If you are a wedding photographer, you know exactly who ‘Uncle Bob’ is. Just google it. Uncle Bob is the guest who receives a wedding invitation and owns an expensive camera, so he attends the event and designates himself as the non-professional who is going to take fantastic photos to gift the couple. Uncle Bob is usually just 2 steps behind the official wedding photographer, waiting until the professional sets up the perfect pose and then moving in to snap his own version of that coveted shot.
Professional photographers and many couples themselves do not like Uncle Bob at the wedding. Here’s why.
- It is plain impolite to interfere with a paid professional hired to provide any service on someone’s special day. It’s like bringing your own music selection to compete with the DJ, or pouring wine despite the presence of a bartender. It’s just plain rude.
- No couple wants the integrity of what they are buying to be compromised (or potentially compromised) by a non-professional wannabe.
- During key moments of the ceremony and reception (processional, vows, first dance…) it can be distracting enough to have one photographer buzzing in the background right behind the couple, let alone two.
- When Uncle Bob capitalizes on a pose setup by the official photographer, the photo subjects may have to smile once for Uncle Bob and then again for the photographer – instead of just once. Also, eye contact may be directed towards the non-professional camera, thus ruining the professional (paid for) shot. Highly annoying.
So if you enjoy taking photos and receive a wedding invitation anytime soon, please be considerate. If you really want to bring your camera along, introduce yourself to the paid professional to get agreement on how you might take photos without interfering, or focus on candid shots rather than duplicating his official posed portraits. Just don’t be an Uncle Bob!