My weekend was wild and let me confess that it is not a regular occurrence.
What nobody tells you before you become an adult is that life as an adult is a series of actions that have consequences. No matter how little you think it is, there will be consequences.
Let’s say as a teenager you were an active gamer. You could go without sleep for a long period of time because you were trying to beat a previous high score or something. If as an adult you are not a professional gamer, or your job doesn’t involve the gaming industry whatsoever, you can’t go about losing sleep because of a game. You’ve so many other things to lose sleep over, so you better choose what is worth it and what isn’t.
So a wild weekend for me was actually working as an assistant photographer at a wedding last Saturday. If you’ve never attended a Nigerian wedding, that’s too bad. Nigerian weddings and their pomp and ceremony will be a topic for another day but I’ll give you an idea.
A Nigerian wedding is like a play in a mini carnival (especially big weddings). There’s the director (event planner), and the production crew (makeup artists, hairstylists, photographers, videographers, decorators, caterers, DJ, band, ushers, etc.). Sometimes it’s the family members at the helm of affairs. There will be rehearsals, glamorous outfits (costumes), lots of food and drink, souvenirs, and so on. The couples are of course the main characters but trust that several of the guests will compete with them for attention.
Note: It is an unspoken rule that Saturdays are for weddings in Nigeria. A sacred tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. It’s almost guaranteed that people will show up, even those that were not invited.
As a photographer, I’m behind the scene, in fact, peoples’ eyes glaze when they settle on me. Anyway, my job allows me to be privy to all the back-breaking work that goes into putting on a great show. It kinda takes away the magic of the day, no? Not really.
At most weddings, I’m a little bit stunned, especially when they have the funds to do something extra. Sometimes it’s the bride’s outfits, her makeover, the wedding squad, the location, the fireworks, the food…you’ll find something extra.
It was the first wedding I was shooting this year and my nerves were all over the place. Remember what I said about how every action you take as an adult has consequences, well the same can be said about my work as a photographer. The consequences of shooting a wedding are a lot.
Of course, you get paid for the job but there are a lot more things involved. I was working with three other photographers on Saturday but it was still draining.
Here’s what it takes to cover a wedding.
There’s a time for everything
I woke up by 3am. It was not normal. I guess I was just hyped for the day. Still, it is not unusual to wake up early to prepare for a wedding. Because a lot of things happen that same day, the schedule is tight and you don’t want to be the person slacking off. Sometimes I catch some more sleep in the car as we drive to the hotel where the couples are staying. There’s a lot at stake, I mean it’s the couple’s big day and they must have spent a lot of money, and the memories will last for a lifetime. So I’m up early with the rest of the crew to begin a very long day. Everybody is supposed to bring their A-Game.
Stay focused and be ready
Starting early does not guarantee that things will go smoothly. No sir! If you are going into photography and you are about to shoot your first event, expect the unexpected. Anything can happen. The bride might fall into hysterics, or the groom might take off with his groomsmen for some alone time. Not that it has happened like that before, but you get what I mean. There could be a natural disaster and you are still expected to take pictures.
Also, there is so much going on at the same time, the last thing you want to happen is that you lose focus. As a photographer, you don’t want to miss the important moments. Like when they exchange rings or their first dance. But a lot can happen in those moments too so be on your guard. You have to keep a close eye on your gear while you are working. Omo! camera gears are mad expensive and you really don’t want to be replacing them after every event you shoot.
Food is a luxury; fight for your right
One of my biggest concerns with covering a wedding is the access to food. Yes, most people forget to take care of the media personnel. And yes, some do it intentionally, even when you insist that they cater the food. Their excuse is that they have paid for your services or that they need to feed the guest first.
It’s more alarming when you’ve been working since the crack of dawn on an empty stomach. Food is important but you are too busy to take care of your needs. Luckily, the wedding on Saturday was good with the food and drinks. It was the power-up I needed to keep moving even in my exhausted state. Next time I’ll print a t-shirt that says, ‘Feed me or I’ll delete your pictures.’ I’m not joking 😏😏
It’s a sure way to stay fit
This is so true. I was on my feet for the most part of the day. My flats were a little bit tight, so my feet were killing me before the event was over. I had been dragging lights around and chasing people around with my camera, that was a lot of arm work out. And always I am thinking of my next move. What creative way can I document this moment? What settings should I change to brighten up this scene? Yeah, it’s a physical and mental workout. No dull moments. And by the end of the day, I just wanted to fall on my face.
Nothing worth doing well is easy. You put in the work and you get desired results or not. Wedding photography is not for the faint-hearted, and it involves different types of photography like portraits, fashion, art, documentary, etc. It’s a lot to do in just a day or two or three. Believe me, it is. Last week Saturday we did both their traditional and civil wedding. It was great. The couples were superb to work with, and the food was top tier. My shout-out goes to @wisevisuals, @adigunphotography, and @fdomingofilms, they were wonderful to work with. And well consequences or no consequences, I love being a photographer (and a writer).
Okay. That’s all folks. Bye-bye!
#Day 7 of My Journal Series.
- Left BehindThe abandoned church stood like a man awaiting trial.
- How To Live Like A HeroAnd the pressure keeps growing and growing and growing until you feel like you are moments away from exploding.
- The Story of How I Met Mo-IsuThe apparition introduced himself as Mo.
- Saturdays Are For WeddingsIt is an unspoken rule that Saturdays are for weddings in Nigeria.
- On How To Tell Stories Of HopeI didn’t think it was possible after all the time I spent wandering and searching for anybody who could understand me, or even see me.