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Thread: What is a wedding uncle bob?

  1. #1

    Default What is a wedding uncle bob?

    A 'Uncle Bob' is a term used by professional wedding photographers and videographers to describe an overzealous wedding guest with a camera hobby. It is a internationally known 'term' within the wedding circles. An uncle bob could be of any sex or age, auntie jane, brother bob, sister mary, whatever.

    He is the person with a camera hobby and exercising his hobby at the wedding, playing 'wedding photographer' (or videographer) and generally being obnoxious to the real wedding pros and the wedding couple too, because he kept getting into the way, competing for valuable and often limited shooting position, and frequently at the wrong moments, jumping in at the crucial moments to ruin photos of the professionals.

    Very often, he will claim to be a 'second shooter' but in reality, real 2nd shooters are professionals hired by the main wedding photographer for a deliberate purpose, uncle bob just want to justify his actions by claiming to be backup photographer, 2nd photographer, 3rd photographer, or 22nd photographer, whatever. He promises not to get in the way, but no matter how he try (if he did try at all) he still got into the way, because space is limited and he does not understand how the real photographers shoot, nor does he understand the wedding flow well enough. A team of main/second photographer and videographer often had worked months together to perfect a work flow and space to compliment each other. Uncle Bob does not understand that work space, nor care.

    Most of the time he is clueless and a nice guy who share the passion of photography, but sometimes there are those who are downright selfish and malicious. His intentions is to proof to the wedding couple and everyone else that he can create nice photos and to proof to the couple that they had wasted money in hiring professionals because he could had done a better job for cheaper or free.

    Please do not be Uncle Bob, enjoy your photography hobby, but not at your friend's wedding. When professional photographers attend friends' weddings, they do not bring along their cameras because they understand the need to respect another artist. When amateur chefs visits a restaurant they do not enter the kitchen to cook either.

    If your are really interested in becoming a wedding photographer, there are many professionals on clubsnap who are always in need of helpers. You can start as an assistant first for a few weddings before earning their trust to designate some shooting to you ie non crucial group photos, candids, etc. If you like the work and jobscope, you might eventually gather enough skills and experience to start your own business, or otherwise shoot under the flag of an established house as an associate photographer. But doing your own thing when the couple already hired a professional, is rude and not beneficial to the wedding couple.

    Please enjoy this funny video about how a professional videographer is frustrated by an uncle bob photographer:



    Very important, must watch it.
    Last edited by JasonB; 24th June 2012 at 12:29 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: What is a wedding uncle bob?

    Hi, I've followed a few threads in the forum around the topic of GWCs (guy/gal with cameras) asking for tips on how to shoot for a wedding when being asked by a friend/family/relative blah blah blah. And I can see that you have quite an obvious disdain for such individuals, and I can totally understand the reasons for such feelings. I'm mainly just curious as to how would you conduct yourself at such weddings when you see Uncle Bobs around? Do you talk to them nicely and make them understand that you're trying to do your job properly? Ignore them? Or do you give them attitude?

    I ask this because I've been asked to shoot weddings/solemnisations by friends a few times before, and I've flatly refused them for a few reasons.

    1. I do photography for fun. I understand very well that shooting weddings are a mess when you're the main photographer. If I shoot a wedding for a friend, first of all, I don't really get to go as a guest. I give a red packet, hardly get to talk to the other guests, enjoy myself, or even have a chance to sit down and eat. In the end, if the photos don't turn out well, I'd ended up having a crappy day at a friends' wedding, as well as not delivering good shots for a memorable occasion. Not to mention the possibly unhappiness from the relatives/couple when they think that they should've hired someone better (like a professional!) Too much trouble and no fun at all for a hobby

    2. I'm neither a very good photog, nor a very bad one. I know enough about exposure, lighting, my camera controls, composition, and I'm reasonably proficient in post processing techniques. I shoot often to keep improving. And I know enough to know that shooting a wedding is more than just that. It's alot of anticipation, running around, positioning. You miss a moment, you miss the shot, which is simply not the kind of photography I want to do.

    3. I'd rather go as a guest to a good friend's wedding.

    4. I know a few people in the wedding photog industry, and I respect this line of work enough to recognize that rather than just gear, skill is involved. Why deprive the professionals of income and shoot the wedding myself? Including the reasons above, its a lose lose situation for all parties. I definitely don't enjoy shooting a wedding, the professionals don't get business, the couple/family might not get good pictures.

