THE DIVERSITY CLINIC


WEDDINGS ARE UNIQUE, DIVERSE,

WONDERFUL and CRAZY

DIVERSIFICATION IS THE KEY

I know I will be doing additional sections on Seniors, Quiceneras, Bar Mitzvahs, and Confirmations.  Then we will delve into Corporate and Business Photography.  In the short form, you have alternate choices using the tools you have, survival currently means simply put: be diverse, think out of the box, look for new territory, expand your horizons and start wearing boxer shorts with patterns and color. 

Think about it.   All the above opportunities for business are available to you if you invest the time and the energy to develop it.  Regardless of the occasion or event, you are either “coming out” or “going into” a community or for communication with a community in the case of business photography.  There is business there for the smart one. And it’s not surprising when I wrote to be successful in this business you need a split personality.  

Not just a shooter but a business person.  We live in a world of cultural difference and nothing shows that premise better than the Wedding ceremony which you, the lucky devil, have been retained to perform at.  Those folks have selected you to be the court scribe on the most important day of their lives.  

In the old days, going as far back as the Neo-Babylonian days the court scribe recorded all the events and rulings and changes the Kings, Judges and others made.  The scribe was a fairly-safe job since many could not read or write in those days.   And when the chief had something important to say or record, he called for the scribe.  Problems occur anywhere and one day the scribe ran out of ink.

So he told the chief, “ to hold that thought and he would go get another squid and milk it”.

Few critics...If he did screw up, boiling oil fixed things. If you screw up, the results could vary so the point is the more you know, the less you will not know when it counts.  

Your job is different, you get to participate in a multitude of different religious acts.  If you don’t know what you are getting into you better learn quick.

This entire section is not about religious preference or differences but it is and an explanation of what a minefield looks like when you try to tap dance through it.  The problem is worrying more about the shoes you wore rather than the path.

 

THE DIVERSITY WHEEL
So many religions,  so many difference’s, so many rules and regulations...How Come?

Simple we are a complex life form with many differences and religion being man-made in recognition of a divine presence tends to go off the rails at times.

I compared religion to SUBWAY, the folks who bring you mechanized sandwiches in different sizes, six or foot long, flavors, everything from turkey to meatballs and all kinds of vegetables and condiments on top.

Man has done the same thing with religion.  If you look at the diversity chart it shows you the differences in Mans being. The chart is Courtesy Of John Hopkins University.

 All these factors, if you have an open mind, create religion in many directions depending on where on the wheel are you located. Unfortunately, in religion, some hopefully not many have built in rules that perversions, that profess anything other than dogma or doctrine is anti-religion.  Bogus, or man-made implied religion does best with followers, not challengers.  Look back in time to those followers of the Jim Jones massacre and WACO Texas, religion, perverted resulting in loss of life.  Look at the imbeciles on TV believing the charlatans who coach them out of their savings believing it’s for Gods work.  No one can be that stupid but last year money 

 

TRADITIONS AND CONDUCT


Here are a couple of clues as to what to look out for. And I mean no harm or inference to anyone, just telling it like it is or in my case was.  One must respect the difference and cultural beliefs people have.  That’s what we will be talking about in this section. 

•   Some ethnicities of the middle eastern nations prohibit the taking of photographs that show elbows, faces or feet. These religious virtues sometimes transfer here to the states and you should be cautious when doing the Wedding by finding out what the rules are.  

•   The US is the cultural center of the world, so many different cultures live here but still follow their beliefs and customs.  Knowledge of these things will open your business to new business and possibly fill a niche in a community bringing you more work. 

•   Surely, things are moderated here in the states, at a local mall, I saw a woman in a burka, with veil dressed head to toe all covered up in black. Obviously, she was not shopping at the GAP or Dillard’s for a low-cut evening dress.  It was 93 outside and 80% humidity.

After I wrote this, I started to think how hard it is for a photographer doing weddings in certain countries that prohibit human form in the pictures.  If they allow pictures at all!

