Here Comes Uncle George and Uncle Bob

Uncle Bob

Photo from Stephen Leung Photography

My niece is getting married tomorrow. We’re all happy for her, and this is an exciting time for our family, as well a wedding should be. There’s just one snag, though. She’s asked me and my brother to do the photography for her wedding. While, I’m thrilled she has confidence in our abilities, and I’m glad to be a part of the wedding, to say that I have a bit of trepidation about this would be an understatement.  And with good reason.

Among professional wedding photographers (of which I am most definitely not), there is the legend of “Uncle George.” Sometimes he’s known as “Uncle Bob,” but it could just as easily be an “Aunt Betty.” Regardless of the form this character takes, the term refers to any relative that insists on taking all the photos along with the assigned photographer. Here’s a description from one website…

The bride’s Uncle George fancies himself as a better-than-average amateur photographer. In fact photography may be his hobby. He comes armed with the latest cameras and fancy lens. Empowered by digital cameras and a bag full of extra fully powered batteries, he is ready for action. His technique is to capture anything that moves, time and time again. Quantity not quality is his mantra. He trusts that his Photoshop software can dress up any image. – From

To be fair, most of the references I’ve seen to “Uncle George” have been on websites for professional photographers, who would prefer that you use their services rather than a relative. Several have lists comparing their services to “Uncle George” in chart format. One photographer even lists an “Uncle George” package on his website…

The Uncle George Package … Here’s what it includes.

  • I will bring one camera, one battery and maybe 2 memory cards for my semi-high end camera that I kind of know how to use.
  • I will shoot by myself.
  • I’ll show up 30 minutes late.
  • I’ll rely upon the camera to decide exposures and focusing. I will call the out of focus shots “artistic”.
  • Since I’m a friend or relative I will visit with the other guests instead of concentrating on the photography.
  • I will plan on drinking and dancing.
  • I may get drunk (there’s $50 discount if I do).
  • If my battery holds out, I should get 100 to 150 shots.
  • I know very little about post production of images, so I won’t correct or Photoshop the images. So I’ll just give you the photos “as shot”, and it may be a couple of months before you see the those (along with my vacation shots I left on the card).

I would like to think that I’m a step up from George.  I’ve taken multiple post-processing courses and courses in portraiture and other areas.  Houston has even more experience than I do, having worked as a professional photographer for awhile.  Even so, I don’t want to wind up like this…

Uncle Bob

…or this…

Uncle George

…or worse yet, this…

Unfortunately, I even seen some “professional” photographers behave like this. I think I know my limitations, and have no delusions about my photographic abilities. Usually when I attend a wedding all I bring is a small point-and-shoot. I know someone else is getting paid to be the photographer, and the only thing I want is a few unobtrusive memories for myself. I stay out of the way. After all, everyone else there probably has a camera…

I think I could do OK as a wedding photographer, at least from a skills perspective. I think what I couldn’t handle would be the client load. One only need to watch an episode of Bridezillas to understand the ungodly amount of emphasis that is put on creating the “perfect day.” I’m just not sure I could put up with it. That makes me appreciate my niece’s more relaxed attitude toward this wedding.

Still, my niece trusts me and my brother, and we want to do a good job for her. To that end we have diligently studied everything we can, and we even put together a hand-dandy questionnaire to make sure we get all of the shots she wants…

I’m sure everything will go smoothly, and if not, it will still be fun, and I’ll be there to take a picture of it. :-) So, congratulations, Lauren and Daniel, and I wish you the best. And we’ll try to get a few good photos for you.

NOTE: None of the photos in this post are mine. Please click the photos for a link to the original page.

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