I always said I wouldn’t be a wedding photographer. I have so much respect for those who carve their careers out in this part of the industry. It takes hours of dedication to their craft; the ability to work with large (sometimes unruly!) groups; a cool head in stressful situations with those one-off-moments and a mountain of pressure to capture them all. It didn’t seem to be for me. Not with my ambitions to capture family portraits and find a place in the ever competitive and demanding field of wildlife photography.
I had so much fun in fact, that when my other friends got engaged, I offered to help out and take photos for them.
I almost instantly got cold feet and second guessed my decision to offer my services. Not because I didn’t want to help my friends and be a part of their big day, but because I had an overwhelming sense of doubt in my ability to do it well. I was nervous and unsure of myself. This was the first time I was going to be the main photographer at a wedding. In my rush to help I’d put myself under the very pressure I’d said wasn’t for me. And so the worries began.
But I made a promise to a friend and I was going to keep it. I listed the things that were concerning me and set about tackling them. I went through my manuals again and reminded myself of things that had slipped from my memory. I researched and practiced the shots I wanted to take and more importantly, the shots the happy couple wanted me to take.
It turned out my biggest concern was the indoor lighting. Not an unusual worry for a photographer, but certainly one I was used to having more control over or the fun of dealing with natural light outdoors. So I found tutorials and classes to attend to help me improve and get better. It made me feel more confident on the day. The last thing anyone wants on their wedding day is an anxious photographer.
The day rolled around a few months later and I was a mixture of nerves and excitement. Fueled by a heady mix of sleepless-night-compensated-for-by-too-much-coffee and pure adrenaline, I headed over early for the celebrations.
I really needn’t have worried. It was another day of love, laughter, family and friends. I was so grateful to be part of it. It wasn’t a perfect shoot. Things went wrong as they always do. The best laid plans gave way to mishaps and changes but the important part of the day remained. My two friends were getting married in a room full of love. There’s nothing better. I understood why wedding photographers dedicate their lives to capturing these happy moments.
Just a few weeks later, a friend I hadn’t seen in years got in touch. He had found my instagram account and my website. Turns out he and his fiance love my style of photography and had been looking for someone to capture the moment at their wedding a couple of months later. I was available and delighted to be asked. My first official wedding booking was confirmed.
And then came the nerves again. Except this time they were more easily put back in their place. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer in a little bit of nerves and adrenaline being essential to keep you sharp before any performance but there’s a fine line and excessive nerves are no good to anyone.
Once again the day was beautiful and it was so wonderful to be a part of it. The happy smiles from reunited friends and family; the sunshiny day in the stunning Scottish Borders and the love between a bride and groom who danced the night away together. It seems I may found my niche in this crazy world of Wedding Photography. My couples have both been in touch to thank me for taking the stress out their big day. As it turns out, I’m ideally suited for couples who want to capture moments to remember but aren’t keen on being in front of the lens. They want someone who they can trust to put them at ease, to have control over the shots on the day and to know they won’t be asked to pose for hours away from their guests. My style of photography lends itself well to just that and I’m excited to be looking towards a future that involves more wonderful moments between happy couples.
For now though, I’ll still enjoy having my camera with me at all my friend’s weddings. I rarely go anywhere without it. Who can resist those happy memories?