Why Generalizations Are Dangerous, Self Serving, and Destroy Relationships


In a forum I participate in on Facebook this gem of a blog post was shared.
Titled “Why We Are Not in Love with Wedding Videography” It was also written by a photographer so right off the bat my spidey-senses were tingling.
In it the author paints a picture with broad sweeping generalizations and damages the reputation of countless working professionals who spend a large amount of their time trying to dispel these antiquated notions and general negative connotation of “wedding video”. So much so, that many avoid the term “video” and “videographer” altogether, as if the mere mention of it could contaminate their soul.

I take issue with the majority of the blog post which I will detail below but there are two sides to every story so let me first begin with what I agree with.
I have no doubt that this photographer has had the unfortunate luck of working with some “videographers” that have not been professional, possibly even worse.
I’m sure some of these people have gotten in her way. They may have blocked a guest’s view. Some of them may not have held themselves to the apparent strict code of conduct and photojournalistic ethics that this photographer employ.

So my problem with this blog post is as follows.

The author complains that since “videographers” no longer use bulky tripods and big cameras and are now using the same or similar camera gear they are often jockeying for the same angle/shot. This is taking something that is actually a benefit to both professionals and instead of taking the time to communicate with each other labeling it a disadvantage. We rarely have a problem with the photographer at a wedding. Why? Because we take the time and effort to make a phone call. We explain who will be there from our team and how we operate. On the day of the wedding we have already communicated with the photographer and don’t look at it as a burden. We are both professionals and there is plenty of room for us to both do our job. The fact that we use the same equipment means at any given time we can switch to a longer lens and shoot from next to the photographer. Simple fix, not a problem, with a minimal amount of effort this is actually a benefit.
Gem of this paragraph:
“I don’t mean any disrespect to the profession- our opinion comes from a host of poor past experiences, I’m afraid.”
Generalizations are dangerous, self serving and destroy relationships. This line of thinking is not far off from the same logic ignorant people employ to explain their disdain for large groups of people. I don’t like (insert race or ethnicty here) because they always (insert encounter you have had with a small percentage of aforementioned race/ethnicity).
Are we beginning to see just how dangerous this can be?

The author then goes on to say that some guest get confused and think the “videographer” is taking photos.Then some of the guests (gasp) STOP AND POSE. How that affects the photographer at all I don’t understand. Maybe someone can enlighten me.

The author then says that it’s too many people. Two photographers and two to three videographers is just way too much. Another example of where communication is key. One of the videographers is going to go do groom prep, two at bridal prep. One getting detail shots in another room and one keying in on the bride getting ready.If you are incapable of working with another professional and communicating my suggestion is instead of berating them publicly on your blog find a new profession. Take portraits where you are the only one there. Stick to engagement photos. Do something that doesn’t require you to take the minute and a half that it would to communicate with a fellow vendor.

As if this wasn’t bad enough here’s where the train completely derails. Great advice by the way (heavy sarcasm).
“Most agree with our viewpoint and would rather a family friend record the vows and toasts on a camcorder if necessary, leaving a clear canvas for the wedding day photos to unfold without distraction or a gang photo and video documentary approach. You don’t hire two caterers to work in the same kitchen on your wedding day, so give a little extra thought as to why you would have more than one visual company jockeying for the same position to capture your tangible wedding memories.”
This is the most laughable and completely ludicrous thing I have read in some time. Two caterers? You think a photographer and a “videographer” are doing the same thing? Wrong. The video is capturing movement and audio. That’s like saying why hire a DJ if you already hired a florist. Don’t buy a cake if you already have a wedding planner. To suggest that a well done wedding film can be replaced by Uncle Joe with a handy cam is a slap in the face to professionals everywhere. You won’t see me writing a blog post about how the photographer should be replaced by handing out disposable cameras to all of their guests.
If you honestly think having your uncle with a handy cam is a replacement for a professional see if you can tell which was shot by an uncle and which was done by a professional.


Lacey + Chris’s Wedding Trailer from Joe Simon Films on Vimeo.

I am a professional that is capable of working with another professional. I play well with others. I was taught the virtues of sharing as I child. I don’t run with scissors. You get the point? So next time before you or anyone you knows paints a picture with broad generalizations and posts it on the internet for all to see think about a few things first.

