Over the years, I’ve encountered many awkward and inappropriate situations while photographing weddings. While it’s a day for celebration and revelry for my clients, their families, and their guests – it’s also my workplace. Sometimes, things get out of hand. People drink too much, get a little too friendly, and all of a sudden our workplace becomes a hostile one for us. We are obligated to serve our clients, but when is enough enough?
From unwelcome advances, to inappropriate comments about our bodies and/or appearance, and even actual physical assault… it’s all happened to me in the past and I’m sure that I’m not alone. As professionals, we do our best to shake it off and carry on with our work… but that doesn’t make it okay by any means.
Personally, I’m tired of it. I’ve smiled through the abuse and harassment long enough and I’ve finally decided to put a plan into action that will help me address these situations when they happen and not just sweep it under the rug. I don’t like feeling unsafe or uncomfortable while I’m working and I don’t think wedding professionals should have to, even though we are working in a non-traditional workplace. So moving forward, this will be my plan of action when dealing with sexual harassment – or any harassment – moving forward and this new policy will be outlined in my contract as well:
Anytime I, or a member of my team, experiences inappropriate behavior or sexual harassment from the couple, their families, or any of their guests:
- 1st: warning to family member of bride or groom
- 2nd: offending person required to leave
- 3rd: photog ends coverage immediately
I honestly HATE that I have to put this out into the world and into my wedding photography contracts, but I refuse to look the other way anymore. I’m tired of laughing through the pain, pretending that I’m okay, and feeling uncomfortable because someone else can’t control their drinking. This plan of action allows the bride + groom to celebrate their day without being bothered with the situation – which is SO important to me because I know that my clients would NEVER tolerate this type of behavior if they knew about it. But it’s their wedding day and I want them to enjoy the day without being directly involved in these types of situations.
While crude comments, remarks about someone’s appearance + unwanted touching may be seen to some as “harmless”, this type of behavior is totally unacceptable in today’s society and it needs to be addressed. I hope that I never have to use this plan of action, but I feel a little more confident knowing that I have a system in place if it happens again.