THE BLOG

How NOT To Employ a Wedding Photographer

12/23/2011 03:10 am ET | Updated Feb 21, 2012

Speak to many pro photographers and they say they "don't shoot weddings any more." You may be surprised by this, given that the average fee seems rather lucrative for a day's work. But leaving aside the fact that it's not a day's work (it's a high-pressure 15-hour shoot followed by weeks of post-processing), what makes weddings such a minefield for photographers is this: people.

People like Todd Remis, private equity consultant and disgruntled groom, who has decided to sue his wedding photographer.

Never mind the fact that the wedding took place in 2003 and Todd's wife, now his ex-wife, has moved back to her native Latvia. No, what matters here is that Todd is really, really cross that the photographers left 15 minutes early. So cross that he's demanded a $4,100 refund plus $48,000 to recreate the entire wedding and fly the principals to New York so the celebration can be re-shot by another photographer.

Perhaps it's an elaborate ruse to win back his Latvian ex, or perhaps Todd is a litigation-hungry noodle.

The Ramis vs reason case is an extreme one, but it does illustrate why so many photographers are wary of shooting weddings -- and why they should go nowhere near an altar without drawing up a contract stating exactly what they can and can't provide on the day.

There are oodles of books on "bridal poses" for photographers but precious few on managing clients' expectations. Brides and grooms expect the earth on a plate for as little money as possible -- of course they do. But controlling brides and underpaid, exhausted photographers do not result in good wedding photos.

Wedding photography at its best is an art, not a form of CCTV. If a couple want good results, they should leave the photographer alone to use his or her artistic judgement to capture the spirit of the day in beautiful, stylish photos. If they'd rather have comprehensive coverage of every guest and every moment, they should hand out compact cameras to guests.

Todd has removed his LinkedIn profile since the last time I looked, so here's an open plea instead. Todd, mate. You're probably very nice when you're not cross. Give the photographer a break. He took some smashing photos at your wedding. I'm sorry things didn't work out with the Latvian chick, but that's not the snapper's fault. Put the photo album away now, Todd. Join a dating site, find someone new. If you marry her, give the photographer a glass of bubbly rather than harassing him about this or that photo. He'll be much more likely to hang around to the end.