•    It would be too presumptive to think the Taliban or ISIS is hiring Wedding Photographers as one Blue Burka is the same as another Blue Burka. I doubt if we will ever see the Bride of the Month in a Blue Burka.  You’d be in the soup literally or in the oil whatever boils quicker…so respect of cultural beliefs is important.  

•   The best advice is you never know where there is a winner.  I just glanced over my shoulder at these two, I was a friend and guest at the wedding and the Nikon Coolpix did the rest.   

 She was chomping on ice to cool down after some fancy dancing, her grandma was a New York Radio City Rockettes, so dancing was in the DNA.  The follow-up shot sans ice cube was perfect.  That is till he smooched her with cake. The $100 spent for the hair and makeup girl meant nothing to him…

AGAIN, DIVERSITY, and TRUTH

•   Why am I pushing this introduction, simple, if you as a photographer or the visual scribe of the happening and limit yourself to one brand or belief you have just cut your income to nothing outside your comfort zone or belief.   Unless your father, is the pastor,  the Deacon, The Reverend  or your dad is the Rabbi of the Temple, Synagogue, or Shul can be an advantage to a closed audience and contacts.   I left off Catholic Priests as they are not supposed to have children.  (This last statement might not be 100%)

•   Just so you know.  I insist and repeat myself that you should visit the Church a week before or if possible be an onlooker at a Wedding function there before yours.  You need to accomplish three things on your mission.  Pre-check the lighting, check the service for nominal or abnormal changes, and check out the demeanor of the clergy presiding.   A conversation with the clergy asking him about the ground rules is imperative.

•    Again, there are so many man-made versions of Christianity it is impossible to keep up with them.  The others like Judaism, Baha’i are fairly cut and dry.  If you are not familiar with the process at the church, go there and see for yourself. 

•   One bride told me how special her pastor was, how kind and easy going.  He could have gone further with his writings and religious poetry but his arrest for Pedophilia a week before the wedding got in the way.  

And they dragged the music minster away soon after.  I will not comment on the replacement they sent, other than it was a catastrophe, about as warm as some performed at the local prison.  

•   I live in Florida and we average one arrest a month for Music Directors or Youth Pastors getting arrested.  I always ask the Bride about the Reverend, Pastor, Priest or Rabbi.  Then I go look for myself with a background or without the Bride.  

•   I want to see up front, it’s beliefs, traditions, smoke blowing, character assassinations, false prophets, ridiculous rituals, and it will vary from Church to Church.  Think of churches as franchises and no one’s on the same menu.  They will all diversify, stretch, shrink and manipulate the rules.

•   The largest group, Christianity goes from the liturgical beliefs to some fairly out on the limb concepts because they are man-made.   Diversity comes in two forms.  Religious Diversity relates to the customs, traditions, and processes.  

Human Diversity is simply who we are, short or tall, black, yellow, red or white, rich or poor, Klingon or Romulan.  A working knowledge of these diversifications will make your life easier and trains you to avoid problems by knowing what’s next but at best it’s still a 50/50 shot.  

 

WEDDINGS ARE UNIQUE

MIX-MATCHED STYLES

Number one on the hit parade is diverse-matched shooting in the wrong wedding style. Be prepared that your style applies to the Wedding couple’s beliefs.  

People are culturally different and PJ may not be the best choice for a specific wedding and you might be going or moving to a position that might not be correct.  

At a Catholic Church one day the photographer thought he ruled the roost, climbing over everybody and everything, till he got to the LUNA which is a circular receptacle with glass sides, metal circled with gold or gilded metal to hold the Sacred Host upright in the monstrance during the Mass.  

It is a sacred vessel, having received the priest's blessing.   It is sometimes called a lunette.  The older, very-very Catholic “tough” priest had enough with this clown.  He stopped the sacrament, paused, my source tells me the priest had said, "God Forgive Me" and invited the Photographer to leave the Church right now placing his hands on the photographers neck escorting him out.

We have a tough time in my area with Catholic Churches and FLASH, because idiots like this guy made it tough for all of us.   It has even encouraged second shooters to hide as guests on the aisle seats and grab what they can with high ISO's.   

