Saturday, May 23, 2009
If I've learned anything today after covering my second official wedding shoot it's this: No matter how much you prepare, the unexpected will happen and you need to be adaptable, quick on your feet and not easily rattled. I knew last night that I had done all I could do to get ready, and I wasn't in the least bit nervous. I think I can thank my background as a journalist for helping me out with this because my first 8 years as a hard news reporter at the Denver Post really taught me how to dig in, get the job done (and done well) and freak out later on my own time.
The first change happened as soon as I and my assistants Sean and Christine got to the church. The groom and his party were initially scheduled to dress at the church, but turns out the groom decided last minute that he wanted to get dressed at home instead. That was a little jarring, but I think it gave Sean more time to have fun with the guys when they did show up. He described some cool pictures where the guys were shooting craps and a funky shot where they hoisted the groom up to the window as if he were breaking in (or escaping more likely!). Then Sean had time to set up his extensive gear in the choir loft where he was stationed for the duration of the wedding.
Christine and I spent the first hour with the bride and her party, with me focusing on the ladies and Christine taking charge of the detail shots. I've shot with Christine and Sean before and they are both members of my Mile High DPS Social Group, and I knew Christine had an exceptional eye for details, so she happily had fun shooting the shoes, the bouquets and the rings. A quick look around the room revealed a staircase that lead up to a door. When we opened that door, sunshine came streaming through, and I knew that's where I wanted to grab some quick shots of the bride and her dress. The brilliant backlight on her blonde hair really made her appear to glow, and I can't wait to start editing those.
Moving ahead to the wedding, the priest threw in an extra kiss during the middle of the wedding that didn't happen during the rehearsal. Mind you, this was a complicated Catholic ceremony with many intricate pieces contributing to the entire event, including prayers, speeches, readings etc. etc. So I wasn't prepared for a kiss to come in the middle of the nuptials. Thank goodness Sean had me covered, as he was able to capture the moment while shooting from above in the choir loft. After the ceremony, the bride and I both laughed at that moment because she said she wasn't expecting it either! Oh well. They kissed again at the end and that was a great moment to capture.
One of the things I did differently during this ceremony was take full advantage of the high ISO capabilities of my 5D. I've been routinely testing out that feature to see where I start to see noise. I've been able to shoot at 1600 and not see a wink of aberration. So I felt comfortable cranking it up high enough to give me 1/50 to 1/100 of sec hand-held shooting only with available light and the photos are lovely. I used the flash when I wanted to capture some quick moments such as the kiss, but other than that, I am thankful the church was so well light with light streaming in through stained glass windows and an open exit door with a tremendous amount shining in as well.
The groom's family left the church after the wedding, so we weren't able to get them in the formals. I'm not sure how that happened, but the bride and groom were just as surprised as we were. So that was another issue sidestepped. I was pleased when the groom took charge during the formals. He had been thinking about some shots he wanted done, and I was more than happy to oblige him any pose he wanted to try out. But my favorites are definitely when the bridesmaids decided to group around him and smoother him in kisses. The look on his face is priceless.
We ended the four hour shoot taking photos of the couple as they drove away to their reception at Maggiano's. They had planned on having disposables at each table so people could take photos as they wanted there. The groom surprised me again when he tipped me and my assistants. That was a first, and it was most appreciated. I asked if he could give my portion of the tip to my assistants, as they were shooting this event for free. Then he surprised me again by whipping out the final payment for me!
The adrenaline pumping through my veins kept me on top of my game throughout, but as soon as the couple drove away, I felt the adrenaline fade and I was left exhausted, mentally and physically. Let me tell you, it's no easy fete carrying two cameras on you, with two flashes, each with a Gary Fong diffuser and two battery packs for each camera as well. I didn't realize how tired I was until it was all over and I could barely put together a coherent sentence. I went home and slept for four hours. While uploading and saving photos, I looked over them and I'm pleased with the results. Plus, the few shots I saw on Sean's and Christine's camera were gorgeous too. It was a win-win for all of us involved, including our clients.
But thank goodness tomorrow's event doesn't start till 3. It's going to be a late night working about 10 hours into the evening, but I will relish sleeping in!