    However, you should recognize that sometimes, the GWC in question doesn't really have a choice. I foresee a few times in the future where I might be asked to shoot weddings of a few close friends/relatives, and in some cases, I can't refuse due to the closeness of the relationship. But one firm rule that I've always kept repeating in the case where I really can't refuse, while I don't mind shooting, I demand that they MUST also get a professional photographer to cover the event. I'd then shoot other angles where I feel the photog hasn't covered.

    From the derisive way you post about such uncle bobs/psuedo second/23rd shooters, I really wonder how you treat such individuals when you encounter them at your clients'? I'd be really ticked off if the photographer gave me a bad attitude or talked like you do on the forums. Because, 1. I didn't want to do it in the first place. 2. I'm the one who demanded they hire the professional at least.

    3. And lastly, I'm sure from the way you post, you are an experienced wedding photographer, way better than what I could achieve. If you were the photog at the wedding, I'd probably just stay out of your way and not shoot. But like any GWC, there are people with great cameras out there calling themselves professionals, and they aren't able to deliver. Like I said, I'm not very good, nor am I very bad at photography. But the standards of some 'professionals' are way below what I've expected. In such cases, shouldn't the GWC still try his best to capture the best moments? Instead of just leaving it to the psuedo pros to ruin your close friend's wedding.

    Don't mean to come off as offensive in any way, but its something that I've been thinking about. While there are black sheeps among professionals, there can also be gems among the GWCs. Long post, but food for thought.

  3. #3

    Default Re: What is a wedding uncle bob?

    Yea..there are always people like this in events..be it wedding or what.
    lol...

  4. #4
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a wedding uncle bob?

    I remember I have couple of times very piss off with "uncle bob" getting into my way, after some gentle reminders still behave the same, so what I do is very simple, just carry on shooting but include "uncle bob" in the photos I took, sometime is the only part of his body, like head, hands or just his camera.
    so the couple will know how "helpful" he is on their wedding day, and that is time when I'm shooting weddings on film.

    and sometime, some "uncle bob"s like to shoot exactly the same shot that I took, so each time I after I took the shots, I will stop everyone and make sure he able to get the shot he wanted........ with a smiling face.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  5. #5

    Default Re: What is a wedding uncle bob?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larken View Post
    Hi, I've followed a few threads in the forum around the topic of GWCs (guy/gal with cameras) asking for tips on how to shoot for a wedding when being asked by a friend/family/relative blah blah blah. And I can see that you have quite an obvious disdain for such individuals, and I can totally understand the reasons for such feelings. I'm mainly just curious as to how would you conduct yourself at such weddings when you see Uncle Bobs around? Do you talk to them nicely and make them understand that you're trying to do your job properly? Ignore them? Or do you give them attitude?

    I ask this because I've been asked to shoot weddings/solemnisations by friends a few times before, and I've flatly refused them for a few reasons.

    1. I do photography for fun. I understand very well that shooting weddings are a mess when you're the main photographer. If I shoot a wedding for a friend, first of all, I don't really get to go as a guest. I give a red packet, hardly get to talk to the other guests, enjoy myself, or even have a chance to sit down and eat. In the end, if the photos don't turn out well, I'd ended up having a crappy day at a friends' wedding, as well as not delivering good shots for a memorable occasion. Not to mention the possibly unhappiness from the relatives/couple when they think that they should've hired someone better (like a professional!) Too much trouble and no fun at all for a hobby

    2. I'm neither a very good photog, nor a very bad one. I know enough about exposure, lighting, my camera controls, composition, and I'm reasonably proficient in post processing techniques. I shoot often to keep improving. And I know enough to know that shooting a wedding is more than just that. It's alot of anticipation, running around, positioning. You miss a moment, you miss the shot, which is simply not the kind of photography I want to do.

    3. I'd rather go as a guest to a good friend's wedding.

    4. I know a few people in the wedding photog industry, and I respect this line of work enough to recognize that rather than just gear, skill is involved. Why deprive the professionals of income and shoot the wedding myself? Including the reasons above, its a lose lose situation for all parties. I definitely don't enjoy shooting a wedding, the professionals don't get business, the couple/family might not get good pictures.