You might be best to mix it up a little so you cover your bases. I have learned this from my diversified experience shooting weddings of ethnic and social differences. In addition, I must stop and give thanks to the many professionals and associates who contributed similar stories which proves I am not crazy.  It’s a test sometimes, but I don’t think the Octopus and Fish will make it... well maybe with a good sushi chef....

 VALUE THIS THE GOLDEN RULE APPLIES HERE:

"THOU SHALT NOT ABUSE THE CLERGIES RULES AND WISHES”

 

YOUNGER COUPLES
Some younger couples like moderate trendy PJ to almost a “shock jock” approach to the Wedding.   Notice I said “Some”. You better expect anything, sometimes blowing tradition out the door.  

Expect anything from a moon to topless exhibitions to falling on ones face dead drunk.  My favorite is the exposure problem a young new female shooter, new at the game living in the UK, had “penis exposure” from the groomsmen in three of her shots as explained in preceding pages.

A click or two in Photoshop could have cured the extended problem by erasing it, but I gave her a better idea.  Upon my suggestion and after she got paid, she used the “shrink image button” in layers in Photoshop and popped a print.  All the bridesmaids got a souvenir 8x10 of the diminished male standard. I’ll bet that made a few circles around town!  I once said the best way to expose an ass-hole, is with a camera and show the world. 

Another example: After you shoot a thousand B&W  "truly photojournalistic artistic renderings or PJ shots" the mother-in-law calls up and wants the 30x40 color shot of her firstborn to hang over the fireplace of their new house. Try selling her the black and white artistic shot of the Brides bra strap while she was getting dressed. 

 COMRADES IN ARMS
You are not alone: My buddies and cohorts in the business shared a few other horror tales with me.  Fred Miranda’s website at http://www.fredmiranda.com  has a pretty good wedding forum.  It’s inhabited by a few pro’s and many, many beginners, some guys pretending to know more than they do.  

A fast check on licenses, which is commonly on all government websites for that city or state sites tell you whether they are legal or not, whether they maintain a studio, and their real status.  Hilarious sometimes, like kids brag how good they are at HALO and Tanki games, and some shooters pretend to be what they are not.

There are many other sites devoted to Wedding Photographers.  But, like most of the web, take things with a grain of salt, two shots of vodka and a twist of lemon.  Ego’s run prolific in this business and everyone’s a pro on the web.  

Just look at some sites and you’ll realize a few are more conversation than talent. And see how many have the same Wedding Music, playing in the background, the same style as they all bought them from a booth at WPPI or on-line.  Clones of Clones.  

Type in Wedding Forums on Google and a lifetime of reading is before you. Type in a few names of the shooters from the odd groups on Google and it’s like reading the tabloids. A few have a pretty shady past.  Several we found in NEW JERSEY should have warrants or doing time by now. Some did, the article is buried in this site somewhere. Big time lawsuit.

YOU should serve the client, not force your beliefs or issues. If their style is not the best style for you, get someone else to do it and a referral fee is better than nothing or a goof up. Again, I am NOT picking on any age groups, religious groups or ethnicities, just a few tips for political correctness and to CYA.

Older established families and higher more elaborate level Weddings go far more often to the conservative side with shooter covering the basics and then: the PJ style thrown into the mix for complete coverage and a better bottom line.

 

NEW DAWN
Weddings today have changed. It used to be a relatively simple celebration of life event with kisses, hugging, bell ringing, glass clanking, toasts, lots of hoop-a's and mazel-tovs.  

It’s a different story today.  Today, they are choreographed epics with Bridezillas and reality show wedding gown failures and Estrogen emotional crack-ups.  On the other side of the coins spent, there may be Testosterone emblazoned fighting, the display of lower rear and now frontal body parts, use of poor language and the consumption of alcohol and a few illegal drugs.

