Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art….
It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival. – C.S. Lewis
Our jobs are a whirlwind of cliche. Whether you're out with a fancy camera "capturing moments" or "making memories" most of what we do for art's sake is watered down to a lucky press of a shiny button. I'm not one to get on the complaining bandwagon because while so many millions of people get up and force themselves to put one foot in front of the other in order to just make it through another day of work I'm often out jumping, climbling, and crawling into wherever my office is that day. Still, there's times when the lack of appreciation for something so many of us pour our hearts and souls into can get to me. It's those times when I have to remember just what my job really is.
I'm an artist. I really do believe that. I think that so many photographers these days pop up into our industry like a camera fell from heaven, hit them in the head and suddenly their hobby became a paycheck, but I really did get into this for the art of it all. More than even the art - it's the people. When I show up on a Saturday to a hug and a smile like I did at Ashley + Ryne's wedding all of the sweat and the stress and the work becomes fun and when the work becomes fun it becomes art. So I start this whole wedding story off with that simple statement. A couple that is so in love, so happy together, and so appreciative of the people around them celebrating their love allows us to really create. It's an amazing process to watch let alone be a part of.
I doubt most photographers overthink the way I do. But I have a goal for our clients to give them one edited photo from roughly every 45 seconds of their entire wedding day. It's a steep goal and it's a lot to take on. The reason isn't simply because I want to turn over a huge number of photos. Though we do average somewhere between 800 - 1100 final edited shots (yes edited) that goal is more for me than just our couples. I want to be on top of the moments and involved in the action all day. I don't want to just let the wedding story affect me, I want to be in the front seat. Not driving - just holding onto that weird little handle right above the door that only seems convenient when you're making about 25 mph over the speed limit on a pretty sharp turn.
Ashley is kind of a perfect bride for me. Not only is she sweet, southern, and so very kind. She also has a whole crew of bridesmaids who I've worked with before. In fact most of these crazy girls have been around me a few times at this point and there wasn't a dull moment with them from the get go. After hair and makeup I figured that my favorite part of the day would be running around with them. TOTALLY wrong there - (no offense girls). In fact, after getting Ryne out on the docks and getting him convinced that this was his very own two minutes in the spot light watching Ashley sneak up behind him and surprise him with a first look he didn't even know was coming was easily the best moment. His face as he turned around wasn't just love. It wasn't just awe. It was joy. We get to see a lot of love. And we get to witness a lot of beautiful moments. But joy is something that doesn't get planned for - it has to spring up in a completely organic moment that wasn't planned for with a groom. This was that moment and the next 45 minutes (up until the weird old guy yelled at us to get off the boat docks) was perfect. (Side note - that random old guy really did cause a mess and threaten to throw me in jail... With a big smile on my face we all kept walking. Don't get me wrong, this guy was definitely not police material - but I could easily picture him with a pair of handcuffs and an endless supply of Andy Griffith in his head.)
Anyway - by the time we got to the church is was just about ceremony time. Did I mention that it rained (like torrential rained) all day? YEP : this couple was so amazing that they trusted me when I said : "Grab and umbrella, it's going to break for a few minutes." FACT : I got lucky. FACT : thank God our couples trust me that the chance of getting lucky WAY outweighs the promise of boring photos. After a short ceremony it was all smiles as Ashley + Ryne made it back down the aisle together. The reception was complete chaos - but only because of their amazing friends (and a few shakers and cowbells).
Needless to say - I had a blast and I'm so grateful for friends like Ashley + Ryne that not only hire me, but invite me to be a part of a huge day. I'm asked all the time how I don't get bored going to wedding after wedding and the answer is easy. There's never alike - and if they are - you're paying attention to the flowers and the songs and the rings and all the things that don't matter. The people and the way they love each other is always unique and that's where the best photos are hiding to be found.