Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bad Luck Bride

Oh man, am I sooo glad that Saturday is over!
So I had this wedding booked for Saturday, I've been booked for it since September of '07. For a while now I've been feeling like I needed to have a second shooter with me, and decided to pay out of my pocket for a girl I know who is into photography to help me out with the day.
Boy am I glad I followed through!
I've only photographed four weddings and they all went so nicely and for the most part without a hitch. This was the first really difficult wedding I've had to deal with. First, as I've blogged about before, my camera broke and I had to rent a camera. Also a friend borrowed me her 20D to use, when she found out about my broken camera. When I saw how her camera wasn't quite as good in low-light situations I decided to keep my reservation on the 30D because the reception was in an indoor area with tinted windows and I wasn't sure how well lit it would be.
I'm glad I did!
I met with the bride for their rehearsal, and it was somewhat chaotic. She wasn't sure how she wanted to entrance for her wedding, from where in the park, etc. She also had the officiator and her husband walk down the isle together. She also insisted this tiny little four year old girl walk down the isle by herself and the little girl was wayyyy too scared and shy to do it.
The next morning I met with them at the hairdressers for their appointment at 8pm. They were a little bit late and I found out that the night before when they tried to check into their hotel room their reservations had been lost for three rooms! The hotel was completely booked because of a "Back to the 50's" auto show that was in town. It's a big, big, big car show that takes over the cities for the weekend... soo fun, btw. Anyway, she flipped out on the hotel, and the guy kept hanging up on her and wouldn't help them. They ended up calling another hotel in the same chain and they found their reservation and couldn't explain why they were turned away. They helped them get set up with two rooms at two different hotels on different ends of town.
The hair and makeup went well. I asked her if her brother got his hair cut, she'd told him the night before to get it cut for the wedding, and I was informed that he'd been cut from the wedding. I could tell it was a touchy subject for her so I didn't ask.
We were there until 10:30. She was supposed to check out of the hotel at 11. So we had to rush back to her hotel which was quite a ways away, get her in there, get everyone into their dresses, get one of the little girl's hair done, get her packed up and checked out. Whew!
Then we went over to the park, dropped off the bride's maids and then I had the bride go over to another area in the park, when the groom showed up I was to grab him and get him down to the bridge for their "first look" session. While I waited for him we took pictures of the setup of the area the wedding was going to be at. During that time the flower lady was there and setting up. She asked about where a table for the unity candle should go. We told her but then the bride's maids started talking about the bride wanting it there last night, but maybe she's changed her mind. It was said kind of a snarky sort of way. Hmmm...
So then I notice the groomsmen were in the parking lot and I grabbed them and took the groom down to the bridge. The bride is worrying about time for some reason, even though this is noon and the wedding isn't until 3:30. I get him down there and get her down there and while I'm taking shots I'm realizing that this rented camera isn't shooting like it should. Everything is so dark. We are in a shaded area, my ISO is 200, my shutter speed is only 100 and my images are dark.
Later I found out that my screen was set at a darker setting, so I hope that hasn't ruined my images, because then I started shooting where the meter said I was over exposing by a margin. I hope that I wasn't blowing out my images, but the histogram was also showing I was under exposing, so who knows. To a photographer all that jumble I just wrote will make sense. It was getting so frustrating trying to get a proper exposure!
So then the bride ends up seeing her flowers, a bouquet of white roses with a creme ribbon. She then later informs me not to take any closeups of the flowers, to which I tell her too late, done that. And she starts acting like it's the end of the world. I find out that she considered the flowers "dead" and ugly and that her bouquet is all wrong. There was supposed to be an orange ribbon on the bouquet instead and she thinks the flowers are ugly. (Um, hello... how easy is it to have white roses with absolutely NO BROWN spots???) Then she also flips out because all the flowers are wrong for her daughter and the flower girl. The night before I was under the impression the flower girl was going to have a basket of petals to throw, that's what they told her. So she called the florist because there's only a bag of rose petals and no basket, and she calls the florist to come back and fix the issues. When the florist came back she is rude to her instead of working it out with her and starts insisting that the park won't allow them to spread petals in the park, no matter how little. What???? She's unwilling to work with the florist once she gets there.
We did some more pictures and the bride is totally upset so it makes it hard to get happy pictures, so I start doing some abstract ones, where she's blurry and her face won't matter if she's smiling, promising to photo shop the flowers so there's no brown. "What have I got myself into?" I'm thinking. Seriously, I went totally blank on what I could be shooting instead of her face... but now sitting here a million things come to mind... oh man, I hate hindsight.... except when it prepares me for the next time.
I'm uncomfortable, she's upset, my assistant is probably watching me going blank and thinking, what is she doing being a photographer??? YIKES! But I am so glad she was there with me, I didn't have to feel so alone during this and she doesn't know it but she kept me from totally freezing up, although I did go completely blank on everything I had planned for this couple. I really didn't plan to spend the day there at the park doing pictures. I wanted to take them to this fountain area where there are cute store fronts and a fountain and steps and such, I had great ideas, but because of her time crunch in her head, no such luck, I knew I was never going to be able to get her away from the park.
At about this time she realizes the sound guy isn't there yet. He's supposed to show up at 2 and it's now 2:30. She gets a phone and his number and finds out that he just left. He calls her 20 minutes later to tell her that he's stuck in traffic... he's neglected to check his route and find out that the road he planned to take has been shut down for construction for the weekend. He informs her he will be there in 20 minutes... just in time for him to set up maybe 10 minutes before the ceremony?

