Echoes from the Backyard:
Posted May 1, 2005

Dear DJ,
I recently shot a wedding where the photographer was a real pain to work with. Every time I get set with a shot, the photographer stepped in front of my camera and planted himself there, forcing me to move to get the shot.
What would you do?
Tired of the South end view of the Northbound Donkey

Dear Tired,
Ah . . . a long standing testament to the egotism and arrogance of the photographer mindset. Wouldn't it be great if they didn't have the exact same complaints about videographers as we do about photographers?

I visit the video forums and see all the photographer slams and I visit the photo forums and see all the videographer slams. Can't we all just get along?

Yes. And no. Both sides of the fence have their problem children that behave just like that: as children.

It's important to remember that being the Photographer and the Videographer are not the most important jobs during the day. The job of documenting the day is. That means working side by side. The mindset of "I was here first" doesn't hold water.

Likewise, the photographer and the videographer are not the most important people during the day. The Bride and Groom are, which is all the more reason that you should be working together to the benefit of the couple.

So, how do we work together?

Communication. Work out ahead of time where each of you will be and what each of you expects of the other for the benefit of the whole. If you get a cocky photographer whose ego is more important, document it. Roll tape with audio as he or she tells you that he's more important. Be subtle, but make sure the photographer realizes what you are doing. Chances are, he or she will back down and let you do your job.

Your best bet, however, is to make a lunch date before and go over your working styles—both of them.


Dear DJ,
I live and work out of an apartment. Meeting with clients has been problematic for me. I've tried the meeting-at-their-home routine, but I feel like I am imposing every time I ring the bell. Any suggestions?
Rent-n-Roll

Dear Rent,
I feel your pain. Being home-based can be an imposition, especially with children or pets. The same is true of the presentation at the client's home as well. You lose control of the environment and, potentially, the negotiation.

The first idea is to move the business out of the home and rent a storefront or office space. But the costs of such a move can be prohibitive. Not only is there additional rent, but additional insurance, maintenance, and labor.

An alternative is to use a coffee shop or local bakery shop for client meetings. I would suggest staying away from the chain coffee franchises and going to a locally owned shop instead. The reason is not anti-corporate as much as community involvement. A local shop owner is far more likely to notice you after several visits, appreciate the business you bring in, and possibly refer you to her customers as a result. All you need is your literature, a laptop, and a selection of DVDs.

Otherwise, I suggest selling the in-home meeting as a service you provide. "I understand that you're busy with your planning, so I'm more than happy to come to you . . ." This way, it's perceived as a service, not a necessity.

One more suggestion: take the coffee shop meeting a step further. Load your laptop with your NLE software. Load some footage from your current project on it. Put your logo on the lid. Every morning of the week, go have coffee. Go to a different local shop each day of the week. Spend your first hour or two in the shop (during peak hours) working on your project. You will get noticed.

Nigerian scam targets video and photo businesses: Have you received an email like the following, complete with typos?

Goodday, My name is John Smith. My fiancee Mary and i are planning to have our wedding on March 12th,2005 at St Ann Church,East Liverpool,Ohio.I am looking for the best Videographer who will come and snapshoot on the D-day and when i came across your advert i was impressed.Let me know your charges if you are to work for at most 8 Hours on that day.If you are out of Ohio,we will pay the transportation charges to and from the party venue so indicate in your email if you are out of Ohio and state what it will costs via Plane to Ohio along with your videography charges.
At this moment,my fiancee and i are on our way to Holland for a 6 weeks prewedding honeymoon and will try get in touch with you personally when we return.However,I will be making the payment by means of a Cashiers Check.Let me have your full names,Address,Studio Number and Cellular Number so that a Cashiers Check can be mailed to you for the payment as soon as possible. Waiting to read from you soon.
Best regards,
John Smith.

If you have, throw it out. It's a scam.