I am currently training with a wedding photographer to determine if I will be a second shooter for her as her current second shooter is returning to school. I have shot one wedding with her and plan on shooting another one in a few weeks. She plans on making her decision by the end of the summer, but things have been going very well and I'm quite hopeful.

I suspect she may occasionally photograph some events that would be against my beliefs. In those cases, I would not be able to attend.

Should I tell this to my potential employer before she offers me a position? If so, do I tell her as soon as possible or wait until she offers me the job?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's not really about the workplace, but about legal and possibly ethical issues. Jun 27, 2015 at 3:43
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    Similar case: We once had a programmer who for religious reasons refused to work with any code which had anything to do with interest on loans. We convinced him that a career in financial software might not be the best under this restriction.
    – Philipp
    Jun 27, 2015 at 9:40
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    @DJClayworth my understanding was "the workplace" can take many different forms. While it's usually an office setting, employment can look many different ways. There are also lots of questions on here about becoming employed. But, it's my first time asking a question so I may be wrong on that front. Jun 27, 2015 at 10:59
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    Is the second shooter paid by the assignment or is there a base salary? Does the photographer work with more than one person? What happens if the second shooter is sick or on vacation? Jun 28, 2015 at 3:51
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    I'll weigh in on this being an in-scope question, as it's not about policy or legal matters, but how to handle reconciling personal beliefs with workplace requirements. That being said, I believe the OP should understand that being present at an event or producing a photographic record of it does not constitute endorsing it. You should look into journalism for ethical guidance. Only the officiant and the participants have "standing" to decide what is/is not ethical. Jun 29, 2015 at 1:06

2 Answers 2


If you can't do the work, that's a legitimate reason for not hiring. Or firing. You probably want to tell her before she hires you rather than be fired after committing yourself; you may or may not be able to work out an accommodation where you simply don't work (and aren't paid) for those jobs.

You may want to consider finding a profession which doesn't force you to confront things you really can't deal with. Or learning how to do your best work even when you don't feel like it, which is the mark of a true professional in any field.

  • Even if the work I can't do is a small minority of the work? I have no idea what the frequency of this happening is, though. And thankfully this is just a side job while I finish up school to make a few hundred bucks on the weekends every now and then. Jun 27, 2015 at 2:28
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    That's up to the business. Only they can decide how much this will inconvenience them, how much extra hiring a temporary replacement will cost, and whether you are valuable enough to them to make that effort. As far as I know, "intolerant" is not a protected class unless you can show that it's due to a psychiatric disorder, and even then a business is only obligated to make reasonable accommodations and it isn't clear that a small business could do so in this case.
    – keshlam
    Jun 27, 2015 at 2:34
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    @nicholas79171 It's not any different from any other non-negotiable requirement that someone might have. If you were for example, terrified of dogs and the studio sometimes did portraits with people and their pets, you need to tell your potential employer that you couldn't work those shoots and let them weigh the inconvenience of you not being able to do everything the studio might require with the quality and quantity of what you are able to do.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 27, 2015 at 3:05
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    @emory Not every fear is a clinical phobia. Plenty of people are frightened of dogs but still able to function and have a normal life. I think that you are being very dismissive of the challenges that someone with a real disability faces.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 27, 2015 at 13:31
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    I think there's a distinction between "can't do the work", and "won't do the work". The OP apparently is physically capable of doing the work, just doesn't want to. It's the difference between just disliking dogs, and having a clinical phobia. (See e.g. here for defining a phobia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynophobia )
    – jamesqf
    Jun 27, 2015 at 19:13

If you cannot do a part of your job, you should tell your employer. Not doing so or even outright lying could be an offense you can be fired for later.

Your employer will weight your skills (including limitations of those skills) against his or her needs. Maybe there are a lot of photographers and the company can simply send someone else. Maybe you are the only one and the company cannot afford to lose the deal. Maybe you will find a company with similar constraints and you will fit right in.

If you just don't like it, and there are other people who could do the job, you could try to market your disability by praising the other photographers:

I really don't connect with the atmosphere at those marriages. $colleague said s/he likes those festivities and feels the romance and friendship. $colleague will do a way better job capturing the joy and happiness on film than I could, maybe s/he should go.

However, if you cannot go to such a wedding at all, you should probably look for another job. Or another religion. Or another country. But all three together don't seem to mix very well.

  • Thanks for this answer. As stated above, it's only a side job on weekends to help out with school so I will be okay with not getting this job if it comes to that. Jun 27, 2015 at 11:04

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