No Respect, I Tell Ya

The other day I was shooting a reception at a Chinese restaurant, where my seat was at the white folks table. Every Chinese wedding is obligated to have one of these tables, usually the coworkers of the bride or groom. Needless to say, these people were freaked out by most of the dishes that came out, sometimes they are daring, and some just refuse to touch it. If I were a guest, I would love to sit at this table because that means nobody is fighting for food and there would be plenty for me.

However this time, I was not the guest and I placed my name card on my dish in front of these folks so they would know this was my seat. I don’t know if these folks were just absolutely mindless, inconsiderate, or blatantly have no respect for photographers, but I thought the worst thing they could have done was to finish all the food and not leave any for me. Oh, I was wrong. They managed to kick it up a few notches.

After about 50 family portraits on the stage, I walked back to my seat but there was not just one seat, but two! Two seats stacked on top of each other as if nobody was supposed to sit there, while my name card was still on my dish. I got rid of the stacked seat and sat down to eat a dish with octopus, seaweed, jellyfish, while listening to these folks joke about the food they dare not eat, with the soda bottles and unwanted glasses all jammed around my space. When the dude next to me receives another bottle of Heineken, he pushes his empty bottle towards me. It doesn’t end there, as if the act me of sitting down and eating still does not click in their minds that this is my seat. I come back after many more courses have already eluded my chopsticks, to find the obnoxious dude embracing my seat with his arm like a lover for his comfort, or more like raped the seat, as one of my chopsticks somehow end up 3 feet from my chair and there was garbage and a white hand towel thrown over my plate. That incident pretty much ended my dinner for the night, and I continued the rest of the night with an anger level slightly less than wanting to punch a man in the face.

This would be the last time I will allow something like this to happen to me. After the wedding, I’ve since removed my wedding site entirely and will not resume any action until I’ve created a new interview process for limited clients only. I don’t sacrifice my weekends so people can treat me like just another service provider.



25 Comments No Respect, I Tell Ya

  1. grace October 13, 2009 at 11:14 am

    sorry you had to experience that =x
    what about when ppl make you plates of food and you give it away!!! haha jk 🙂

  2. min October 13, 2009 at 11:19 am

    i would’ve taken the dish with the napkin and stuff on it and switched with obnoxious guy. if he looked at me i would’ve been like “isnt’ this your garbage?”

  3. Paul October 13, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Say it isnt so. Rethinking “chinese restaurant reception clients” altogether now as well.

  4. JulieLim October 13, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Wow, what a f’cking jackass! Inconsiderate pigs like that should never be invited to a wedding or any occasion!

  5. Ed October 13, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Good for you man. This has been my first season shooting as a photog, and I totally understand where you’re coming from. That interview process is a wise idea.

  6. Wayne Yuan October 13, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Almost all Chinese restaurants are like that for weddings. Sometimes they don’t even give us food. That’s why for 2010, we have not accepted any weddings at Chinese restaurants.

  7. Rania October 13, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Awww Tony!!! You’re still shooting my wedding though right?! 😉
    Your work is amazing, don’t let (drunk) losers get you down.
    I think the screening process is a great idea, though

  8. liv October 13, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    that sucks… i’m glad we were able to stuff you with food at christina’s wedding… i even fed you cake!

  9. Tony October 13, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    OMG, you were serious! You took it down! This is just after I spent some hours pouring through your material this past weekend. I kid you not!

    Unfortunately, even if you interview your clients in more depth, you won’t be interviewing their obnoxious and asshole “friends.” Face it, these probably weren’t even friends…as you say from the opener about the “co-worker” table. I feel it’s the general lack of concern and respect for one’s fellow human beings that’s the cause of it all now. It’s getting worse in this world, really, especially in the NY Metro area. Either way, you may be right: the client is a reflection of the friends they choose to keep.

    I wish I was at that wedding…you could’ve said something to me and I would’ve done something to that guy. LOL!

  10. Marcia October 13, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    everyone has idiot friends, relatively or co-workers, even nice people. sounds like they were all at your table.

    you need to think of clever insults to hurl at them — that they likely won’t understand….. or do things to annoy them back

    “the octopus is extra crispy today,yum”

  11. Lin October 13, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    There are always inconsiderate and rude people everywhere. The best we could do is probably to just not let them get us down. 🙂

  12. Myth October 13, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    I think nothing matters more than respect to a genuine photographer.

    While it’s impossible to completely avoid idiots, we can adjust our attitudes and actions to respond to those people. I hope you can take this experience in a positive way, let it help you establish your own ways to deal with these people instead of letting it destroy your passion in photography.

    No matter what you still have our full respect here.

  13. kat October 13, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Wow…people have no manners nowadays. Small intimate weddings are a lot better.. only a slight chance of jerks.

  14. nellie October 14, 2009 at 8:25 am

    that’s so awful tony! believe me, i’ve been at weddings where people are like, “jellyfish?! you eat jellyfish?” you’d think in today’s P.C. world, people would be more conscious. good luck with the screening process… your wedding photography is amazing!

