A huge congratulations to my friends and neighbors Talmage and Erick on their wedding this past weekend. We all went up to Emerald Isle, NC for the ceremony. It was pretty spectacular.
I don’t explicitly advertise myself as a wedding photographer. While I know it can be lucrative, I’ve also heard a lot of horror stories from other shooters about the stress involved, and not just from bridezillas either…
But I don’t turn down weddings that come my way…
Typically, a wedding will come my way about once a year. It’s always through a friend or acquaintance. And, for the most part, they know how I shoot when they hire me. They know that I’m definitely not a wedding photography specialist.
The wedding I shot this past weekend with Tal and Erick was a great example. I’ve known Tal since about 2004 through the club scene and her being a poster on TNL, and Erick for a little bit longer than that. They both knew my specialties in terms of photography. But, they also wanted a distinct look and feel for their photos, and also the obvious of preferring to hire a friend rather than someone they didn’t know.
For me, it was an opportunity to change things up a bit in terms of my photo work, and an excuse to rent some quality equipment and maybe try some new concepts.
My loadout for the wedding started as a grandiose idea in my head. Since my “gift” to them was essentially my work (only thing I asked for was transport and lodging), I wanted to make it shine. However, since I’m a one-man show here, eventually less was more. My final kit was:
- 5D MK II - primary body
- 50D - backup body
- 580 EX Speedlite
- 580 EX II Speedlite from Lens Rentals.
- 16-35mm 2.8 L zoom lens
- 50mm 1.2 L prime lens
- 70-200 2.8 II L zoom lens
- 2 Fong Lightspheres from Lens Rentals
- ST-E2 Speedlite transmitter
- 2 32 GB CF cards
- Joby Gorillapod
- The Podbook Air
- A GoPro Hero 2 from Travis.
And even then this was heavy. That’s a lot of glass and accessories to haul with you.
I was there primarily in a still-photography capacity, however, I did want to shoot some video too. A mutual friend, Pat Theodore, was on video duty with his Nikons, but I offered to throw in whatever I got with the GoPro and my MK II into the mix.
Thankfully, the one variable that I could not control cooperated. The weather was amazing.
The Emerald Isle weather gods were definitely with us that day. And the wedding was planned to be right around sunset.
The true challenge of the wedding really wasn’t on a technical level for me. I was shooting at golden hour, on the beach, with people I know and get along famously with. The real challenge was on an organizational level. As I was the only still shooter for the wedding, I had my hands full, even with a small party (around 30 people), such as this one. I can see now why full-time wedding shooters, always have a second person with them. I got the photos I wanted, and then some, but it was definitely a few minutes of sheer intensity as I scrambled around to get the images. The biggest savior was definitely the 70-200. From a practical standpoint, the lens enabled me to get “the” key images of the actual vows portion of the ceremony, without being on top of the bride and groom. I also utilized one of the 580s I had with me as a remote light. I used the Gorillapod to strap it to the “altar” framework and put it on a secondary channel which I clicked over to as I needed it. I ended up not really using it, but it was nice to have on hand. And I had the GoPro running as a continuous record of the ceremony. I wonder how that came out…
And, one can definitely not argue with the virtue of having someone trained in makeup on hand. One of Tal’s friends, Kristin, along with Michelle T, handled that duty. Sure, brides have to look their best, but us behind the lens appreciate it too. A well-done makeup job saves us enormous amounts of time later. Tal has a natural glow to her anyways, but the makeup job will be saving me hours of time in post production this coming week.
Now, where the ceremony was mainly, from a technical perspective, about the 70-200, the candids at the reception back at the beach house were all about going wide, and using my 50 1.2 L. While not a nightclub setting, the lighting was darker and variable, and I wanted to get some “candids” like they expected out of me. And the 50 came through, especially later, when someone (not gonna say who!) decided to set off some heavy-duty fireworks in celebration of the happy couple.
That being said, it was definitely a great departure from my norm in terms of shooting. I probably bought a little more equipment than I really needed to for this specific ceremony, but, it is best to be overprepared than under. And, a wedding is one situation where you definitely need to make the client aware of whether you are there for stills, or video. I grabbed some video as time permitted, but I didn’t make it a priority. I had the GoPro with me mainly as an experiment, and anything out of the MK II was when the moment became rather static.
After this experience, I can say I do have more of an appreciation for what full-time wedding shooters do. It’s a tough job, even if you know the people involved. Would I get into wedding photography full-time? Well, only if I could get a gig like this past one on a regular basis. I’m not too sure if I’d be down for a full-on church-and-500-family-members-and-freeloaders style ceremony.
But, more importantly, congrats once again to Talmage and Erick. You guys rock. I’ll have your custom site and edits sorted probably around the time you get in from Captiva…