Should you provide a meal for your photographer? And other musings
Are you feeling suitably awkward? Then we shall begin.
Guys, you know I like to be frank with you. I’m a very open person, but hopefully with a modicum of tact too, so let’s delve into this minefield.
The age-old question for couples when hiring a photographer / videographer for the day: should they be provided with a meal? I certainly see why this is a bone of contention for many couples. especially when the bills are mounting for just the basic bits of the wedding. It’s not something I write into my contract but I do ask every couple before I attend their wedding, as it’s important to know before I get there. After all, we can spend 10-12 hours away from civilisation at your wedding venue.
So let’s look at some of the reasons why a meal should / shouldn’t be provided.
“I’m already paying them enough”
The biggest argument against not providing your photog/videog with a meal. And what if there’s two of them, ie two photographers? More expense, right? It goes without saying weddings are expensive, and you just might not be able to stretch your budget to include meals for two more people – especially when they’re not family. Strangely enough, wedding meals aren’t factored into my pricing structure, and they’re not written into my contract.
“Can’t they bring their own food?”
You’d think that, wouldn’t you? And yes, to every wedding we generally do bring our own food and drink – usually just snacks. After all, let’s be realistic; what food can an individual bring with them (sometimes on mega hot, sunny days) that will not spoil by the time din din comes around? Have you tried keeping a sandwich and some sausage rolls cool and free of food poisoning in your car for 8 hours on a summer’s day? Summer weather merely laughs in the face of cool bags and freezer blocks languishing in the boot of a hot car. So yep, we can and invariably do bring our own, but realistically what we’re able to transport with us and eat safely doesn’t really match up to the many calories expelled during a wedding day. Why do you think we’re hiding behind tables snaffling down protein bars and downing pints of Coca Cola in 10 seconds flat when we think no-one is looking?
“Do you want a meal?”
They are always gratefully received and I will never say no. So…. yes please.
Venues / caterers
The job of the caterers on a wedding day is to satisfactorily feed the wedding party, and wedding suppliers (photogs/videogs/band etc) are way down their importance list. It’s totally understandable, as caterers are paid by the couple to provide top grub for their hungry and inebriated guests, not to worry about the hired help. At many weddings, the food is the most important aspect, so caterers need to concentrate on the task in hand.
Some venues treat wedding suppliers incredibly well. They know we have been working all day, and are continuing to work whilst we’re there. We’re all in it together y’see, venues are wedding suppliers too, so we all need to stick together in this crazy industry. We’re all providing a service to our couples. So when venues tell us a fizzy drink is on the house, or they provide us with a meal, sometimes even the same 3 courses as the wedding party, my gosh we LOVE them for it. It makes me a little emosh. I can think of several venues who treat us really, really well. It makes us incredibly happy.
Some venues do not care for wedding suppliers whatsoever, which is a shame, as I always return the love. I think couples would be interested to hear how their wedding venue treated their photographer – as some do treat us poorly! If you’ve paid the venue/caterer for the photographer/videographer to have a meal, make sure your caterer gives us what they’re meant to – after all, you may have paid for us to receive the same as the guests. Personally, I would never tell you if things weren’t cool. I just immediately begin dreaming about what I’m ordering at McDonalds drive-thru on the way home. Arriving home after photographing a wedding is like a zombie apocalypse; a bedraggled figure stumbling in through the front door, scavenging for food, grabbing at anything that doesn’t require cooking or preparation, no matter what the culinary combination.
A lovely choc chip muffin (plus candle) and cuppa given to me during bridal prep, when I shot Beverley & Tom’s wedding on my birthday
Also, a lot of wedding venues are incredibly isolated. They may be country houses out in the sticks, and it’s just not possible for me to leave the site in search of cash or food that isn’t a borderline salmonella outbreak. I can’t get in the car and drive off, what if I miss something crucial going on in between courses, what if there’s a photo op I need to be capturing? It’s just not feasible.
So there’s plenty of considerations for why photographers and videographers may or may not require feeding. When it comes to the crunch, when there’s just nothing left in the budget, I totally get it. We are, after all, there to provide you with a service, not the other way around. However, after everything, a refreshed, replenished photographer makes for a happy photographer, and in turn makes for someone who is energised and ready to hit the second half of your wedding day with renewed vigour.