Hello guys and gals
It has been awhile since I last wrote a photography post, but that doesn't mean that I haven't been busy! So what have I been busy with in terms of photography? Mostly betting on lenses on bidorbuy.co.za (I lost) and preparing for a wedding shoot. While I could easily write a blog about bidding on lenses and how to go about it (or, more specifically, how not to) I thought that I would take this opportunity to let you know how I have been preparing for the wedding shoot.
The shoot that I am doing is quite an interesting one. The couple are already married and have been for three years. I was in fact with them when they went to the Home Affairs office to tie the knot, and am really happy to be with them to celebrate their three year anniversary by having a wedding. Because they are already married, it takes a lot of stress off the situation. There is no chance of either of them saying no now, no running back down the aisle and no surprises.
While having the wedding after the marriage does take away some of the stress, however, it doesn't take away all of it. There are still guests cancelling at the last minute and family members to juggle, and of course the photographer's job is no less important. This is, all things considered, still a wedding, regardless of whether the couple are married or not, and they are still expecting photographs of amazing quality capturing the special moments of the day. As a photographer who is only just starting out, this leads to a lot of stress. So how have I been coping with it?
I have been writing lists, studying up and borrowing bits and bobs from anyone I can find.
The first thing that I did was sit down with a piece of paper and write down some of the ideas that I had for the happy couple, which shots I wanted to take, where I wanted to take them, and any questions that popped up in my mind while I was doing it. Once I had a preliminary list, I started scouring the net for more ideas. I went onto each of the photography blogs that I follow and looked back into their archives for any wedding photography advice, and I found a ton of it. It gave me further ideas, which I added to my list, and made a number of suggestions that I kept at the top of my mind. One of the suggestions that I came across over and over again was that I should go and check out the venue beforehand.
So, last weekend I made my way to Port Alfred and went to a farm 14km outside of the town to check out the venue and what I could expect. I was glad that I did! If I had pitched up on the day, I would have been far from prepared, and it would likely have been a small disaster. The wedding is outdoors, and the area where the ceremony will take place is hidden under trees. Which means lots and lots of shade - enough of it that a wide open lens would not suffice. Add to that the reception area and the low lighting that it boasted, and I was left with no choice but to give into my most feared form of photography - flash.
I do not have a happy relationship with flash. I learned very early on that flash at night is never a good plan if you want good lighting. At least, not on-camera flash. All that it leads to is unflatteringly over-exposed faces and black backgrounds. Not a good plan for a wedding at all. What I really needed was a hotshoe flash, and I went scouring Grahamstown to find one. It took awhile, but I eventually managed to borrow a Speedlite 580EX, which I have been experimenting with and am now feeling a little more confident about using, even if I am not completely comfortable with my abilities as a photographer.
One I had the flash, I had to learn how to use it - how to bounce light, how to adjust exposure and how to make sure that the backgrounds come out as clear as possible without being hidden in shadow. There was more reading to be done and there was not much time to do it. I felt like I was back in University again, staring at pages that made little sense to me for hours on end until the information was bored into my mind and there was no getting it out. But it wasn't all study. I tried to take my own advice and get a little of the theory and a little of the practice, and have ended up with a knowledge that I am happy with.
So now I am left with a list of photographs that I want to take, a flash that I am feeling a little more confident about using and a day to become comfortable with the fact that tomorrow decides me future. Am I going to be a wedding photographer or am I going to flop on my face? Are my photos going to make the cut, or are the bride and groom going to be in tears (of horror, not joy.) We'll have to see. Wish me luck!