I went through a phase earlier this year when a bunch of consecutive weddings had big bridal parties. It was like a video game that got progressively more complicated, each week the boss would be harder and harder to defeat until I reached the final level and was met with Rhiannon and Michael’s 14 person ensemble. The good news was that there were some familiar faces among the group (I shot the best man’s wedding a few years back) and those I’d not met before were super nice and welcoming – I felt like one of the gang from the start which is perfect.
Another excellent thing about the day is that it was my birthday, and once people know it’s your birthday you become a minor celebrity, especially after everyone sings you happy birthday at the reception. I’ll be honest, the thought has crossed my mind to tell every couple that their wedding is on my birthday and I havent’ 100% ruled it out, it’s the perfect icebreaker (for clarification, it’s a great ice breaker for a guest to say “Happy birthday!” and not for me to approach a guest saying “GUESS WHO’S BIRTHDAY IT IS TODAY!”)
As luck would have it April is a ridiculously gorgeous time of the year to get married, the light this day was just spectacular and as we headed down to the ocean for some photos with just the couple conditions were perfect. The sun was low and in the right spot, the big swells crashing off the rocks were throwing up tons of spray which gave the photos this amazing texture and depth, and Rhiannon and Michael were looking a million dollars each ($2m total). When we returned to the reception the party was in full swing and there was Vale Ale on tap – I’d be lying if I said I didn’t pour myself a couple of pints throughout the night (it was my birthday after all).
Rhiannon and Michael’s wedding is the third in my series of blog posts showing the whole wedding behind each of my entries in this year’s SA Professional Photography Awards (SAPPAs) – you can see the others here and here. The SAPPAs are the state awards and are a prelude to the APPAs (national awards) held later in the year, they are viewed in very high regard within the industry and competition is fierce. There are a bunch of different categories from Portrait to Commercial to Travel to Wedding and everything in between. Back in 2013 I was runner up in the Travel category but since then I’ve only entered Weddings and was chuffed to be a finalist (top 3) last year. You can enter up to 4 images in a category and these images are scored by a panel of judges, the aggregate score across the four images is used to determine the three finalist in each category and from there the photos are all re-assessed and a winner for each category is declared (along with an overall winner). Here is my entry from this wedding.
The system is not perfect, but on the whole it’s very robust and fair. My biggest concern, and I appreciate that there is no way around this so it’s not a REAL concern, is that for weddings four photos over the course of a year gives a potential bride or groom no real indication about the consistency of the photographers work over the whole day and what they can reasonably expect from their wedding collection. To that end I will be blogging the entire wedding for each of my four entries, I think showing where these photos sit in the context of the whole day is a great way to show how I operate on the day and what else is captured.