1) Is the problem another group of people or am I being selfish, self serving and lazy?
2) Am I giving a group of people who consider me to be an authority on a subject terrible advice they may regret for the rest of their lives?
3) How will this affect the well being and livelihood of a fellow human being?
4) Where did I go wrong in life?

So remember kids, the reason people make generalizations is because they don’t care to take the time to get to know people on an individual basis. It’s much easier to lump everyone into a group. This reeks of laziness, a lack of professionalism and is self serving. Your job when doing photography or “video” for a live event is to serve the couple, or person being honored. When you start compromising that coverage for your own peace of mind and so you don’t have to put out a little more effort you have done a disservice to yourself, your fellow vendors, and your couple. If you get to the point in your career where you’re not willing to put in a little more effort and it’s no longer about your couple. Well, it may be time to look at a new profession.

Tune in next week for: “Why I Hate DJ’s, Florists, Maitre’ D’s, Servers, Wedding Planners and Anyone Else Who Isn’t Me.”


Comments

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18 replies
  1. Beth O.
    Beth O. says:

    I asked her to remove or revise her post yesterday. Instead, she just didn’t approve any of the comments on her blog and kept removing people’s comments on her fb page. I really hope she comes to her senses and sends out a big apology soon.

    Reply
  2. jason armond
    jason armond says:

    This article is speaking from a place of not being educated on the process and logistics of videogrpahy. I went to college for film/video production. I started out shooting video for weddings. I now shoot stills. I find a lot of wed photogrphers think because videographers are using dslr’s they can move and operate like they do. We all can play in the same sand box.

    Reply
  3. jason armond
    jason armond says:

    A lot of photographers feel they have to get every conceivable shot in their imaginations or that they have seen in a blog or mag at every wedding. They don’t want to compromise and work around/with videographers. A lot of the photographer that are mad are photographers that work with some great higher end videogrphers and love the way the work and move. Then they work with some less qualified videographers with dslrs and they have a bad experience.

    Reply
  4. Ray Roman
    Ray Roman says:

    More and more (pretend to be great) photographers are becoming insecure about their own work ..knowing there is a strong chance that one of these talented cinematographers is going to draw more interest to the film than they get to their photos. “Professionals” ALWAYS find a way to work together as a team. It’s the amateurs that are insecure and usually the ones that feel the need to write inaccurate and unfair blog posts.

    Reply
  5. Karrie
    Karrie says:

    Well said. Somewhat ironically we started to offer photography with our video services because of the photographers who (sometimes deliberately) made our work in the background of the wedding very difficult. We’re recommended by several other highly professional photographers because we work well with them though …

    Reply
  6. Steph | bubblerock
    Steph | bubblerock says:

    It’s really not that hard to work together and if you have not made a phone call ahead of the day with the photographer, it takes a minute to have a quick chat and see how to best approach the day together on the day itself. Communication and respect are key: the basis of being a professional.

    Reply
  7. Terrence Lighten
    Terrence Lighten says:

    It couldn’t be said any better than this post. I just don’t get these so called professional photographers that have beef with film makers(and yes some may be unprofessional), but COME ON! These photographers need to get over themselves, it’s already bad enough that it’s becoming “standard” that we have to call them before a wedding. I believe that blog post bashing film makers was done out of fear of them losing their so called “control” on wedding days.

    Reply
  8. Vanessa
    Vanessa says:

    I think this is a well written blog post. I run a photography company and I love working with videographers. I’ve even gone as far as seeking the video company out to collaborate on creating wedding videos that incorperate the photography stills from the day. We’ve split the profit in half and both parties win. The videographer is being paid with hard-earned money just as I am. There’s no reason to fight for shots or angles. Most of the time, I and the videographer don’t even realize we’re getting in each other’s way because we’re so absorbed in what we’re doing. Communication, communication, communication!

    Reply
  9. Oren
    Oren says:

    Well said, in a calm and sober manner. This issue has been around since I started in video (1988) and isn’t likely to end anytime soon. Taking the time to communicate and work together as a team cannot be overstated. It’s a shame that most photographers will never read your reply.

    Reply
  10. Aruba Wedding Photographer
    Aruba Wedding Photographer says:

    As a wedding photographer we work with videographers all the time. It’s very simple, your client, the bride, wants to have both photos and video so all you have to do is make sure she gets the best of both. So all you have to do is communicate and work as a team in order to deliver the best product to your client. It’s very simple actually.

    Reply

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