22 Jul Improving The Bride
Wedding work can be a very strange sport. I mean art…err…trade. Calling? Profession – let’s call it a profession. Like dentistry or quantity surveying. Name it as we will, it is still strange.
For instance, what other professions would dare to suggest to a woman on the most glorious and happy day of her life that she needs to be improved. The hair dressers and nail polishers and face painters all do, and so do the active photographers. The dressmakers and florists and caterers all operate from a different position; they provide a contracted service as close to what is called for as cheap a price as might be achieved. The rest get in there and improve.
Puzzle this out as you will, there are a number of things that you might do – as a sometime wedding photographer – to be of actual help:
a. If you don’t know what to do, learn it – and learn it well away from and well before the day you are contracted for. How you get the knowledge of camera operation, lighting, posing, and other mechanical aspects – including the post production – can be academic or practical. But if you are going to be strapped into the ejector seat as the wedding photographer with the canopy locked, you’d better know how to fly the crate.
b. If you don’t know how to talk and listen to people, find out. Part of what you need to do is find out what the bride and groom really want…you must be willing to accept orders. Then you need to know how to modify them and to see a better idea obeyed…and do so in a diplomatic manner. Unfortunately, in the bride, groom, and associate family, you will rarely be dealing with diplomats.
c. If no-one else has any idea what to do…about the wedding or the photos or the ceremony…and believe me there are weddings conducted in just this sort of manner around Perth every weekend…have a definite set of ideas and plans for yourself. You’d be amazed how your own sense of timing, fitness, and ceremony can sometimes step in and keep the show running smoothly. This goes ditto for the presiding officials and the organisers. You are all an allied crew serving commanders who may be all at sea.
d. Unless you are doing the photos for Elizabeth Taylor or Mickey Rooney, expect the bridal couple to be novices. They may have binged themselves upon wedding industry propaganda and hype and be both suffering and insufferable as a result. Don’t let their stress stress you.
In the end the ceremony unites two people with an official hearing them agree to a ritual set of words under the eye of two sober witnesses…and everyone else save these five people are mere ghosts. Including you. Shoot whatever pictures you can, as well as you can, but don’t lose sight of what a wedding actually is.