    However, you should recognize that sometimes, the GWC in question doesn't really have a choice. I foresee a few times in the future where I might be asked to shoot weddings of a few close friends/relatives, and in some cases, I can't refuse due to the closeness of the relationship. But one firm rule that I've always kept repeating in the case where I really can't refuse, while I don't mind shooting, I demand that they MUST also get a professional photographer to cover the event. I'd then shoot other angles where I feel the photog hasn't covered.

    From the derisive way you post about such uncle bobs/psuedo second/23rd shooters, I really wonder how you treat such individuals when you encounter them at your clients'? I'd be really ticked off if the photographer gave me a bad attitude or talked like you do on the forums. Because, 1. I didn't want to do it in the first place. 2. I'm the one who demanded they hire the professional at least.

    3. And lastly, I'm sure from the way you post, you are an experienced wedding photographer, way better than what I could achieve. If you were the photog at the wedding, I'd probably just stay out of your way and not shoot. But like any GWC, there are people with great cameras out there calling themselves professionals, and they aren't able to deliver. Like I said, I'm not very good, nor am I very bad at photography. But the standards of some 'professionals' are way below what I've expected. In such cases, shouldn't the GWC still try his best to capture the best moments? Instead of just leaving it to the psuedo pros to ruin your close friend's wedding.

    Don't mean to come off as offensive in any way, but its something that I've been thinking about. While there are black sheeps among professionals, there can also be gems among the GWCs. Long post, but food for thought.
    To answer your question, I don't encounter them often in reality, it depends on where the job came from, for more up class weddings, the couples are also older, and so are the guests, who probably see it beneath them to be acting as photographers running around the couple, they shoot among themselves with their leicas and point and shoots but very normal and no problem with that.

    For more normal weddings we pre diiscuss this with couples and thus far all understand and would not also ask their relatives to shoot. If some uncle bob still appear it is not of the couples' intention and they understand if the person goes out of control we are not at fault. Still encounter sometimes.

    We treat uncle bobs with the same respect as we would any wedding guests and we gently request them to cooperate but we don't insist. That is professionalism. But any ruined pictures or decreased quality as a result of that person messing around are the couple's lost.

    I do what Catchlights do and have a folder with all pictures they affected collected. Videographer have their clips of such scenes if videographer also affected. We don't deliver this but is just proof to store as evidence in case couple blame us. Crucial scenes we still have to deliver. Couples are often disappointed when their first kiss there is an obnoxious camera man right in center of the pic just behind their kiss. Or similar situations.

    To be frank, in real person on real weddings, most pros are very service oriented people. The real strength of wedding photography is not arty farty award winning pics, but trust and people skills.

    I may be very friendly with uncle bob on site, but it does not mean I approved of his behaviour, coz it's to the detrimental of my product. Thus on hobby forums, I feel a responsibility to rise awareness and I do it with a passion and with strong words. I seen many seniors members advising gently, nobody listens. Some one have to be the bad guy - me.
    Last edited by JasonB; 24th June 2012 at 02:59 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: What is a wedding uncle bob?

    Quote Originally Posted by TWmilkteaTW View Post
    Yea..there are always people like this in events..be it wedding or what.
    lol...
    Agreed.. and I've seen worse idiots in events before..

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    I remember I have couple of times very piss off with "uncle bob" getting into my way, after some gentle reminders still behave the same, so what I do is very simple, just carry on shooting but include "uncle bob" in the photos I took, sometime is the only part of his body, like head, hands or just his camera.
    so the couple will know how "helpful" he is on their wedding day, and that is time when I'm shooting weddings on film.

    and sometime, some "uncle bob"s like to shoot exactly the same shot that I took, so each time I after I took the shots, I will stop everyone and make sure he able to get the shot he wanted........ with a smiling face.
    lol I admire your patience..

  7. #7

    Default Re: What is a wedding uncle bob?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonB View Post
    To answer your question, I don't encounter them often in reality, it depends on where the job came from, for more up class weddings, the couples are also older, and so are the guests, who probably see it beneath them to be acting as photographers running around the couple, they shoot among themselves with their leicas and point and shoots but very normal and no problem with that.

    For more normal weddings we pre diiscuss this with couples and thus far all understand and would not also ask their relatives to shoot. If some uncle bob still appear it is not of the couples' intention and they understand if the person goes out of control we are not at fault. Still encounter sometimes.

