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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Wedding Photography NIGHTMARE at a High School with Jasmine Star

Another photography nightmare, so far the most detailed and horrific. I swear I'm not worried about shooting Kaitlyn's wedding but all of my subconscious nerves must be rising to the surface or something. Maybe my brain is preparing me so no matter what happens, I'll try extra hard at Kaitlyn's wedding and anything that happens will be better than what I've dreamt so far.  I'd love to hear a psychologist explain my brain to me. lol What do you think…..

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THE NIGHTMARE
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It was taking place in a high school and people were spread out everywhere. The first thing I remember was spreading out my lenses on some counter top for easy access. I left them there while I ran some errand and when I returned a few of them were missing like my 70-200 and they had been replaced with some random crappy lenses (I think in my mind they were supposed to be 'Nikon' lenses — talk about subconscious prejudice lol). They were also really weird lengths like 75mm and 45mm — never heard of them before. So anyway…naturally I freakout. Where were my expensive very much needed lenses at my best friends wedding?!!?!

I ran around like a crazy chicken until I found Miggy and he casually explained that he'd hidden them in the principle's office because he knew how much they were worth and he didn't want them to be stolen (huh…. what a novel idea lol). So with relief I repacked my bag and ran off to find the bride and groom.
Frantically running through the school I saw this crowd of people crossing the grass and one of them was staring at me with this confused and interested look on her face. It was Jasmine Star. Clearly she was checking out what on earth was going on with this psycho wedding photographer. I looked forward and boom, ran into her husband, JD. We had a little chat about weddings and photography and I had to get back to work yadda yadda yadda (secretly soooo excited to find out they were at this wedding but really feeling the pressure now).

Where was the couple for their first look? I saw Ben (Kaitlyn's ex-boyfriend was the groom….hmmmm another fairly awkward part of this dream) standing outside with his back turned and before I had the chance to put on the right lens, Kaitlyn had tapped his shoulder and they were having the BEST first look moment ever (sunset light was pouring in behind them)…and I was totally missing it! Ahhhhhhh…. 

So then it was time for the ceremony which took place at the bottom of really high bleachers, where everyone sat. I positioned myself at the top and again, spread out my lenses in an accessible easy-access order (you think a girl would learn her lesson). I saw Kaitlyn & her dad waiting at the back of the cafeteria (the back of the aisle) and her dress was exactly like the picture I've seen in real life except it was a dusty pink/rouge colour. I still had a tear in my eye.

I tried to set the white balance with my Expodisc and to change a lens and then BOOM the ceremony was over, they were all receding out of the room. I turned around to grab my bag and the principle was there going on and on about how he needs to keep the school safe. I looked down and my bag was gone. He was walking down the hall with it in his arms. I ran after him. 

I passed by a classroom window and looking inside I could see Melissa, Kaitlyn's big sister, was dancing a Celtic jig and wearing thick white tights with one of those white baby suits that has a diaper changing flap with little silver buttons in front on each hip. Not a good look. (Sorry Mel, my imagination is out of control.)

Then I found the bridesmaids/groomsmen. They were posing and taking their own group photos! They were all getting in these amazing positions against this cool Japanese background and then one of them would run out and set the camera timer. These were the portraits I was supposed to be taking! They were all wearing random shades of dusty yellow.

I stepped out into the hall and there they were, Jasmine Star & JD chatting away. Jasmine called out my name and followed up with a "I remember everyone's names" comment. ha! Slightly awkward, we didn't have much to talk about while I franticly tried to organise my life. By now I'd somehow added a giant blackboard to my collection of unorganised gear that I was lugging around the school. I was wearing jeans and a red summer dress (not my usual wedding outfit lol). I felt really self-conscious. I knew how unprofessional I looked, and it was made worse by the fact that one of the world's most glamorous wedding photographer's was standing there watching me. Hmmm...

Then JD and Miggy were talking. I gave Miggy the option of coming with me to get lenses or staying with 'the cool people', I joked. He awkwardly came with me, complaining about how I'd put him on the spot. Not my main concern right then. I had no camera gear and I was the photographer!!!! I got to the principle's office but I was too late. My gear was locked in there and he'd gone home for the weekend.

I  still had one lens though and I was up for the challenge. 
Then my camera battery died. 

I literally could not take another photo. We still had dancing, cake, speeches, etc… 
N-I-G-H-T-M-A-R-E. I stood still in horror in the empty school hallway and woke up.
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Here's me makin' a funny face at Miggy while holding the beautiful sunflower he gave me on my last day of work at The Crystal Shop (Super relevant photo, right? lol :P)

INFLUENCES FROM REAL LIFE
1) sometimes I feel like I have too much gear to keep an eye on. 
2) sometimes I feel like my Expodisc & changing lenses slows me down.
3) in the past I've felt left out of the loop at a couple weddings because nobody told me that something exciting was happening in a different room
4) i've felt frustrated by other people taking the pictures that were on my shot list
5) i've come dangerously close to running out of battery
6) i've missed a first kiss because the camera stalled/lens wouldn't focus
etc…

Stuff goes wrong and after every single shoot/wedding, I sit down and write a list of every lesson I learned. Then, apparently, I have a nightmare about it to really solidify the message. lol

LESSONS SOLIDIFIED 
1) I can be more selective about the gear I need to bring to a wedding.
2) if important moment is happening and I don't have time to Expodisc it, switch to AWB or shoot raw and apply WB setting in post.
3) Prepare as best as I can before hand & keep my eye & ears open. Best I can do.
4) Be more confident in asserting myself if I need to get a shot — that's what the bride & groom are trusting me to do. Don't worry about other people taking the same photo — there will still be a difference in style/quality.
5) Keep cards and batteries on my body. The Expodisc pouch, attached to my belt, is a fab way to do it.
6) Shoot important moments with a repliable lens that I know I can trust. I also use back button focusing which mean I can take a photo at any moment in focus or not. If it aint gonna focus, a blurry first kiss picture is better than no first kiss picture.

xoxo