Friday, July 10, 2009

Curmudgeon fails to click with wedding photog

Back in the days of Matthew Brady one could understand, perhaps, why a wedding photographer might take up a lot of time on the big day.

Of course, there was no insistence on getting thousands of photographs -- one would be attempted, if any at all.

Photos took a great deal of time to set up. And one had to remember to sit stock still throughout the long shutter exposure or ruin the shot.

Parents did not take pictures of their kids. At least, they didn't take pictures of their children while living: It was, at one time, fashionable to take a photograph of a dead child, as a memento for a stricken family.

But technology advanced. Film replaced glass negatives. Bulbs replaced stacked pans of exploding powder.

But wedding photographers continued to take up an inordinate amount of time at many weddings. Now multiple exposures could be obtained -- many poses -- posing with the bride's family -- posing with the groom's family -- posing with the bridesmaids -- posing with the groomsmen.

My friend Steve and I remember this story differently; perhaps we did something like this at more than one wedding. I seem to recall slipping Steve a double sawbuck at my wedding to give to the photographer to keep the guy from being too obnoxious. And I was paying him anyway! Steve remembers attempting the bribe; he doesn't remember me giving him the money.

The photographers, back when Long Suffering Spouse and I got hitched, made their real money by selling pictures to the guests. So they wanted lots of options from which prospective customers might choose. Lots and lots of options. Thus, the need for the occasional back-off-buster-type bribe.

Today, digital photography has all but replaced film. But wedding photographers are, if Older Daughter's upcoming wedding is representative, more obnoxious than ever.

Older Daughter's photographer supposedly wanted the happy couple and all the bridal party at the church for "thousands" of pictures 90 minutes before the service.

Long Suffering Spouse hit the roof on this one. In many cultures, it is considered bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other between the rehearsal dinner and the beginning of the ceremony. Older Daughter claimed never to have heard of this tradition. She fumed about stupid superstitions. My wife said she would boycott all pictures before the ceremony and -- moreover -- if Long Suffering Spouse's own mother got wind of this proposal, she'd almost certainly refuse to attend the wedding at all.

Older Daughter seems to have backed down on posing with the groom before the ceremony... but she's still issuing demands about how we must all be in place at least an hour before the scheduled start of the service for photographs.

Well, 60 is less than 90. So that's progress of a sort.

But can we be practical here? It's July -- it may not be stiflingly hot Saturday in Indianapolis, but only because its supposed to rain and storm. Humidity will not exceed 100%, but only because it can't. I'll be stuffed into a tuxedo with a vest for crying out loud. If we were to accede to these crazy demands the entire wedding party will all look like pitted-out dishrags by the time the actual ceremony begins.

When the ceremony concludes, I would gladly towel off and pose for a few pictures before heading off to the reception... and to the, ugh, cash bar. (How could they do this to me?)

I'm sure we'll reach some accommodation on the day itself, although at this point I'm ready to cuff the photographer-artiste about the head and shoulders.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i wish i could see some of the wedding photos curmy. i showed you lala's! i completely agree about the photos before the service being awful. i remember standing on the church steps after the ceremony with rice in my hands (getting sticky) waiting for the photographer to let the wedding party out of the church. i KNOW the photographs are a must but sure wish they were mostly just live shots and not all posed and stuff.

smiles, bee
tyvc (you are gonna' need it!)

The Beach Bum said...

Curmudgeon -

I've never been to a wedding with a Cash Bar!

Of course, I haven't gone to a wedding in nearly 20 years. My younger daughter's wedding.

We has both a regular photographer and a video photographer. They weren't as abusive as the one's that you mention. However they did pass out their cards to every guest.

My daughter's album cost me $500 and I can't recall what I paid the Video service.

The Beach Bum

Jean-Luc Picard said...

It looks like there will be quite a photo album.

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