Our last wedding that we photographed was more than five months ago. Five months ago! That's almost half a year! This seasonal nature of being a wedding photographer is one of the things I love, but it's also taken time to adjust to. When we're in wedding season, we are so incredibly busy I have to remind myself to breathe. By the time the off-season rolls around, we are ready for the time off - it gives us time to rest, catch up, and re-charge. And we've done a lot of that during these past few months: we celebrated holidays, went on vacation to South America, completed our re-branding and identity campaign, caught up with family and friends, and spent lots of time with Kiki. I've also spent quite a bit of time preparing for our 2011 weddings. I've scoured all of the wedding blogs and portfolios of other photographers - not just wedding photographers, but portrait, fashion, editorial and documentary photographers as well looking for new ideas and inspiration. I want to continue growing as a photographer, and I am deathly afraid of plateauing, becoming creatively stagnant, and so by the time our first wedding rolls around, I'm chomping at the bit - ready to get back in the saddle.
So, here we are in L.A. getting ready for our first wedding of the year. I always get nervous before each wedding, but I especially feel it before our season kick off wedding. It reminds me of how I felt the day before big softball games back in high school and college. Actually, I use a lot of those same preparation techniques that I learned while playing softball when I'm prepping for a wedding. I remember lying on my bed on a Friday night, eyes closed, visualizing the batters for the opposing team the following day coming up to the plate. In my mind, I saw myself pitching to each batter and watching them swing and miss. I made sure that the last image I fell asleep to was one of me succeeding on the mound. Visualization. It's a mental technique I used to build confidence. Visualization. Now, I do the same thing the night before each wedding. I close my eyes, and in my mind, I picture myself making these amazing images of my couples and their wedding. I do as much mental preparation as a I can before the wedding so that I'm better able to anticipate key moments and have a very clear idea of what I'm going to do for the portrait portion. However, as much as we can prepare for each wedding, things almost always go awry. Gear breaks, the dress rips, the weather changes, there's an accident on the bridge that causes all the guests to be late... the list goes on. Actually, I expect things to go "wrong," and part of what's fun is figuring out how to be resourceful in responding to these unexpected situations. I've found that I'm much better at handling these surprises when I approach each wedding as if we're photographing the "Royal Wedding."
For this Saturday's wedding, we've already quadruple-checked our equipment, ironed our clothes and are getting ready to visualize making photo gems. Let's get this party started.