    We treat uncle bobs with the same respect as we would any wedding guests and we gently request them to cooperate but we don't insist. That is professionalism. But any ruined pictures or decreased quality as a result of that person messing around are the couple's lost.

    I do what Catchlights do and have a folder with all pictures they affected collected. Videographer have their clips of such scenes if videographer also affected. We don't deliver this but is just proof to store as evidence in case couple blame us. Crucial scenes we still have to deliver. Couples are often disappointed when their first kiss there is an obnoxious camera man right in center of the pic just behind their kiss. Or similar situations.

    To be frank, in real person on real weddings, most pros are very service oriented people. The real strength of wedding photography is not arty farty award winning pics, but trust and people skills.

    I may be very friendly with uncle bob on site, but it does not mean I approved of his behaviour, coz it's to the detrimental of my product. Thus on hobby forums, I feel a responsibility to rise awareness and I do it with a passion and with strong words. I seen many seniors members advising gently, nobody listens. Some one have to be the bad guy - me.
    That's a great and very professional reply, and I understand where you're coming from. Despite not being a wedding photographer myself, I typically find myself siding more with them rather than the uncle bobs, simply because I know how irritating it is to have someone disrupt your work, as well as how difficult shooting a wedding is. But I seriously doubt that all wedding photogs will be as patient are you are; I remember one wedding I went to where guests were told not to shoot with their point and shoots by the wedding photog, with just an upraised hand and a curt "Sorry, please don't shoot.". I left my cameras at home that day (because like I said, I avoid shooting weddings as much as I can), but was slightly surprised at the tone of the photographer.

    Uncle Bob moments happens, even in a hobbyist's shooting; imagine you just spent the last 10 seconds quickly adjusting your camera settings, getting the composition right, and then your friend decides to get the same shot of the landscape as you - except he chooses to stand right in front of your lens capture when the decisive moment to press your shutter comes This is slightly irritating when doing landscapes (still redoable once he/she moves away), or downright frustrating (when you're capturing expressions that come and go in a moment). This is largely why I prefer to either shoot alone, or stray a distance from the group when travelling.

    I do think you come off as a little harsh on forums, but I agree with most of your points given in such replies, and unfortunately, while such advice is sorely needed, but it is rarely heeded. People who have to ask questions on gear requirements, camera settings or basic photography knowledge, have no business trying to shoot such an important, one-off event, unless the couple getting married has no problems should the shots be garbage. I do think that there are too many people who take the job of shooting a wedding too lightly.
    Last edited by Larken; 24th June 2012 at 03:40 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: What is a wedding uncle bob?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larken View Post
    I do think that there are too many people who take the job of shooting a wedding too lightly.
    I think it's the problem of Singapore, easily one of the country that has the highest density of DSLR owners. Go to places like Japan and walk around with your "professional-looking" 5D/1D and a red ring (sorry I'm a Canon user) and everyone would thought you were a professional photographer/artist.

    I generally see DSLR owners in 3 levels: first level are full time and experienced professionals, second level are advanced amateur/hobbyist that know what they are doing and learning to bring their skills to a higher level, or apprentice or assistants to experienced professionals and hopefully become a professional some day.

    The last level is people who just buy any DSLR and thinks that with it, they can shoot amazing and high quality pictures like the experienced professionals do. And I think this category makes up at least 50% of all DSLR users in Singapore. That's why you are seeing all these threads on asking whether their gears are sufficient to shoot for friend's wedding or not..

    I simply don't understand how these people thinks that they are good enough to take up such an important task. Maybe the couple or friend told them a cool story like "your pictures are great what" but is actually trying to be a cheapo or maybe they haven't seen the real pros' and masters' better pictures, IDK. For me, I've only started to get serious about photography this year (getting out of auto mode and point and shoot) and my best friend - and probably one of the most important friend and person in my life so far, told me that I can shoot for them during their November wedding, cos they say my pics were OK. I outright told them no, they should go and see the real wedding photographer's pictures, review their portfolio and see if they liked their style and pick one. I know my friend well enough - they are not cheapo person so I thought maybe they haven't seen the real deal. As her friend, I think I have to "educate" her that her wedding photos should not be just an OK picture with correct exposure and sharpness only. And I am glad that I did so and they have found a wedding photographer of their choice.

