I’ve woken this morning and I have a very strange feeling. Yesterday, I presented the Bride and Groom with the photographs I’d taken at the wedding!
The background to this is that the Bride asked me months ago if I would take photos at the wedding, I wasn’t overly confident and said that I would take some photos on the condition that she and her fiancé didn’t regard me as the principle photographer. I just don’t ‘do’ people – let alone be the person responsible for catching the ‘I do’ moment….too much responsiblity. I can do dogs, flowers and as you know even banana sandwiches, they can’t see the photos and they don’t judge me – but a Bride and Groom on the most important day of their lives…..no thank you!!
Think about it, whenever a photo is presented to you and ‘you’ are in it, even if there are 50 other people in the shot, you look at yourself, if you don’t like the way ‘you’ look then you don’t like the photo….now apply this to a wedding day and you’ll understand the way I was feeling.
On the day before the wedding I went along to the church to check out the lighting, I went at the same time of day as the ceremony so I could be sure where the sun would be etc, etc. I don’t have a flash and so I thought I would try out some shots and see what happened….easy, empty church, no guests, no choir, no vicar and no bride or groom.
On the day of the wedding, I think I was more nervous than the Bride!! I felt sick in the bottom of my stomach but hey ho as they say “in for a penny – in for a pound”! I made my way to the Bride’s house and started clicking while she was getting ready, I was checking on the LCD screen and I can’t tell you how sick I felt when the first 20 or so photos were blurred and out of focus, the settings were all wrong, she was sat in front of a huge window with light blaring in….I gave myself a stiff talking to, and by this time had a glass of champagne in my hand too….(I find that helps!! for breakfast!!) I decided, to hell with it, just click, I told myself “Come on Girl, you can do this – it’s just like dogs and flowers!!’
And so we made our way to the church, reality hit, I was the person with the tripod….aghhhhhh, I had to have a chat with the vicar;
“Ah so you;re the photographer?” Oh God, sorry no blasphemy intended!
He went through the do’s and don’t’s, no flash, no loud clicks etc….
I continued still feeling very unsure….after the ceremony I got time on my own with the Bride and Groom, now you must remember that these are a young, edgy, funky couple, I’m in my 50’s!! I do like the traditional wedding shot but I also wanted to do something more fun….they are a very fun couple. We had great time, running across the local green where a cricket match was taking place…their wedding car was a VW camper van!! We even stopped at the local bus stop and took some cheeky photos there too.
Outside at the reception, I was in the groove, shouting instructions at people and getting them to laugh, wave their hands in the air and generally just bossing people about. (I was in my element, ha ha!)
Indoors at the reception, I came across a massive problem, no flash and disaster, all my fears came crashing down on me, I had a very, very down moment, but other people were taking photos and I could only hope that they would catch the special moments that I couldn’t. How I wised I had all the proper equipment and the knowledge to use it. I told myself that I had done my best and I tried desperately hard to catch a couple of night shots, first dance etc. These worked thank goodness.
So that in a nutshell was my day. I couldn’t sleep that night. As you know I’ve been working on the photos ever since. It has been a logistical nightmare, I really don’t know how people do this for a living, the pressure is huge. As you trawl through the photos, about 1500 of them, all in RAW format which is new to me, new software that I’ve never used before, boy it has been one of the most huge challenges I’ve ever faced. When I expressed my anguish to friends and family, “oh you’ll be fine, stop doubting yourself” was the response I received, meanwhile I was at home drowning under the sheer volume of photos to be edited and trimmed and cropped etc etc. What do you do when you have a photo and the subject is just not pretty and yet technically it’s sharp, crisp and yes dare I say it – perfect…yep it goes in the recycle bin, although you just know it’s never going to be recycled…it’s gone for ever…what do you do when you have a photo of the bride and groom and you realise that you just didn’t focus correctly and they are out of focus but the picture on the wall in the background is sharp….yep bin!! It’s heartbreaking.
Then last night the couple came to the house and I presented them with the final photos. One disc on which I’d put 100 photos to music, I downloaded the music from the first dance from iTunes. I sat and watched while the bride watched the slide show, (her husband was busy with the children and so didn’t watch it with her) Her reaction was pure gold, as it started she just put her hands to her mouth and she cried, real tears (of joy not horror I’m glad to report) I cannot tell you how many times, she said, “Oh my God, I love it, I just love it!) I was in tears, the bride was in tears, her friend was in tears, I had goosepimples all down my arms and the hairs on my arms were standing up on end!! You know the feeling – like when you listen to the most amazing piece of music for the first time? In fact we were all crying….not a good look really, three emotional women….I think the husband thought we were totally mad! The bride insisted he sit and watch the slide show on the laptop, she took the kids and he sat down, he looked at me and apologised in advance that he definitely wouldn’t have the same reaction as his ‘wife’. We left him to it….a couple of minutes later, the bride is shouting “Oh my God, he’s crying, look he’s crying!!” and yep the big guy (all 6 foot 8 inches of him) had a lump in his throat and tears of joy rolling down his cheeks. I cannot explain how I felt, it was one of the most amazing feelings I’ve ever felt….in fact I don’t think I’ve ever felt like that before. I felt great the day I got married, I felt great the day I passed my driving test but this was different, I’d achieved something that had brought so much joy to someone else through my hard work and it had arisen out of self-doubt and lack of confidence. The fact that they said that I had captured their special day meant the world to me.
And so I would like to take my hat off to wedding photographers all over the world, you do an amazing job but to be quite honest I don’t think I’ll be doing it again (I don’t think my heart or blood pressure could take it)….I’ve had two weeks of turmoil that no one seems to have understood even the hubster hasn’t realised the anguish I’ve felt. So today has been a very good day, I slept very well last night and have woken up feeling great although I still reckon a lot of the photos were more luck than judgement…..
I wish the happy couple many many happy years together, they’re a fabulous pair.