Different photographers have different challenges. But for me, one of the ultimate photographic challenges is shooting a wedding. Thinking on your feet, getting the proper exposure in variable lighting conditions, and capturing images quickly without inadvertently placing a cactus on top of someone’s head, all make wedding photography a fun, but challenging endeavor.
Getting those special shots doesn't come without spending some time making yourself better, including: taking classes, knowing your equipment to make the best use of it, and preparing for the wedding ahead of time by visiting the venue beforehand.
As a cyclist, I can say that preparing for a bike race in the southwest is similar to preparing for a wedding. You train regularly, test your racing skills on fast group rides, like Tucson’s famous “shoot out” ride.
On race day, you have to react to constantly changing conditions, making sure you stay upright. If you don't pay attention, you may end up with a piece of cactus protruding from your helmet after making an errant move on the racecourse.
Last Saturday, I shot my first wedding of the year. After paying a visit to the church at least twice, and then visiting the reception area, I felt ready. Back-up camera, multiple flashes, extra batteries and memory cards, and the shot list coordination with the new bride all having been accomplished. I arrived an hour early, just to be ready. Yes, I was a bit nervous, but in a good way.
My initial shots were of the groom, then the bride, then back to the groom and his groomsmen, then the bride and her maids of honor, then on to the ceremony. Next came the altar returns, and lastly, the reception. Overall, it was a successful day. I got all the shots I wanted and after checking the images, no cactus, only a hat and a veil, were spotted on the tops of heads.
Photography, Lessons Learned, and Cycling.
I have been taking pictures since I was about 6 years old. I started with a Kodak Instamatic. Just holding that Kodak was fun back then. Today, the camera badge may say "Nikon", but the fun of taking someone's photograph is still there.
Times have changed regarding photography over the past 20 years. My first business was in in Corpus Chirsti, Texas back in 1992. I went under the same name, my name, David Whitney French Photography. One of my favorite photo gigs was doing weddings. Why? Well, besides being a challenge at times, with the stress of getting the right shot in the age of film, everyone was happy! It was a happy time for the groom, bride, attendants, everyone. What more could I ask for? Hanging out, with a camera for a few hours or more with a bunch of happy people.
Oh, and I like riding my bike!