What is the job of the wedding photographer, and what is “above and beyond”?
I was talking to a photographer friend a few months ago. They’re just a hobbyist but often ask me about how my business is going, and what I get up to. I told them about a special wedding moment for me, when I was thanked in one of the speeches. That’s fairly unexpected for a wedding photographer, as we’re being paid to be there and public thanks are generally due for friends and family who have been giving up their time to make the wedding day happen.
It must have been that I had done something, or acted in a way that was felt to be beyond the usual call of duty. My friend asked me what had happened during the day, and I ran through things. I didn’t feel that I had done anything especially dramatic, but at several points my friend interrupted to say that they wouldn’t have done that, it wasn’t the photographer’s ‘job’.
So I started to think, what is the photographer’s job? What is their main mission? Is it to simply take the best images they can? Or is it to do their bit to make sure the wedding day goes smoothly and is as enjoyable as possible?
My perspective is that the photographer is one of the professionals employed to make sure that it’s a great day with many happy memories. That means helping things move along, particularly if there is a little glitch, and not to stand back and wait for someone else to fix things. It can be something as little as helping the Bride with a bag or bunch of flowers, or arranging for another glass of bubbly. Anything that makes the day move more smoothly.
Maybe it’s because I’ve spent time working in other customer facing industries, or because I’ve been on training courses that emphasise the need to give ‘added value’, but I think it’s an important aspect of how I approach the day. I’m not there to monopolise the bride and groom or give lots of orders. Along with the priest or celebrant, the venue co-ordinator and the caterers I think of myself as part of one big team that’s all pulling together to make the wedding day special.