You only need to look at the comment section of this article by wedding photographer Jason Vinson over at Fstoppers, to see it is a juicy topic.
While some see no harm in having a beer while shooting a wedding, others claim it’s unprofessional and unacceptable. Where do you stand on this?
When first looking into this topic, I came across a Facebook post where someone asked this very question. When looking at the responses, a good amount of people asked back: “would you drink in an office job?” When I saw this comment, I could see why someone would like to compare wedding photography to a normal office job. You are a hired professional that is performing a job and should act in a professional way. But for me, the two are very different. A normal office job has rules and expectations that say you cannot drink. As a wedding photographer, part of the enjoyment is that it is not a normal day job.
One of the other arguments was that if the client doesn’t like your images, they could sue you or not pay you, claiming you were drunk and did not perform. Again, I can see this as being a valid argument, but only to a certain extent. I asked a lawyer friend of mine if this was something that could actually happen and off the top of her head, she said probably not. In order for your contract to become invalid, there would have to be some form of gross misconduct. (Again, this was just an off the top of her head answer so, don’t take this as solid legal advice).
The last argument I’ll mention was that the photographer should have 100% of their attention focused on what’s going on around them. I agree with this to a point, but using this as a reason as to why you shouldn’t drink is similar to using it as a reason why the client shouldn’t feed you. I feel like there are plenty of lulls in the day where it’s acceptable to take a moment and grab a bite to eat, take a drink from your beverage of choice, then get back to work.
If you are a straight-laced, get the job done and go home type of wedding photographer, then drinking on the job is probably out of the question for you. If you are the type that makes friends with your client and enjoys getting involved in the celebration mentality, then drinking might be something more acceptable. I’m not saying that you can’t have fun and celebrate without a drink either. I’m saying that there are different ways you present yourself as a company, and depending on that presentation, it could look unprofessional to drink.