Sunday, July 12, 2009

adventures in wedding photography #1

Fast-forward to the end of the day: it turned out to be a great wedding!

It was with both unfounded optimism (on my regaining some use of my right leg) and new-found belief in Tylenol3 that I took on this wedding assignment. After all, just 10 days before this wedding, I was in bed writhing in pain from sciatica as a result of a pinched nerve (from either a slipped-disk or a herniated disk).

Saturday, July 11 was going to look like this:
80% forecast for rain in the morning, Bridal party of 18 (+ bride and groom). Guest list: over 380. Reception: The Liberty Grand, right in the middle of road closures for the Honda Indy Road race.
This was going to be a long day. The wedding itself was from 10am - 12midnight. Factor in the 2 hours pre- and 2 hours post-shoot and it literally is, a long day!

I was going to shoot as a candid photographer with Brian as the main photographer. We would be on our feet all day, draped with pounds of equipment. We would be shooting people, food, fashion, architecture, portraits, landscapes, and potentially, pets. As photographers, we have to live with, deal with, and usually end up being friends with, the other professionals at the wedding: the videographer, the wedding planner, the officiating people, the food people, the venue people. It is taken for granted by the people who hire photographers that we are technically proficient and artistically inclined. More often than not, we also function as mind-readers, people herders, lighting consultants, psychiatrists, race-car drivers (to make up for road problems), and peace-makers.
We are the swiss army knives in the photography world! We perform our jobs with seeming ease, because a nervous photographer makes for a nervous bride.
Sure enough, overcast skies progressed to a thunderstorm, leading to a torrential downpour. As Brian and I sat in the car looking at our shoot notes and going over our equipment, lightning hits the transformer tower about 200 metres away from us. Black smoke bellows out, followed by sparks, another explosion, more sparklers-like light show, another blue flash, and then finally, dark smoke.
The bride is Italian-Canadian, the house is spotless and the food is generously layed out, waiting for the guests to show up. I had to leave for the groom's house to take photos there so I can only imagine what it was like to prepare for the big day without the use of hair dryers and room lights.
My shoot notes specified that I should have been at the groom's house in 20 minutes (10:30). Instead, I got there at 11:25, after getting a tour of Richmond Hill on the way to picking up 3 groomsmen. The groom is Italian-Canadian and the expansive house was filled with people, food, and really, really good vibes! Due to (mainly) time and space constraints, I couldn't follow my shooting script. (Mental note: will have to do this at the park...more pressure.)

But here the horror story ends. The rest of the day went without a hitch. The skies cleared up and Osgoode Hall and the TD buildings provided a wonderful backdrop for the formals. The dreaded traffic jams in and around the wedding venue (The Liberty Grand) didn't materialize, the food was amazing, and the young guest tenor did a few Italian favourites that brought tears to some of the guests. Most important of all. I'm sure the bride and groom will be quite satisfied with their photos!

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