Then her daughter starts freaking out about the bugs biting her. So that adds even more drama to the scene.

After a few pictures and such guests start arriving so we decide to hike it over to the other part of the park for more pictures. But first she has to decide if we will walk or drive over there. She thinks driving, and then driving back seems silly... I mention that it's probably not more silly than walking through the park while they all watch her come back, waiting for the ceremony to start. She agrees to drive. So we leave. Someone will call us when everyone is ready. We go to the other side of the park and I start suggesting other pictures, she tells me that probably nobody will want to do more because they are all mad that nobody knows what's going on. OK, now what? Oh and there are people hanging out on the bridge where we are wanting to do pictures. So I get her to let me start working with people again and get some arrangements we haven't gotten yet. Then I asked Jaime, my assistant to ask the people to leave the bridge for a little bit. We got some shots there that I think she will love. Then she tells me they called and everyone is ready.
We drive back and hide the cars behind some trees and I run down and got the officiator and sent him up the hill to them.
The sound guy is there, shirt hanging out, looking scraggly, and trying to do sound checks... I thought they were ready?
I start shooting guests and stuff, checking my exposure, because now clouds are going by and it keeps changing from sunny to shaded and I'm working with a camera that is not working right. Hindsight tells me I should have switched my main lens to the 20D and worked with that... duh! But I had the 80mm on there and I needed that for many of the ceremony shots.
Any who, sound guy was horrible! For the entire ceremony the sound kept going out, screeching and making some pounding noise. Oh my word. Then their ceremony (which I really wished that I could have asked them to change, but there's no delicate way to do that) had me running from the sidelines at the front to the isle, even though Jaime was there, she wasn't in the right spots that I could have just left her to get the shots. I'm really worried that the bride is going to be mad at me now because they posed themselves wrong (even though we specifically covered that the night before) for the candle lighting and I couldn't get all three of them (the daughter helped light the candle) in one shot.
I also had a hard time figuring out the exposure for the shots of the recessional. I kept second guessing the camera :(
I tried to get some shots of them in the limo, I'm not sure if any of those turned out or if the ones of them around the 50's car that the bride and groom were leaving in.
I'm going to wait a couple of days before I download and look at them.
So then the bride decided they should hit the bar on the way to the reception, so Jaime and I went to McDonald's and then to the reception.
After that most of the night went really well..... until....
Jaime brought the camera she'd been using for the day to me and it was showing an error code for a corrupt CF card and it could not find any images. The words of Lorelai Gilmore went through my head "aaaand the hits just keep on coming!"
My day started at 8 and ended a little after 9:30.
I thought the reception was beautiful and the DJ did a most excellent job getting people out on the dance floor and dancing. I liked his arrangements of music that he played.
When I got home I was so exhausted and my body hurt. It's sore today too. I prayed and asked for a miracle, please don't let her bad luck rub off on me anymore! And thankfully when I loaded the disk into a card reader it was able to find over 200 images. YES! Thank you Heavenly Father.
I'm now off to spend the week with my family and play with some trash the dress sessions before I take a look at what I got at the wedding.


Ginabear said...

OMG Jen!!! Do you have any hair left?? I would have seriously pulled all of mine out!! What a crazy, frustrating, insane day! Soooo glad those pics werent corrupted! My mouth went wide open when I read that!! Prolly a good idea to wait a few days to look at the pics, time to breathe!! I cant wait to see the TTD pics. Sorry it was such a rough weekend. I hope everything turns out ok. Big hugs!!!

Anonymous said...

I think you went above and beyond what any other photographer would do.
I hope so bad the pictures capture the beauty and leave the hecktickness behind.

I really can't wait to see them now.
And I hope your real camera comes back soon!


JenKlingensmith said...

Actually Banana, you have no idea how much above and beyond I went. She got 5.5 hours more than her package allowed, and a second shooter which is an extra $100/hr,(extreme I know, it's actually only for those who REALLY want it and are willing to pay, but they can chose to have the second shooter for any number of hours) who stayed for 9.5 hours. said...

so sorry jen,

this just sounds completely miserable for you. i hope they are not usually like this for you.

**hugs** kathleen

Michelle said...

Are. You. Kidding. Me.

Flip, that is quite a load of drama for you. Wow, I can't believe how INSANE it was! You have my utmost respect for sticking through it and trying to make it work. I hope when you get the proofs done, the bride actually likes them. She should be happy that you put up with everything that happened!

If not, give her my number. I'll take care of it.

Michelle said...

Big HUGS btw.