On the afternoon of my 30th birthday, I began my career as a wedding photographer.
Six months later, it was over.
Her name was Kelli. We worked together in the marketing department of an engineering company.
She was beautiful, and maybe the most photogenic person ever, with a smile that lit up a room.
She knew I was an amateur photographer, had seen my stuff. I proudly spoke of a new 35 mm camera, a Canon AT 1 with assorted lenses and filters. (Vintage 1970’s)
It was a hobby. I already had a job as a writer/editor and proposal coordinator.
asked begged me to photograph her upcoming December wedding.
Jerry was the corporate photographer who had an office adjacent to mine. He filmed progress photos at construction sites, inanimate objects. He took me aside and gave me the warning, “you never want to be a wedding photographer, it’s the worst”.
I ignored his advice.
The first wedding went so very well, in spite of a few very basic errors on my part as a novice. I never had a backup camera, or an assistant to help set up the shots.
It was a small, intimate wedding that the couple had arranged quickly, with a limited budget. I worked cheap.
I did something no professional would do. I gave her the complete collection of photos and negatives. She was happy to create her own albums, as I was surely not interested. She paid me for my time, and the processing costs. Everyone was happy.
Word got around. We were an office of 1200 people.
Months later, another co-worker named Julie asked me to do her daughter’s June wedding.
The family dynamic was complicated. Julie was recently divorced, recovering from a serious depression. Her ex, my former supervisor, was now living with a woman that I knew, the “other woman” that caused the demise of Julie’s 25 year marriage.
The ceremony went well, there were abundant candid shots that the young bride requested.
And then came the formal group photos.
The father of the bride insisted that his new lady be included. The mother of the bride was furious. The bride was hurt, embarrassed, confused. I was trying to remain objective.
It didn’t work. And I began to understand the complexities of wedding photography, the emotional baggage.
It was the last assignment I took. It was fun while it lasted.
I’m glad I never quit my day job.