So I was sitting in my big cushy chair with a cold Octoberfest brew culling through 3,000 images when I stumbled upon an flurry of shots that seemed odd.
Why were they odd you ask? Well, I guess it was because in the image was of a groomsman, a few other folks, and me. Me! Well, I did have an assistant that day. Wait, she was in the image too. Hmmm.
At this point I put down the beer and realized that someone picked up $5,000 worth of camera gear and started snapping away. I should also add that alcohol was flowing freely as it always does most weddings. The only people in this small area were those in the bridal party.
Well, I was a little irritated to say the least. I needed to vent. I needed some advice. I just wanted to see if this has happened to other wedding ‘Togs so I brought the issue up in a closed group of professional wedding photographers. There was never anything said to disrespect the bride or her wedding. This was an isolated incident and nobody made fun of anyone, etc. I got some great advice. After about 20 min I was fine. It happened. No use crying over spilled milk. Next time I will keep my gear closer to me.
BUT IT DOES NOT END HERE
About 2 days later I received a message from a very upset bride. Not upset at me, but upset in general. I mean, how could one of her friends do this? But, wait. How did she know? Why did she know? I did not tell her and I did not feel it was appropriate to make her feel bad 2 days after becoming a wife. 2 days after her most important and exciting day.
Sadly, you guessed it. Some other ‘professional’ told her. I am actually going to stop referring to this man as a professional because he is not. It takes a certain type of person to eagerly tattle tale on someone for some sort of twisted personal gain in their mind. Even worse, forget about me. It is even more disturbing to tell some stranger that just got married that their photographer is discussing an issue privately amongst professionals.
There are places that are sacred in this world and one of them is the nurse’s station in a hospital. A place where one can discuss cases privately to learn and ultimately manage situations better. Another place is a closed forum of professionals. A place one can reach out to others for help. In my case, I wanted to know what I should do. Sure, a little venting helped calm me down. In the end, others helped me decide to live and learn.
So, what did I learn?
1. I learned that I need to be more cautious at weddings. I need to keep my gear a little closer to me or with my assistant. I am sure it was just a groomsman joking around after a few drinks. But, what if he deleted 1,200 images or reformatted the cards? It can happen.
2. I also learned something that I sort of knew already, but hoped would not really be true. There are really sad and disillusioned people out there and many are online…even in closed professional groups that are supposed to be safe places to discuss issues and learn from others.
I really don’t know why this guy decided to enter my life, make a mess, hurt the bride, deny it, and then eventually get caught when his own words were saved and screenshots were taken. Once the facts were laid out in front of him he decided to admit it, but then blame everyone else.
I won’t say who he is. I am far more mature and respectful of his clients to do that. He knows what he did and has paid with his reputation already. Many in our professional community will not ever respect him or trust him again. Was it worth it? Crossing the line?
Well, the bride is very happy with me. The images. The day. The only person she dislikes and has no respect for is the stranger that stalked my web page and contacted her from 3,000 miles away.
MORAL: Don’t interfere with people’s lives. Don’t ever contact someone else’s client.