Beware of this man!!!

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: November 18, 2010

Category: General

Ok so this post is motivated more out of curiosity than anything else; let me explain…

Now although I’m not a Wedding Photographer I have in the past photographed a few. Overall despite having made the decision to take on no more, I did enjoy the experience but there was one thing though that was quite incredible about each of the weddings I photographed. Call it what you will…a coincidence, a sign, whatever but at each of the weddings the same guest appeared…I kid you not!

It wasn’t until maybe the 3rd wedding when it dawned on me that I’d seen the the same guy before. Was he following me? Did I have a stalker?

I mentioned about this ‘Guest’ to a couple of photographer friends of mine and what was even more incredible was that they too had seen him so by this time I was becoming more than slightly unnerved…surely this wasn’t just coincidence???

Because I’m no longer photographing weddings I’m pleased to report that I’ve not seen this guy for some time. No longer do I cautiously open my bedroom curtains in the morning half expecting him to be stood on the roadside waving up at me.

So do you know who I’m talking about???
To give you more of an idea as to who it could be he goes by the name of ‘Uncle Bob’ and although he does tend to change his appearance from wedding to wedding there are some sure fire ways to recognise him; his ear piercingly dull tones and repeatedly saying such phrases as “What camera have you got?”, “My neighbour’s a photographer” and “It’s easy nowadays isn’t it with all the new cameras…they do it all for you” … and so it goes on…

Constantly meeting this guy prompted me to think of a way to get rid of him or at the very least to silence him, so here’s what I did:

*** Please note that the Gentleman in the photos below are NOT ‘Uncle Bob’ … I’ve used them purely for illustration purposes…phew ๐Ÿ™‚ ***

Weddings and/or events are fast paced assignments for photographers so what I had to do was something that was quick, easy and effective…solution??? … The Invisible Black Backdrop:

This is a technique that needs only the most basic of kit…a camera, a flash, a light stand and a reflective umbrella; takes just a couple of minutes to set up and the results do tend to have the desired effect:

For those who may be interested a while back I wrote a walk though here on the blog showing how you can achieve this particular look almost anywhere at any time of the day. Here’s a link to it or you can just click on the ‘Screen Capture’ below:

99% of the time this technique was successful in getting Uncle Bob to move on and ‘entertain’ someone else; the other 1% just needed a little extra encouragement with the added help of the 1000 yard stare ๐Ÿ™‚

My Question to you
If you’re a Wedding and/or Event Photographer I’m in no doubt whatsoever that you too have met Uncle Bob, so my question to you is ‘How do you deal with him?’ What techniques do you employ if any or is it just down to people skills and Jedi mind tricks?

No real reason for asking other than being incredibly curious,
Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. Andrew Dobell

    Heheh, yeah, he gets everywhere that Bob!
    How do I deal with him? Well, usually they strike at the worst possible time, such as right in the middle of the family groups when you’re ‘in the zone’ and you can’t really devote the time you would like to dealing with them. So a smile, a quick polite word and you’re off again.

    If I do ever have the time to speak with them properly, then I do my best to re-educate them a bit generally, if they’re saying how easy it all is nowadays. I have to say though, most of the ones I’ve spoken to do tend to realise some of the realities of wedding photography.

    I do enjoy watching the ‘Bobs’ though, and how they’re using their camera, usually it’s on Auto with the pop up flash blasting away. So I smile to myself and move on.

    • Glyn

      @Andrew…Geez you’ve met him too….he sure gets around…lol
      Auto and Pop Up Flash…yeah I saw that too…gets me thinking…what does he know that we don’t ๐Ÿ™‚

      Cheers, Glyn

  2. Peter

    Hi Glyn, I know this “Uncle Bob” very well. He always disturbs me while taking wedding photos. I always have to explain him the technical details like the millions of pixels and the price of my camera to justify the expensive fotoshootings I do. The curious guy often disappears after I giving him my business card and inviting him to visit my website.

    Greetings from germany and thx for the black-backdrop-tip!

    • Glyn

      @Peter…Like your thinking with the business card…very subtle way of telling him to ‘move along’…lol ๐Ÿ™‚

      Greetings to you from the UK mate and you’re welcome re the Black Backdrop,
      All the best to you,

  3. Neil Holmes

    We might all turn into uncle Bob when we get older (now there’s an interesting thought). I’m always happy to give someone a bit of my time then I use my fail safe: ‘I don’t mean to be rude but I must get on’

    Cheers Neil

    • Glyn

      @Neil…Geez I do hope you’re wrong about the transformation into Uncle Bob; mind you saying that the barber is already starting to trim my eyebrows when I go for a haircut these days….what’s happening to me???? ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Mike

    Oh yes he is in existence alright but recently I have Aunty Bob(ette) seem to be muscling in on the action too.

    They’re everywhere I tell – its a damn conspiracy!!!

    • Glyn

      @Mike…There can be no other explanation for it mate; a conspiracy it is! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Uncle Bob

    Hi, Uncle Bob here. I absolutely love to pester you while you are working hard at a wedding or other such event. I feel that it is my duty to ask you as many annoying questions as possible. Also, I really enjoy hovering over your shoulder to see what f stop you’re using. That’s a treat.

    I’ll see ya at the next wedding!

    Rick….uhh…I mean, Uncle Bob

    • Glyn

      @Uncle Bob…I’d like to say the feeling is mutual, but… ๐Ÿ™‚ lol

  6. Uncle Bob

    P.S. Can I hold your reflector next time I see you? That’s be fantastic!

