It struck me……..
As I stepped into the house where the bride was getting ready that I was about to be witness to an incredibly private, stressful, happy scene. I was about to see the bride either at her worst or best or balancing between the two. I was about to see the bride as no one else sees her; captured through my lens which would reveal my interpretation of her and this intimate scene.
I felt nervous. Really, really nervous. And not just about getting great images. I was nervous because this is one of the biggest days of this person’s life and here she is, amongst the bustle and chatter of the bridesmaids, hairdresser, make up artist, celebrant, various family members with last minute questions - here she is amidst all of this busy energy and I wondered ‘you must feel quite lonely. You must want to be comforted by the one person tradition says it is unlucky to see - your future husband’ .
I remember how I had felt on my wedding day. You do not get a moment by yourself and then, when you do, the nerves are waiting to taunt you.
Landie, who was photographing with me, and I began to busy ourselves. Nervous that we had not done this before, we stuck to our list and doubled up on all of our shots. The light in the dark house wasn’t too challenging but I had my flashes set up just in case. The light coming in from the window was softened by the pastel wall colours.
The bride remained calm.
We were now two photographers, two bridesmaids, one hairdresser, one make up lady, one celebrant and the bride.
Everything had been meticulously planned by Nina. Everything was running like clockwork and the bridesmaids were thoughtful and helpful. The champagne was opened, last minute details were being attended to and they made time for the bride to open some gifts from them.
The first hour was fairly relaxed. After which, Landie and I flitted between the house of the groomsmen to that of the bridal party. Guests were making appearances around the wedding village. It was set to be a warm day in Gascony. The old stone houses kept the worst of the heat at bay. The preparations continued.
I was really looking forward to this. What a privilege to have access to this part of the preparation - the DRESS.
The bride had kept her cool and was extremely gracious.
Time for a drink to steady the nerves?
One last photo before leaving this safe haven of privacy to wait in the garden anxiously listening out for the song that will indicate the bride’s cue to move towards the place of the ceremony..
An intro /
Like most of us, I've always had some form of camera which I have grabbed and clicked to capture the image, without too much thought.
The results would show that lack of thought. Sometimes you would get lucky - as I sometimes did with my first DSLR bought for me 11 years ago. These cameras are clever and in Auto mode capture the moment, but, as I found, it often lacked something. What that was, I wasn't sure as the image was technically correct: technically correct but dull.
So I started shooting in Manual exclusively about two years ago and although it gave me a good grasp of how shutter speed and aperture work, I was still only getting the images I wanted sometimes (some of which are on this site). I wanted good images every time.
Then a friend asked me to photo document a journey she was about to go on - 'People tell me that they like your photos', she had said, 'so I wondered if you would photograph this.' I had to get this right as it was too important and sensitive not to.
The first session changed everything for me photographically as I took lots of bad images. I was nervous, not sure of what I should be doing, placing myself badly, not adjusting to the changing conditions of light or composition. Most importantly, I wasn't taking the time to have the correct settings in a situation where I could have. When I loaded the images for editing, I groaned. That particular moment of my friend's journey had passed and I had not caught the feeling of it.
I learned a lesson. In fact, I learned a few lessons but the first and most important one was learn everything your camera does or can do. Second to this was, when possible, take time to get the image you want.
Photography is a creativity that I find fulfilling and exasperating at the same time. I am seeing potential photos to take almost constantly. It doesn't switch off (particularly distracting when I'm driving).
This year, I made the decision to embrace being a photographer more fully rather than it being just a hobby.
Photo below was taken in September 2009 during a road trip from Manly, NSW to Uluru with four kids. I got lucky with this shot by using my camera in Auto but could do with a bit of editing.