Sunbather 'Ruins' Wedding Photos by Refusing to Move Out of Shot: Who Is in the Right?

Sunbather 'Ruins' Wedding Photos by Refusing to Move Out of Shot: Who Is in the Right?

Photoshoots in public spaces are never without hurdles, particularly if they inadvertently involve members of the public. Case in point: the family whose wedding photo story is making headlines after they complained a female sunbather “ruined” their pictures after refusing to move out of shot.

Mark Ling, 49, and Mandy Cripwell, 35, got married on Saturday before heading to a nearby park, Tessier Gardens in Torquay, England, which happens to be a local hotspot for wedding pictures.

The groom’s son, Marcus Ling, recalls:

I went up to her and asked her to move and she pretended to be asleep. Later she was asked to move again by the limo driver and she did but she left her stuff in plain view. It's a well-known wedding spot where you have photos taken, so she would have known it goes on there. Half of Torquay have their wedding photos in that garden.

Another of the groom’s relatives, Natalie Ling, added, “She was surrounded by wedding guests, the couple were behind her and the photographer kept calling different people over for pictures — so she knew what was going on.”

According to the family, the predicament continued for 10 minutes before the sunbather decided to relocate, although apparently she decided to leave all her belongings where they were.

Naturally, we’re all aware how frustrating it can be when members of the public happen to be in shot. On the one hand, most sunbathers would have moved instinctively had they been surrounded by a camera crew and wedding party, intimidated by the size of the party and the prospect of being in shot. However, it seems the approach the wedding crew took of asking her to move rubbed her up the wrong way, and instead she decided to stay put. Noting the importance of their day, do you think the bride and groom had the right to take over the park? Or was the sunbather entitled to the space since she arrived first? Who was in the right here?

Lead image by Hisu lee via Unsplash.

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74 Comments

Previous comments

The wedding party did not let it slide.

Bert Riviere's picture

Meh. Clone stamp - problem solved.

Patricia Sanders's picture

Nothing is ruined in this digital age. There are several ways to remove an object or a person in Photoshop. Note: Even if I was there first, being the sunbather, I would have moved plus taken belongings. That would have been a common courtesy for the Bride and Groom. And as leaving given Congraduations!

I feel so sorry for this sunbather. It sounds like anyone trying to enjoy this park has to contend with wedding parties ruining the peace for a free backdrop.

chris bryant's picture

Having shot a few weddings myself and have encountered similar situations I would have said to the Sunbather "I am awfully sorry but I am just going to shoot a few photos in the gazebo, I won't be long and will try not to disturb you. I hope you don't mind".

Most people respond favourably to humility and politness.

If the sunbather didn't want to move I would have worked around them. No problem. I do get a negative "vibe" from the wedding party. It is irrelevant whether the location is popular, it is a public area and the public has a right to be there. What would have happened if the park had been full of people or an event going on there?

Wedding Party - get over it. You don't have the right.

The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.

Spike S's picture

Why not just offer her 100 quid to move? It's not like they paid for the location.

There are people who hold the door for you and other people who let it slam in your face,
This sunbather is a door slammer.

A photographer with talent would have just worked around the sunbather. A wedding party consisting of decent, humble people would have asked nicely. A sunbather who was polite and understanding would have moved for a few minutes, then moved back.

Frankly, this is a mess.

Simple. Start taking loads of pictures of the sunbather, its likely she will get upset and leave or claim the photographer "can't do that". If she leaves, great. If she gets pissed, great.

Sunbather. We all share outdoor locations and odd as it is that she didn't move right away it's her right so shoot around her. At NASA I'd set up 6 hours ahead of time to get my space. I'd ask the Network video guys if I was ok next to them and they'd say as long as you're not in the shot. A minute before launch other NASA photogs would set up literally inches from me to the side and in front of me (after my waiting in the sun for 6 hours). But as long as they weren't in my shot we all shared.

Mike Irving's picture

well did anyone ask her to move? or did they just start shooting around her?

«…would have moved instinctively had they been surrounded,… intimidated… and the prospect of being in shot.»
Right. Most would have moved after being harassed to do so. …And she did.

«She was surrounded by wedding guests….»
So they all came and saw her, and carried on like she wasn't there.

Now this is the UK, and I do not keep up with their laws, but in the USA, the laws on public parks is, without first obtaining a permit, photographers are not allowed to interfere with other users of the park by preventing, obstructing, or restricting their access to all the normal amenities. A photographer can ask someone if they would be so kind to move, but if the answer is no, or no response, the photographer just has to work around them.

That being said, if I saw some wedding party trying to take photos, I might choose to oblige. OTOH, if I was sleeping and awoke to a bridal party all around me, I would feel disrespected, and less prone to oblige.

Gregory Mason's picture

The photographer was not up to much looking at the video shown on the site shooting into direct sunlight without fill in flash or use of a reflector, I doubt very much if he was a professional. The Gazebo was used as a backdrop without any thought to what the images would like. Probably paid more for the limo than the images.