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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Being a Duck...

Susan and Billy at Butleigh Wootten.

I knew it was a little crazy, but I really wanted to do it. When Susan and Billy asked me to photograph their wedding, which would be held on the 7th of May, 2011, I knew it could be difficult, but I couldn't say no. I knew it would be difficult because I was getting married the day after, and then heading off to the US with my wife the day after that for a working honeymoon. Nonetheless, I wanted to be Susan and Billy's photographer. Their wedding, I knew, would be a beautiful event, and it would be held at one of my favourite Melbourne wedding venues, Butleigh Wootten. I just couldn't say no.

The original idea was that Tash would shoot the wedding with me. But, as you know, the best laid plans of mice and men....Tash woke up the day before our own wedding with a screaming headache. Her back and neck were very badly out of place and needed some quick fixing. Thanks to our friend John Matthews, a soft tissue therapist who saved our day, Tash was just fine for the wedding. But on Susan and Billy's wedding day, she was out of action.

So, I headed off to their wedding with a good friend of mine as an assistant. He knew nothing about photography, but was willing to do and be whatever I needed him to do and be. And I was extremely grateful. He was actually quite awesome, I have to say.

Now, I have photographed weddings on my own many times, but not being as young as I used to be I like to have someone along these days to keep my brain fresh, and even help with the physically demanding aspects of the day. But having Tash along would have had the added benefit of another photographer. She is quite an amazing wedding photographer in her own right. She would say she has been well trained, but you can't train vision. She has a unique and wonderfully creative vision. But...suddenly the entire creative onus was on myself alone.

So, with Tash's back and nexk pain on my mind, my own wedding still requiring some finishing touches for  the next day and then three weeks of workshops to run in the US to be run directly thereafter, it would be understandable if my mind was whirring just a little. To top it off, I had forgotten all my Nikon batteries for my D700 and the one in my camera was getting lower....and lower....Can you blame me? I had a lot on my mind...(Excuses, excuses...I know...)

When these things happen to a photographer - especially a wedding photographer - nothing can be manifest to the bride and groom. They do not need to know. They also have much on their mind, and they don't need your issues on top of the natural concerns every couple has on their wedding day. They have every right to simply enjoy their day, and they don't need to know what your problems are.

As I have often taught at wedding workshops - you simply have to be a duck. For all concerned, you are sailing along smoothly on top of the water while all along you are privately paddling like crazy underneath. To be anything less than a duck would be unprofessional. Whatever is going on in your life, it is irrelevant to this event, this moment, this bride and groom. Leave it at home, and be a duck.

Thanks Susan and Billy for the honour it was to be a part of your wonderful wedding day.


The Life, Times and Images of photographer, Shelton Muller

Images on this blog are copyright Shelton Muller