So I am going to start this blog off with me baring my soul to you all…the story behind these photos is one that gives me anxiety and makes me feel a weight on my chest…As a photographer, specifically a WEDDING photographer, your worst nightmare is screwing up something on someone’s wedding day…and that my dear friends….is the beginning to the story behind these photographs. It is cringe worthy, it is honest, it is a lesson learned.
I would like to start this story off by first asking my audience to take a good look at this couple featured in the header and below. Look at them. Look how happy they are. Look how damn beautiful and in love they are! Kelsey and Blaire are an INCREDIBLE couple and I am so so blessed to have been able to capture their love story…These photos were taken about 4 months after their wedding day. Weird right? Well let me tell you why.
Their wedding day was unlike any other-gorgeous, full of love, full of beauty, full of joy..and of course, a little hectic! What’s a wedding day without a little chaos? Kelsey and Blaire handled it with grace and truly understood the reason they were there. To get married!!!! I however, did something I NEVER do at a wedding. I stressed out.
The stress began when the 10 minute ceremony turned into a 45 minute ceremony. The preacher was ON-FIRE y’all. Haha! He was PREACHIN’ the truth and it was amazing…but it was making me nervous!!! I thought to myself, “C’mon man I love Jesus too but we’re losing daylight!”(such a selfish photographer, right? Other photogs, do ya feel my pain!?)…I recalled saying to the Bride before the ceremony, “Don’t stress, we can get pictures after the ceremony if everyone isn’t ready just yet.”…..I will literally never utter those words to any Bride ever again! haha! Take note people: Assume the worst. Get all the shots then and there. Always assume there is no time later! You just never know what might happen.
By the time the ceremony was over we had 30 minutes to shoot EVERYTHING. Bridal party, family, Bride & Groom portraits. AND WE WERE LOOSING DAYLIGHT!!!…Oh and did I also mention that the venue was hosting another event at the same time?!?!
Our light was gone. The venue had about 500 extra people crawling around the only space we had to shoot. We had to shove the family in a dark corner in the lobby because there was no room anywhere else. And the venue’s coordinator was breathing down my neck reminding me “15mins…..10mins….5mins…we really need to get them into the reception.”
This is where I messed up. This is where I should have said, “STOP.” I should have looked that wedding coordinator in the eye and told her to shove it!!!…not really…I can’t be mean like that…But if we had just taken 10 more minutes, I could have asked the Bride & Groom to take the time to get the family photos in the area where the ceremony took place, I could have run and gotten a bigger light. 10 minutes was all I needed. But I let the pressure of the time, the huge group of hungry family members staring me down, the extra 500 people walking around the venue, the wedding coordinator, and the pressure of not wanting to be a burden stop me from saying…”Stop.”
Last thing I want to say to my fellow photogs reading this…did you hear what I just said? “The pressure of not wanting to be a burden…”. Fellow photogs. This is our JOB. There is a fine balance between being obnoxious-acting like you run the show and it’s all about the photos, and wanting to make sure the day is all about the wedding. The truth is, the wedding day is not about the photos at ALL. It is all about the marriage…BUT…our JOB is to make sure we capture those moments…Don’t be afraid to speak up. If you need an extra 10 minutes don’t be afraid to pul your couple aside and say “hey, this isn’t working.” Give them another option. THEY run the show…and if they say no then work with what you have…But it’s worth it to ask.
And now we are here, at this blog post. I was devastated when I received an email from the Bride’s mother telling me how dissatisfied she was with the photos. Four years of doing this professionally…over 70 weddings and not ONE complaint. Thankfully, this family believes in grace. I offered them a free family session to make up for it as best as I could and they were gracious enough to take me up on it. I know it can never make up for the few dark and grainy family photos I gave them on their wedding day…but just LOOK at these. When I see these photos I see grace, I see love, I see joy.
So now you know…these are not just sun-shine filled, happy family portraits. These photos represent a weight on my heart, a mistake made and grace given.
That’s the true story.
Here are a few more of my favs from their session. To see the full gallery click here.