Ready or not, wedding season is upon us! It's been a while since I've posted anything wedding-related, so I'd like to take this opportunity to share my wedding portfolio (plus a bunch of other fun shots) with you all.
I love everything about shooting weddings. The stress, the hustle and bustle, the venues, the details... Emotions run high, and so do the opportunities.
Thornewood Castle, Tacoma, aka "opportunity"
I started my business in 2008, but the first times I was asked to man the camera for a friend's "back yard" wedding were in 2006, when I was still shooting film exclusively.
When I finally made the decision to start pursuing photography professionally, I converted to a DSLR for the additional efficiency, safety, and cost-effectiveness.
This bride's badassery didn't stop at knife-licking. They now have adorable, rambunctious twins!
Fortunately, I have a lot of friends and a HUGE family full of doe-eyed young people who were all on their way to the alter about the time I started pursuing this career, so my camera and I were asked to a lot of events in that first year or so.
Above: Kissin' Cousins. Hm... doesn't sound quite right... Anyway, that's my cousin and his wife.
When I first started, I did what I think most new wedding photographers do; I stalked to bride and groom.
Above/Below: High school sweethearts who reunited 30 years later. Say it with me now: "Awwwww!"
I was forced to break myself of this habit pretty early on, though, when I was hired as a second shooter for a wedding that, it later turned out, had five photographers and two videographers! The couple was incredibly charming and gracious, and the venue was lovely, but we were tripping over each other! I tried desperately to get the shots of the Bride and Groom that I wanted, but there was always another photographer in my frame, or over my shoulder. I knew I had to find a way to stand out.
Thank goodness for kids blowing bubbles.
I started chasing the kids around! Kids are "easy money" at any event, because even when they are acting up, they are photogenic.
Virtually every wedding I've ever shot or attended, there was a handful of really charming, cute, mischievous children running around.
Unfortunately, after about 30 minutes, one of the kids at the aforementioned photographer-heavy wedding decided to go a little over-the-top with her cute antics, and she drew the attention of the other photographers. I had to adjust again, so I focused on getting good candid shots of all the attendees. I've always striven to get good, complete coverage, but I'd never been forced out of my comfort zone the way I was at that wedding.
It paid off in a way I never imagined, though, when I received this email from the bride:
"Happy Holidays, I hope you and your family are doing well. I wanted to send a quick note and let you know your photos made a difference in a family this Christmas. At our wedding, you shot an amazing photo of a family friend with her sister. "Friend" was suffering from terminal cancer, and soon after the wedding, went to be taken care of in a hospice for her cancer. The photo you captured was one of the last photos the family had while she was living with this, just weeks later- she quickly went to 80 pounds and recently passed away December 15th. I wanted to send a personal thank you for capturing her at her best, all smiles, and celebrating my wedding."
I found over time that wedding work suited me well because it appealed to my need for constant stimulation. There is a basic structure to shooting a wedding; you have a specific list of shots that you absolutely have to get, and it's a pretty substantial list.
Gotta get good shots of the venue!
Gotta get those rings!
That cake was expensive, and it's about to be annihilated; better photograph it!
If you miss that pronouncement kiss/walk, you are a failure, and the couple is going to sue the shit out of you. No pressure.
Speaking of cake...
It can be challenging to photograph things like cake-cutting in a creative way. Sometimes the couple handles that for you:
Bouquet tosses, garter tosses, and first dances... Check, check, check!
Bridal party portraits? Check!
Once your ring/pronouncement/kisses quota is filled, you are free to roam and play. I always remind myself to to look for the little things.
Or the big presents!
Weddings have provided me boundless creative opportunities as a photographer. For instance, a couple I worked with had their wedding in Vegas. The chapel had a photographer already, but they invited several photographer friends as guests, and had us take some extras. It allowed me to justify taking a road trip to Vegas (like I needed an excuse!). I detailed that trip in this post.
Designer friends of mine have provided me chances to get down and dirty with bridal fashion (for more of my bridal fashion work, check out this post and this post!).
And I've had unique opportunities to work closely with venues like Marriott to make promotional material.
It's been a little while since I shot a wedding, and I have a couple lined up in the fall that I'm unbelievably excited for! As I said in this post.... When people hire me to shoot their events, they are entrusting me with their memories, which is intensely intimidating and humbling. So, all that said, I love my job. Even the most difficult, eye-strain-headache-creating, waffle-and-coffee-binge-inducing, no-potty-break-having events (Oktoberfest, anyone?) are a joy and a privilege. I hope to never have to do anything else for any meaningful period of time ever again.
For even more of my favorite wedding photos (plus the rest of my general portfolio), and for event pricing, check out my primary site at http://www.wayfaringphoto.com or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org