You should not feed your Wedding photographers, Brides Magazine says

Feb 4, 2016

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

You should not feed your Wedding photographers, Brides Magazine says

Feb 4, 2016

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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It seems like magazines just declared open season on photographers. After Vogue declares that you should not even hire a wedding photographer,  now Brides Magazine says that you should not feed your wedding photographer.

In a piece by wedding planner Sandy Malone named Which Vendors Do You Have to Feed at Your Wedding? Sandy asks which of the wedding vendors the bride and groom need to feed? Aside from the trivial “check your contract” advice, Sandy has some specific guidelines.

According to Brides Magazine, “photographer, for example, should be taking pictures through the wedding dinner (with some breaks to let people unselfconsciously feed themselves without a camera in their faces)“. And while they are allowed to eat, but the instructions from writer Sandy Malone to the photographer (and other stuff) is “feed yourself or pack a lunch to eat in the staff break area if you cannot survive the shift

Sandy’s advice is not monolithic, some vendors should get fed:

Your wedding planning team, for example, will probably be on deck from the crack of dawn until your reception is over. You’ll be required to feed them

Destination weddings also get some leeway since

… you’re unlikely to find late-night fast food accessible after the wedding ends. If you’ve brought them in from someplace else, and they’re staying in accommodations that don’t have kitchens or room service, they still have to eat. This usually applies mostly to photographers and musicians, as they’re the most likely to have traveled to work the wedding

The photography community did not let this go without a backlash.

On Sandy’s Instagram account a conversation rose where photosbysarahbeth was wondering why the rule of thumb is no-food unless contractually obliged and not the other way around:

photosbysarahbeth: Just read your article- as a wedding photographer it’s offensive that you would advise brides to withhold food from a vendor who works 8-12 hours on their feet and holds their memories on camera. Yes, it’s in my contract that I require a meal as sustenance, and no, a granola bar will not do. I would hope that you would advise vendors to be treated with the utmost respect- seeing as you are a vendor as well. I respectfully suggest that your article be taken down or heavily amended.
sandymaloneweddings: @photosbysarahbeth It says it will be in the contract if you need to feed them. Nobody is suggesting you starve. But if you don’t put it in the contract, it’s totally your problem. That’s what the article says. Not every Photog works that long – many book 4-6 hours. No, couples don’t have to blow hundreds of dollars feeding vendors working five hours IF IT’S NOT IN THE CONTRACT.

Similar negative responses were found on Brides facebook page:


What do you think? Should this be IN THE CONTRACT or left to common sense?

[brides, h/t Alon. lead photo by Leszek Leszczynski]

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Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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64 responses to “You should not feed your Wedding photographers, Brides Magazine says”

  1. Gene Avatar

    ‘Wedding photographer as commodity’ approach.

  2. Casey Braunger Avatar
    Casey Braunger

    She kinda has a point. If it’s not in the contract, they are not officially obliged to feed the photographer. Is it the right thing to do though ? Yes. That’s why photographers need to have well thought out contracts.

    1. Sean Avatar

      It’s not about obligation it’s about respect and common sense. I’ve never shot a wedding or any other event where food was served and NOT gotten fed. I even worked as a shuttle driver once and got fed.

  3. Vanessa Echlin Avatar
    Vanessa Echlin

    Wow. Maybe they are hinting that anyone can be a photographer on your wedding day. So save all you money and don’t feed any of them since it’s not in their contract.

  4. Cy Cox Avatar
    Cy Cox

    I suppose the photographer and his crew could always leave the site, at anytime, for say an hour or so for lunch.

    1. Heidi Lee De La Teja Avatar
      Heidi Lee De La Teja

      You can’t leave if they expect you to cover the speeches during dinner, the hugs, the emotion….

    2. James Avatar

      You don’t get to leave work at ‘anytime’ in any other industry. Labour laws, at least in my country, mandate a 30 minute UNPAID break whenever a shift longer than 5.5 hours is worked. The employer can set the time of the break. Of course wedding photographers should be given a 30 minute break, that doesn’t clash with important parts of the wedding, in which they can feed themselves, like in every single other industry in the world.