  7. joseph tutlo

    as i have never worked a wedding, i have yet to meet uncle bob. but i’m pretty sure i’ve met his son, bob jr. he likes to say, “that CAMERA takes great pictures!” to which i reply (in my best clint eastwood voice) “CAMERAS don’t take pictures… i do.”

    however, my goal in life is to learn a half dozen languages so i can throw an obscure one out there when i want to avoid conversation.

    govorite li hrvatski? zar ne? onda otici.

    • Glyn

      @Joseph…Superb mate..nice ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Francis Peacocke

    Very funny post. Loved it. At a recent wedding I had an auntie bob armed with a lovely new Canon 7D plus L lenses. Did she want to talk about the merits of respective cameras – Oh yes and this was in the middle of the bride and groom coming out of the church on a windy day! And I swear she took twice as many shots as me while still talking.
    Ten days later I am at the happy couple’s house to show album mock up and in the kitchen there are two 10×8 prints of the wedding – Gulp, what to say? Will they even want the album now?
    Then the bride tells me these are from said “auntie bob” but there were the only ones worth printing. Yes, I survived.



    • Glyn

      @Francis…Great result there for sure. Proof to the Uncle & Auntie Bob’s yet again that it isn’t the camera but the person using it ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Tim Skipper

    Funny post Glyn.

    BTW I tried the technique and it worked great.

    • Glyn

      @Tim…Fantastic mate; glad it worked out ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Keith Hammond

    We have had them at every wedding and the amount is growing along with the gear they have, plenty of P & S & phones but now big dslr’s with big lenses so to combat this you have to produce different images to what they will so always shooting different angles different poses etc and shoot in places at the venue where they would not think of.
    I always take a pic of the “press pack” of relatives when they are all shooting the couple, makes for a fun shot.
    I have to admit in the begining to being a bit naughty when during the reception Bob kept popping up as i was about to shoot and either getting in the way or getting in the shot so a couple of SB800 in SU4 mode placed near by may have over exposed Bobs pics ๐Ÿ™‚
    I have also walked backwards into Bob if i could sence him right behind me when i’m about to shoot, “oh sorry mate didn’t see you there right behind me”
    I don’t do that any more……….
    I have to admit i don’t have time during the day to discuss Nikon vs Canon with Bob as i’m being paid to shoot and whilst i’m chatting i could miss the money shot, i will chat with people later in the evening when all the main stuff is in the bag.
    This situation is one we have to deal with and as i said earlier we have to produce the shots that Bob can’t.
    So it boils down to Bob putting you off weddings eh ๐Ÿ™‚ you should have had Neal watching your back and taking Bob out.
    Good fun post Glyn but with a true side to it.

    • Glyn

      @Keith…Have to hand it to you though, that SU4 mode trick is a stroke of pure genius…lol ๐Ÿ™‚

      Sounds to me like you’ve got ‘dealing with Uncle Bob’ down to a fine art mate so I’ll definitely be leaving it to you.

  11. David Kelly

    Thankfully having only shot a few friends / family weddings I haven’t encountered Uncle Bob but I’ve seen them around. I guess it’s a skill for a tog to develop re: handling such individuals, in the same way that a stand-up comic has to develop the skills of dealing with hecklers from the audience. Keith’s obviously over the years of being a wedding tog developed hitman like skills using his direct ‘go for the jugular’ approach with SU4 mode ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Glyn

      @David Kelly…Yeah i guess experience from shooting a large number of weddings comes in real handy; geez Keith must be lethal by now ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. DaveT

    I can’t claim this idea is mine because I picked it up from a wedding photography course I attened a few years ago. Anyway, the tip was to get Uncle Bob on your side. Involve them by giving them a reflector to hold, that way they feel they are assisting you, (they actually are) and while they are doing this they aren’t shooting shots themselves.


    • Glyn

      @DaveT…Like your thinking mate ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Todor Ostojic

    I, too, have met him!
    “Ah, I see you are using the new canon 5d2. Are you shooting in jpeg, or RAW? I hear RAW is the in thing these days amongst pros”

    **rolling of eyes – groan**

  14. Buckinghamshire wedding photojournalist

    I don’t make much ยฃยฃ from reprints, so i don’t really have a issue with Uncle bob’s taking simular images as mine, my images always turn out more creative than there’s anyway.

    If the Bob’s get in the way then i’ll have words, i did have to take one aside the other week when he walks up behind the priests and shot his direct flash straight into the couples eyes *Twat*

  15. kelley

    I LOVE this post, almost as much as I love the black back drop. I too have met Auntie Bob, For me, its always women. Maybe its a gender thing…
    Anyway, I am always at the party the event with the gal that always wanted to be a photographer, or takes pictures all the time and has loved it her WHOLE life. She’s the one in the family that everyone knows loves photography, yet she is not shooting the event. Instead she is standing in a not so distant corner glaring at me through a polite smile.
    I’ve had men say funny little clever comments but not about my camera… LOL

    • Glyn

      @Kelley…Great to ‘hear’ from you and that you liked the post.
      Uncle & Auntie Bob…gotta love them huh ๐Ÿ™‚ Sounds like the clichรฉ sayings are the same across the pond too…lol

      Thanks for dropping by,
      Best wishes to you and yours,


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