I recently wrote a piece about the mass number of requests I’ve been getting to shoot weddings. I’ve been slowly building up the courage to actually say yes to such assignments, and lo and behold, I actually agreed the other day. So now that I’m officially freaking out, I have approximately 339 days as of this post to learn, freak out, prepare, freak out, practice, and, oh yeah - freak out. So exciting!
My first round of preparation came from a buddy who wanted to get photos of him proposing to his girlfriend. Chase gave me a call about two weeks before the big day and told me his basic plan. We scouted the location and ran through how it’d work. Turns out, the location was a waterfall that wasn’t all that easy to get too. My initial worry was that the Sunday casual clothing would keep her from traversing the steep, muddy hill. The next fear was, “What if she says no?!” I quickly pushed both thoughts out of my head and agreed with Chase as to how the surprise would go.
Well, the day came and went, and it was a complete success. I showed up early to the waterfall with my camera gear in hand, and acted completely surprised as both Chase and Sabrina showed up. Having completed my waterfall shots, I “offered” to take some photos of them on the rocks. Minus the ensuing hilarity and fear of them slipping as they climbed onto some rocks, the whole moment went rather well. I had already figured out what my lighting would be, so that made everything go very smoothly. After I snapped a few images, Chase suggested one other pose, at which point he dropped to one knee. I felt incredibly rude snapping away with my flash, but they were both so completely in the moment I don’t think they would have noticed a freak tornado passing by (Sabrina said, “Yes,” by the way!).
It was a really cute moment and I’m so glad it went just how Chase envisioned. I think that was more gratifying to me than anything else. On the walk back with them I suggested a few more photos on a truss bridge. These images were probably my favorite of the set from a technical standpoint because the lighting was flat out gorgeous and I got to use my nifty Sigma 35mm f/1.4 that rocks.
The shoot went great and we all got a fantastic set of memories; which may be the most powerful thing I took away from this whole experience. I was talking to my mom after the shoot and she said something that I hadn’t realized up to that point – I am forever going to be in their story. Every single time they share this moment in their future, I’m going to be a part of it. My images will help illustrate their moment, as will my presence as the photographer who “just happened to be there” to get the photos.
I was speechless at the implication of that, and it really brought what I do into perspective. I’ve always known that through photography, I was essentially freezing time and allowing others to see that instant of past history. I never realized the real impact of it all, until now. It’s a tremendous responsibility and a real privilege to be tasked with being someone’s historian for a few hours. I won’t say that this is going to change my approach to photography, as I have and always will strive for perfection. It will, however, influence my composition, my lighting, and my dedication to giving people their instantaneous moments to enjoy for the future.
Congratulations to Chase and Sabrina! May you have forever to be together.