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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk 
Thread started 18 Jul 2013 (Thursday) 20:59
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Strange Request From a Client. Need Advice

 
gibbit1
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Jul 18, 2013 20:59 |  #1

I've gotten a very strange request from the bride and groom for an upcoming wedding shoot. They're having the ceremony at a country club, outdoors in the evening. After the wedding and the group shots, they want me to drive over to a nearby cemetery with them, shoot a few shots of the two of them standing over the grave of the groom's mother, and then return to the reception. They want this to somehow show the groom's mother, who never thought he'd get married, that he finally tied the knot.

I've used every argument I know to try to persuade them to rethink this. We won't have time, it isn't going to work artistically, it's creepy and morbid, we'll run out of daylight, etc. But they still are insisting we do it.

I absolutely don't want my name, or that of my very fledgling photography business, associated with a shot like this. I can't think of any way to do this that will convey the sentiment they want. All I see in my head is a bride and groom standing over a decomposing body. I've offered alternatives, such as a picture of them holding a portrait of his mother, but they want the grave site.

Am I being unreasonable here? Should I just cave in and shoot what they want? In the interest of full disclosure, I'm doing this one for free, as it's only my second wedding, and the bride is a relative.

Help me out here, guys. Would any of you do this?


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Jul 18, 2013 21:03 |  #2

I'd be jumping at the chance to do it. I can think of so many ways I could use that shot in advertising.


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banquetbear
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Jul 18, 2013 22:08 as a reply to  @ memoriesoftomorrow's post |  #3

...good grief just do it. Its not your wedding. Its theirs. If they want to do something completely odd then let them. Figure out a way to shoot it that is as respectful as you can make it. Like Peter: I'd be jumping at the chance to do this.


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highway0691
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Jul 18, 2013 22:13 |  #4

I don't see anything unusual about this at all. I had to re-read your post a few times to see if I missed something. What's so morbid and creepy about a cemetery? This is just a unique way perhaps of including a loved one who has passed. We need to get over our western perception of death.


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Jul 18, 2013 22:44 |  #5

gibbit1 wrote in post #16133170 (external link)
I've gotten a very strange request from the bride and groom...//...they want me to drive over to a nearby cemetery with them, shoot a few shots of the two of them standing over the grave of the groom's mother...//...All I see in my head is a bride and groom standing over a decomposing body...//... Would any of you do this?

OK, so, I've snipped a lot from your original post....but, what on earth are you on about?

ON YOUR OWN Flickr account, right here - http://www.flickr.com …y/sets/72157629​161841055/ (external link) - you have a photo of a German Shepherd chewing what looks like a dismembered human foot!!!!
:confused:

I can't see any reason NOT to do the shot.

If you want to be a success, you're going to get even weirder requests...oh, and "Snarling Dogs" (when there are only 5 dog photos) doesn't give out a very warm 'n' cuddly message to potential clients, in my opinion.

Go for it! And stop stressing!!!

Regards,

Simon


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Jul 18, 2013 22:58 |  #6

The only thing weird about this is the fact that you are so resistant to do it. If I were the bride & groom, I would feel disappointed that my photographer didn't seem interested in doing his best at whatever we asked him to do. Sounds like a great break from the usual wedding shoot!


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georgebowman
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Jul 18, 2013 23:01 |  #7

Remember, the customer is always right. I think this would be a very neat photo opportunity. I shot weddings for 30 years and my motto was simply...."it's your wedding and you can do whatever you damn well please". I only refused to take one picture back then and that was because the bride and bridesmaids were blowed and they would have been very embarrass when they sobered up. Having a picture at the groom's mother's grave is very personal and as my wife would say....sweet! Bit the bullet and take the pictures.


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nicksan
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Jul 19, 2013 07:38 |  #8

Don't find anything odd about it. It doesn't have to be morbid, as you put it. I can be an extremely emotional photo depending on how it's shot.




  
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jcolman
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Jul 19, 2013 07:39 |  #9

It can done both tastefully and artfully.

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gibbit1
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Jul 19, 2013 11:24 |  #10

Hmm...certainly not the responses I was anticipating. But that's what I love about this forum. It provides me with opinions that are decidedly different than what I can find in my little neighborhood.

Thanks for the input. I guess I have more to think about now.


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nathancarter
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Jul 19, 2013 12:05 |  #11

georgebowman wrote in post #16133455 (external link)
Remember, the customer is always right. I think this would be a very neat photo opportunity.

I don't know if the customer is always right, but this is certainly one instance in which a businessperson should be able to accommodate the customer's desires. Step outside your comfort zone. If you can't, business is going to be really tough.

Having said that:
I agree that the timing is going to be a challenge. You MUST be prepared to set up, pose, and get the shot in five minutes. Practice in advance, have poses in mind (maybe bring reference tearsheets or saved photos on your smartphone or tablet). Have your gear ready, batteries and memory card prepped, and settings dialed in so you can hop out of the car, extend the light stands, turn the switches on, and get the shot. Plan for five minutes.

If you have an assistant or second, send them there in advance to set up and take test shots.

Since is happening in the evening, you must be prepared for any ambient lighting situation - be it full sun, golden hour sunset (yay!), blue hour right after sunset, moonlight, or pitch blackness. If you expect to be getting to the cemetery at 7:30, remember that it's a wedding day and it's rare that things are prefectly according to schedule. You might be getting there any time between 7:00 and 9:00. Things happen, be ready for them.

Bill appropriately.


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Christopher ­ Steven ­ b
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Jul 19, 2013 12:08 |  #12

I definitely mis-read the OP's message first time around, thinking that the mother didn't want for him to get married and that this was a vindictive move. Now having properly read why the request is being made, I think it's a really touching way to include the groom's mother.

Now as to what kind of photo(s) should be taken at the site, my advice would be not to attempt to get too pose-y or romantic for these shots (I like Jim's shot above, but the idea of romanticism right above where the groom's mother's remains are, is, well, fairly incongruous I'd say). Try to stay candid (perhaps back at a distance at moments), try to capture the emotion (hands, expressions), look for silhouettes; and grab detail shots of flowers that are placed as well as the epitaph / name.

Good luck with what will be a first for you.



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Jul 19, 2013 12:12 |  #13

Do you have any lights? I already have an image in my mind of the bride and groom kneeling down placing the wedding bouquet on the mothers grave. If you're worried about light, bring a strobe with you, or at least some speedlights.


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Christopher ­ Steven ­ b
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Jul 19, 2013 12:16 |  #14

^ that could be a great shot.



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Jul 19, 2013 12:59 |  #15

Christopher Steven b wrote in post #16134937 (external link)
^ that could be a great shot.

Thanks, like others I imagine there are a lot of great ideas rattling around. Maybe one of the bouquet laying under the mothers name with the rings on top. . . . or the bouquet on the gravestone with the bride and grooms hands OOF in the foreground. So many ways to do this. . . . . . .


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Strange Request From a Client. Need Advice
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