Saturday, March 1, 2008

814 Photographs

That's my total count for Bryce and Danielle's wedding and reception. The rest of the wedding, by the numbers:

  • 21 people total
  • 58 minutes behind scheduled start time
  • 5 different people assisting me at various times
  • 8 extra AA batteries
  • 2 camera bodies
  • 3 lenses
  • 3 memory cards almost full
  • 9 hours total from ceremony start to photographer exit
  • 2 hours that I was gone to deal with an emergency
  • 1 guinea pig that didn't make it through the night
  • 167 number of pictures taken with my camera while I was gone
  • 34 of the above pictures made the select list (Thanks Rina!)
  • 50 dollar parking ticket (stupid!)
  • 2 sore feet
  • 1 relieved photographer, and most importantly,
  • 1 happy couple

I arrived at the courthouse about half an hour before the scheduled start time of 2:15, scouted around a bit, checked out the wedding room upstairs, and went back down to meet the wedding party. The party trickled in over the next 45 minutes of so, and we all basically milled about in front of the building waiting for Bryce and Danielle's number to be called. I shot with both bodies quite a bit out here, one with the 85/1.8 and no flash, and the other with the wide zoom and an SB-600 with the Demb diffuser. With direct sun on one side and a giant polished white building acting as a 12 story reflector, it was fun to shoot the 85 close to wide open, making the traffic behind us fade away while the building filled in the shadows.

We were eventually ushered inside, where my job suddenly got much more challenging. Here's the scene: Dark wooden walls, tiered ceiling with track lighting and fluorescents, weird patterned carpet wall thingy where the people stand to get married, and two freakin' humongous windows behind the wedding party. And the place is a wedding mill, so you've got almost no time. We were in the room for 14 minutes total. Doesn't leave a whole lot of time for setup and test shots. I think we did okay, all things considered.

The formal ceremony complete, the party decided they wanted to walk down to nearby Lake Merrit to do some semi-formals and group shots. I am glad they did, because it's exactly where I wanted to go, but I didn't dare ask everybody to make the hike. They did it gladly for Danielle however, and the results were certainly better than anything we could have shot on the sidewalk by the court.

Back to the house for a moment, then it was on to the Outpost, a little beer/ dinner/ sports bar/ casino place in San Ramon, where everybody was settling in for dinner just in time for an emergency phone call from home.

We lost another guinea pig. Crap. This one was having seizures, and as this was an unpaid wedding, I set my camera on aperture priority at f/5, slapped on the flash in TTL mode with the Joe Demb diffuser, and handed it over to Rina, the friend who asked me to shoot this gig in the first place. I bailed and headed home to do the good dad thing, while Rina did a great job shooting the cake cutting and bouquet tosses. Hey, Joe McNally couldn't be in the plane with John Glenn, and I couldn't be at part of the reception. But I got the shots I needed anyway.Ha!

Once things had calmed down a bit at the house, I headed back to see what was left of the party. Arrived in time to get a bunch of drunk looking group shots, and the car with the "Just Married" sign in the back window. I used my mini-softbox quite a bit, it makes good light at arm's length, and we partied until everybody was done. I'll have another post tomorrow, with some follow-up thoughts and reflections. I'll tell you this right now, I had a blast tonight. Everything was unfamiliar, fast moving, a little bit overwhelming, and it pushed me to make the best images I could under constantly changing and constantly challenging conditions. And I liked it. I will definitely be doing this again.

Congratulations, Bryce and Danielle! Enjoy your honeymoon, and give me a call when you need baby pictures!


JM said...


First job as a freelancer in any industry is one of the hardest, but from the photos, it looks like you turned out alright.

Patrick F said...

I like that pic of the cigar. Nice backlight!