We move so very fast from shoot to shoot, assignment to assignment and wedding to wedding. We take well over 2,000 pictures during a given wedding and process over 1,000. We enjoy, become part of the day and even an honorary member of the family at times. We toast the bride and groom, hug Momma and exchange a firm handshake with Dad. When the cake’s all gone, DJs playing his/her last few requests, we interrupt the bride/groom for a final, joyous and sweaty hug goodbye. It’s all happens in a flash then we remember we’ve been at it since early that morning.
We met the bride as she awoke to begin pampering for her special day. Later that morning we were with the guys, had some laughs and maybe even a cold one to get us through the day. We captured the ceremony, gathered family together for the formal pictures and then took the wedding party to another location for more amazing pictures. Happy, rowdy, hilarious, buzzed, drunk and ready to get the party started right……. We get offered more drinks, get comments like we don’t know how you do it. Aren’t you tired man and you still are only half done…….
In the moments throughout the day, we “chimp” at pictures on the screen as ask…. 1) How was my exposure and am I locked in now. 2) This would be a great picture as long as he/she doesn’t see me take this…. 3) If he would only get the heck out of my shot…… 4) I have my distance down now but I have the wrong lens on my camera. 5) How many more shots can I get on this memory card…. 6) How are my batteries holding out and do I need to change them before the ceremony. 7) How’s my ambient light and am is my background too dark….. 8) Am I blowing out my highlights on her skin and wedding dress and if I did, can I make that picture a black and white 9) Does she realize how beautiful she looks….. 10) I see the love between these two and maybe there is hope for the rest of us. 11) Wonder where they are going on their honeymoon…. 12) Ok, I need to remember Mom and Dad aren’t together so no pics of the two of them…. 13) Will this be the last picture of Grandma or Grandpa as they are getting up there in age…. 14) What a beautiful family; I see that this couple will have tons of support during their marriage…. 15) Man I know that robe the minister has on has got to be hot……. 16) Am I taking enough pictures…. 17) Dam, that’s my song and how do these moves go again; new cupid, slide, wobble baby wobble……. 18)…….
We’re back home now….. Our feet hurt, back aching and stiff, equipment is twice as heavy now and we debate and consider whether we should bring it in or wait till the morning. We have cards and cards of images to sort through and wonder why we took so many. We pray that each image makes it from memory card to computer without incident. We breathe a sigh of relief when they do and then without haste we make backup copies before bed. Now it’s 2:00am and we can barely keep our eyes open as the last image transfers to the backup drive. We close our eyes and attempt to sleep as we think about the drunk guy in the wedding party who tried to kiss us. Right then and there we go through a mental inventory to make sure we didn’t forget any equipment. We question whether we actually saw each of the 3,000 pictures we took upload to the computer and we’re up again now scanning to ensure we got them all.
Now to the bathroom where we peel off the clothes we’ve had on for the last 18 hours. The warm shower is welcomed more that life will ever know. We reflect the imagery from the reception dance floor which makes for a nice chuckle; SMH. Nobody will even know or understand our pain and discomfort but dam it was fun……. How bad our feet hurt and don’t forget the sore back. We don’t even recognize our own smell at this point but thank God for this thing called soap and a shower. So why do we do it all? It’s not because of the money because if it were, we would all charge for pain and suffering….
Because, because, because……. It’s because it’s a sort of calling that speaks to us. Speaks to our very soul that comes alive not when we're retouching pictures or even burning the disk. It’s when we detach ourselves from the work and become an admirer of our own ministry. This can happen in an instant, sometimes weeks, months and even years later. That’s when the calling and our ministry are validated. When we amaze ourselves and are in awe of what we captured. When we experience that day, that oh so special day sometimes for the first time and the tears start to flow. We believe again in love aside from our own experience and what the world says……. Hope, our hope is restored and our very soul is at peace…….
And all the wedding photographers said….. Amen and Amen again…….
David N. Beasley Jr. Photography