POO-POO FANS AND MORTARS


THINGS WENT WRONG

A photographer on one of the web forums “Wrote about a unique set of circumstances he encountered while shooting at a wedding” I guess for him it was a unique experience and he should go back to Burger Village and continue flipping.

HE SAID:

I was told there was a rehearsal so I showed up 2.5 hours early.
No one showed till a half hour before the wedding and there was no rehearsal.
No one had any idea what they were doing.
The groom showed up 45 minutes late.
The best man showed up AFTER the wedding. 
The Bride and Groom didn’t have a wedding license
The ceremony lasted a total of about 3.5 minutes. 
I started at the front of the hall, shot a few pics, ran around behind the crowd and up to the other side.
Snapped a few more and the wedding was over. 
Half of the things that were supposed to take place, like the unity candle, were completely skipped. 
The hall is so dark that the camera wouldn’t focus, even with the 70-200 f/2.8 IS.
To give you an idea, to get a normal exposure without flash, I had to drop to a full second exposure, f/8, at ISO 400. 
The Bride and Groom were completely uninterested in the formal pictures.

I NOTED THE FOLLOWING:
Love is blind and it is evident they will live happily ever after,  till they decide different and kill each other. Obviously you contracted with a few nuts.  It could be a self-esteem problem.  It could be her having a really emotional breakdown.  Their feelings have nothing to do with a ritualistic ceremony obviously they cared little about other than getting it over with.   

That part is not your problem, it was with whoever hired you, if you got paid just write it off as a learning lesson. 
You learned that not everybody is normal, many are f*cked up and they tend to run in groups as you met their ensemble. 

SOLUTION: 
But I see a lot of problems in your technique, you never planned the day, never sourced the Church and wedding party,  nor confirmed things , nor pre-wedding who’s who with these people, nor did you go with them to the church prior about a week before the wedding?  You are as much of the problem as they were, a complete disconnect.  Keep the frickin money and ignore them. Go work with someone who has a plan, or remember on a hot grill three minutes a side for the burgers.


THE NOT MY FAULT SCENARIO!
The worst feeling in the world is when the indoor flash pictures were ruined. The outside shots all shot in P mode and RAW worked wonderfully. The storm is developing. We have a new shooter with stress, a low powered flash, untested and unfamiliar with, a dark room he never figured, mirrors, chandeliers and green walls. He had never seen the Church or lighting during the day or with the in-house lighting turned on and the people are moving!  Think about that they move around!

Thats why we developed the Anti-Blamesmanship Spray for Wedding Shooters. One simple spray and they will forget everything wrong you did.  Brought to you by the same company that made Blamesmanship for Golf so successful.  Thousands of golfers who couldn’t find their balls used Blamesmanship successfully.  

Spray yourself and won't remember why you took the job.  Here for your benefit are the most commonly used expressions of blamesmanship. These are common blames, only one or two are needed to hopefully prevent a lawsuit. The order is it was a People, God, Location and Planners.  Then spray them and they'll forget you.


THE PEOPLE BLAME
Blame the (Please pick one) Bride, the Reverend, the Priest, the Rabbi, the Imam, the Witch Doctor, Mother-in-law, the Caterer, the Church layout, the Wedding Coordinator, the DJ, your helper. 

THE GODLY OFFENSE BLAME
The weather, too much sun, wind, and the stars, global warming, the internet lost the pictures and the abominable snow man. Its God's Will!  (God Wills printed on 80 lb. stock are available from Moses printing 235 E 17th Street, NYC, NY)

THE LOCATION BLAME
Blame the location for not allowing you to take over the place and interrupt the entire occasion because this is your day to explore your craft.  After all the Priest could of paused when doing the Communion for you to blast his eyeballs out. “I feel sorry for the couple getting married. If they don't care enough to do the wedding right then what is the rest of the marriage gonna be like?  Well, grain of salt here, and excuses.

KILL THE WEDDING PLANNER SCENARIO!
Quote: “I simply finished taking all the shots at that wedding and decided I would not accept any further bookings from that planner. I guess weddings are stressful for many people involved in the event, including planners. Wedding planners are a dime a dozen, so I didn’t loose any sleep over not doing any more business with this particular planner!”

SYNOPSIS
As far as rejecting or accepting work from a specific wedding planner, I wouldn't make too much of an issue over it. Depends on where you live, they talk amongst themselves and if your local or town is small enough, you'll bury yourself. It is just like you'd be apt to warn another photographer about that planner. That changes the expression “talk is cheap, intro talk is expensive”. This could be a really dumb arrogant move.

JUST PART OF THE GAME
I truly feel up to ninety percent of the problems that pop at Weddings are not the Bride, Groom or anyone else’s fault. And that many of these problems can be avoided by an effort on behalf of the photographer.  Newer shooters without experience have just walked into a minefield. Well maybe tap danced through a minefield is a better (and my favorite) metaphor.  It’s just the nature of the beast and the learning curve.  I place things that go wrong at a Wedding into two specific categories. 

