My niece, Maddie, has honored me by asking me to photograph her wedding ceremony and marriage to Tony on July 1, 2017. My first reaction was reluctance, but my second one immediately followed and it was an absolute yes.
This is a girl that I held in my arms when they poured baptismal water over her tiny forehead. This is the girl that needed her back scratched and a cup of water by her bedside before she would fall asleep. I have loved her since the day she was born and her request meant more to me than she knows. I could not imagine any other way that I would want to be part of her special day.
Between now and then I will do everything I can to prepare. Although I am an experienced professional photographer, wedding photography itself is new to me and comes with its own unique challenges and stresses. I have lots to learn between now and then, but enough time to do it. I hope to "second" with more experienced photographers and to do so even at the exact same location so when Maddie walks down the aisle it won't be the first time I've photographed a bride.
Maddie has chosen Silverbrook Farm in Hillsboro, VA, as the site of their ceremony. It's a beautiful setting in which those attending will look up at the couple under the canopy and out to the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. She and I made a visit there together last Friday, and I started to get an idea of how her day will unfold. I won't divulge the details in these posts because those are Maddie's to share.
What I will share is the process of learning as I go through the next ten months. It seems like a long time, but I'm guessing it will go fast and only accelerate as the date gets closer.
When my own wedding was in the planning stages, my wife, Sally, and I were separated by over 200 miles so I didn't participate in many of those discussions. Already, I have spent more time with Maddie's planner than I did with Sally's. And this was where the first learning began.
As we went through the wedding books and the house and the grounds and the barn, I began to imagine where good shots would be and what the light would be like. I looked through windows, doorways, trees and flowers not to see, but to envision the quality of light that would come through them almost a year from now. I climbed the stairs to look down on what is now a dirty barn floor, and will then be a happy place to dance that night away. Everything I saw that day, I tried to see it as it would be a year from now.
A good first lesson.
More to come.