RULE ONE:   In the agreement with the Bride and Bridal party it designates me the shooter as the law when it comes to the paparazzi. And any interference with the photographer causing any problems with the pictures shall be a violation of the contract.

RULE TWO:  If the Bride is giving out free digital cameras all tables, thats a no-no, but if insisted you might have to go along with it.  After the formals,  so who cares how many cheapie flicker shots get taken, they’ll go nowhere in the sense that it effects your work or income.  With that said if they jump in front of you, or  screw up the pictures, thats a whole new ballgame.

RULE THREE:  No uncle FRED joining the foray.  If there is one, a long conversation with the Bride and Uncle Fred, get it handled before he steps in front of you.  

RULE FOUR:  Cell-Phones and other devices are OK as long as the photographer controls when they shoot during formal sessions.

RULE FIVE:  I have found by being nice to guests and giving them a moment after my work is done and even a few tips has made me a friend rather than competitor.  When I do the formals, I would ask them out loud, to refrain from shooting, and as soon as I was done, I would pose the group for them and they could shoot till they ran out of disc, film or battery.  If they respected that, I had no problem.  

After each sequence, I would tell my Official Helpers, Ok, ready, now all on three. Then count it out, two, three. That’s insured the ten folks with cell phones and point and shoot all got the same exact shot, period!   

They literally just signed a no competition clause and usually all the flashes interfere with each other, and I had closed the discreet circuit to my portable studio lights. My big lights did not go off.

Then after that moment, I’ll say something like “The Paparazzi will meet outside the church by the steps after they come out and you see me set up”.  It has worked every time. It’s also a great time for card giving and you would be surprised at the referrals you get.  They love you for this.

I have business cards that are printed “Official Paparazzi” and when we do the informal shots at cake, and limo and tosses, I tell them all to hold and AFTER I shoot, I yell Paparazzi time and they all come forward and let them have a good time.  I even pin it on with a paper clip, cheap and it works.

 What do I care if they shoot a set, you think the point and shoot at fifteen feet and eight people wide is competition to my speed lights and perfection brackets with their width and extra power.  They cannot do what a studio Norman with 400-watt seconds can do.

Half of those point and shoots won’t even work at the distance they are at so I push them closer, so they do come out.   Sometimes I have taken an advanced amateur who got in the way and made him hold the lights so that took him out of the picture, but he learned something and appreciated it.

Being truly nasty, there is a get even.  If you have real annoying “pain in the asses”  I turn one of the strobes  ( my big ones right at them behind the cake )  and when it goes off... vengeance. 


Why the Official Paparazzi cards? They are my business cards on the other side and you wish you had a dollar for everyone that found me a wedding. Most of the snappers are friends or members of the wedding party and they get married too.  What a time to make friends and future clients, not enemies.