Wedding story time!
These are two of my favorite wedding portraits from my entire 20 year wedding photography career. There’s something about the lines of the car and the lines of the veil that are ‘chef’s kiss’ to me (the expressions and body language are on point too). This was in British Columbia, in a gorgeous mountain resort: I flew from Newfoundland to BC just for this wedding, sounds idyllic right? Except I was beyond ill, I’m pretty sure I had the actual flu and my entire body was both freezing and simultaneously on fire.
I learned over years of wedding photography that you can get through just about anything for ONE day! Because with weddings there’s one shot at it, there’s no calling in sick or sending in a substitute (although that does happen in emergencies, I recently posted a story about that on my Facebook page), 99.999% of the time it’s up to you to pull through, rally, and deliver what was promised.
A side note on traveling for weddings or work in general is that it’s never as glamorous as you think, especially if you’ve never done it. It’s one of those things people romanticize and think ‘you are SO lucky!’ While it is an HONOR to be chosen to travel with a client and that can’t be downplayed, it’s also work, not vacation.
I’ve shot quite a few destination weddings in tropical locations and it’s the same situation: you are ON, you are the professional, and it’s a job although hopefully you do bond with your client and their entourage, that’s not guaranteed. I have stories about that – if you’re interested in hearing more leave a comment and I can write about some of those experiences including my own personal regrets, things I suggest you do differently than I did. Are you even growing in life if you can’t be self-aware and at times a little embarrassed of how you handled things in your career? There’s definitely stuff I would tell you to ‘do as I say not as I have done!’.
WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
Getting back to British Columbia.
The setting was unreal, the couple, the family, the wedding parties, everyone was everything you could ask for. Except I was head-pounding, body-aching, eyes-blurry, sick (traveling without my assistant) AND it happened to absolutely POUR rain most of the day. Which is why we were in the antique car pictured for a long time, but you know, it paid off because these are definite keeper shots.
I was kindly put up in a stunning suite at the resort and I still remember the room, more importantly: the soaker tub. Normally I would’ve stayed late at a destination wedding reception, but I could not hang; my body was rejecting life in general. I had to duck out at the end of my contracted time and sit in the hottest, deepest tub known to man, but I hated doing that, not because I feel like I ‘owe’ a client more at a destination wedding but because it’s fun to get caught up in the party, enjoy the festivities, and be part of the crowd.
I WILL SURVIVE AND THRIVE
All that to say, it’s amazing what you can get through for a day and how much relief can come from getting into a hot bath or a cozy bed after a difficult day where your body is screaming for rest. Don’t get me started on what it’s like to shoot a wedding when you’re having the worst cramps of your life. I’m not sure anyone wants to hear about that but comment if you do. I have another story on that from a separate British Columbia wedding oddly enough.
I don’t want to end it here without letting you know there’s more to sucking it up for a wedding, it’s not just about when you’re physically sick. Don’t forget when you’re going through some of the most awful personal problems, where life feels torn apart, but it’s your job to celebrate milestones and be happy for others on their BEST days. While you may be experiencing one of your WORST days. There’s an artform that’s probably not taught in college; how to balance your emotions during the most difficult times and still enjoy the day, or give the illusion that you’re enjoying it. Not necessarily a ‘fake it until you make it moment’ but what if we can put aside our own body aches/heartaches to genuinely appreciate and enjoy the big peaks someone else is experiencing in front of us? It’s a special opportunity to be self-less, that might sound extreme, but I think there’s truth in it.
When you’re at your worst and praying for the sweet relief of death (sarcastically or truthfully) it’s a wonderful part of life that we get to shelf for a minute and celebrate with others who won’t ever get that day back. Yes, there’s something wonderfully beautiful and self-less in being able to rally. Maybe we should do more of that for our loved ones, not just when it’s a work obligation and we don’t see any other way to get through it. But that’s a whole other subject you didn’t ask for me to preach on so I’ll end it here while you’re still somewhat interested.
Come back soon for more meandering stories of life and a glimpse into the behind the scenes of a Newfoundland photographer.
P.S. There’s no proof of that whole part about me being sick, I always wonder if I actually did pull it off, if anyone at the wedding would notice, or if they figured I just looked sweaty and hungover?! I was 100% not any of those things, I was legitimately ILL! Promise!
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