Keeping Your Cool at Weddings 

A wedding photographer plays a large part in a wedding, keep a cool head always

Keeping Your Cool at Weddings Auntie Flo

Keeping Your Cool at Weddings - So, it is a hot day anyway, you have spent weeks preparing for this wedding photography shoot, you have met the couple once or twice, you have visited the location once or twice, you have meticulously cleaned all your kit twice and finally charged all the batteries to the hilt!

You then arrive at the bride's location on the morning of the wedding only to be turned away because she is stressed and "nowhere near ready".

First piece of advice…don’t take it personally!

When this happens to me I just think: "Ok! You are paying (or have hopefully paid by now) the bills". I then head off to the church to get the next set of shots. Throughout the rest of the day you start to wonder if they have it in for you…

  • During the ceremony the world and his wife shuffle around. Even up at the front of the church, with their new digital cameras firing wildly. The couple walking back down the aisle at the end of the service is more like the premiere of "Harry Potter 19 - Grisleshnitchzen Weasledwarf III fights back". Photographers everywhere!
  • After the ceremony you are "encased" with well wishers and "photographers" trying to get their shots
  • Whilst you are shooting the formals, you turn around to see 20 or so people stealing every shot that you set up. They fire numerous flashes as you try and work
  • Right in the middle of the set up, there is always an "Auntie Flo" or an "Uncle Bob" who walks right in front of me. See image above They just say "Ooh, can I just get this one me luvvie"?
  • Half way through the formals (and I work quickly and try to keep them to a bare minimum), the couple express their boredom and willingness to head off to the bar to be with their guests. Even the friendliest and meekest of brides have got extremely hot under the collar in the soaring Spanish temperatures.

I do warn them but do they listen?

Cameras, cameras and more cameras at every point throughout the day. It makes you just want to curl up and have a nap! After all, your job is being done for you! I would normally suggest that speaking to the couple about all these things before the big day will prevent or at least keep these situations to a minimum. However, I have shot enough weddings recently to now acknowledge that this situation is here to stay.

As shameful as it sounds, and I usually enjoy wedding photography and really get into the feel of the day. Sometimes though, I just think of the money, stay professional at all times and do the best I can. Some photographers may argue that you need to take control. I agree, but when you have a group of lads and lasses with a few drinks in them and in "full-on party mode", it can be tough!

So, what do I do?

I used to let it get to me. However, I actually think the past 4 years, especially having two young children, have mellowed me enormously. I just go with the flow.

If you are just starting out, believe me when I say these events or similar will happen to you. Sometimes it is all too easy to rise to a situation, but just walk away. Gather yourself and continue with professionalism or at least until you have the cheque and then leg it! Joke…not...joke.

As a last thought, here are a few things that have happened during my weddings that made me want to quit. Now I just look back and smile.

  • In the early days (1990's) after the bride had just walked past down the aisle, I eagerly jumped out to get some arty shots only to step on her extraordinarily long train making her fall backwards
  • Same wedding, on leaving the venue we knocked the best man over with our car rushing to get to the reception (he wasn't hurt)
  • Bride arrives at church for very expensive wedding only to find that the large choir were at the wrong church. No one had noticed until now and the vicar had to use his very cheap and "tinny" cassette player instead
  • Vicar had his microphone low on his chest and throughout the ceremony his stomach was rumbling…loud. Needless to say the tears of laughter were flowing all around, including mine
  • And so on...

My advice to anyone starting out in wedding photography and reading this?

Do this;

  1. 1
    Prepare for every wedding with the same meticulous routine each time. Even if you have shot the venue many times before
  2. 2
    Work the day as planned and work to your schedule. If it changes throughout the day, and it will, go with the flow. Be ready to make hasty changes/decisions
  3. 3
    Remember that you are being paid for this. It is the couple's prerogative to whinge/change things/run away etc. Just do your job with a smile and give them your best work under the circumstances
  4. 4
    Enjoy it…no matter what. You are getting paid well to do something you love are you not?

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