I got contacted a bit over a year ago by Lise, the older sister of Marc, a biology friend at McGill. She mentionned the wedding and everything and asked me to shoot it. And I said no. NO.
Why, you might ask?
Here’s what I wrote to Lise over a year ago:
First off, congratulations! That’s awesomee
If the wedding was today, I would probably not do it (I’ve declined a few times already). There are so many stories on the internet of people asking friends or family to shoot weddings for them instead of hiring a professional photographer and a lot of stories end in horror and I really wouldn’t want to bring that on you hahaa.
Working in random photo sessions is fine but working in a wedding in a high-pressure situation where you really only have once chance to get the shots is completely different and that’s the difference between an amateur like me and a professional photographer (who would have consistent results over and over).
It’s actually considered really unethical if a photographer like me accepts a wedding job because it’s a huge day for you and for someone non-professional like me taking the job would be risking a lot! Professionals have back-up equipment for EVERYTHING and the highest quality lenses (2K$ and+ for those lenses, ouch).
Sorry if this sounds depressing! hahaha but I really don’t want you to regret it and you won’t if you invest in a legit wedding photographer.
At that time I hadn’t shot any weddings, FELT and WAS probably unqualified, and didn’t have adequate camera gear. So I did the right thing and refused to do the wedding. Lise thanked me for my honesty. Wedding photography is extremely high-pressure (at least for me), and you cannot afford to miss crucial moments. Entrance, vows, signing, rings, kiss, etc. You always need to know where to be.
“Excuse me, could the bride and groom just do the first kiss again please? I didn’t get the shot.” No no no.
And then there’s the whole issue of camera gear. Of course “it’s the photographer, not the camera”. But you need backup gear in wedding photography. And in any event photography for that matter.
So that’s when I started working with Vadim Daniel, another Montreal-based wedding photographer, to get experience and actually know what it feels to shoot a wedding. Eventually I recontacted Lise and told her that I had shot several weddings, showed her my work and asked if she felt I would be the right photographer for her wedding. I was lucky she still wanted me as her wedding photographer!
I’m not claiming that I’ve become this expert wedding photographer or anything. Far from it. There surely are photographers who are better than me. And when I meet a couple to discuss a wedding I don’t pretend to be something I’m not. I’m 22 years old. Of course I haven’t had as much years of experience as other veteran wedding photographers. I show the work I’ve done, tell them how much experience I’ve had, and let them decide. I think it’s important for wedding photographers to let their clients know exactly who they are booking to photograph their wedding.
Ok so let’s talk about fun stuff now! So the wedding was awesome. And Lise and Kevin are awesome. Favorite wedding dress I’ve seen so far. The venue was in Rigaud at the Vieux Moulin. Beautiful! The owner Doug was helpful to show me good locations to shoot around, but really, you could have shot anywhere and the scenery was always amazing.
Everyone was so touched by their (unplanned matching) vows and the amazing speeches (notably Marc’s). First time I see this at a wedding and it’s really cool: each guest had an numbered envelope with a piece of paper for them to write a message. The number represented the anniversary year where Lise and Kevin would open the letter. So every year on their anniversary, they will open a letter and get a message from their wedding day. So cool. The food was delicious. Filet mignon. Apparently the hors d’oeuvres were also amazing but I was too busy/distracted to taste them as they were handfed to me by my cousin Amanda (who was also there as a guest). Also, I had forgotten about the comfort I get when they serve the coffee towards the end of the wedding. Oh yeah. Probably my funnest wedding yet!
La moitié de la famille de Lise est française, il fallait que j’ajoute au moins un petit paragraphe ici, bien sûr! Deux profs, Lise et Kevin, se marient! Et Kevin est un prof de bio en plus. Pour une journée ou il était censé avoir des orages, ça a tombé vraiment bien. Je savais que Mère Nature est de mon bord.
Je commence à reconsider mon “uniforme de travail”. Pendant l’été, photographier des mariages à l’extérieur avec un uniforme complètement noir (+cheveux noirs) est la meilleure façon de se faire cuire par le soleil. Donc quoi porter? Peut-être un maillot G-String comme Borat? Je vous laisserai savoir. Byebye!