Jan 1, 2009


One day last summer when I was sitting on the dock in shorts and a tee shirt sipping a cold one and trying to stay cool in the summer heat, my dock friend Ann came up to me to ask if I would be the photographer at her son's wedding.

Her son Randy and his darling fiance Rita are a young couple in love and are as sweet and nice as any two people you could ever hope to meet. They were planning their wedding on shoestring budget and couldn't swing the expense of a professional photographer.

Since I have a reputation for constantly shoving my camera in peoples' faces, Ann figured I could make myself useful for a change. And because I definitely wanted to help Randy and Rita, and because a wedding date two days after Christmas sounded like a long time away, I said okay.

So two days after Christmas I loaded up my camera bag and headed off to the church to take their wedding photos. As I made the one hour drive from the marina to the church I was cool as a cucumber as I made a mental list of all the shots I wanted to take and counted how many spare batteries I had in my bag. And then about five miles from the church I had an ephinany:

"What the hell was I thinking?!? I'm not a professional photographer."


I'm just an annoyingly persistent amateur armed with an overly elaborate and ridiculously complex point-and-shoot camera with tons of bells and whistles I haven't figured out yet.

The ephinany was immediately followed by a serious case of the heebie jeebies, the technical term for which being "performance anxiety". I could clearly envision the day sixty years hence when Randy and Rita's grandchildren would beg to see their wedding photos, and Randy and Rita would sadly shake their heads and explain they don't have any wedding photos because their mother's dumb ass friend screwed it up. And a tear would run down Rita's cheek. And Randy would mutter my name followed by a swear word and wish for the ten thousandth time that they'd hired a real photographer to capture the most important day of their lives.

I was about to screw up the happiest day of Randy and Rita's life.

And what was so wierd was this was not the first wedding I had photographed. I did Heather's friend Shannon's wedding a couple of years ago and never broke a sweat. But I had a bad feeling about this one and it scared the bejeebers out of me.

Since the wedding was in an hour it was too late for me to back out or find a professional photographer, so I sucked it up and said a quick prayer that I wouldn't screw it up too badly. And for the next three hours I snapped a million photos and used every setting on my camera I could think of and fervently hoped for the best.

After the wedding was over I came back to the boat and put my camera away without even looking at what was on it. I was too scared to look. Seriously, I have rarely been as nervous about anything as I was when I thought about looking at those photos.

After letting them lay there unseen in my camera for a week, I finally put my big girl panties on this morning and put the memory card into my laptop to see how bad the photos were. And praise be, they aren't bad. Not the caliber you'd get from a professional photographer who actually knew what they were doing and who used professional camera gear, but not bad.

These photos are the raw version--unaltered, untweaked "straight from the camera"--so I still need to do some retouching with PhotoShop to sharpen up some details, boost the color and contrast here and there, edit out ceiling light fixtures and other background distractions, and do some cropping to make them more interesting. But all in all, they aren't bad.

You have no idea how relieved I am that I won't have to talk Randy and Rita into having another wedding so I can reshoot their photos.

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