A few years ago I would not have even entertained the notion that I could be good enough to become a wedding photographer within the same year. This breed of photographers have to be able to do portrait, landscape, group, night time, interior, family, architectural, macro, candid, documentary etc., photography within a stressful and fast paced and everything might go wrong environment.
Whilst they are doing all of these styles of photography, the light is ever changing - this means they are considering exposure, aperture, ISO, metering, focus to meet every condition for every composition - THIS IS HARD - you have to whirl those camera dials all over the place in a second and still be able to get a good shot. You also have to consider what else is going on in the composition of the shot - like background noise of a messy room or a sign post or other people or a car….or another photographer. The Wedding Photographer has to have lightning quick reactions to all of this. You cannot say ‘oh, guys, I didn’t have the right settings during the ceremony. Can we do that again?’ You HAVE to get it right…..or right enough that the mistakes can be edited after. Sound stressful?
They are also considering whether they should use a different focal length, thinking of the wedding timings, managing different personalities, walking into a potential landmine of last minute fears and stresses, family disputes, crying children, hungover adults (wait…….did I get that the right way around?) and knowing that you are working within these conditions for at least 12 hours and the hungover adults will do their best to become hungover all over again.
Batteries, extra batteries, extra extra batteries, SD cards x 70000000, flashes, extra flashes, batteries for those flashes, diffusers, stands, tripods, spare clothes, water, food…………Nervous breakdown Hotline number.
Oh, and then there is the weather. The only control the Wedding Photographer has over this is his or her ability to get creative.
And let us not forget to mention the fact that every other single person attending the wedding is also a photographer so there may be some rough elbowing the smart phones and tablets out of the way to get the shot that you have been paid to get.
Sometimes the venues are miles away. In my case, I might have to drive 4 hours to get there, put in a 12-13 hour day and then drive back.
Well, entre nous, despite my brain trying to divorce me for over work mid photo, I absolutely, bloody LOVED it.
So I did my homework - I ate, breathed, dreamed wedding photography for months and months (am still doing it in fact) and I was lucky. Lucky to have been given the opportunity (thank you to Anneli and the team at La Boutique Events) and lucky to have been given the chance by two great couples at an incredible venue ( Castelnau des Fieumarcon ).
So I had wonderful, calm couples, beautiful venue, stunning weather ( a moaner might complain that the outside ceremonies were in full, bright…….oh so bright…F. 16…….and oh so hot……sun…….but I would never complain…not me), well behaved guests, brilliant venue staff but I appreciate not every wedding can be so.
When the shoes are kicked off - literally and figuratively - and as the dance floor becomes slippery from spilled drinks and with romance exhausted, once you’ve packed up your first camera, second camera, realised that you haven’t eaten in 12 hours, are hot and smelly and are surrounded by jubilant party goers do you find the strength to say ‘ok, let’s try and do some star and night time shots of the venue’………in the dark…..as you must have dark. You trip over everything, you take 40 shots of dark blurriness and THEN at some silly hour go home and think ‘I HOPE that I at least captured the ceremony. I hope that I at least captured the………I hope that I at least captured the….what if none of my cards worked, what if I didn’t even have a card in my camera…..’ and then the editing starts. For me, as a beginner and editing for both Landie and myself (we jointly took 2 million images just to be sure we had 1 good shot) this took me quite some time.
The Wedding Photographer actually has an extremely privileged role. They get to be EVERYWHERE on this day of days. They get to see EVERYTHING (yes, sometimes literally everything). They are witness to every emotion and in full technicolour with surround sound - it’s like watching a screen drama unfold yet you are the director deciding which moments are to be collected. This is your vision of one of the biggest days of somebody else’s life. I find this concept absolutely thrilling and fascinating.
So this blog is a hats off to all Wedding Photographers. You are work horses who continue to smile through the pain and doubt and uncertainty. Have a virtual medal from me and then budge up, as I want to join your ranks.