It’s so interesting to have experienced different perspectives of a wedding. The order in my participation has gone as such:
Last minute flower girl
When shooting a wedding, it helps to have different perspectives that don’t involve taking pictures at all. As a guest, I’ve seen photographers do juggling acts all around the couple with their pop up reflectors balancing against one leg, cameras swinging from their necks and still attempting to switch lenses…all at once. It was rather distracting as they nearly toppled over one of the bridesmaids. Looking back, I see how important it is to not interrupt what guests have come to witness. As a bride, I found that making friends with your photographers helps you feel like you have an ally on your side in case things get a little out of hand. It’s in those waiting-to-see-your-man moments, or those will-they-give-us-time-to-eat-our-cake moments where you have someone sharing in your excitement or demanding that the bride and groom have something to drink while they wait to enter their reception in the unforgiving heat of July.
When my husband and I got married, our wedding photographers stood by us in those moments. One of them even shed a tear during the ceremony. My husband remembers looking up and thinking, “why is our photographer crying?” But that was awesome because they were connected to us, like new friends made on the first day of school. We didn’t need to know much about each other except that we were in this together, and there’s a quiet kind of beauty in that.
I’ve also learned how to participate in weddings as a bridesmaid. If done right, a bridesmaid is fun, in tune with her surroundings and working, working, working to make sure she’s in the right place at the right time (no matter how uncomfortable the shoes are), helping the bride to not trip over her gloriously lavish gown and trying, to the best of her abilities, to make sure the groomsmen aren’t going TOO far in what they call “decorating the getaway car.” As a bridesmaid, I was so focused on the wedding, I was shocked when I saw the wedding photos. I kept thinking, “where was the photographer standing when he got that shot?!” He was mysteriously invisible throughout the night, and it worked because his photographs captured a lot of spontaneous moments.
With each wedding I’ve attended (photographer or not), I’ve taken a little vow of observation. To study the role in which I’m to participate and to observe the way others approach the wedding day as well. One of the great things about this internship is that it provides you opportunities to not just see how Mark works a wedding, but how the other associate photographers work as well. They all delegate differently, set up lighting differently, and depend on you differently. It’s been amazing to see it’s worked in so many ways, which is an opportunity not many can say they’ve had. It really helps solidify that there’s not one specific way to shoot a wedding and really, it takes a lot of pressure off of me.
If my husband and I were to say, “yes, we are like every other couple you’ve met,” well that would sound absolutely ridiculous. The same goes for photographers. We approach things differently from each other. That’s what makes us artists. And I love getting to see that through this internship.