  15. Joey October 14, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Truly Sorry,Tony that you had to go through that.They missed out learning about a truly amazing photographer , your travels, thoughts , creativity , talent and sensitivity – your uniqueness.

    You showed your professionalism by not “bothering” the wedding couple on their day and continuing with the job at hand. Big up to you for doing that .

    Continue your great work , it brings us joy.There are people out there that wouldve been honoured to have you, sit next to them.

  16. brooke October 15, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    I am so sorry to hear that- especially to hear that you are thinking weddings over. YOU ARE SO TALENTED AND SHOULD NOT LET A TABLE OR ANYONE FOR THAT MATTER EFFECT SHARING YOUR AMAZING TALENT WITH THE WORLD!!

  17. Vivian October 17, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    At least you got a seat to put your stuff down…

    I once shot a wedding that they had went out of tables, they said we need to carry all of our gears on our back..not even get a corner to lay our stuff down because they needed it to “serve” food.

    Then there was another wedding that the groom cancel our food because we were coming in late from the portrait session (that he took part in, of course)so we need to start taking guest arriving photos…and the reason why we were delay was because we all had to wait for them to finish chi chat with his family at church after ceremony…for 20 mins.

  18. steve t October 19, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Sorry to hear that tony. Did you happen to recieve my email about the San Francisco wedding me and my fiancee are having? It is not a chinese restaurant thats for sure!

  19. Jake M October 21, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Are you serious? Who the hell do you think you are? You were the wedding photographer and yes, a service provider to the bride and groom. Suck it up. You’re a wannabe hot shot photographer who thinks he should be treated like royalty at someone’s wedding. I bet you nobody besides the bride and the groom at that wedding knew who you were, and I guarantee you nobody cared as well. Check your ego at the door you loser. Outside of your little photography circle, who the hell has heard of Tony Yang? If you’re trying to make it big time and don’t want to be labeled as a “wedding photographer”, that’s fine, but don’t be a jerk and stop doing it because you think you’re the one wearing the white dress that everyone should be gawking at.

  20. Tony Yang October 21, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    It’s called not being treated with common courtesy as any other person should be, having a guest seat at a wedding. Do you want to go to a wedding where if you left your seat, your spot becomes the garbage tray and seat removed? Apparently you’ve heard of me or else you wouldn’t be leaving a comment. Thanks for stopping by.

  21. Jessica W October 23, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    O Jake M, you are making a fool of yourself leaving a comment like that. Why are you on his page if you think he’s a loser? I’m sure it’s easy hiding behind a screen and act tough. Jealousy is a dangerous thing, my friend. Be happy for others’ success, maybe good things will happen to you too. =)

    Tony, jerks like that are everywhere, don’t let them get you down, you rock!

    ps. your haters are your biggest fans

  22. Brian October 25, 2009 at 1:26 am

    Jake M is right that the photographer is a service provider but I disagree with everything else he wrote. The photographer is among the most important service providers to the bride and groom. These are memories that are going to be saved for years and decades, for future generations to look back on. Ever wonder why some wedding photography costs upwards of $5,000?

    Tony I think you’re justified in taking a breather and adopting stricter standards for clients. Your work is still amazing and it’s great to check back here to see your latest work. Keep it up!

  23. Black Cat White Cat Photography November 8, 2009 at 3:04 am

    Wow, that’s so aweful to hear. I think it’s precisely people like Jake M above that you wish you could’ve screened out!

    I completely disagree with him (actually probably no point in talking back…)

    Last wedding I shot, I had the bride & groom & bride’s mom invite me to their house for dinner afterwards (even before they got all their pictures back)! Many of their wedding party and I are still talking on fb. So I think it can be a rewarding experience too. You touch people’s lives with your art Tony, don’t let people like them discourage you!

  24. Tom November 23, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Oh no, Tony!! Sorry to hear about that awful experience. Did I seriously come at just the wrong time? My fiance and I had bookmarked your site and wanted to get in touch with you to shoot our wedding. We are having our wedding at the Metropolitan building in LIC, and saw the amazing shoot you did there last year. Please tell me you’re not giving up wedding entirely! Please email me back when you get a chance and perhaps we can change your mind about swearing off weddings.


  25. jen March 17, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    I agree your experience was awful and some people have no class. You should have stood up to the assholes because you were there to work, NOT service the couples guest. All it would have taken is a firm, “This is my seat, don’t touch my plate..I’m here to work.”
    This being said, you are NOT a guest at the wedding, you are being PAID for a service. I’m assuming a meal is included in your contract, my suggestion is you ask that your meal be secured in separate manner(especially at a banquet) or timed differently than the guests(considering most toast etc take place at the begining of the dinner service and are key photo ops). I don’t really see how stricter interviewing of couples will help you be more assertive.
    Also the rants on your blog about such experiences are quite off-putting and unprofessional to the client. Who would want someone that: because of his own personal shortcomings in handling an awkward social situation is so affected he would shut down his blog…God knows how it affected the way you captured the rest of the evening that night.
    You may be talented but…this diva attitude has got to go!

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *