MY THREE WEDDINGS

Got off track a bit with the whole blogging thing.  Started reading “Shadow of the Night”, the sequel to “A Discovery of Witches”.  It is 584 pages long, and I am a slow reader.  Plus, not having bought a Kindle yet, I am in mortal danger of such a big book crashing on my head when I fall asleep while reading.  As it is, when I do fall asleep, one of my fingers usually saves my place, which usually finds me waking up with absolutely no feeling in that finger.  Ah, the hazards I face.

The other thing that has slowed my blogging process to a standstill is my preparation for the upcoming nuptials. This weekend is the big weekend.  My first official wedding.  Practicing, rereading class notes, re-watching downloaded classes, practicing, worrying.  I vacillate between the belief that I will just blow the socks off this assignment and the feeling of impending failure.  However, this is normal for me.  I felt that way before every school year and coaching season.

The grandfather of the bride, and I love calling him that, although unfortunately he can’t turn a computer on and will never read this, was talking to me the other day saying he didn’t remember his daughter’s wedding being so fancy and complicated.  Although I can’t take credit for this saying, I told him that weddings have become the “wedding-industrial complex.”  People have made a whole industry out of figuring out ways to get people to part with their money for a one day event.   And I admitted to him that I am happily attempting to join in all the fun.  He  grumbled something about part of the problem, not the solution or some such nonsense, and then told me I was no better than the paparazzi.  I figure I get the last laugh, he has two more granddaughters.

But the whole conversation got me to thinking about how much weddings have changed since I got married.  The wife made her own wedding dress, the photographer was my dad’s secretary’s husband who did weddings as a paying hobby, a lady at church baked the wedding cake,  the only flowers we had were the bouquets, and the reception was at the my wife’s parent’s house.

Much has changed.

In my one of my first posts I talked about my 1st “unofficial” wedding shoot and the household emergencies that prevented me from getting some equipment upgrades such as a flash and a better lens.  Taking beautiful pictures just doesn’t happen with a pop-up flash.  But in spite of the limitations of a pop-up flash and a 24-90mm 4.0 lens (a nod to the techno-folks reading this) I did find glimpses of potential in my final results.  Maybe this is my newness to the business, but I am pretty sure capturing all the traditional portrait and family pictures is a fairly normal task.  Since I was unofficial, I didn’t take those formal portraits, but I concentrated on looking for shots that captured the emotionalism of the event,  the interactions of the bridal party and the guests that help push the story of the night forward.

From my art and photography class I learned that one should get the viewer interested in what the story is outside the frame of the picture.  I believe this shot does a great job of that.  Who are they looking at?  What is making the bride laugh?  And when the Duc and Van look at this, hopefully it sparks a memory: “Oh, yeah, that’s when…”

This is another example of pushing the story outside the frame.

One thing I also learned is that a great subject for a photograph is people interacting with children.  When I took the following shot, I was just focusing on the couple doing a silly balloon game.  It wasn’t until later that I noticed the child in the photo totally focused on something interesting her little world oblivious to the main event right next to her.  I will tell everyone who asks how I got this shot that it was a sheer stroke of genius.  I will confess to you here, it was what I like to call “a happy accident”

So armed with my, hopefully not overly, confident feeling about my photography skills, and pretty much scared witless about the mechanical things I cannot control, I am prepared to go forward with Mallory and John’s wedding.  One thing I did was to rent some professional grade lenses and a flash.  I rented from Borrow Lenses.  A big shout out to them.  I could have rented locally, but the company I went to wanted to secure my credit card for about 80% of the price of what I rented.  If I had that much money on a credit card, I would just buy what I need.  So I checked out borrowlenses.com and rented the wedding photographer package of 3 lenses and a flash.  I have a 50mm 1.8 lens that I have been using.  One of the lenses I rented is a 50mm 1.2 lens.  When I saw the difference, I was reminded of this line from “The Three Amigos”:

“You  wanna die with a man’s gun!  Not a little sissy gun…”

So it’s D-Day, countdown to lift off, “damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead’ and feel free to add whatever cliche’ you would like to add.  I am now armed with my rental man guns, owner’s manual and lots of check off sheets. Wish me luck.

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