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A Stumble into Wedding Photography (Pt I)

So just how did I end up at a beach on a beautiful August day, among a group of strangers for an intimate wedding, with a camera and a rented lens strapped around my neck?  Let me tell you a story.

Last Spring, as I began to share my enthusiasm about photography with my friends, I was frequently asked, “What kind of photography do you want to get into, like, wedding photography?”  My immediate response was always “Oh my goodness NO!”  and Jared, who wasn’t even into photography yet, would mirror my response.  A barage of fear-filled excuses would follow:

“There’s so much pressure!”
“They’re too high stress.”
“That’s way too much responsibility for me.”

The thought of being responsible for images that would be viewed for generations to come was absolutely horrifying to me.  I thought there was no way I’d be able to handle all of that pressure.  And what a burden to bear if I didn’t get any good pictures at all!  Or if some mishap occured with my camera or memory cards?  Family portraits can be rescheduled but you only get one shot at a wedding.

Then it happened.

Coming off of an amazing July,  I became more comfortable and confident in responding to ads on Craigslist for people who were looking for a photographer.  Whether a second shooter, event photographer or wedding photographer, I was responding to put my name in the mix, though I rarely heard back.

So I didn’t think twice when I responded to someone looking for a wedding photographer for a small beach wedding at the end of August down in Westport, MA.  Three days later, my heart almost jumped out of my chest when I received an email from Kelly:

“Hi Debbie,

Thank you so much for inquiring.  We would like to give you the opportunity to shoot our wedding if you are still interested.”

My mind raced:

HOLY  COW!!!!  THEY PICKED ME!!!!

and then,

OH CRAP – THEY PICKED ME!!!

I then proceeded to write an SOS email to Binita, the photographer I was second shooting with at the time,  with the subject line “Help! I booked a wedding!”.  She thankfully brought me back down to reality and assured me that I was capable of doing this. 

So I replied to Kelly’s email:

“Hi Kelly,

Thank you SO much for the opportunity!! I’m thrilled you picked me :-). I have a busy afternoon but wanted to respond and let you know that you’ve got yourselves a photographer!”

GASP!  I committed, and that meant I had 25 days to figure out how to photograph a wedding!  I can tell you there were a lot of OMGs flying around the apartment that Sunday afternoon.  I was beyond excited for the opportunity and terrified at the same time . 

What do I charge?
What do I give them?
Will I choke? 
Will they like me? 
What if something happens with my camera? 
How do I pose them?
What about formals?
What lens should I use?
What time is the sun setting and what direction?

25 days.  That was all I had to answer all of the questions that were swirling around in my head.  Weeks dwindled down to days and then the time finally came for me to meet Kelly and Chad.  I walked into Kelly’s parent’s house, three days before the wedding, with my fingers crossed, hoping for the best.

Stay tuned for Part II for the rest of the story, and my favorite images from the day 🙂

Sarah - It’s great to read up on how you found your first wedding….I am in the works of possibly acting as a second shooter for the person who did our e-pics. Hoping I can get involved soon so I can learn a few things!

Maureen - I love this post!! I’m doing what you were originally, mostly portraiture. I have no intention of getting into weddings, though I feel I’ll probably fall into it similar to the way you did. I go through all those things you list in my head for every shoot! Btw, I see you’re in Quincy, MA. I live in CT now, but grew up in Quincy! Small world! Please keep up the great posts!

The Sunday Paper: For the love of Skip-Bo

I can tell you exactly when the addiction began.  A few years back, my long time friend Cortney was going for her Captain’s license at the Mass Maritime Academy and needed a place to crash.  While the apartment that my sister and I rented was still 45 minutes from her destination, Cortney took us up on the offer and made our couch her home for a few weeks.

I’m not certain of how we decided on playing Skip-Bo, but once we did, there was no turning back.   Every night, for those two weeks that Cortney visited, we played Skip-Bo for hours.  We had our designated seats, I was at the end of the couch, Cortney on a chair and Kathy Ellen on the ottoman, all of us hovered over the coffee table.  We’d sit in practical silence, saying nothing more then, “go” or “your turn”.

There were days that I’d come home from work and find KE and Cortney fully involved in a game and I would be so mad!!  Jealous that they started with out me, and angry that I had to wait for their game to finish before I got the chance to jump in.

The thing we still talk about to this day is when Cortney reached for the draw pile when it was my turn.  She immediately realized her mistake and without even looking up from her hand muttered, “I’m so embarrassed”.  It was the subtlety and honesty of the comment that makes it so memorable and one of our favorite one-liners to this day.

Jared and I decided to bring Skip-Bo back to life around Christmas time.  With all the hustle and bustle that the holidays bring, we wanted to come home from work, relax and spend time together.  What better way to do then than with a card game?!  We played at least three games every night, which usually resulted in Jared winning, which was fine with me.   He’s happier when he wins ;-).