      1. Jack Avatar

        More ignorance from you comparing apples to oranges. Just shut it. They are NOT employees.

        You have no clue in the world
        what you’re talking about. Stop polluting with your stupidity

  5. James Farley Avatar
    James Farley

    I shoot weddings on occasion and while its badly worded, I tend to agree. I take my own food, most jobs don’t provide food

  6. Cesar Sales Avatar
    Cesar Sales

    Ummm – this part about respect and feeding? That’s what the money’s for! If they’re not going to feed you, make sure you bill for any meals you buy! And treating them with “utmost respect”? Again, that’s what the money’s for! Spoken as a non-wedding photographer, of course, but man, when did we get this sense of entitlement? Photographers are there to do a job, and if the wedding party doesn’t want to share, that’s their business. Pack a lunch – and bill them for it!

  7. TByte Avatar

    This makes sense to me.
    We fed the photographer at my son’s wedding, and then he followed us home.
    ….where he proceeded to photograph the after-event party as well as the wedding and the reception at no extra charge. So gee….I’ll never do that again!

  8. stewart norton Avatar
    stewart norton

    People hate having thier picture taken whilst eating, it is rude and intrusive, I’m wedding photographer I shoot guest coming in to the wedding breakfast (speeches if at end or beginning) but once starters are out I leave them alone until end of dessert, unless they have specifically asked me to shoot throughout, I make this clear when I meet with them. I do not stipulate I should be fed, if I do get fed then great if not it’s no big deal, a big meal saps my energy anyway!

  9. Britt Thomas Avatar
    Britt Thomas

    When a photographer is working upwards of 12 hours straight, you either feed that person or be okay with them taking a lunch and/or dinner break to go eat. Your choice. Every wedding I have been to tends to have excess food any way from guest no-shows.

  10. JOncoine Avatar

    As someone who recently got married and makes a large chunk of income through photography; Wedding photography is the largest racket out there… Way over-rated and too expensive. Maybe back before digital you could justify the prices but these days, not a chance. You’d be better off renting a couple decent cameras and passing them around. Do the post yourself. Bam, $5000 saved…

    1. David Liang Avatar
      David Liang

      Over-rated is a subjective position, it may or may not be true depending on who you ask. But as far as expensive is concerned, market dictates the price. If people are willing to pay photographer A amount B, then it is not expensive perse.
      You do present a viable option to those willing and can though, but prices are where they are because someone is willing to pay that amount, or the photographer won’t be in business for long.

      1. Nakean Wickliff Avatar
        Nakean Wickliff

        You probably won’t be in the photography business much longer if the only thing separating your photography from guests at a wedding (or any event) is the camera!! You’re obviously a seasoned pro as I checked out some images you’ve taken so I’m really curious why you would take that stance. I think part of the price that get’s overlooked is amount of time spent with the couple before any photos are actually taken and also the responsibility of capturing a specific event that happens only once in a lifetime without the possibility of a do-over.

        1. David Liang Avatar
          David Liang

          Hmm I think perhaps it’s my fault for not clarifying my stance in my reply. I’m not for not giving vendors meals, I have it in my contract that not only do I get a meal but I get what the guests are served. What I am in favor of is the bride/grooms being able to make choices and not get criticized for them by people not involved in their wedding day. I mean if they choose not to go with a professional and end up not liking what the guests or friends have shot, that’s on them, lesson learned. But that’s absolutely their choice to make without, ideally, getting contempt from strangers.
          Conversely, if they chose to hire a 10k photographer, no one should criticize them for paying too much, if they chose a 10k photographer they obviously can afford it and feel that the value is there.

          When I wrote “but prices are where they are because someone is willing to pay that amount, or the photographer won’t be in business for long.” I truly believe that. If a photographer is charging a an amount other people think is high, it’s either because he can command such a rate and has a lot of clients, or he’s delusional and pricing themselves out of the market and wont’ be in business long.

