Taking the sparkle out of people’s eyes.

by Amelia Kanan

The title is in reference to all of my photoshopping I’ve been doing on the wedding I photographed, last night. I’ve logged an hour and 1/2 so far and since the wedding began later than expected, I lost valuable light. Resulting to my flash, it caused a few photos with gleaming eyes and while I softened the reflections my “roommate” heard me mutter to myself “I’m taking the sparkle out of people’s eyes”. That’s so sad.

So, I did it! I photographed a wedding and with that, I learned, I don’t think wedding photography is my bag.

#1 It’s hard for me to not be involved and interactive with my subjects. Especially, if it’s in close corners.

#2 I have a difficult time getting good shots by being inconspicuous.

#3 I can be in a writing zone and even producing/working mode for a long period of time, without any breaks but when it comes to photographing, my time is much more limited and my energy depletes much quicker.

#4 After all was said and done, when I woke up the next morning, I was sore from head to toe. I thought “Did I have a really good workout yesterday?” Nope. Every muscle in my body had been tense while I was shooting, due to the amount of stress I felt.

Overall, it was a good experience and I did fairly well. The thing is, I got rattled early on. Before the ceremony began, I was snapping some coverage shots and of guests arriving when this guy came up to me. His camera was, let’s face it, much nicer, much more professional and he held it in a way that said “I want you to notice my fine piece of machinary but I don’t want you to think I want you to see it.” Sweet, dude.

“Are you a professional photographer?” He asked this, with a doubting furrow of his brow and a slight layer of sarcasm.

I laughed, to show my annoyance of his question, hoping him to make him feel small and responded with, “I’m definitely not a professional wedding photographer.” I wasn’t going to assert some kind of false idea. “I’m a portrait photographer.”

Annoyed, he crinkled his face, “Ok, well let me put it this way: Are you a guest at this wedding or are you here to photograph it.”

“I’m here to photograph.”

Inside, I was brewing, shaking and if my hands weren’t occupied holding my “amateur” camera they would’ve been in fists. He asked if I had been “hired” and that he was worried they didn’t have anyone to shoot their wedding and that he was so thankful I was there and he was “sure” my photo’s would be much better than his. Ugh, I wanted to die. Don’t be condescending and if you’re really interested if they found someone or not, ask someone in the bridal party, a family member of the bride/groom or someone you know. I would never, as an artist, question someone who was in their creative place, doing their thing, in their zone or clearly “working”. Looking back, I wish I would’ve just said I was a guest and just a friend who was experimenting because mentally, I would’ve been soothed. Because after that, the whole night, I was so aware of where he was, when he was looking at me, thinking he was judging. “Oh, she’s not using a flash.” “Uh, oh, her angle is awkward” “Why is she making herself so obvious?”

I could be projecting my insecurities. This wouldn’t be the first time since my lack of confidence is my Achille’s tendon however, I persisted. I kept shooting, I didn’t complain, contest or allow it to become an issue. Rather, I let it sit inside. I swallowed, I took deep breaths and told myself “it was ok”. In the end, it was. The bride and groom were amazing, their families were so sweet, the guests were a complete delight and the location was so beautiful.I was able to capture some solid photos and moments that I know the couple and families will be happy with and that is what matters the most, to me in the end.