The Photographer

I photographed my first wedding on Saturday for two fantastic friends Morag and Ray. The wedding took place in St Andrews in the university chapel and associated “Quad”.

Morag had asked me over six months ago if I’d be interested in photographing their wedding and I enthusiastically agreed. Realism kicked in later on as I realised I would probably need a new camera and numerous people took great delight in telling me how foolish I’d been to volunteer in documenting the most important day of two people.

I think in the end I clocked up 923 photos: capturing Mo getting ready, photos of the chapel, guests arriving, signing the register, the “formal” group shots, many of the bride and groom themselves, some “natural” ones of friends and family, the dinner, the table decorations, cutting of the cake and then the dancing.

There are a number of shots with which I’m pretty chuffed, some that would have been perfect if I’d changed the Flash setting / had the light hitting the subject from a different angle / hadn’t clipped their darn feet out …. and some brilliant “by-luck” shots where the expressions are superb (Helen). In general, I think I have plenty for a really nice wedding collection and it’s true they won’t have the grace of an experienced photographer, but they’re definitely full of character.

I owe a massive thank-you to my friends Alan and Nathalie for my “speed-wedding-photography” class and to Maria’s boyfriend Stu who also gave me some hints and tips leading up to the wedding. Thanks to Mo and Ray for being so wonderful to work with and also to Colin and Ken for their support on the day – an absolutely first class team!

Most of the comments people made about this commitment were based on my apparent bravery… sometimes indicating that it was unwise to get involved with such a prestigious occasion. Men would ask what camera model I’d be using and if I’d purchased any additional lenses, would I be using a tripod, had I got a flash-gun? Women would just wonder what on earth made me take on such a commitment.

Here are a few things people didn’t tell me…. some insights from the day:

1)   No matter how skilled the wedding photographer…. There is no substitute for a friendship with the bride. I got pics that I’m pretty confident no other photographer would have got and whilst I’m sure experience counts for a huge amount in competency, so does rapport and creating an environment where the photographer (and subject) can play.

2)   I don’t know if I’d want to do this for another wedding as Mo and Ray were unusually relaxed about their day, but as The Photographer I was actively introduced to all guests and thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone there.

3)   It was a great way to talk to people you didn’t know

4)   It made you notice things you may otherwise miss on such an occasion

5)   Actively involving your guests gives everyone a richer experience and it’s an effort to get people focussed back on the marriage – a celebration of two lives together, rather than the logistical aspects of the wedding day itself

6)   For all my worrying beforehand, I wouldn’t take back this experience for anything. It was hard work and very tiring, but really had the best time and by far my favourite wedding to date.

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