This isn’t about brides or grooms exactly, it’s more about me and my process for getting ready for ceremonies, vows, and love. It’s a little different. And I’m not talking about formatting cards, charging batteries, gear inventory, or cleaning lenses. I’m talking about me being emotionally ready to appreciate and capture the emotional moments of others. Fully. Completely.
My biggest fear is so-so images. Maybe images that were technically correct, but not as creative, authentic, or imparting emotion the way I prefer them to. That requires a process. A get ready. An immersion into the moment. And it starts WELL before I’m starting coverage. The night before, I’ve gotten all my technical responsibilities done, gear packed, everything cleaned, and ready to go. The day of, I’m getting MYSELF ready. I’m tuning in and finding my zone according to the way I see weddings. The way I see commitment. The way I see love.
- Unless it’s an early wedding, I sleep late. By late, I mean an extra 3 hours, waking at 10am instead of 7am. I know that sounds a little silly, but I sleep in 3 hour cycles, and 3 hours later sleep means I’m still energetic and ready for whatever happens at 11pm. It also means I can start dumping cards when I get home instead of climbing into bed after a quick shower. Until I see the images on my workstation, I’m always a little nervous anyway, so it’s a bonus for me.
- Once I wake up, I eat a huge breakfast. Eggs, toast, grits, fruit. Maybe it’s because I played basketball, but I pay a lot of attention to what I put in my body on “Game Day”. In addition to other fears, one of my biggest is hitting the proverbial wall and losing energy right after the ceremony, because that’s actually when things really start getting hectic for a photographer covering a wedding. By making sure I get proteins, carbs, and sugars in the right balance to start the day, I know I don’t have to pay as much attention to what I’m eating (or not eating) the rest of the day.
- Then it gets a little different. I’m one of those people that believes in managing moods, moments, and attitude. From the time I end breakfast, I’m not doing any media other than listening to the music that makes ME feel romantic, and tuned into the moment. Watching the news on TV or listening to it in the car are sure ways to harsh a feeling, so I don’t. I use the same playlist on my ipod for get ready that I do for editing when I’m stressed. It just mellows me out while I’m reviewing notes and things to remember about families, sensitivities, things to avoid, and observations about my couple for the day.
- Though every other day of the week I use a regular Gillette Mach 42 or whatever razor it is, on wedding days I use an old fashioned straight razor to shave, and use my late grandfather’s shaving brush to lather up. Something about stropping the edge of the razor, the smell of the Italian shaving soap, and the act of shaving with a straight razor just locks me into a classically romantic, chivalrous, and creative mindset. It allows me to remain a bulwark of calm cheer in the chaos that goes on behind the scenes at most weddings, and I couldn’t do without it.
And because it’s a photoblog and everything else consists of boring images, here’s a shot of Hudson, my English Bulldog, being himself this afternoon.
And if you’re interested in buying traditional shaving implements for yourself or someone else, message me. I would be happy to refer you some great sources to start out right. Most important are the razor and the brush, followed by the soap, then the strop and hone, then the aftershave. I’d love to have a better brush, but the one I have was my grandfather’s, and I’ll never upgrade until all the bristles fall out because of sentimental reasons. Shaving this way is very process oriented, but it isn’t difficult. My 9 and 11 year old sons know how to do it. 🙂