The evening of July 14th, I came home from shooting my very first wedding (check out that earlier blog post). I couldn't help but feel a little defeated. I was tired. I did not feel like I had done a good job (I struggle with the little problem of perfectionism). I focused on the "what I should have done" instead of giving myself a little grace and being proud of shooting my first wedding without loosing it! I told my husband that I was not sure I wanted to do weddings. Which at that time was a little unfortunate because I was booked to shoot a second wedding in exactly two weeks. Of course Kevin asked why I didn't like it and I really wasn't sure at that exact moment, but after pondering for a little bit, I had an idea.
You see, I wasn't in control. This is a problem because I like being in control. I need to be in control or at least think I am! I like to plan things and I certainly do not like surprises. It's kind of interesting that I spent so many years working in the ER, as no one is control in the ER and in that setting, I was awesome at rolling with the punches. However, in all other aspects of life, I yearn for control. And when I am not in control, I am uncomfortable....very uncomfortable.
The first wedding was lovely. It was not your traditional wedding though as it was the second marriage for the bride and groom and they were older. There was no coordinator. Just a loving and supportive family who all chipped in to plan a great celebration. I spoke with the bride once on the phone prior to the wedding and I was given very little direction as to what was expected. I knew that she wanted a few "getting ready" pictures and I knew that candid pictures of the family and guest having fun was a must. Other than that, I kind of went in blind, not really knowing what to expect of the day. Because of that, I was terrified I was going to miss something! So I literally shot anything and everything that day.
Fast forward a couple of weeks. It's now July 28th. It time for my second wedding. This wedding had been booked since February. All the challenges of the day were weighing heavy on my mind. The wedding was at 5 pm which meant bright full sun (not considered ideal for most photographers). It was gonna be a hot one. And the venue, the Citadel Beach Club, while very nice, was going to be a challenge because there wasn't much variety around the grounds. It pretty much consisted of a flat open lawn over looking the Atlantic Ocean on the Isle of Palms or aka IOP for us local Charleston residents.
I had been in touch off and on with the Bride via email since booking (she lives in Texas), but we hadn't really discussed the day in detail. I knew that after the first wedding, I wanted to go in with a plan, feeling more prepared. About two weeks before the wedding, I finally was able to have a great conversation with both the bride and groom via phone. I learned that they had hired a day-of-coordinator and they gave me a rough outline of the day. A couple days later, I spoke with Jessica, the wedding coordinator, who seemed cool and said she would give me a timeline in a couple of days. So after receiving the timeline from Jessica, I made my own time line based off the "master plan" of the day. You guys, I scheduled myself down to the minute. 15 minutes to shoot the reception set up. 20 minutes to shoot the bride and bridesmaids before they have to be tucked away. 10 minutes to shoot the groom. I knew that if I could stick to my timeline, I would get the shots that I wanted to include in their gallery.
All this planning and in true wedding fashion, the timeline started off a little behind. The bride arrived at the venue about 25 minutes after I expected her. So right out of the gate, I lost time. And that was the time to photograph her and her bridesmaids before guest started to arrive. So for a moment, I felt like I was back in the ER. I rearranged a little bit of the timeline and kept going. What I only have ~50 minutes to photograph all of the bridal party and family after the wedding? No problem. I stuck with it, directed people where I needed them to be and felt like a boss! I was in control of what I needed to do, to capture the images that I knew would make a complete gallery for the couple.
So to sum up the second wedding. It was a gorgeous beach wedding for a very awesome couple. I haven't quite finished their gallery but it is coming together beautifully. I got to spend half a day with some awesome people, including my hubby because he was there helping me out. Sure there are a few things I wish I would have done a little differently and a few shots that I did not get. But overall, I was pleased with my performance and the final product. Like everything in life it was a learning experience and will only make me better.
So what's the final verdict on weddings? They might not be completely out of the "picture" (ha ha...pun intended!). At this point I think I will stick to small intimate weddings if the opportunity presents itself. I'm not sure I will market toward weddings at this point, but I am not opposed to doing a few more to continue to test the water. Maybe I can second shoot at a few bigger ones, just to see how that goes too. So, ultimately, I'll keep you guys posted!
Enjoy a sneak peek of the 2nd wedding.