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Photographers’ Code: Two Takeaways from the Wedding Shoot Crasher Story


If you haven’t heard about this following situation, then you might just lose your temper now.

So a couple was having their wedding shoot with their professional photographer. Photographer Alex Stemplewski, who’s a big TikTok star, barges in and asks if he can shoot portraits of the couple. Here’s the TikTok video:


I took a lot of heat for this TikTok where I interupted a newlywed photoshoot. Showing the full video to let you decide if what I did was wrong or not

♬ Up – Movie Theme – Giampaolo Pasquile

Many photographers lost their s**t over it. I know I did.

Because I’ve had random people do the following to me during shoots:

  1. Shoot over my shoulder without even asking me
  2. Stop me and ask if they can grab a few frames
  3. Randomly give me advice
  4. Explain how I was messing up

So let’s talk about the 2 big takeaways from this situation.

#1. NEVER Interfere With Another Photographer’s Shoot

We need to talk about the concept of “photographers’ code.” There are certain things you just never do to a fellow photographer. And at the top of the list is interfering with another photographer’s photo shoot the way Alex did.

Let me explain why this is so bad.

When you are photographing a person, your #1 mission is making a connection. And if somebody walks in and starts yapping away — or worse, wants to take their own photos — they are disrupting that connection. It can ruin the whole flow of a shoot.

There’s only one time you should stick your nose in someone else’s shoot, and that’s if a person or equipment is in physical danger. For example, I’ve seen people put tripods and light stands in very unsafe places, so in those cases, I gave the photographer a quick heads-up.

But beyond that, we all need to mind our own business.

Want to shoot a bride and groom? Become a wedding photographer, or hire a couple of models. Don’t interfere with someone else’s shoot.

#1. Beware of Extreme Moral Indignation

We can all agree that what Alex did was incredibly rude and narcissistic. But you know what? I’ve also done plenty of stupid things (should I make a video about that?), especially when I was younger. So let’s not take the outrage and moral indignation too far.

This is a teaching moment. Let’s use this as an opportunity to educate the next generation of shooters. Newer photographers, if you see one of your fellow creatives on a shoot, just walk on by.

Not everything is about you.

About the author: Michael Comeau is the Editor of OnPortraits.com, an all-new online community dedicated to simple, classic portrait photography. Click here for more information. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. This article was also published here.