On Motherhood & Sanity

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

a photographer's biggest nightmare: impromptu wedding

Recently I attended the wedding of a dear long time friend of ours. He is a charming and funny Irishman well known for being disorganized and unpredictable. Needless to say he loves this about himself, if anything because it gives him license to get away with almost anything.

The wedding was to take place in Scotland where the bride is from. We were very curious to meet her, and as my parents had offered to stay behind with the kids, very keen on having a good time.

The night before the other shoe dropped: the photographer had been in a car accident, could I possibly take the pictures?

As some of you already know, I DON'T DO WEDDINGS. I love weddings, and wedding photos are probably my favorite of all. I just can't face the possibility of fucking it up, but under the circumstances, how could I say no?

As a "tourist" attendee I had brought with me only ONE lens and ONE memory stick. I'm sure my fellow photographers are sweating just from reading this.

For starters, I haven't set foot in a church, with the exception of weddings, since my teens, so I didn't feel too comfortable to begin with. It didn't help that after the first five minutes, and not aware that I was now the "official photographer" the priest actually stopped to ask me to get off the altar and take pictures later, (so on top of everything, I am probably going to hell for disrespecting the podium, or altar, or whatever it is they call it.)

Fortunately at this point I had spontaneous competition. A young man from the crowd was moving around swiftly, and attracting no attention from the priest, (whose speech was rather sexist, so I don't think it was a coincidence). I tried to joke with the man

"Between the both of us I guess we'll manage something"

But he did not reply. A disdainful look was all I got. I guess this was no joking matter. No kidding.

Outside the church feeling more in my element I snapped away, but my spontaneous competitor did not seem to appreciate this. He'd had the priest on his side, and now he had convention too: he was wearing sock, shoes, pants, shirt and jacket, all I had was a silk dress (and boots, there was no way I was going to walk around in the snow in tiny heels).

Then came time for a one on one with the bride and groom, and I was invited into the wedding car. The look on the other guys face totally made up for at least some of the pain and suffering.

Finally I was in my element, this is what I do, portraits.

Long story short, I spent most of the wedding taking pictures of wedding groups under the military supervision of the bride (a skill she'll need to keep my friend in check). Ditto during the dinner, where as dictated by English tradition speeches followed more speeches. But once we got to the dance floor, the lights dimmed and everyone let their hair down... by then I was dead and exhausted and just wanted to go home.

So much for my night out in the town without the kids.

So now you know why I don't do weddings, and also why I'll never do a wedding again.


Vicente said...

That is why I didn't ask you for help in my wedding's photos even when the "official" photographer, a girl friend of Marina, didn't know how to turn on her brand new Nikon F4 :-)

nice post, besos


Anonymous said...

Nevertheless, your photos came out great!!!

angelica said...

thanks. everyone assumed I was loving it, while really I was totally stressed out.... although in the end it was ok, but still wish I'd had the proper gear

Saxon Henry said...

I can't imagine being put in this position and pulling it off so beautifully! Thanks for stopping in at my blog, The Road to Promise. I listed your blog on my blog list and I'll click follow here (as well as stopping back in from time to time to see what you're up to!)...so nice to be connected!