I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, that everything was normal and I had nothing to worry about. The truth is I was nervous – nervous about the unknown, nervous about what might happen, nervous about how everything would play out. It’s only natural – when wedding day rolls around, being nervous is just part of the process.
And I wasn’t even getting married.
Instead, I was helping a friend of mine, a professional wedding photographer, photograph a wedding – a first for me as a photo hobbyist.
Truthfully, this brought a whole new element to the art of photography. The wedding couple will look back on these photographs for the rest of their lives to remember their special day. Naturally, the bride and groom want everything to go right, from the wedding ceremony itself to the reception – and everything in-between. Especially the photography. Memories fade. Pictures don’t (okay, physical prints can fade, but bare with me here!).
I sat in my office chair an hour before leaving for the wedding, collecting myself and gathering my nerves. I recognize the importance of this day to the couple getting married, and it was our job, as the photographers, to give them something special to remember it by.
As I thought about the “what ifs”, something suddenly hit me.
I have been through this before. Everybody has moments in their lives that test their metal. Performing on stage, giving that important presentation at work or interviewing for your dream job, making the game-winning free throw with just seconds remaining in the game.
It happens to everyone. We all know what the butterflies feel like.
I have been through this very situation before – maybe not as a photographer, but as a human. And I was reminded that, in the end, my positive attitude will give me the confidence I need to do the very best job that I can. I know my camera. I know how to capture emotion. I know what makes a memorable photograph.
I can do this, dammit.
At that very instant, the nerves faded. I smirked as I realized how unhelpful getting nervous really is to this whole process.
This is what I love doing, and an opportunity to assist a professional photographer should be something to get excited about rather than nervous. Learning from a professional is the best way to become one yourself. Observing the process. Assisting with handling the lighting. Getting creative ideas about how to shoot those amazing wedding photos straight from someone who does this for a living.
“I got this”, I said to myself as a double-checked my camera gear, making sure ONCE AGAIN all batteries were in place and fully charged, memory cards ready for use, all lenses in their appropriate little cubby in my photo backpack.
Yup, everything seems to be in place. I zipped up my backpack, grabbed some water and walked out the door, brimming with the confidence that I needed to give the wedding couple the best photographs that I possibly could.
Check out a couple samples below.
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.