We sometimes speak (okay, write) here at Manolo for the Brides about wedding professionals. We discuss what to look for, how to know this is or isn’t the professional for you, and how to negotiate getting what you really want. We almost never cover the question from the other side. What is it like to work weddings professionally? How do vendors help steer the clueless and those with unrealistic expectations toward a plan that makes better sense? What do they do when their best efforts in that regard don’t work? And what makes doing what they do worth all the hassle?
It is the tension between expectation and reality that keeps the work interesting. It is also what occasionally – when I come home very late from a particularly horrible event – makes me want to bury my head under my pillow and wake up in a world where weddings no longer exist. But by the next weekend I’m out there again. The truth is I like what I do. And maybe twenty years from now my clients will look at the photographs I took and remember how they felt, not just what things looked like. They might even know by then that the feelings were what mattered. Or maybe they will see where it all went wrong later was foreshadowed in those moments caught on film, when no one was trying to keep up appearances. I’m not a glamor photographer. I’m not a fashion photographer. I’m a storyteller, and the story I tell is the one I see.
Thus ends the introduction of Claire Lewis’ book Exposed: Confessions of a Wedding photographer.
Lewis is – in case you couldn’t tell from that snippet or the title of her book – a professional wedding photographer. She also happens to live and work in my neck of the woods, the San Francisco Bay Area. We’ve never met. I doubt that I’ve been to a wedding she shot. On the other hand, by the end of the book I wanted to invite her over for scones and wedding gossip.