In a recent column I mentioned that I don’t really enjoy wedding photography. Actually what I said was, “ I tried to make a living taking wedding pictures for a while but slowly began to lose the will to live.”
What’s funny is that I really haven’t photographed that many weddings, but the ones I have were not great experiences. I hate weddings, I hated my own wedding. Don’t get me wrong, I am married to my best friend and marrying her was the best decision of my life but that ceremony was awful as all weddings are.
The first wedding I worked was in college. I was asked by a friend to take the pictures of one of her relatives weddings. I needed the money and agreed as long as I was given a ride to the location. I was driven so far back into the woods I had no Idea where we were. All I could think was, “Are these people in the witness protection program?” We finally exited the car and entered the church. There were some hill folk there that scared me a bit, also I saw a banjo. I know lots of people play the banjo I am just saying that there was one there.
I was curious if the bride and groom might be related but did not ask for fear that everyone there might be related...except me.
The bride was very nice and was enthusiastic. She wanted pictures of her and her new husband with Maw, Paw and everyone else in the family. I was happily complying with all of her requests. It was her day after all. The groom, dressed in blue jeans and a white button up shirt with copious amounts of chest hair poking out, was getting visibly angry with the process.
At one point I had to stop for a second in order to load more film in my camera when he finally lost it. The groom, on his wedding day, turned to his bride and said, “The Razorback game is on!” Awe… young love. I was never paid for the job I did that night. So at my first photography gig I got stiffed and carsick.
One of the more recent jobs I did, 10 years ago, I had boiling hot wax blown in my face and all over my camera. The mother of the groom was having a bad day. I am guessing that she did not appreciate her ex bringing along his new wife and was feeling left out. The groom called her over and asked her to be in a picture with him and his wife at the unity candle. She then said, “take a picture of me blowing out the candle,” and proceeded to cover me with wax and coffee breath. An accident some might say. I say I was five feet away and she blew on the melted wax and not the wick.
I retired from weddings after that. A friend asked me to take pictures at his wedding a few weeks ago and asked me how much I would charge him. I told him that I would take the pictures for free because you can not pay me enough do it.