Any way to get out of this? - work request (Need answer fast)

Office holiday party tomorrow night - employees (& contractors - 50/50 split) only, no SO’s. They’ve hired a photo booth & photographer as entertainment, but then there was a request from corporate to have photos of the event as well. That’s where the request to me came in; I’m a photographer so I was asked to get some pics.

The only indoor photography I do is some occasional Urbex (low light, inanimate objects, tripod, long exposure) & the only people I shoot are sports/race photos. (This is one I took at a race a few weeks ago. His face isn’t blurry, it’s showing motion/speed. The focus is on the wall of water that his foot is creating by running thru the puddle. It captured what I was going for; therefore it’s a ‘good’ photo.) IOW, I don’t normally do portraits.

It’s nothing for me to go out & shoot 100+ pics, & that’s just when I’m shooting for me. I just feel like I’m going to be working the whole event & not enjoying the party. No, I’m not getting paid for it, either. Any way I can gracefully decline to shoot it?

Tell them you dropped your camera and smashed it and it’s in the shop getting repaired?

Second that. “Sorry! No camera!”

Of course, its too late now. You know your employer stalks you here. :wink:

I think it’s fine to say that you’d love to be a synergistic team member and use photography as an interface to document the big picture, but that it’s not the hot point of your skills and you might not be able to rise to the level of excellence you strive to achieve and your customers expect.

But it might be good if you go ahead and do it for the exposure. You don’t have to be the full-time event photographer. Just take a few pictures throughout the night that capture the feel of the party.

An alternative is to put some disposable cameras on the tables for people to use at their convenience.

I’m kind of curious why they have a photo booth and a photographer but only employees (not SOs) are going. You going to get your picture taken with Jim from Accounting?

Won’t work; if one is down, I’ve got two more SLRs…& spare batteries, & a whole separate bag for video.

Who’s paying for them? They’re not paying me for better quality.

I’d probably just half ass it. Take 10 pictures and then put the camera somewhere and tell everyone the memory card failed; we’re all lucky to have those 10 pictures.

They want you to work the event, and use your own equipment? Without paying you? Hm.

Tell them you don’t feel comfortable taking business away from the professional photographer by working for free. Or do what filmore recommends, and buy some disposable cameras (be sure you can expense them) and hand them out for other people to document the event.

I don’t know if you are an employee or a contractor. I am a contractor - I make sure everyone knows that if they ask me to do something, I either get paid for it or it is a request and I can say No if I want. Holiday parties outside normal business hours are like that - either I must attend and take pictures/do whatever they tell me, in which case I ask what bucket I will be charging my time to, or it is a social invitation, and I don’t have to attend and don’t have to work.


Aren’t the photo booths automated? What is the hired photographer going to do as “entertainment”? They should be asking him/her to shoot the event instead of whatever was planned.

Being voluntold sucks, but I don’t think there’s a way to gracefully decline. You don’t want something stupid like this to be the thing that’s remembered about your career.

Take photos for the first 20-30 minutes, that’ll be enough to upload for the company intranet or put in the company newsletter. Then, enjoy the rest of the party.

If they’re not paying you, they have no right to expect you to play wedding photographer. Agree to take some nice shots with your phone. Tell them that you’re not going to drag a big-ass SLR around the entire party, if you’re just taking a few candids for the company website.

If they want someone to play wedding photographer, that’s what hiring a photographer is for, and you’re not looking to be hired to photograph this event.

Can’t you just web your camera to the wall & have it take pictures during the night? Or are you worried Doc Ock will steal it?

How does your boss know you’re a photographer? Specifically, how does your boss know if you’re a good photographer?

You say you seldom do indoor work, so take some underexposed shots. You don’t do portraits, so cut off a few heads, focus on the wall behind people, make sure the subject of the photo is half out of the frame. Throw in one or two decent shots to show you can get lucky once in awhile.

At least they won’t ask you again.

Take lots of photos in the first half hour, but make sure they are terrible.

Yeah, this. I work for a creative agency, where half the people are pretty decent photographers. Someone usually gets lumbered taking the photos at parties, and no one is upset that they only capture the first 30 minutes. (Who wants to see those midnight shots anyway??) They probably only want a couple of decent shots for some blog/social post anyway.

If you are unsure about this approach, I would, in good humour, say to my boss that I don’t mind taking some pictures but if he/she doesn’t mind, I’d quite like to enjoy the party too, so please don’t get upset if you see a wine in my hand rather than a camera at some point. No one’s going to remember after the first hour in any case.

This has me confused too. WTF?

If they really want “some” pics - like a dozen, tops - to get a candid snapshot for the next quarterly bulletin or whatever, then quality won’t matter too much and you can easily snap a few with your phone and otherwise enjoy the party without working the whole event.

But if they actually want lots of pics, taken with good equipment (which is generally both expensive and heavy) then they ought to pay for that service. In which case, Shodan had the right angle about taking business away from paid professionals. Get all pious & sanctimonious on 'em, the children of photographers have to eat too.

(Not sure if your link was a stealth brag, but FWIW I really like that shot.)

You should get “corporate” to be a little more specific as to what kind of photos they want.

My gut answer is, they just want “random” photos of people, probably in groups, at the event, to use for some internal promotional reason, and “you’re the one guy they know that has a camera.”

Then again, why do I have the feeling the real reason is more along the lines of, (a) finding out who was/wasn’t there, or (b) maybe getting “lucky” and having a photo of somebody they want fired doing something inappropriate, especially if a co-worker is involved?

This would be pretty much my advice too.

A few decent photos to stick in a newsletter or on the wall and everyone should be happy. No documenting the bosses getting sloppy drunk and urping on people’s shoes, though.

Do it, but do a crappy job so you won’t be asked next year. :slight_smile: