Other Wedding Vendors Taking Photos
Why is This a Problem?
Years ago, a big part of the reason for wedding photographers including an exclusivity clause in their contracts was revenue. The business model at that time consisted of a set fee for shooting the event, and then print sales afterward, which made up a substantial part of their revenue. Having another photographer present could mean these print sales would not be as high as expected, making it unprofitable for them to have shot the event.
While print sales are still a meaningful portion of a photographer's income, the business model has shifted to charge more up front, and provide the image files to the married couple (which they can use to print images on their own). So, protecting print sales is no longer nearly as much of a concern as it once was.
"I'll Stay Out of the Photographer's Way"
In short, it's a bad idea for numerous reasons, which can be concisely summarized with one simple statement: the potential for your professional wedding photos to be adversely affected, with very little to gain in return.
Why Do Photographers Care?
If a photographer has already been paid, and the adverse effects of another vendor taking pictures will have no effect on this, why do photographers even care about it? The reason is, most professionals are not in it just for the money. Yes, we do make our living this way, but we also get personal enjoyment and artistic satisfaction creating beautiful wedding photographs for our clients. During the course of a dynamic, unpredictable event, there are many things totally outside our control that can affect the images we capture. But obstruction and disruption from other vendors attempting to photograph the wedding is something that can easily be prevented.
Then there's the effect that this practice can have on interactions with guests, primarily during the reception. In some cases this other vendor taking pictures may behave in a manner that is inappropriate or unprofessional, and doesn't fit the level of friendly service and unobtrusiveness that I strive so hard to provide, and because guests will likely assume that we are working together, this reflects very poorly on my professional image.
Additionally, this mistaken identity can cause another type of confusion. For instance, perhaps the groom's mother wants an informal group picture with her siblings and cousins, and not realizing he is not the actual professional photographer, asks the DJ (or his assistant) to get the shot. When she is later looking through my wedding gallery, she'll be confused as to why she cannot find it. Even if she does later realize that it was in fact the DJ who took this picture, and locates the image, she will be disappointed with the poor quality.
Discuss This With Your DJ
If your DJ (or other vendor) mentions taking pictures, or if you see other indications that this may be something they'll do, please stress to them that aside from a couple of shots for social media, you would like them to concentrate exclusively on their role you have hired them for, and refrain from actively photographing your event. Feel free to make me the bad guy by pointing out to them that the contract you have with your photographer forbids this.
Much of the above also applies to a friend or family member who may be an aspiring wedding photographer or perhaps just an enthusiastic amateur, and asks if you'd mind them shooting during your wedding for practice and as a portfolio-building opportunity. While this may seem harmless, it can interfere with my ability to produce the level of work that my couples expect, so I strongly recommend just saying no to this. Again, if you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, you can blame this restriction on me.
Does that mean guests are not allowed to take pictures during your wedding? Absolutely not! Though I urge you to read and consider my article on unplugged weddings, in general guests casually taking pictures isn't an issue during the reception. But if you observe (or if I point out) a person who appears to be focused primarily on actively documenting the event rather than participating as a guest, it's advisable to ask them to put their camera away and instead just enjoy the party!