Shoot: Amy & Paul. Married
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

The oldest church in Madison played host to it's newest married couple yesterday, as Amy & Paul ied the knot in front of family and friends from across the country. Once again blessed with great weather, a plethora of awesome locations with an awesome wedding army, and a final surprise for Paul in the fluffy shape of Bucky, it was a great day...

Amy & Paul. Married. from Steve Bowman on Vimeo.


Anyone notice anything different about the ceremony pictures for this wedding? No? Phew...

So, just as Amy had joined Paul and the ceremony begins, my camera has a shutterfart. Not the little kind that causes giggles and smells like cabbage, but the big kind where you really start to worry about whether the 3-day-old taco meat that seemed like a good idea turned out to be a very very bad idea resulting in a shower and a pair of pants in the garbage. Funnily enough the physical reaction was just as bad as that rather disgusting metaphor... wide-eyed panic, cold sweat and insta-angst.

Like any piece of technology, they seem to have a mind of their own... like a capricious child, knowing they have you over a barrel, they decide they need some alone-time and down tools. Now, for a photographer, there are few moments worse for this to happen than the beginning of a wedding ceremony.

I wish I could tell you what it was, or how I fixed it, but I still have no clue. All I know is that as I switched the lens from dead-camera to riding-the-pine-camera, the mount release fell off and all of a sudden, no locked mirror, no fully-charged-to-dead-in-no-time-battery and it worked again..

In the meantime, the second shooter was merrily snapping away at double time, my heart slowed back down, panic receded, and nary a beat was missed.

That's why you wouldn't have noticed anything different in this shoot from any other.

It was however, the first time a mechanical breakdown had affected a job, and it wasn't fun. It was however a relief to know that it could happen in a serious way and not have my workflow blown up. 

The really unfortunate thing, is that so many photographers go into weddings without a second shooter to cover their asses. They go in without a reliable, comparative piece of kit... usually it's an older camera they used before the upgrade... if that had happened in this scenario, during that five minute period, nothing would have been covered, and when #2 was finally fired up and it's useable ISO was only 800 the bride would have been left with some very sorry and very crappy shots...

It's highly unlikely that any potential bride is going to find this lowly piece of opinion on my unpublicised blog, but that warning still stands so as to feel like I"ve done my piece and attract a little bit of business karma...

When hiring your photographer ask this question: "If your camera breaks down during my ceremony what happens then?"

 It's slightly, (yet probably still statistically insignificant), more likely that another photographer may find this article while stalking me, so ask yourself the same question...

"If your #1 camera goes down during the ceremony, what happens then?"

 If your answer is "Instagram!", then GTFO.

Seriously though, this really reinforces the absolute need for back up gear and even redundancies for that, such as I had. If #1 had stayed down, #1a and #2 were right there. I still could have covered the wedding with two independent photographers and identical gear.

It's like drinking too much red wine. Until you do it, no matter how many times you are told, (and no matter how much you believe it), until you slam two entire bottles of burgundy in 45 minutes and redecorate the walls of the bathroom a murky brown colored vomit as a result, you just don't know how bad it is.

Aside from that Now You Know moment, it was a pretty kick-ass day...