Last month I had the great honor and luck to shoot my very first wedding, thanks to Susie, the maid of honor who recommended me to the bride. I was nervous and stressed leading up to the wedding. Being trusted with documenting someone’s big day is enormous pressure, and I wanted to make sure “expectations were managed” before I signed on for anything. I am far from the skilled photographer I’d like to be, I have almost no gear at all, no fancy tools or tricks of the trade, nothing. So, I REALLY had to bring it.
Even though I couldn’t have asked for a more comfortable, hospitable atmosphere to shoot in, I was unhappy with the photos and very disappointed in myself; the results fell far from my standards. However, everything else was basically perfect. I got to stay the night in Monterey, drive Susie’s sweet ride, enjoy warm weather, and most importantly, get invaluable experience.
Weeks later, after spending hours on editing, I finally sent the online album to the bride and then gave her matte prints recently at dinner. My new drug now is hearing a bride tell me how much she genuinely loves my photos, that her and her husband watched the slideshow over and over; I LOVED watching her and her friends pour over every individual photo with relish, sometimes exclaiming, “That’s one of my favorites!” or “Ooh, I love that one!” It’s incredibly fulfilling, especially when she said it was the happiest day of her life, as well as the best wedding she’d ever been to. I felt so good to be a part of something so special. Inside, I was beaming with joy.
Ultimately, what matters is that the bride and groom are happy with the photographs. I’m still cringingly self-conscious of these photos, but even if I never shoot a wedding again, the experience was totally enriching and rewarding.