Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Wedding, As A Guest

Today is a quick and early post that I am sneaking in before I leave for the day - we're taking our son in to Children's Hospital to a clinic that specializes in guiding those afflicted with Cerebral Palsy. We usually go once a year so the panel of experts that evaluates him can give us their opinions on the road his treatment should follow and the options that are out there. But, he has taken a dive in mobility in the last few months and we are really worried about him. He is having trouble getting around at pre-school, and his gait is worsening, so we are taking him in today to be looked at. Any prayers are appreciated - we are so worried he has taken a permanent turn for the worse.

So, after that downer statement, ahem! :) Here's today's post about one of my favorite inspirational photographers and how I "met" her. Enjoy!

I think by now we all know how I feel about weddings but where I stand about photographing them - how much I love them, but really don't want to professionally shoot them... so back in May, I attended my cousin Steve's wedding as a guest, camera in hand - and watched the official photographer do her thing. I, as every other guest with a camera, did not want to step on her toes, but wanted to give my cousins another angle to keep - my angle - from where I sat, and I thought it was fun to challenge myself to get something different without moving or messing up their professional in any way.

But while I was preparing my camera before everything started, I noticed their photographer in the center aisle. I was instantly in awe of her composure. For the rest of the ceremony, I was aware of how easy she made it look - she was just there taking pictures, right? That was the easy vibe coming off of her. Projecting confidence, but not calling attention to herself - visible but invisible - she was calm, collected and got 'er done. And she also, somehow, made it look like she was having actual fun - not about to fall into a wheezing ball of anxiety, which is probably what I'd look like to the outside world in her shoes. :)

The girl I'm talking about is Erin Oveis Brant, the photographer I was inspired by to attempt this 30-day challenge thing, and this is where I saw her for the first time. I remember her because she was different. Most weddings I have been to over the years, there is usually an older guy... who has a great big honkin' camera and sometimes an assistant, and he's your average photographer joe. In a zone the whole day, he seems a world apart, almost bored. He seems to get all the regular posed shots, nothing too exciting or crazy, everything the bride asks for, yawns and then leaves. And then all the brides I know are just ok with the pictures after, like an exchange just happened that was supposed to happen, the pictures get shoved in a drawer, but no one got really excited about the whole deal (I mean the pictures, not the wedding, lol).

Don't fret if you've never seen this go down. I notice these things, you know. It's kinda the business I'm in. :)

But Erin was different - she was like a breath of fresh air that made me sit up and go - hey! wait! she's different... already, I can tell that her style is something I will dig! She had enthusiasm, and you can tell she was there because it was her dream. And that got me glancing her way more than any other photographer I instantly forgot at every one else's wedding I've been to. And boy, she inspired me! At the reception, if she didn't have fun, then she sure fooled me! She was laughing and circling and following the goofiest dancers, giggling at their antics and capturing every minute. She got all the necessary shots and more - and she did it all without seeming to break a sweat. I was impressed. :)

Shortly after the wedding, I contacted her to see if we could get together and do a mentoring session. I felt like such a stalker even contacting her, introducing myself and letting her know I was inspired by her "performance" at my cousin's wedding. :) But, hey - she did inspire me and she was local, so I took that as God sending me a little connection. I went with it. Since then, WNY has lost a very talented girl, since she has moved to California. :( Yay for Cali but boo for us!

So, I thought it would be neat to share my first impression of Erin here - and tell her how much she's inspired me just by doing her thing. Plus, I thought it would be neat to share my pictures of my cousin's wedding and then send you over to her Facebook page to see hers. A bit of a difference. :) (I hope you can access them!)  Erin, I knew you were "different" that day, and after seeing Steve and Tiffany's pictures, it was confirmed that you have some serious talent, girl. I love that you are following your dream, because it suits you and you make so many people happy with it. Take this as yet another confirmation that the path you are following is the right one. <3

Here are some of my pics from the ceremony - I was a total guest, remember, so please go easy on me! lol  :P  And coincidentally, before I really knew about white balance... hence the orange-y hue - a good lesson that I can't believe I got so far without noticing... They are blurry, orange, others too flash-y, all-in-all kinda terrible, but great context for knowing how hard it is to be a wedding photographer, especially in a low-light room.

Now, go see Erin's stuff! :) Please visit her blog or go to her Facebook page and leave her some love - she always has something great and inspirational on there!

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