October 25, 2004

Take A Picture, It Will Last Longer

Over the weekend, my good friend got married. I never thought I'd see the day, but on Saturday afternoon, I saw the day.

Troy asked me to be the wedding photographer, which, well. . . it's one of those things.

In college I took a few photography classes, since that was a requirement for aspiring journalists. The classes dealt primarily with black and white film, which I learned to develop and enlarge and all that happy horse crap. It wasn't all that boring or anything. In fact, it was kind of relaxing. I'd go out and take all sorts of pictures, and then I'd spend roughly 897 hours in the campus dark room developing film.

Well, Troy, being my college roommate, apparently remembered that I took a few photography classes, so he asked me to be the photographer for his wedding. You know, because I'm cheaper, in that I work for free.

Thing is, I don't really have the equipment that actual wedding photographers have at their disposal. My equipment consists of a Canon camera that my parents bought sometime in the late 1970s. It's a beat up piece of hardware that got me through five years of college and two years of newspaper work, as well as countless hours of recreational picture snapping.

The lighting in the church was not well-suited to photography. It was just dark enough to keep my light meter guessing, so I had to rely on my flash with maddening regularity. And, as any photographer knows, relying on a flash is a dangerous habit to get into.

So, now here I sit, with six rolls of film, unsure whether any of the pictures I took of my good friend's wedding will even remotely turn out. I'm absolutely dreading bringing them in to get developed.

Perhaps David Grenier has some advice?

Posted by Ryan at October 25, 2004 10:31 AM

Preface every conversation about the pics with "You get what you pay for," and maybe he'll start to realize that are some good reasons for hiring a pro.

Weddings are a one time shot, scrimping on the pics isn't the best place to save a few bucks.

But good luck!

Posted by: Johnny Huh at October 25, 2004 10:36 AM

Eesh... hope they turn out ok. My mom's a professional photographer and she always dreads doing weddings simply because if you fuck up taking the pics, there's no do over. With senior pics or family pics or whatever you can always have them redone, but a wedding....

On a side note, what the hell was someone doing asking a novice (no offense) to take pictures of what will hopefully be the happiest day of his life?

Posted by: Rick at October 25, 2004 11:11 AM

Well, any advice I could have given you on shooting would be too little too late, plus I don't put that kind of stuff out on the internet for free. Considering the fact that just two or three years ago there were a dozen wedding photographers in RI, now there are 50 advertising on "The Knot" I don't need to encourage any jackass with a camera to become my competition.

All you can do now is go to a good lab and hope that the flim is okie-dokie. I'm not sure what you were shooting at so I have no idea what to tell you to expect. I will tell you (as you must already know) that even "bright churches" are generally too dark for decent photography - because bright to the human eye is not bright to the camera. So generally you get the subject complely exposed by the flash (which doesn't look that great) and the background is visible but pretty dark. Most churches seem to be lit at around 1/6th or 1/4th of a second at f4, so without a tripod you're not getting much that'll be really great, and even with a tripod you can only get overall shots because people move too much to be photographed at 1/4th of a second.

I'm sure unless the photos are completely fucked up (i.e. out of focus, way over- or under-exposed) your buddy will be happy. For one thing people are so used to really shitty snapshot photography that they won't notice things that would drive me absolutely nuts. For another, people are subjective about this sort of thing. You know how everyone thinks that their baby is adorable even though it just looks like a raisin? Same principle. The photos will evoke memories of their wedding, even if they aren't as nice as the ones I would take.

And finally, on some level your friend knows that having you do it for free is not the same as hiring someone like me to do it, and is fine with that.

Posted by: David Grenier at October 25, 2004 11:14 AM

Well, Rick, I have done a couple other weddings, and they both turned out fairly well, so that's also part of it. But, during both of those, the lighting was a lot better and I didn't have to rely so much on my flash. The farther back you stand while using a flash, the less effective it is, and with large groups, you have to stand quite a ways away. We'll see. I'm bringing the film in today.

Posted by: Ryan at October 25, 2004 11:15 AM

jackass with a camera

My entire existence, summed up brilliantly in four words.

Posted by: Ryan at October 25, 2004 11:28 AM

Ryan, we all know that your existence is summed up in only two words.

And they rhyme with "Flirty Rush-Room".

Posted by: David Grenier at October 25, 2004 11:45 AM

Wow, Ryan - you got the film developed in less than 15 minutes? That's impressive . . .

Posted by: Simon at October 26, 2004 08:08 AM

I am most definitely a "jackass with a camera" but that's cool. The best thing about digital cameras is that, yep, everyone can become a photographer. Doesn't mean the pics will be any good but it means to me that there's a better chance of great photographers being discovered.

Lowering the barrier to entry will muddy the waters but it also opens up new possibilities.

That said, you're probably right, David, Ryan was asked to do it with the knowledge that he was an amateur.

Maybe it was the only way he thought he could keep Ryan sober at the reception?

Posted by: Johnny Huh? at October 26, 2004 12:02 PM

NOBODY was sober at the reception.

Posted by: Ryan at October 26, 2004 12:07 PM

Good Point. Anyways, this was where i met her. You can join for free as well www.redtricircle.com

Posted by: click here at March 12, 2005 03:41 AM
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