people (I’ll just call them Uncle Bob, and ‘he’, for simplicity) are the people you’ve invited to your wedding, and he has 1) a quality camera and 2) loooooves taking pictures.

Notes:

  1. By quality camera I mean probably a DSLR or high-end mirrorless camera, may or may not have a good lens.
  2. Strong interest in photography. So much so that (to some extent) he fancies himself as a wedding photographer, and wants to capture anything and everything.

Why we hate them.

uncle bob

Ok. Hate’s a strong word. Dislike then.

It’s frustrating when they don’t seem to know where to draw the line between a over-enthusiast photographer and a guest at the wedding. I have had a couple of instances where there were three photographers capturing the exchanging of rings, when there should only be one (me). To make it worse, they were using short lenses, which meant that they were more or less 20cm away from the bride and groom.

You can’t win.

Which is true. Consider the alternatives.

  1. You let them do what they want. This ends up with you getting pretty bad images, because a) you’re constantly juggling with them for the best positions, and b) you’re in a bad mood, which therefore leads to bad images.
  2. You don’t let them do what they want. This could work out to your favour and you get pretty good images, but they might bad-mouth you for it, which gets you negative reviews.

Unfortunately, being the digital age, where not only we compete with quality cameras, but also portable cameras, iPhones, Instagram and Facebook, you learn to deal with it.

Work with what you have

Uncle Bobs, could be your worst enemies or best allies. If you can get on their good side, that is. Here’s what I’ve found in my experience.

  1. Identify them early on and make friends with them, even if you don’t want to. This helps break the ice and the barrier between you as the official photographer and them as the weekend warrior. Talk shop if you want. Just don’t get too far that you forget what you’re being paid to do. 🙂
  2. Give them allowances to move around. Not too much where it’ll mess you, but where you know there’s more space to move around. Establish some perimeters. That way he knows when and where to draw the line.
  3. For group shots, let them have their fun, or if you see something with potential, raise your hand up, and with a clear, but polite voice, say it’s now the groups’s turn to look at your camera.

There you go. Three easy tips.