6 Things Your Photographer Notices About Your DJ

  • By Derek Hoffman
  • 30 Jun, 2017

Wedding photographers are skilled in seeing all the things.  Their eyes are trained for catching those pivotal moments that occur at weddings.  When the father twirls the bride.  When the groom kisses the bride’s neck.  When drunk groomsmen try to do the worm and end up busting their chin open on the dance floor.

That's just part of the reason 90% of couples hire a professional photographer and not just your Mom’s coworker snapping shots on her “explosively” awesome Samsung Galaxy Phone.   But professionally trained and skilled photographers notice more than those little moments.  They also notice how professional your DJ is...

Bad DJ Set up KC Wedding DJ
...or isn’t.
We spoke to a few pros in the industry: Becca Blake with Becca Blake Photography and Kaye Ness with Kaye Ness Photography . Frankly, we were a little surprised to learn that,

6.  DJs aren't always team players.

One photographer we spoke to (who wishes to remain anonymous) spilled that about 80% of DJ’s test her patience to the point of almost wanting to cut them.
Angry Photographer with knife
“Sure… announce the first dance while I’m in the restroom… see what happens.”

When a DJ doesn't act like part of the team of wedding vendors, the entire event can suffer.  A DJ has to be on the same page with at least the photographer so that they’re guaranteed to  capture all of those important moments (like the aforementioned groomsman performing the chin-busting worm).

Not being a team player is awful and obviously doesn’t sit well with the rest of the team.  But one thing our pros mentioned that can bleed over to affecting you and your guests is when,

5.  The DJ is faking it, and not well.  

There is more to being a DJ than just turning an MP3 player on.  Your DJ needs to step it up and act like the master of ceremonies they are.  Announce the dances, have a schedule, run the room (isn’t that, like, their job???).

The pros we spoke to have worked with DJs who might fit better in the club.  DJs who took the client’s money but didn’t have the skills they were paid for.  So how do they compensate? By being major dickheads.

 If you think your guests won’t notice the jerk on the microphone being a DICKtator of music, you’re sadly mistaken.  DJs can get downright nasty about requests and put their own musical tastes over your tastes and your guest’s tastes.  I don’t know about you, but if my #jamz aren’t being played, I’m sure as hell not dancing.  And if I’m not dancing... well, what else is there to do at a wedding??  I’ll be peacin’ out early ya’ll.  

Empty Dance Floor
Do you hear that?? *crickets* ....except for the poorly mixed EDM music playing in the background

On that note, what’s worse than being a fake DJ but a real dickhead?  When,

4.  The DJ is way too into self promotion.

Announcements aren’t the only time photographers have seen the self-promotion get out of hand.  Becca once saw a DJ place not just business cards, but brochures and pens at all the reception tables as well.  Right next to the $300 centerpieces.  

If the only announcements your DJ makes on the microphone are for self promotion and they completely disregard the announcement for the bouquet toss, guess who might not be ready to snap those pictures?  Yup.  Your photographer.  Who you paid thousands of dollars so that you’d feel assured that your photos would be on point.  

KC Wedding DJ KC Mobile DJ Photographer Notices about your dj bouquet toss
This is definitely NOT on point...
The pros we spoke to though didn’t have all bad things to say about DJs.  There are good ones out there too.  In fact, they love it when,

3.  The DJ cares about being out of the way.

Kaye said she adores it when a DJ sets up their booth in the corner, or at least out of the sight line of the critical images.  That’s because most DJ booths are riddled with chords and ugly equipment.  KC Mobile DJ does our best to stay out of the line of the camera… but in the event we do end up in some shots… we look baller AF.
KC Wedding DJ KC Mobile DJ Photographer Notices about your dj
“meh…”

Usually when the DJ cares about being out of the shot, it also usually means,

2.  Lighting matters to the DJ.

Becca shared how much she appreciates a DJ that asks about strobe lights and colorful lasers ahead of time.  Photographers usually prefer when the couple avoids the “President-who-is-about-to-be-assassinated” look.

Photographer Notices about DJ lights on face
These snipers prefer green marks.

Without conducting an official survey, we’re gonna guess 99.9% of couples want their first dance images to be clean and free of any crazy colorful lights… so turning them on during their first dance just tends to show the DJ’s ineptitude as a collaborative wedding vendor.  

It’s not all about the dance lights… but the up lighting too.  A photographer we recently worked with was panicking about the ceremony because of the photographic “black hole” the couple designed to say their “I-dos” in.  The photographer caught one of our DJs carrying up lights and breathed a sigh of relief as we set them behind the altar.

KC Wedding DJ KC Mobile DJ Photographer Notices About DJ Up Lights.jpg
There's a lot to be said for strategically placed up lighting.

We’ve actually taken that note pretty heavily and ensure we introduce ourselves to the photographer, to calm their anxiety, let them know they can set their gear safely behind the booth, they’re welcome to come behind our booth for shots, we won’t turn on dance lights til after the main dances and will gladly turn them off for bouquet/garter toss if they prefer.  For the sake of the couple, we strongly encourage all other DJs to follow suit.

Aside from up lighting, Becca and Kaye’s faces light up when they see

1.  The DJ makes it clear they care by introducing themselves to the family.

It's a professional courtesy to introduce yourself to the family of the couple.  Besides, the odds are high that the dashingly handsome older gentleman in the well tailored suit, wearing a boutonniere is the one who signed the check you cashed.  Going with those same odds… that will probably be the one who provides the tip at the end of the night (should you be worthy of it).  So DJs, take a moment, introduce yourself to the parents of the couple.  Let them know their requests will go straight to the top of the list and that you’ll take great care of them.

The insight these professionals provided has been fantastic and we as a DJ company have changed how we interact with photographers, guests and families, thanks to their insight.   Crystal Entertainment , a Kansas City Wedding DJ Company who is almost as good as us says they've been introducing themselves to the family since they started in the wedding industry.  (It would have been nice if they would have shared that tip with us a long time ago).

Photographers seem to agree - weddings go more smoothly when the DJ and photographer can work NSYNC .  

Derek is the owner (but prefers to be called Supreme Leader) of KC Mobile DJ & Photography , an event service provider in Kansas City.  You can follow KC Mobile DJ on the Facebooks and Instagrams or send Derek ideas, suggestions, contributions and corrections to  derek@kcmobiledj.com .

Don't forget to check out the beautiful images by Becca Blake Photography on Facebook and Instagram .  Be sure to check out Kaye Ness's Facebook and Instagram too for a few random pictures of adorable doggos.
New Paragraph

KC Mobile DJ & Photography Blog

By Heather Kincaid 21 Jul, 2017

Dear brides, grooms and undecided,


As your friendly wedding DJ’s, we feel it's our duty to thank each and every one of you who have hired a wedding planner or recruited your bossiest co-worker to run your wedding.

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Last week, Becca and Kaye fired shots at DJs and we let them tear us apart, then build us back up in “6 things your photographer notices about your DJ.”  This week, DJs fire back and delve into the 7 (positive and negative) things they notice most about photographers.

Now, just as they were fair by not naming names for the bad DJs, (to protect the guilty) we won't name bad photographers either.  We sat down with Roy McCaulley of Crystal Entertainment  (A KC Wedding DJ who is almost as good as us) and Mike King of Mic King Music & Events to ask what he noticed most about wedding photographers.  We had to agree when they said,

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That's just part of the reason 90% of couples hire a professional photographer and not just your Mom’s coworker snapping shots on her “explosively” awesome Samsung Galaxy Phone.   But professionally trained and skilled photographers notice more than those little moments.  They also notice how professional your DJ is...

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