With basically bare bulbs, a Graflex and plates, evolving into twin lens reflexes like the Yashica, Rollie, Mamiya and Minolta, I, (WE) somehow managed to cover the event usually based on 120 prints in an album.  That was the past.  Two decades from now those older pictures will still be the same, and the ones taken today will bring comments like "why did we invite those people"?  It's called growing up and many of the wedding couples may not be very mature, influenced by elders also not developed thinkers.

 

THE WEDDING TODAY
Weddings today, and I have spoken of this in the many articles and seminars, do fall into categories both by the participants and those hired to do the bidding.  If I were to do the structure on a chart it would start with a basic out line as follows;  

Bear in mind this is NOT a condemnation of financial structure but the style points for various general assemblies, and nothing is in stone, I have witnessed some real high-end Weddings where the damages exceeded the actual costs, the retail of the Wedding.  Anything is possible… this is just a guide.

 

WEALTHY WEDDINGS are usually:

Over the top; Traditional; Conservative; Hollywood / Photojournalist / Heavy Video and Entertainment

MIDDLE CLASS WEDDINGS commonly are:

Traditional; Conservative; Semi - Hollywood; Semi - Photojournalist / Video / Band

Lower ECONO CLASS WEDDINGS hold the line at:

Traditional; Rarely Conservative and sometimes bizarre / Disk Jockeys/ Friend with Camera/Video

INSANE CLASS WEDDINGS MAY BE:

Via parachute, Underwater, in Caves, in Graveyards...

BARE-ASS OR THEME WEDDINGS most likely are:

Hopefully Traditional and Simple; Lots of fun; Caution Can Be Unpredictable, 
Redneck En-fused;
Klingon, Cro-Magnon, Neanderthal and Warcraft.

 

 

COUPLE OF CRITICAL THOUGHTS

•  First, I make a strong point of NOT telling them what to do unless they ask.  You are not the Wedding organizer and when the “KA-KA" hits the electric air flow rotational device (the fan) you do not wish to be standing or stepped in front of the Brides wishes, her mom nor the coordinator. 

•  Your job at the Wedding is to record the event in a pleasing and complimentary way to the participants regardless of how crazy it or they might appear to you. This is especially important in the second phase of the Wedding after the Church ceremony and things lighten up.

•  Second, never get in the way of the proceedings in the Church.  Any unusual rules or regulations should have been discussed at rehearsals or beforehand with the Church leader, Priest or Rabbi.  If I must, I will study the setup and adjust my game plan to fit the situation.  I am also looking for opportunities for the money maker or unusual shot that could take it over the top simply because we saw something from another angle.

•  Wedding photography is like shooting sports, you are in the moment and redux simply don't exist. It's the reason many don't join this profession and the reason many work with a second shooter or assistant. But the second shooter usually walks in cold and has no priors with the family.

•  Generally, I avoid the following:   Weddings at Religious retreats, Wiccan, Druidic rites, and Satanic or S&M worship.  I stay clear and won’t even go there.  

•  I usually forward those requests to someone else. You do not want to get tagged there, unless it’s your bag.  If some of the strange is your bag, you might be able to build a monopoly and that’s OK because you are in control and understand different people. I hesitated to use the word weird.

•  I do and have accepted corporate work, but I treated it as a Wedding till I established a following with them. Get it in writing, get a deposit, do it by the book...enough said.  That’s it for the more unpopular and unconventional Weddings and Events. Now we’ll look at different types of weddings.

 

WE ARE NOT SIMILAR
We live in a world of cultural difference and nothing shows that premise better than the Wedding ceremony which you, have been retained to perform at.  Those folks have selected you to be the court scribe on the most important day of their lives.  In the old days, going as far back as the Neo-Babylonian days the court scribe recorded all the events and rulings and changes the Kings, Judges and others made.  

The scribe was fairly-safe since many could not read or write in those days.  If he needed a break, he said to the King, “Hold that thought chief I ran out of ink and need to get another squid”.

If you screw up, the results could vary so the point is the more you know the less you will not know when it counts.  Here are a couple of clues as to what to look out for. And I mean no harm or inference to anyone, just telling it like it is or in my case was. One must respect the difference and cultural beliefs people have.