While our addiction has died down a little, we still play a few times a week.  Yesterday we were talking about how we needed to sit down, focus and get some work done.  And we did.  Right after a quick game of Skip-Bo :-).

The Sunday Paper: Snowshoeing at Winter Trails Day

Yesterday Jared and I took part in the 16th Annual Winter Trails Day, a national event offering children and adults the opportunity to try out snowshoeing and cross country skiing for free.  The goal of the event is to introduce these activities and their physical benefits to the community.  The last time I wore snowshoes was in elementary school and Jared had never been snowshoeing before!!  So, we piled on the layers (after googling “what to wear when snowshoeing”) and headed out to the Weston Ski Track.  Little did we know, the place doubles as a golf course in the summer!! Talk about a brilliant way to make some money in the winter!

One of our favorite companies, REI, was a major sponsor of the event and provided guided tours.  While we didn’t try cross country skiing, there were a lot of hard core skiers there, training for races and zooming around the track.

Per our google search results, we bundled up with moisture wicking layers, snow pants and hiking boots.

The front of the snowshoes were comfortable but took some getting used to.  Due to the giant metal teeth on the bottom, you really have to walk deliberately, picking up your feet much higher then you would normally.  Dragging your feet could lead to a face plant!

The back on the other hand, were just kind of there.

Rosy cheeks!! I think this was right after we tried running for a bit.  A skier passed us and said we were quite inspirational!!

While there really wasn’t much snow on the tracks, we ventured onto a wooded path to see if it was better.  No such luck as there were more leaves then snow! Oh and apparently Jared was having a Shawshank moment.

All in all, it was a success. Free and fun – you can’t beat that 🙂

Tiana’s Baby Bump!

Plattsburgh High School vs. Saranac High School, girl’s basketball, circa 2002-2003.   These two teams had a rivalry of sorts, and the gym in Saranac that night was packed with their rowdy fans. 

The Saranac girl’s basketball team was a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the court. Their point guard was a small, quick and feisty blonde who led their unwavering  full court press, keeping constant pressure on the point guard.  Her ability to rattle even the most confident ball handler was uncanny. 

All night she made Plattsburgh’s point guard work for every inch of that hardwood.  Any opportunity she could, she was going for that steal.  And steal she did.  Over and over again. The crowd roared in approval as she turned steals into layups, leaving Plattsburgh’s point guard in a trail of her dust.

You might be wondering why I remember all of that so vividly and here’s why:

Saranac’s point guard: Tiana
Plattsburgh’s point guard: Debbie

As it is often in high school sports, we were rivals and therefore, enemies.  We came face to face that fall at Clinton Community College where instead of enemies, we became teammates, co-captains and friends.

Fast forward over seven years and here we are!  Tiana is by far the cutest little pregnant woman you ever did see!! She’s all belly and absolutely glowing. 

We were able to do a quick shoot before her baby shower back in December.  Her little man is due in just over a week now and I’m so excited to be an Auntie to a baby boy!

Loved those little socks!! We weren’t sure how the toys would work once they actually have feet in them though 🙂

Those moccasins were just too adorable!

And if this last image leaves you without words as it does me, I’ve done my job 🙂

Congratulation again T!! I can’t wait for little man to come out and join the world!

Oh and on another note,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

The Sunday Paper: Apollo’s Winter Wonderland

Since we were still in NY for the Blizzard of 2010, we were thrilled to come home to over a foot of snow (not thrilled to shovel it though!).  While we love the snow and so does Apollo, it poses a whole nother set of obstacles for getting him exercise. Sidewalks aren’t shoveled and walking in the street is not only dangerous, but the salt is really tough on our boy’s paws.

Enter Cunningham Park.  This awesome park (where we also went ice skating) is a little gem in the middle of Milton and just a short drive from our house.  Turn left off the main road and you are instantly transported out of suburbia and into the woods. Wide paths twist and loop throughout the 50+ acres, making it easy to spend at least an hour meandering through the trails.  It has quickly become one of Apollo’s favorite places to play off leash.  He let’s us know he’s excited by whining and groaning until we park the car and let him out!

With a pocket full of treats and the sun setting quickly, I aimed to capture at least a few good shots before it got too dark.

I just had to include this next one.  I mean, look at that face!!

I think the snow emphasizes the white goatee he’s rockin’.  He’s only 4 1/2!

And no, this isn’t how he normally acts in the snow.  He’s usually galloping about, scooping up snow with his mouth and digging for sticks.  But he sits nicely for treats any day 🙂

And the sun sets through the trees…

So tell us, what’s your pet’s favorite way to enjoy the snow?