          1. Nakean Wickliff Avatar
            Nakean Wickliff

            fair enough

  11. fadecomic Avatar

    Well, what if you replaced photographer with “any other service provider who works a whole day on a single project for you”? Would you feed them? Not typically. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t feed the photographer–it’s a nice gesture. However, citing hours worked on your feet is hardly a defense. Otherwise we feed electricians and the cable guy and the plumber, too.

    1. Marie Avatar

      As long as your OK with the photographer leaving for an hour like your plummer can to go get food then go for it, hopefully they don’t miss anything important. It’s not like it’s one of the most important days of your life or anything.

  12. Dan Cannella Avatar
    Dan Cannella

    Are you kidding me.

  13. foto2021 Avatar

    No food, no images. I used to have it written into my contract: The photographer must be fed.

    1. Heidi Lee De La Teja Avatar
      Heidi Lee De La Teja

      I agree- food = love!

  14. Henry Rodgers Avatar
    Henry Rodgers

    This kind of thing will continue to happen as long an any Joe out there believes they’re talented enough to command top dollar.

    People are frustrated with not getting anything particularly special for what they spend. This sentiment is what it manifests into.


  15. Checkoutdude Avatar

    like I would trust a ‘wedding photographer’ when it was our big day. I have yet to find any that are within a reasonable price and good at the same time. so what did I do… easy, found two mates that were coming anyway, paid them a good sum of money and fed them and then got them drunk later.
    they are both professionals in photography related fields but are truly awesome when behind the camera… I got to cheat. my heart goes out to anyone actually hiring from scratch and as for food, not sure a sit down meal works but setting them up with an area to go relax in for a bit or free drinks keep them happy I guess.

  16. Howardo Mansfieldio Avatar
    Howardo Mansfieldio

    When it’s one of the most important days of your life, and you want to be immortalised looking the most beautiful you ever will, it’s not wise to treat the person responsible for that immortalisation like dirt.

    1. Joel Corrigan Avatar
      Joel Corrigan

      I can’t agree with you more. Working upwards of 10 hours a day on your feet constantly, and carrying around camera gear while being on a constant alert to get the shot you need is exhausting. Whether it’s in the contract or not, when someone is doing that much for you, it’s simple courtesy to let them eat. And besides, who really wants pictures of wedding guests stuffing there mouths with food? Like, legit, that doesn’t sound very appealing to me.

    2. Heidi Lee De La Teja Avatar
      Heidi Lee De La Teja

      I AGREE!!!! Well Said!!!!!!

    3. James Avatar

      So it’s about blackmail? The threat of deliberately shitty photos hanging over the bridal couple’s head forcing them to provide an over-priced, marked up meal to people they don’t know, as doesn’t occur in any other industry? No wonder people get p*&sed off with wedding photographers

      1. James Avatar

        To clarify, I think the photographers should get a 30 minute meal break, in line with labour laws. If the venue can provide a basic meal at cost price, then that’s great for everybody. But if the venue are marking up the price (even if it’s still half the price of the guest price), then it’s just further profiteering. We’ve just been quoted $70 from our venue to feed the photographer, which is more than my fiance and I would pretty much ever spend on a dinner for ourselves. Photographers shouldn’t be contributing to the unnecessary profiteering of venues, and need to accept that bringing your own food to work is normal in every other industry

        1. Jack Avatar

          You havent a clue what you’re talking about James. Labor laws have nothing to do with this. None. The vendors are NOT employees. Period. Bringing a lunch…also irrelevant

          Pretty pathetic there are so many pathetic and cheap people such as yourself.
          Oh…I’m not a photographers either.

  17.  Avatar

    There’s a difference between feeding the photographer the same expensive, complicated dinner that guests get and not allowing them to eat. The latter would be stupid – but the odds of a photographer actually having time to stop, sit down, and spend a couple of hours eating alongside the guests make little sense.

