I went into my local camera shop lugging everything, rattling off at the mouth. I have to be at the suite in an hour and I think I need more memory do you think I need more memory? I think I need more memory.
The guy behind the counter smiled in the way of someone who’s seen his share of frazzled, pre-shoot memory-seekers. He handed me another 16 GBs and I left the store feeling sufficient. Two hours later, I sent my husband back again. More! AGGGH! More memory more more more! They shoved another card into his hand and said Go, just go. We’ll figure it out later. And my husband ran, snuck in behind the procession, slipped the card into my bag just in time for the piper.
It was the first time I’ve ever shot a wedding as the principal photographer and can I say something? Not one thing. A few things, aside from gratitude for my husband’s help, and having an independent, local camera shop that knows how to throw accessories at a moving target and shout “Good Luck!” at the same time.
1) There is no such thing as too much memory. Or batteries. Or extras. As they say in high-angle rope rescue, one is none and two is one.
2) In eleven hours, I shot 2800 photos. After several rounds of finer and finer-still editing and processing — with a cold and ruthless eye — the finished set contains 330. Did I shoot too much? I think I shot too much. But I couldn’t help it. Everywhere I looked, a surplus of adorable.
3) I walked with a hobble for a week. Flattened! Like running a marathon. I’ve got processing claw. My eyeballs are all dried up. The last time I ate was breakfast last Tuesday.
4) There are many reasons why, to the bride and groom, photography seems to cost (or should cost, if it’s worthy) so much. See #1, #2, and #3. The behind-the-scenes preparation, the gear, the failsafes, the endless processing. The responsibility of capturing something so sacred, so joyous. The richness of the scene, in terms of photographic potential.
I was a one-woman creative shark frenzy. Adrenaline. Then some indigestion. I’ve already got a substantial volume of notes to inform various next-times on the horizon. Now, finished, I wait for Mr. and Mrs. to return from their honeymoon. We’ll sit down and walk through the day, remembering. And I’m hoping with every breath that I’ve done it justice.
I’ve never been so humbled. What a task, what an honour. Regardless of being the principal photographer or the second in charge of candids — or even bringing your camera as an unsolicited extra eye for friends or family — what have you taken away from the experience of shooting important occasions, parties, or one-time events? What did you learn? Who saved you, advised you, assisted you? What will you do differently next time?