Reflections on my way to aspen
So I'm sitting on a plane right now on my way to Aspen to shoot a wedding. Like I do before every wedding I'm thinking about all of the ideal dreamy shots that I want to get. It's tough though because I've never been to this venue before. I can only imagining what the location looks like. The bride and groom showed me a few pictures months ago but certainly not enough for me to get a clear idea of what we're going to be working with.
So this whole thing has me thinking. What makes a good wedding photographer? Well besides knowing your gear, lighting and lenses (there's entire books written on these subjects so now is not the time to get into the details of these aspects of wedding photography) and being good with people, I believe being willing and able to adjust to the unknown and the ever changing variables is a must in order to be a good wedding photographer. There are so many variables to every single wedding no matter how big or small that it's impossible to predict every aspect of a wedding. The variables I'm speaking of consist of weather for one. Right now they're calling for rain and thunder storms the entire time we're in Aspen. I'm sure the couple didn't plan their wedding hoping that it would turn into a Guns and Roses music video with everyone running to get out of the -November- rain in late July. I've shot weddings where the plan was to shoot all formals before the ceremony but the groom's family got lost and barely made it to the wedding at all so we had to shoot his family formals after the ceremony. And let's face it. When people invite their friends and family to experience their magical day with them...from time to time someone celebrates a little too fast or too hard. I've heard some very colorful toasts and dealt with some folks who had a difficult time battling the uncanny strength of gravity making those formals quite challenging.
To sum up a wedding photographer needs to be a master of their craft. One needs to be able to at times take control of certain situations. I've had bride and the wedding planner approach me (knowing that we were running an hour behind schedule) expressing their concern about starting on time. By the time I was done with formals we were 20 minute ahead of schedule which allowed bridal party, bride and groom to gather themselves and chill out a bit before showtime. I've even buttoned a bride's dress when the brides mother couldn't. Sometimes clients will come to me (when it's pitch black) and say "let's go shoot". I got be able to perform.
One needs to have a plan B. You MUST be flexible. My clients hired me. They're the customer. I've got a plan for every wedding but if my clients come to me the day of the wedding and says they want to go a different direction than what I planned for...I have to be okay with that. It's their day. And like I've said before, I'm just fortunate enough the be the one who gets to capture all of these moments in this real life fairytale more commonly known as a wedding.