Carla and Cheo’s 10.10.10 wedding was a pretty big event to be shooting by myself, especially trying to work around two television crews, but what saved me was that everyone was staying on the same property. The day was warm for being well into October, and I felt it while running around the lodge, trying to photograph both the bridal party and the groomsmen before the ceremony.
When I shoot weddings my hours are unlimited, which is extremely unusual for the industry. Everyone sets a limit on the hours they’ll shoot, but not me — shooting is my favourite part! It’s where most of the creativity happens, and unless it’s impossible I will shoot from beginning to end — from the prep time to when the DJ turns off the music. This makes for an extremely long day (averaging 12-16 hours), but I don’t want to miss anything.
Unless we meet at the rehearsal (if there is one), I usually meet the groomsmen and the bridesmaids in the morning while they’re getting ready. For me, it’s my warm-up time with the wedding party: they’re a little nervous about having their photos taken but rather distracted by the pressing need to find their ties, shoes, hair product, accessories, what-have-you and scribbling down the speeches they would’ve finished the night before except they were caught up in toasting until last call. Some…times they’re hungover. In any case, this is my chance to get a sense of their personalities and whether I can get them to do things like jump precariously on lake docks, take off their clothes, squeeze into elevators, pretend they’re gangsters or auditioning for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, push a car uphill on a gravel road, or high-five each other during the ceremony. (OK, that last one they came up with themselves.)
Taking photographs of people during a big life event such as a wedding is a rather intimate relationship that is managed by the photographer. The more comfortable people are with their photographer, the more they are themselves, the more they forget I’m there, and the more natural the photographs look. I have to take it upon myself to reach that level of trust — very quickly, I must add — and of course make them look good. And, they do!
I love this series of shots between Cheo and his best man, getting ready. Dean is a big guy and I was wondering if I’d have to resort to standing on the bed to get the shots I wanted!
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