Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Cold Feet for the Wedding Photographer

I’m writing a new post! I know – it’s about time.

I’ve been so busy with work (wish I could tell those stories – but, outside of the occasional personality quirk, I like to keep my blog work-free.). I’ve also been doing an inordinate amount of photography. Lots of weddings. A crazy amount of them, as a matter of fact. It’s actually to a point where I don’t mind if anyone breaks up, cancels, or chooses another photographer. I used to be devastated. In fact, a recent consultation left my head spinning. I spent a total of five hours with a couple. Not good. I usually spend about 2 hours with them… That’s usually enough time to figure out if our personalities mesh, if our goals for photography are compatible, and if I’m indeed – the right shooter for their occasion.

The sad thing is – that weddings used to be a huge deal for me. I was so nervous. To date, however, after over 10 years down the aisle, I don’t sweat them much.

It’s 8 hours of being nice to people I don’t know. For an introvert, that’s taxing. It’s putting up with drunks (“I’d like to propose a toast to the photographer… who will save me a dance!”), photo-geeks (“Wow. That’s a really nice camera, but Getty won’t accept photos from your model…. What do you think of the Nikon blahblahblah?”), overbearing parents (“I bought this house JUST so I could have a photo of my daughter in her wedding dress coming down this staircase!”), and of course, the people who think they’re *really* funny. (Last week, I tapped a gentleman on the arm. He promptly stared at me in disbelief. While wiping the crappy goo I obviously left on his sports coat, he told me, “That’ll cost you!”) (How much, there, Jerry Seinfeld?!!).

Fortunately, some weddings are a lot of fun – This month, I befriended a man who had the Nikon equivalent of the camera I use. I don’t run into that a whole lot. So we swapped stories, and at the end of the evening, he asked for my card. “I’m going to send you a disk of these pictures – in case there’s something in them you want to use for the bride and groom’s album.” The crazy thing about it was – that he ACTUALLY SENT THE DISC! That was so sweet!

Ok. Getting back to the five-hour consultation. I’ll call the bride Ginny, and the Groom Bob. Ginny was a referral of sorts. She was in a bridal party that I photographed five years ago. She loves her friends’ album. In fact, I’m told she looks through it whenever she’s in town. She is the classic indecisive bride, which is driving both Bob and the caterer a little crazy. Last night, during a phone chat, Bob discovered, via his dentist, that he was grinding his teeth at night. The caterer is much more vocal in his dismay. “Ginny is simply not paying me enough to make these decisions for her!!!” She asked me all the classic telltale questions that couples that are NOT interested in me ask: “Can you shoot film instead of digital?” “How reliable is your equipment?” “How can I be sure you’re going to show up?” These questions, amidst queries on the difference between digital and film, and asking if she can see the last two weddings I shot left me wondering why, if she wanted a different kind of photographer, was she even bothering to ask me about digital.

At one point in the meeting, I pulled out two recent photographs from a recent wedding. Both were digital and shot on the same day. The only difference was - one was black and white, and the other, color. I asked Ginny which was which. She pointed to the color photo and said, “That’s digital. The black and white is film.”

It was probably a bad move on my part to tell her she was wrong – and that both photos were digital – but I didn’t care. This meeting wasn’t shaping up to anything really lucrative at this point…

Weeks later, I called the caterer I book through. He said Ginny and Bob were probably going to contract another photographer. I was fine with that – really. I’m not for everyone, and I understand that. There are many photographers out there, and each has a style uniquely suited for the myriad of bridal desires... and I envisioned Ginny wanting a more traditional shooter. I had booked my normal quota of weddings that month anyway…. I would only have done this one because it was a referral… I’m still friendly with the couple I photographed 5 years ago.

Last night, the caterer called. “You won’t believe this! Ginny and Bob are 99% sure they want you if you’re still available.”

So I may be back in… But then again, I may not be. Bob admitted that Ginny is just plain nervous – and that’s where all the digital-film-equipment questions have come into play. He also stated she’s actually been so nervous, she’s called the wedding off twice. She shouldn’t. She’s been with Bob a long time – and they’re really, really good together….

But that’s none of my business.

It’s my current job to decide if I want to take this behemoth wedding on – or not. Any advice to this low-maintenance photographer facing work by a high maintenance bride? Like Ginny, I think I'm getting cold feet.


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