« on: April 06, 2014, 04:16:32 PM »
I am a full time professional wedding photographer. First, let me say, the pro who allowed the OP to 'tag along at a wedding and learn the ropes' is apparently a fool. As a professional wedding photographer, I would never just allow someone to tag along, it's not my place to do so. It's my customer's wedding, and if they hire me with the expectation of a second shooter or assistant, that is one thing, but it's not proper for me to invite someone who isn't directly under my responsibility as an assistant/shooter in a contracted situation. So the original blame for this situation really falls on the 'pro' photographer, he should have either hired you as a second shooter, therefore he would have assumed ownership of the images, or he should have said he had no need for such services at this time and would let you know when he might need your services. If you aren't of sufficient skill to second shoot, then he could have hired you to just assist him by carrying and handling his equipment, and he could train you outside the context of a paid wedding job until you were ready to second shoot for him. In no case is he free to just allow you to tag along at a paid wedding gig. I question this photographers status as a professional, based simply on how he handled the situation.
That said, I question how the OP was contacted by the bride. This question was brought up earlier in the thread, but never answered by the OP. Unless the pro photographer himself gave her the contact info, then it would seem the OP promoted himself at the wedding, at least to the extent that he provided the bride or someone close to her with information as to who he is and how to contact him. This is way beyond the bounds of what is ethical in such a situation, whether hired by the photographer, or in this case allowed to 'tag along' at his client's event.
My advice for the OP, consider yourself fortunate for the experience, that is your 'reward'. Give the professional your original files, make sure he understands the bride was interested in them, and tell him he is free to provide them to her under any terms he desires. That is his 'reward' for giving you the opportunity (I say this mainly because the bride does deserve access to the photos, not because the pro deserves to be compensated, but it's really up to him since he was hired as the photographer).
To say that professionals are just picking the situation apart on this thread because we are being 'protectionist' is a statement I'll often hear from the non-professionals who in some way aspire to be professional, but not willing to go the distance to do so. I always laugh at this, because if they put the hard work into achieving the status that people will seek you out and pay your asking price to photograph them, then you to will share these 'protectionist' views and realize what you did to get there deserves the rewards you command, and those who try to shortcut their way to professional status don't.