I don't hate weddings.
Being a wedding photographer (whatever that means) isn't an easy job. In fact, go and read this and then come back and read further.
I've photographed a handful of weddings. Actually - that isn't completely true. I've probably photographed close to a 100, but mostly as a second photographer. The handful I speak of are ones that I was specifically booked for; mostly by friends and I know, I know - NEVER do work for friends; but I can't help it. I love these people and if this "photography" thing is the one thing I can give to them, then so be it.
One, no wait, two of my best friends recently got married, on the 29th of September 2016. Ett and Shan got engaged whilst in New York in June/July and then decided shortly thereafter that instead of having a prolonged engagement why not get married as soon as they could. They went through their calendars and came across a date that they were both free and proceeded to plan a wedding in 7 weeks.
That's not a lot of time to do A LOT of preparation, planning and work. A venue needs to be selected, flowers, cakes, tables, cutlery, bridesmaids, groomsmen, invites, the list goes on and on, and on the top of that list is a photographer. How the hell do you find a photographer available on such short notice, let alone a photographer whose work you like? You don't. And after I suggested some people and Ett called and emailed; without any success, Ett came up to me and put his hand on my shoulder and said; "I wouldn't ask you this if I had any other option, because I really want you to be part of our wedding party, but will you be our photographer?". Or at least something to that effect :) How could I say no?
And then the realisation hit me; "f**k, I just said yes to photographing the wedding of a friend and a photographer whom I look up to and respect so much". Butterflies in my stomach turned into barbed wire and the legend goes that I might have been sweating blood.
Alas, there was no turning back now. For weeks I fretted, and the day before the wedding as I was setting up 30 tables on my own, another friend (Jurgen Marx) called about a job he wanted me to do. We chatted about Ett and Shan’s wedding, for a bit, the conversation ended, and I went about the work at hand. Five minutes later the phone rang and he said "Dude, you can't shoot this alone, let me come and help you", which alleviated some of the stress involved, but not nearly enough. Tomorrow I'd be documenting one of the most important days of two very dear friends.
So without keeping you any longer, here are some photos from the day. Have fun.
Click on images for a larger view.
Before you carry on looking at the images, I just want to chip in again for a moment. Jurgen saved my ass this day. Knowing that he was at the venue getting images of people and the decor etc. made my life considerably less stressful and I want to take a moment to thank him for that.
Upon arriving at the place Shan was getting ready, her first words to me were something to the effect of; "it's okay if you mess this up" :D Hahaha.. I think what she wanted to say, in a really backwards way, was "Don't stress". I was stressed, this was a big deal to me, but man, as soon as I started shooting it just felt so comfortable and I knew that I had this. Sitting with them a week ago, having lunch and looking through the images, there were so many times where they said they couldn't even remember me being there and being that close.
I feel really honoured that I was let into a space that is so intimate with so much trust by two people I love dearly, because that allowed me the freedom to move around and through the days events unencumbered, which allowed me to make the best images I could.
There were a few tough situations, like trying to photograph a speech through tear filled eyes. Probably the only wedding I've cried at ever. I've been close at other weddings, but here, the tears welled up and the dam walls broke.
It was a great day, though, and I am glad that I could celebrate it with them through my photography and relive it with them in their home and see how happy they were with what I did. And THAT, that is why I sometimes say "yes".
Thanks for reading.
Editors Note: Here's another great article/blog by my friend Anne Simone.