if I knew what hatred felt like, then perhaps I can say: I hate wedding photography. then, a few seconds later I would say that I love it because of the people involved.
I am not sure that I experience anything as draining as photographing a wedding. of course, the weddings that I have photographed are very low-key. the groom** makes it very clear that they are not interested in many photos — which may be, or not, what they mean, but it is good to hear. so, I think to myself: "great, this is going to be easy."
perhaps what is fatiguing is trying to achieve the "zen" of observing, imagining and composing, while at the same time anticipating what comes next. perhaps this is something that comes with a bit of practice, and even then, it must require a type of uncommon talent.
in no instance have I been asked for "classic" photos: the poses de rigueur that constitute the foundation of a dream wedding as indoctrinated by countless wedding albums. for one, I rarely like to tell people what to do: I just observe, imagine and compose. because of this, I must say upfront to any request for wedding photography that I will not be doing those kind of photographs, though I certainly can give it a try and hope that the orchestration — the weak point in execution — somehow comes together.
the biggest stress about wedding photography is to have the critical photos turn up in the way imagined. there is no correction in post-processing that can help the critical photos gone wrong. ok, there are some ways to recover something if one is adept to altering what was imagined, though this is not something to anticipate.
in the digital age, the results can be anticipated to be available faster than quick. something I tried in this instance was to create a small set of draft-work photos that sampled the entire span of photos taken, and to apply commercial presets, instead of processing them in my custom way (as shown in the slideshow below, and the book at Blurb). so the, I applied presets from VSCO Film 03/04 and uploaded the drafts to Dunked [ link ]. it is interesting the difference, and how after a week of "sitting on the photos", the presentation was varied, with some photos changed to colour from black & white.
the stress always turn to elation while looking at the results. that is because, even when people are recent acquaintances, by the time the wedding is done, a level of empathy has been developed and the photos are a way to re-live the wedding with that empathy in place. it makes the presentation of the photos so much easier to perform.
a selection: the wedding took place on 10 March 2014 and San Francisco's City Hall. in keeping with modern aesthetics, the first photo is from a phone, and the album is online. no trees have been harmed in the distribution of these photos. yet.
** this is for the weddings for which I have been hired as a first photographer.
[ ps ] on a personal note, this wedding was significant in that I had not voted since the disappointment with Clinton in 1992. however, because of the close polling for Proposition 8, and wanting to enjoy a vote for Obama, I registered and voted in the 2008 election. it did not have the immediate result I hoped, because of what turned out to be out-of-state meddling, but I like to think that this wedding was a reward for that vote... and all the Jury Duty calls I have received since.
all photos are up for view at the Blurb store [ link ]: