Friday, July 13, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons

As I mentioned in my last post (Bridezillas), brides tend not to be event planners. As a result, when things go wrong (and they always do), they get frustrated and often ruin their day. Recently I had the pleasure of shooting at a wedding where something went very wrong and the bride and groom took it on the chin and made the best of it. The result? Some really iconic pictures that truly captured their spirit.

S (bride) and R (groom) are both teachers so when they planned their wedding, they wanted lots of details that conveyed that. The centerpieces were apples
 and the table numbers were on mini chalkboards.
Their wedding program was a in the style of a composition notebook. To top it all off, instead of a limo to take them from the ceremony to the reception, they chartered a traditional yellow school bus!
It was a perfect compliment to the theme....

Until it broke down on Atlantic Avenue!

We hadn't gone more than 10 minutes away and were nowhere near where we were planning to take pictures and there we were. Stuck on the busiest street in Brooklyn in a hot, broken down school bus. And that was the tipping point. S could have started to fume and complain and completely destroy her day OR she could roll with the punches and make the best of the situation.  She chose the latter. It was her BEST decision of the day!

There is an old saying that when man plans, God laughs. It speaks to the fact that there is already a plan set out for you regardless of what you think you're going to do.  S realized that the reception hall was actually walking distance away. Furthermore, an iconic Brooklyn building that she had originally wanted to take pictures in front but had gotten scrapped during a logistics meeting, was on the way. It was almost as if she was MEANT to take her wedding photos there. So she summoned up the large wedding party and declared that they were going walk, no...Process down Fulton street to the reception hall!
It was glorious. They stopped traffic to get their group shot.
They walked through a major African market occurring at BAM for Dance Africa like a royal wedding procession. As they turned the corner on the street that the hall was on, a music vendor, blaring music, started to play Lenny William's "I love you". They dropped everything and as Lenny belted out the lyrics "Girl I..I ...I....I....", S and R had their first dance right in the middle of the street!
Magical! All that was left was for the couple to walk down the block to their reception and then they realized that the street had been closed off due to the festival! The were able to walk down the street in grand fashion with S and R in front and their entire party flanking them in celebration!
It couldn't have been planned any better!

I reaffirmed a lot that day. My philosophy has always been based on the two rules:
1.    Don't sweat the small stuff.
2.    It's all small stuff.
It drives my wife crazy but I truly believe that things will work themselves out and the end result may in fact be better than what was originally planned if we just let things unfold. This wedding was a prime example of that and I hope that S and R continue to live their lives like that because, as any married couple will tell you, life sometimes hands you lemons.

Staying in focus....on to the next frame.

Greene Light Photography would like to thank the Browns for giving permission for this blog and the use of their images.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Brides are not generally event planners. Most women generally have a job that does not involve coordinating a very large special event. Even when it is part of their skill set, it's very different when it's YOUR  event! Why do I bring this up? Well the one thing that is consistent for every event, be it a wedding or a birthday party or a cocktail reception, is that things go wrong. All the time. The things is that event planner, being IN the business, KNOW that things can go wrong. In fact the expect it and either plan for it or are really good at thinking on their feet. Like I mentioned, most brides are NOT wedding planners! They tend to not expect the little (and sometimes HUGE) snafus that can happen at a wedding. And what happens then? Well...they have a whole show dedicated to just that! Bridezillas!!

A lot of people often ask me whether I have encountered any Bridezillas when shooting weddings. My answer is always "not really". Why? Because I understand what makes brides crazy most of the time and work towards alleviating their stress and/or getting the hell out of their way!! Think about it: you have been planning ONE event for around a year, down to the smallest detail, and after all that planning the fondant melts, or the flowers are slightly wilted, or the place serves chicken instead of quail, or the photographer shows up late! It can be maddening! I don't blame these women for being mad! But here is the difference between a regular bride and an event planner: the EP would have known not to have a fondant cover cake out in the heat, would have moved the best of the flowers to the front where most people will see them, would know that people don't REALLY care that you served quail, and would have been in touch with the photogs long ahead of time and ensure he was there on time! I just make sure MY portion of the day doesn't cause her stress and maybe help her to navigate the rest of the things that are causing her anxiety (I shot the cake early because I knew it would melt, I will edit the flowers in post and they'll look perfect, I will take a glamor shot of the food that will make people THINK it's quail, and you can count on me being there an hour EARLY!). Being an event planner myself helps me to calm my brides because I need a calm, happy woman for the best pictures!

Speaking of a wedding where something went wrong, my next blog is about a wedding that had a major snafu and how the couple turned it into a great, memorable day that resulted in some of the best wedding pictures for them! Stay tuned.

Staying in focus...on to the next frame!