    Seems simple enough: would the photographer rather have an extra $100 and bring a sandwich they can eat whenever the flow of the event allows – or get paid in expensive food they don’t have time to enjoy anyway?

    1. Marie Avatar

      Actually the “pros” are given what is called a vendor meal. They don’t get every course just the main course and coffee or soda. The couple usually only pays at max 1/4 of the full meal price. The woman who wrote the article while claiming to be a professional seems woefully uneducated on this.

      1. Ivy Avatar

        Exactly. And caterers are very familiar with vendor meals, and usually include it in their packages, at least where I am they do. One I went to recently actually had a specific vendor menu for the vendors, and it was pretty much the same food, just more in a box option and not all the courses or fancy plating. Worked for us! We got what amounted to a water/soda, an entree and a dessert. It’s what would have been essentially left over anyway or the meals of the no-show guests. We had a separate area with picnic tables to eat, with my crew taking staggered 1-hour shifts to eat. The bride even came in at one point to be sure we were being fed ‘properly’ because as she put it, “if the vendors aren’t happy,nobody’s happy!”

  18. Danielle Avatar

    Since you’re expected to be on location for the whole duration I figure it would be the same as film set union rules. After 6 hours there has to be a break for a meal, and it has to be a hot meal. If you’re letting them leave, then you have to factor in time to get to the food separate from the actual break time; which is why it’s usually brought to you; gotta maximize those 13 hours.

  19. Mike Wardlow Avatar
    Mike Wardlow

    Fuck off!!! I’ve DJ’d weddings and was fed.

  20. Joe Adams Avatar
    Joe Adams

    Esteban Gil

    1. Esteban Gil Avatar
      Esteban Gil

      Oh hell nawwwww. I’ll smack whoever wrote this crap.

  21. Emma Jones Avatar
    Emma Jones

    What an idiotic woman!! Want your wedding photographer to do the best job possible? Of course you do so be a decent human being and give them a god damn meal! Even animals get fed more frequently than some wedding togs. What is it with these crappy magazine lately? Have we offended you?!!

    1. Sam Berghuis Avatar
      Sam Berghuis

      Only give them a good meal AFTER the shoot ;-)

    2. Emma Jones Avatar
      Emma Jones

      Well that depends on how long their day is. Nothing to eat for 12 hours is not good for anyone.

  22. Sam Berghuis Avatar
    Sam Berghuis

    NEVER feed your photographer! They work much better when going hungry ;-)

  23. Nath Bala Avatar
    Nath Bala

    “But if you don’t put it in the contract, it’s totally your problem.”
    If You don’t put in the contract you’ll take photos with DSLR, come with your smartphone and instagram.

    The whole story is ridiculus.

  24. ThatPhotoManTrav Avatar

    No respect, absolute disrespect. Unbelievable.

  25. Jolly Sienda Avatar
    Jolly Sienda

    a ridiculous article! I’d like to ask the writer(s) and editor of this
    piece what their qualifications are to print a recommendation like this to
    brides. Have they done the job of wedding photographers? Can they truly
    speak from experience about the mental
    and physical aspects of the job. No! Professional photographers (wedding
    portrait, and otherwise), must have a vision. They are good
    communicators to get along with the wedding party and their guests. They
    must be creative to orchestrate beautiful wedding scenes. They must
    receive high pay for their time because a true professional photographer
    gets the shot right, the first time, with little need of post editing,
    and they don;’t stop there. Professional photographers are constantly
    shooting to the get the right shots for the client. Not feed them! Have

    1. Heidi Lee De La Teja Avatar
      Heidi Lee De La Teja

      WELL SAID!!!!!