REAL PROBLEMS
These are things you can't control. These are beyond the scope of mortal man and acts of God.  P-O-O-R-  RESULTS  occur from things you didn't control. Or you got lazy or took it for granted, or didn’t care.

PLANNING AND ANALOGY
You have to take the time and the initiative to coordinate and plan with the rest of the folks involved and know every nuance of what’s about to happen during the planning stages.  If they don't or haven't done this, it's your job to wake the "stick" (carnival employee phrase for the wielder or boss officiate or planner) for the information.  Everyone else brings something to the Wedding, the photographer is the only one that HAS to bring something home from the wedding!

ORGANIZATION
You have to know what is to be where and when and put all the parts into play that involves your part of the occasion.  It's nice to make a list of all the things that went wrong that effected your work but as Michael Brown head of FEMA got blasted for “you can blast the bureaucracy, but good management is what overcomes adversity”.  He was a Bush appointment, something about “Birds of a feather, flock together”.  Is a DORK a bird?

That’s what they pay a pro for. Newbies fail because they just don’t have the instinct of the pros to ward off the problems. By having an organization and a chain of command in place problems become “lets handle this" and be done.

OPPORTUNITIES
Weddings are great places for referrals and I talk about it a lot in several articles. They are great opportunities for you to show the clients you know what you are doing and to impress and solicit potential business. You are on stage as well as the Bride and Groom at a wedding. Just don’t get imbibed, jump on the dance floor and rip your clothes off while doing an Elvis impersonation. 

RECON - TIME TO ADAPT, IMPROVISE and OVERCOME
I can't believe how many weddings get shot and all we hear is " I was told no flash when I got there; the light was really bad; I didn't know the reception was in the Church basement and they only had two 60 watt bulbs”, whatever.  
If you walked in blind you are the one that failed the exam. 

Don’t blame the Bride, not the Groom and not the Planner.  Knowing the turf, location, possible problems with lighting, position, and the mechanics of your gear is your responsibility.  No one else to blame in a one man business is there, so we blame the folks who hired us or who we had to work with. Why didn’t you get off your bottom and check out the church and reception hall weeks before the wedding.


THE BOTTOM LINE and MORTAR TRAINING

Not knowing or not doing what you have to do is paramount to failure and having owned a lab I saw it every day. Brutally bad work passed off as art combined with lots of excuses. I think I have heard every one in the book.  On most forums the blame always falls on someone or something else.  People don’t accept their failure in their work, it’s always someone else.

In my training in the military one of my favorites weapons was the portable mortar.  It simple, it’s a metal tube you drop a mortar shell in.  The bottom of the shell has an igniter, when drops in the tube, it hits a pin that ignites the shell and boom off goes the shell to the target and thats the mechanical aspect. The last step in preparation before you drop the shell in the tube is to angle it in the direction hopefully of the enemy by moving some dials and levers.

I compare this to some wedding shooters. The military has a book and it tells you how to tilt and angle the tube, lock it in and it will go a certain distance and make a big bang when it strikes the enemy.  Not being prepared for a wedding is like firing a mortar at the following:  A controlled zero azimuth on both axis and vertical angle of ninety degrees in zero wind conditions.  


A BAD RESULT ACCORDING TO THE ZERO ANGLE ZERO AZIMUTH SETTING:   ASS REMOVAL
Not preparing correctly is when a mortar shooting straight up.  Forgetting to do the settings correctly will fire the shell straight up and what goes straight up comes straight down and you will blow your ass off. 

There are few excuses for failure that weren’t avoidable or predictable or anticipated. If you did your recon properly most will surface during the walk around.  Then you pull your organization and planning team together. This is what defines the true pro from the wannabes and hackers.

I fear many of the “photographers” starting in wedding work are afraid to be assertive in some ways.  They just stand there in the background and record things that happen and maybe that’s their mantra.  When things go wrong, they are dead in the water and cannot pull the results out.  Remember you the photographer are the only one taking something from the wedding, the images the essence,  anything less you should of stayed a guest.



REMEMBER PEOPLE DO STUPID THINGS

•  Wearing a BRIGHT BLUE or BRIGHT RED shirt in certain areas of LA

•  Believing T-RUMP is a honest individual and so are members of his tribe

•  Believing that Pro-Wrestling is real, those guys really hate each other

•  The Gaither Mens Gospel singers all have real hair not awful cheap looking wigs 

•  Vince McMahon never did steroids with his wrestlers, they just died young of unnatural causes

•  And that the IRS is really there to help you

•  And your ex-wife will never again go after you in court for more child support

•  Popes don’t have mistresses, just matresses and Pedophiles can be saved



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