  9. #9

    Default Re: What is a wedding uncle bob?

    during a friend's wedding, i was hanging around the back with my set-up and 70-200 lens. but there was this other uncle running around, sometimes standing in the way of the pro shooting. the pro had to shift quite a few times to get the shot.

    really... some people and their cameras.

  10. #10

    Default Re: What is a wedding uncle bob?

    im not a pro but I love shooting. if i am attending a wedding, i will surely shoot (shoot the stuff the pro don't shoot, so that can send to my friend)

    but I think it is very very very bad form and manners to block the pro or obstruct the pro's workflow and work, the pro is earning a living and we should respect that.

  11. #11

    Default Re: What is a wedding uncle bob?

    N this will go on and on..and worst it will be more common..

    Becos today, everybody can afford a DSLR.. and some thinks "Wow i have a DSLR im no different from you..or maybe i can do better im just going to shoot beautiful pictures.."

  12. #12
    Member slim86's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a wedding uncle bob?

    this is a good thread i have been looking for because im attending my brother in law's wedding next month.

    My wife ask me to bring camera but im bit reluctant. And as a hobbyist (and my elder brother also a pro wedding photog) i can understand this photography ethics.
    since wife asking for it, ill just bring along a simple setup with me, body+zoom lens+flash.

    i will just keep the shooting easy and get away from the pros doing. hope this thread is read by all amateurs so that they understand the ethics of attending weddings / events with their own camera.

    and BTW.. dun tell me the video above is real?? He really screwed up man!
    Last edited by slim86; 25th June 2012 at 01:19 AM.
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  13. #13
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a wedding uncle bob?

    some people who think they have every rights to shoot a wedding when they have a camera in their hands.......

    they call it ...... Licence to Shoot.

    Coming to your cinemas soon.


    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/kopit...ographers.html


    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/photo...mishap-do.html


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  14. #14

    Default Re: What is a wedding uncle bob?

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    some people who think they have every rights to shoot a wedding when they have a camera in their hands.......

    they call it ...... Licence to Shoot.

    Coming to your cinemas soon.


    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/kopit...ographers.html


    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/photo...mishap-do.html




    Interesting old threads on the same issue. I think we should gather a list of all those old threads of the same beaten issues into a post of links and sticky it!
    WTB Manfrotto RC4 L Bracket

  15. #15

    Default Re: What is a wedding uncle bob?

    Quote Originally Posted by sjackal View Post
    Interesting old threads on the same issue. I think we should gather a list of all those old threads of the same beaten issues into a post of links and sticky it!
    Good idea.

  16. #16

    Default

    and......it happen to me before and one of the 'uncle bob' even say i am blocking his view. -.- geez

  17. #17
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    Default Re: What is a wedding uncle bob?

    Quote Originally Posted by zeehamzah View Post
    and......it happen to me before and one of the 'uncle bob' even say i am blocking his view. -.- geez
    LOL.. and what was your response?
    ~PeaceNoWar~

  18. #18

    Default Re: What is a wedding uncle bob?

    one wedding i went to, the pro photographer hired by the bride and groom was wearing a nice lime-green neon green 'safety vest' colored photographer's jacket with CANON sewn in huge font on it (dunno if it is an official Canon vest? Msian wedding...heh) and that kind of left no doubt for the guests, about where to look during group shots.

    Not sure if it is his attire, but I felt he was more "pro" than other photographers I saw (pro in skills and pro in dressing and attitude. ) very cool guy! (but im naive. please educate me if indeed it is otherwise)

  19. #19

    Default Re: What is a wedding uncle bob?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shizuma View Post
    one wedding i went to, the pro photographer hired by the bride and groom was wearing a nice lime-green neon green 'safety vest' colored photographer's jacket with CANON sewn in huge font on it (dunno if it is an official Canon vest? Msian wedding...heh) and that kind of left no doubt for the guests, about where to look during group shots.

    Not sure if it is his attire, but I felt he was more "pro" than other photographers I saw (pro in skills and pro in dressing and attitude. ) very cool guy! (but im naive. please educate me if indeed it is otherwise)
    I like this man that you mentioned. it shows that he's serious about the job, and not trying to look stylish arty farty

  20. #20

    Default Re: What is a wedding uncle bob?

    I've met few Wedding Daddy Bobs hor..lol

    So its not just at banquet...daughter early morning makeup already start..
    Last edited by redmonsoon; 25th June 2012 at 11:31 AM.

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