  26. Stefan Keller Avatar
    Stefan Keller

    you should not believe in bride magazines :-)

  27. Paul Swan Avatar
    Paul Swan

    Most weddings have ‘no-shows’ – guests who accepted the invitation and then fail to arrive. The Bride and Groom have already paid for these meals, so quite often a meal for the photographer does have to be an ‘extra’. it’s not hard to see which seating is vacant. It doesn’t take much effort to ask the Bride and Groom if you can use that seating and have something to eat. Or just ask the wait staff to bring the meal – they probably wouldn’t know if you were a ‘guest with a camera’ or not!
    In fact you could even make it a win-win. Whist the Bride and Groom may be upset that they paid for ‘John and Mary’ who never arrived, they would be happy that at least the photographer got a good feed and it did’t cost any extra. (Why not go for broke and get John AND Mary’s meal -*just joking).
    Of course, if you want to guarantee you will be fed, put it in your contract.

  28. Gilkar Avatar

    I have it in my contract. I learned my lesson the hard way. After working 6 hours the reception started and I was asked to sit in the foyer while the “guests” ate. After leaving word with the couple I left the reception hall, and went across the street for a hamburger. When I returned the bride was livid that I left even though nothing but eating had transpired. After that I took the advice offered in Bride’s Magazine and put the following in my contract, ” It is customary that the photographer and his assistant(s) be erved a meal at the party or reception when photographic coverage of this part of your event takes place. Should no meal be provided for the photographer and his assistant(s), they will take one hour off for this purpose during the reception.” It is ridiculous to expect anyone to work for six to 12 hours without sustenance. Where does Bride’s magazine find these idiots who give such bad advice?

  29. Kimo Avatar

    Of course, she said feeding your wedding planner is required. She just wrote another ad for herself, and how her industry is so important. She’s just another stuck up idiot who doesn’t realize she’s no better than the other vendors.

    I hope her wedding photographer reads this prior to being hired. Photographers are not servants, as she seems to think.

    1. Heidi Lee De La Teja Avatar
      Heidi Lee De La Teja

      I agree!!! This writer is an idiot and so is her editor who allowed the article to be published!

  30. Ivy Avatar

    Oh good, grief. If you can afford to hire a photographer, you can afford to feed them. Those photographers aren’t working a short shift as a guest of the reception. They are usually there from dawn to dusk the day of the event, and usually at all of the pre-events, too. 12-15 hours on the wedding day, alone, is pretty typical. If you can’t afford it and said photographer is a friend doing it as a gift or favors, then you DEFINITELY feed them.
    Seems pretty stupid that you’d invite a 3rd cousin you haven’t seen in 20 years, and make sure she she’s fed… but not the people documenting the event AND processing them afterward to make you look good.

  31. Nicole Avatar

    Imagine this:

    Scenario #1 the photographer packs a lunch, let’s say a sandwich. But it’s a bloody hot day and the sandwich goes off in the car due to the heat. You just gave them food poisoning. Imagine what she’d do to your images as a thank you…

    Scenario #2- the photographer takes a break and goes away to get lunch from somewhere. On her way back a car in front breaks down or worse an accident happens and the roads are blocked. Look who just lost their photographer because they can’t return on time.

    What have we learned?:
    Just bloody feed your photographer. If you don’t want to pay for the fancy menu meal, just get the restaurant to make them something small. They don’t need a three course meal. Just enough to recharge their strength.

    1. Heidi Lee De La Teja Avatar
      Heidi Lee De La Teja

      I agree. But its a slam in the gut when a bride purchases $1000 designer shoes, $10,000 gown and OPEN bar – but cant afford to feed the vendors! WTF!

  32. Brenda Avatar

    If you have a job, and you are working for 8 hours, normally you get a lunch. So, why would a person working 10+ hours not be expected to be fed? If they bring their own, fine. But, if they leave the premises to get something to eat, and something should happen on the way back, they will miss important shots, or the whole reception. As someone who is marrying a photographer, I believe they should be fed. I just think it is rude to not do it. You are paying thousands of dollars to have this person make you look your very best, and you can’t feed them? Same with musicians. If you want them at their best and they are hungry, feed them! She of course says to feed your planner. And, not to be catty, but it looks as if she hasn’t missed too many meals. I have seen some of her show, and I would NEVER hire her. She is brash and rude.

