The Wedding.

A few months ago Beth, a girl that used to attend church with me, wrote me a note on Facebook asking me if I knew of any wedding photographers in the area that wouldn’t be terribly expensive for her and her future husband to use as their wedding photographer.

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I thought about it for about two seconds, and wrote her back that I didn’t really know of any wedding photographers in the area, but if she really wanted to save money I would be willing to be her wedding photographer for (close to) free as my engagement/wedding gift to her. Honestly, I was hoping that my little bit of talent might be a financial blessing to her and I knew that the experience would be a blessing for me as well…giving me another opportunity to build up my portfolio for whenever I decide to take that plunge into the “Professional Photographer” category (whatever that means.)

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With this being a wedding….a once in a lifetime event…I was so extremely nervous about screwing it up. There are a ton of not-to-be-missed moments during a wedding and I was really worried about missing them while my attention was turned elsewhere. Due to that, I asked (and begged and pleaded) with my sister to be my second shooter so that we would have a better chance of capturing all the moments. This is where the “close to free” part came in…I asked Beth to buy both my sister and I an extra memory card so that we would be sure to have enough memory to capture everything that day. $106…not a bad deal for wedding photography. 🙂

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Beth’s dad was our pastor for about six years when we first moved back to Ohio. Several years ago, he left our church because he felt called to become a missionary. Since that time, he has been trying to raise support so that he can leave for the mission field and I knew that Beth and Kurt probably wouldn’t be getting very much financial help for the wedding.

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I found out the day of the wedding that they had put on their entire event with a budget of $2,000. Absolutely amazing…I was so impressed that they had stuck to such a low budget and put on such a lovely event in the meantime.

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The main reason they were able to stick to such a small budget was because of the generosity and talent of their family and friends…which I think is such a wonderful thing. A beautiful way for their loved ones to bless them on their special day.

Beth’s brother, Pete, is an extremely talented guitar player and provided the instrumental music. Her sister, Rachel, has a beautiful singing voice and sang the solos for the wedding. Her dad officiated the ceremony. Her other sister, Sarah, is an amazing cook and created her beautiful wedding cake. Her aunt did all the floral arrangements. A good friend of their family, Lance, has always wanted to be a chef so he was in charge of all the cooking. Another friend, Jessica, helped Beth make all of the wedding favors and programs.19-OS

I just loved seeing all of the special people in her life helping her out in that way!

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I learned a LOT while shooting the wedding. Things like…

  • I would never, ever, ever shoot a wedding EVER by myself. Never.
  • Talk more with the bride and groom about what types of formal photos they’d like to have (the family group photos went on forever and I’m not even sure if they really wanted that many taken.)
  • As the photographer, I need to take control of where the photos should be shot and don’t worry about people getting upset about it. The photos of the bride’s family turned out wonderful because I placed them where I wanted them and the lighting was good. The photos of the groom’s family I’m not as happy with because they were standing in a spot that had poor lighting. I should have made them move (too bad I don’t have a more aggressive personality!)
  • Wedding photographers earn every stinkin’ penny that they charge. I was exhausted that night and that was just the shooting part of the deal. Editing the photos literally adds on days of additional work.
  • I don’t think I am meant to be a wedding photographer. I’ll still do weddings for friends who ask me (either charging a decent amount to cover the time involved or doing it as a wedding gift to them), but only shooting weddings? I don’t think I could do that.
  • The reason I couldn’t is because most weddings would not be as informal and relaxed as this one was. And most weddings would be indoors and I don’t have the necessary camera equipment I’d need to shoot sucessfully indoors (like the special flashes, etc.)
  • Wear comfortable shoes (which I did, thank goodness.)
  • Be prepared to run to get those important shots. I literally had 5 seconds between the first kiss and when they started walking back down the aisle. I ran my butt off so I wouldn’t miss it.
  • Learn the surroundings of where the wedding is going to be. After we were driving away, Andrea turned to me and said “You know what? I think there is a waterfall somewhere around here.” If I had prepared for that, we could have had beautiful waterfall photos.

And I’m sure I learned a bajillion other things that day as well, but I can’t think of what they were now. Hee!

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All in all, it was an absolutely amazing experience. Getting to be intimately involved in helping the bride and groom capture their special day together…

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It really doesn’t get much better than that!

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I truly wish them both all the best as they begin this new journey together…