My final 2 wedding assignments are at both extremes of challenges. One is absolutely tiring – a 12-hour Day 1 and 5-hour Day 2 shoot – and the other totally relaxing – a 5-hour church wedding shot with 3 other photographer friends.
Jon is my primary school classmate, whom I met again during NS. From then on, we keep in touch and met up once a while. Originally, I was to take their pre-wedding photo at Bangkok in September. Unfortunately, Thailand was facing some political crisis and my wife forbade me to go. Eventually, I found another photographer that met their budget. It would have been a great experience, but I guess it was not meant to be mine.
The entire wedding was a test of my endurance. From the early morning bridal preparation to the gate-crash, and tea ceremonies, to the full-length wedding ceremony, plus the next-day wedding banquet. I took nearly 1800 images, double of most other weddings. Church weddings usually expend lots of frames because of the exchange of vows sequence.
Here are some of my favourite shots of Jon, my friend.
After this wedding, I immediately sold off half of my camera gear, despite having one more wedding shoot. That’s because my “swan song” wedding assignment is accompanied by 3 other buddy photographers, so I can afford to go basic. One of them armed with the 70-200mm lens while the other brought prime lenses. Kevin is the groom and our colleague, whom we hang out with and discuss about photography stuffs.
Kevin and Angela love the camera. They never fail to give me that spontaneous moments. When people enjoy being taken, the photos naturally becomes good.
While processing all these photos, I felt a sense of nostalgia. After all, these are my final works for wedding day photography. As I looked through my past photos I took, I began to recall how it all started.
My very first wedding shoot “trial” attempt was for my wife’s good friend in early 2005, and I was using the Sony F828. Months after that shoot, I bought myself my first DSLR, the Nikon D70, to equip myself as a serious wedding photographer. My second wedding shoot was with another experienced wedding photographer who allowed me to join him to learn from him and build my portfolio. The third wedding shoot was done thanks to my friend who heard of my venture into wedding photography and so got her friend to agree to let me try. My fourth wedding shoot was for my colleague whom I convinced to let me cover her wedding. For this wedding, I put in a comprehensive package, from childhood montage to the actual day express montage, my first. For wedding no. 5, I requested my university friend who already got an official photographer to let me shoot his wedding as a second photographer.
With my five-wedding portfolio I posted online, I clinched my very first paid wedding assignment in Dec 2005. I think I charged them S$400 inclusive of prints. They liked my photos and even invited me to their home to do some more family portraits before the relatives flew back to overseas.
Following that shoot, I got to shoot for my ex-boss’ wedding in Jan 2006. Again, I requested to be a second photographer because they have already booked an official photographer. Weeks after I gave her the photos, she told me that she actually preferred my photos to the official photographer. From that moment, I knew I was in the right track in my style of wedding photography.
3 years later, now in Jan 2009, despite my announcement of “retirement”, I’ll probably still take up assignments via referrals, if my schedule allows and if they are willing to pay S$2000 for the service, which will include a 40-page hardcover photobook. Otherwise, I am more than happy to refer some close associates who deliver just as good, if not better, images, between S$1200 and S$3000.
No one can see the future, but I’m glad I had a chance to capture past memories for people through my photography.