    1. Heidi Lee De La Teja Avatar
      Heidi Lee De La Teja

      YES I AGREE!!!!!

  33. Heidi Lee De La Teja Avatar
    Heidi Lee De La Teja

    We are passion driving artists and put all of our energy into “our art”. Wedding photography is physically demanding work all day to produce extraordinary images. We get up at the crack of dawn and leave our office early to be on location ready for action. An eight hours day turns into a 14+ hour day for our team from packing our gear, driving to location usually out of town, working all day then driving back to our office, unpacking all gear and uploading all images. The eight hours that we are on our feet we are carrying heavy equipment, running back and forth between where the couple is getting ready, from the ceremony to the reception site, or up and down hilly areas dragging our gear until our backs ache and our feet swell. No to mention coming up with unique ideas is a creative process that is equally exhausting. We are on high-alert for all those hours trying our best not to miss one single moment of the documentary/awesomeness. We are responsible for documenting the most important day of a brides life but if they DO NOT FEEL that we are worth a meal we DO NOT FEEL we are the right artist for their event and reserve the right to decline their wedding. After covering weddings for 18 years I am very careful in whom I accept a contract from. NO I do not wish to be stuck at a “bridezilla” event! If someone is going to treat you like dirt before the wedding, imagine how she will treat you at the wedding! Never speak from a position of weakness and never lower your standards for a client. Most Bride spare NO expense on their gown, designer shoes ( no one will see under the dress) and OPEN BAR (that no one will remember in 30 years!!!!!!) If a Bride does not appreciate YOU as their artist move on!!! An average of 2 million people get married each year in the U.S. There are more fish in the sea friends!

  34. tyranorfolk Avatar

    Informative comments , I was fascinated by the details , Does anyone know where my company might be able to get ahold of a blank NY CACFP-142 copy to edit ?

  35. Erin Avatar

    This disgusts me. On average I work 10 hour days and plenty of times (like today actually) I’ve worked 12-14. To be told not to be fed is absolutely absurd. When the reception starts and food is served is the only time I get to sit and relax for a little before heading back onto the floor; nobody wants their picture taken while eating. I am just appalled by this thoughtless article. She clearly wrote this without any consideration for us photographers and to be in the business and have such a lack of understanding here is ridiculous.

  36. Rajaram B Sai Avatar
    Rajaram B Sai

    Coming from India, this conversation is strange. Every celebration in India, wedding included, is about hospitality that majorly includes food. And it is one occasion when everyone is treated with courtesy and respect. Particularly those who stay on for full event like Photographer, videographer, drivers, security, etc.
    The suggestion of inclusion in contract, was a bit, brute to me. Life is much much beyond letters. It’s in spirit.

  37. Peter Majdan Avatar
    Peter Majdan

    I started bringing my own as I can choose when and where I want to eat. If the day is nice I sit outside away from it all and have a bit of a break. I used to get meals from couples before, but sometimes I was seated with wedding guests, other times I was given meal too late and I had to rush through it, I am not bothered anymore. I bring what nutritionally works best for me and have full flexibility. During meal time I get some shots of details and might make plans for quick portrait session if weather is decent and couple wants it…

  38. James Avatar

    In most jobs your lunch break is unpaid. I can’t believe wedding photographers expect to be paid to eat a free meal. They should just get given half an hour break, like everyone else

  39. Jason R Perryman Avatar
    Jason R Perryman

    I have it in my contract, if anything just to remind the couple that I need time to hydrate, get some food and reset.. sometimes its just a time to sit for 10 and do the required prep for the evenings events… I have no problem bringing my own food, however I will probably need to leave the area, vs sitting close watching incase I”m needed or the DJ throws something in unexpectedly… However clients that would rather not feed the workers that are with them all day, I would probably not want to work for those people. And if its is a really big deal, it is defiantly a red flag bride and not clients I would want to work with anyway. Besides that people are eating, its annoying to have a photographer shooting guests with food in there mouth nothing really great rarely comes of that…