wedding photography :: WTF :: say it ain't so michael !!! OH, it be so.

Wedding photography has always been sort of a rite of passage into the world of pro shooting. You cut your teeth out of school, capturing countless couples convey their covenants.

As many of you may or may not know, I've never really been the conforming type.

As shan't you.

I didn't learn how to create using a camera as a tool in any formal institution. Nope. Quite the opposite really. I majored in health sciences with focus on administration, marketing and minoring in psychology. In hindsight, I think throughout my many years of undergraduate studies, I took only a single art history class.

But you may already have an idea of how I got here, today. 10,000 hours people! Ball busting hard work.

And without a doubt, I have certainly been hiking that road less traveled.

But this isn't about me my homeys. I just wanted to give any newbies a brief background of my journey.

Today's post is more of an observation, a thesis, if you will.

Where were we? Ah, yes. Wedding photography.

There seem to be a few camps in regards to this genre of photography.
  • The rite of passage stuff.
  • Or, the, wedding photography isn't "real" photography, theory.
  • How about the thought that wedding photographers are creepy old dudes in bad attire?
  • Wedding photography is child's play; amateur stuff.
  • All photographers shoot weddings.
Let's explore these and keeping true to form, not necessarily in any particular order.

The Rite Of Passage Paradigm ::

Bullshit.

I've been shooting professionally for quite some time now and you know what? I never, ever shot a wedding. 

BREAKING NEWS . . . !!! . . . 

Until now!

I'll plea that case in a few. 

For now, let focus on this first idea that before shooting "big boy" projects, one must make their chops by photographing a myriad of nuptials. 

STOP. Think about that for a moment. Consider you are the bride or groom and you want one of the most important days of your life to be documented in a creative and beautiful manner. 

You really want the kid still wet behind the ears to potentially fuck up your big day?! 

I didn't think so.

Wedding Photography Isn't "Real" Photography ?! ::

I'll touch more on this after these four bullet points but what schmuck has the sack to say this? I bet it's the same douche that bought a DSLR a prime lens, knows every tech spec about theirs and all gear but that pack never leaves their coffee table.

Some shoot bugs for a living. Others shoot porn. And guess what? There are a million other creative genres that lie in between. Each presents their own challenge. Each, like it or not, is its own form of ART.

The Creepy Old Due Philosophy ::

Ok, I admit, this one I may have made up via my own life experiences. Maybe my observations were spot on back those childhood years. I totally remember the fat, bald guys lugging around their hammer head flashes and belt full o gear wrapped around their bellies.

EEWwww. So not cool. Right? Come on. Was I the only person to profile these dudes like this? 

Alone or not, my how I was so wrong. 

The Theory That We All Shoot Weddings ::

Nope. 

The Wedding Photography Is Child's  Play; Amateur Stuff Ideology ::

This bullet is kind of of summation of the others, except the creepy old fat guy, of course. I mean really, who buys Metz?!

Summation? 

JASMINE STAR . . . NEED I FUCKING SAY MORE?!?!

The Real Lowdown On A Wedding Shoot.

Ok, so I will write a little bit about my own experiences. Come on. Suck it up. I'm not that awful. 

Back in March, I was approached by frequent reader of this blog, Kari Beth Biddle. She explained her need for a wedding photographer and her equal want for yours truly. Shit. I wasn't about to be the fat old creepy dude. Her case was strong. We met. We came to an agreement. 

Shit.

I didn't know how to shoot a fucking wedding. I'm a branding, advertising, editorial, and fashion photographer. I'm used to working in very controlled environments. And I KNOW weddings are pure chaos. I've played the groom role once and best man role three times! Weddings are fucking nuts. 

There was about 5 months to prepare for this shoot that was waaaayyyyy outside of my comfort zone.

"Comfort is the enemy of purpose."

The week leading up to that big weekend at the insanely gorgeous Fairwinds Farm and Stables, Inc. in North East Maryland, I stopped in to visit my friends over at Webb Cam LLC. on 12th and Vine in Philadelphia. It's my local pro shop. Super awesome. Anyhow, I was chatting it up with my buddy and owner John Webb about this heavy hanging over my head. I explained my concerns. John said to me . . . 

"Just shoot what you shoot man, you'll be fine."

Well, something close to that anyway.  As simple as it seems, those words stuck and I carried them with me all the way to Maryland.

I got a hotel room for the night before and night of the wedding. Why? To get in some solid meditation on the eve of and some pure zone out time the night of. 

So what happened between those two specific times?

12 hours of pure anarchy.

Let me tell you people, shooting a wedding is one giant fucking monster. Holy fuck me sideways. 

12 hours. Basically over that time I was lucky to sip some water from a bottle and if I was even luckier, to take a quick piss. 

12 hours?!

Yupper. 

We, my wife, Stefanie, who worked as my 2nd shooter and I had arrived just prior to hair and makeup so that we could create some awesome visuals of the details; venue, rings, table arrangements, etc. 

That was the ONLY point of calm. Once it was time to shoot the bridal party getting dressed, the proverbial shit had hit the fan. 

Bridesmaids running around like headless chickens. Groomsmen missing. Booze already flowing. 

Yo, I'm so used to saying saying cut or back on your marks. Umm. Can't do that at a wedding people. 

Imagine missing their first kiss? 

"Hey guys, can we take that from the top. Let's run through that again. This time with some more emotion." 

Right?! LOL.

A blink of an eye and it the ceremony is over and the formals begin. Before you know it, it's reception time. It's then damn near midnight and you have literally gotten the shakes as your blood glucose level has likely dropped to dangerously low levels. 12 hours of running around in the 90 plus degree heat while hauling around a pack of heavy glass and pro bodies, sips of water will not remedy.

12 hours later and about 200 gigs of data on about 3 or four different cards, sweat drenched attire, a belly screaming for sustenance and your quads burning as the milage you put on those wheels just rivaled that of a mini marathon, you pray that through discord that you were able to create pure awesomeness for the couple to enjoy forever.

AND YOU KNOW WHAT?

I LOVED EVERY FUCKING SECOND OF IT!

I had no idea.

The chaos, disorder, the anarchy may certainly frighten away some . . .

I embraced every second of it!

Having said that. I have since decided to take on a limited number of select wedding shoots. If you are interested, shoot an email to info@michaelanthonymurphy.com . 

Crazy. I cannot believe this article has just poured from my fingers. Never thought I'd see the day. LOL. I know many of you will be breaking my balls in due time. Bring it on!

Special thanks ::

To the bride and groom, Kari and Kyle. Congrats my friends!

To my wife, Stefanie. Holy shit. More than a 2nd shooter, she was one hell of a production manager. I love you boobsie!

[NOTE :: AT THE MOMENT I WON'T HAVE TOO MANY PHOTOGRAPHS POSTED HEREIN AS WE CAN'T SPOIL THE SURPRISE FOR KARI AND KYLE. AT THE TIME OF THIS WRITING, THE WEDDING WAS JUST ONE WEEK AGO AND THE 200 GIGS OF IMAGES ARE CURRENTLY BEING PROOFED AND PROCESSED. UPON DELIVERY, I WILL EITHER ADD MORE TO THIS POST, WRITE A PART 2 OR BOTH. STAY TUNED]


Until next time . . . 

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