The challenges in wedding photography are nicely countered by plenty of entertainment for the photographer. A wedding photographer sees people at their most emotionally vulnerable state, most humorous, and occasionally most intoxicated state. Beyond the art aspect of wedding photography, I have fallen in love with having the opportunity to experience the diversity of wedding day experience from couple to couple. I’d like to provide my clients a little background on myself, to show even the photographer can experience and overcome nerves on wedding day.
I have never thought of myself as a nervous person. Public speaking has always come easy and been enjoyable to me. Being the center of attention doesn’t affect me. I have no problem giving people direction, so I naturally thought I would not be nervous photographing my first few weddings. With experience as a photographer in other genres, I was confident and able to portray confidence to my clients during the timeline meeting and everyone was ready to go for the wedding.
Until the birth of our twins, my wife Theresa was my assistant, so I had my “safety blanket” with me for my first wedding. We arrived early and had extra time after setting up to talk with the Bride and Groom before pictures started. It was early spring and rather cool outside, a photographers dream temperature to be out in the elements and working. Despite this, I was sweating profusely. The bride started to look at me funny and asked if I was alright. Oblivious to the state of moisture saturating my face, I told her I was okay and kept the discussion going. When she asked me a second time if I was okay, I let my thoughts slow and noticed my face was drenched. I am a very easy conversationalist, even with people I do not know, so this sweating from nerves in just speaking was a new phenomenon to me. I started to panic that something was wrong with me. I excused myself, composed myself physically and emotionally, and set forth to photograph the Bride and Groom.
At the location of our shoot while I was adjusting settings on my camera the bride asked me for a third time if I was okay and advise me my hands were shaking really bad. Her comment did not phase me because I’ve never been told I tremble before and figured she was just mistaken.
After we finished and were walking towards the car, the bride asked me if this was my first time shooting a wedding. I panicked in divulging such information to a client, not wanting to let them down or give them a concern for the quality of their images. Despite it being my first time photographing a wedding, I was a seasoned photographer in other genres and wanted my clients to have confidence in my abilities to provide the quality they were paying for. She further said that I had been acting nervous the whole time. I didn’t want her to know it was first time so I danced around the questions and kept walking. The groom then looked at me with this smirk and said “I remember my first time.” His comment made everyone laugh. The bride snapped at him for his crude comment, but it moved the focus from me to him. They got into the car and we all left without me officially answering her question.
My nerves calmed and the rest of the wedding went smooth, and she never brought it up again. I was thrilled with the images I had taken and my career as wedding photographer had its start. To this day, I have never admitted to that couple that they were my first wedding photography client. Nerves are a natural part of a wedding day. But as Bride and Groom you are not alone. As my portfolio of weddings has evolved, I have seen nerves portrayed and conquered by countless Brides and Grooms. I occasionally get nervous still, especially when plans do go as expected. But at the end of the day, the ceremony and partying will ensue. I will have forever frozen the memories of the day in time. You will be able look back and remember the day for as long as you both shall live.