Former MU graduate student Serkan Gurbuz sent out an e-mail to MU's photo-j Listserv the other day asking for a wedding photographer. He requested anyone interested send a portfolio his way. The wedding ceremony was set in Kansas City, and I figured since I'd be home for the summer and needed some money, why not?
Weddings are quite nerve-racking. Of course, all one-time events make me nervous, but this is a wedding — a once-in-a-lifetime event (for the lucky ones). I don't do a lot of weddings — the last one I did was two years ago, I believe — but Serkan wanted me to shoot it documentary style, so I felt it was right up my alley.
Serkan also told me he wanted me to work in flash. I freaked out. I haven't yet taken Advanced Techniques at school, which teaches students how to work with lighting. He mostly wanted them for portraits, so I borrowed a Canon 580 EX from Barry Mathia, Lawson's hometown photographer and worked a couple days in advance to figure out what I needed to do. I mostly concentrated on using fill flash because there would be light for most of the wedding, so it wasn't incredibly hard — I mostly had the worst time figuring out how to shoot high speeds and fix my flash exposure compensation.
The day of the wedding, I woke up to pouring rain. And yes, the wedding was outdoors. I was panicked and worried — what if I had to shoot the ceremony in the small space of the reception? The rain came and went the entire day, but cleared up for the evening of the wedding, which began at 5:30 p.m.
I headed down near the Plaza in Kansas City around 2:30 to be extra early to photograph the bride, C.J., as she got ready, just in case. When she arrived, we went to the dressing room with her mother and sister (the maid of honor) and I took some (mostly) candid photos of her getting ready and them interacting.
The wedding was at the Simpson House, a former residence that is over 100 years old. The place was gorgeous — amazing wood crafting, a huge staircase, big windows letting in natural light, beveled glass, grand chandeliers and a big, flourishing garden. It was not going to be hard to work the scene into the scenario.
Another interesting factor of the wedding was Serkan's Turkish background. There were not many Turkish traditions in the ceremony, but they did have a Turkish band, served Mediterranean food and performed a gold ceremony during the reception. His intermediate family was also present and oh my goodness, were they sweet. His mother, who spoke little English, kept praising me and thanking me. She also blessed my "working hands," a blessing in Turkish to those who use their hands to serve others, such as food handlers.
By the time C.J. and her wedding party were finished getting ready, we did not have much time for portraits. I think Serkan mostly wanted me to focus on candid photography, however, so I think this was OK — we mostly did the standard group portraits and not anything too crazy. The wedding party was very small, with only a maid of honor, best man, ring bearer and flower girl.
The ceremony was not long, which made me nervous that I would not be able to make really good pictures. I feel like I did alright, but unfortunately, it felt like more of a warm-up for me even though I had practiced at the dress rehearsal the night before. The reception was definitely better photo-wise, but it was also a lot longer.
All in all, I feel comfortable with how I did. I know my color was off sometimes and noticed a lot of out-of-focus pictures throughout my take, but am proud of many of the pictures I did make. I would love some feedback and hope to shoot another wedding or two before I graduate. I do have some advice to all novice wedding photographers, though: make sure you take a break during the reception! It's exhausting taking pictures for a good 7 hours, so make sure you get some food (especially if the couple invites you to eat) and maybe even some cake if you have time — just make sure you're readily available and willing to leave your plate if needing.
All photographs copyright © Katie Currid and may not be used or reproduced without permission.