The Writings

Dear Uncle Bob,

Dear Uncle Bob, You might not remember me, but I'm the photographer that was hired to shoot your niece's wedding.  It was a pleasure meeting you and your wife at rehearsal dinner!  I loved hearing the stories about your travels and taking photos wherever you ventured.  It sounds like you had a lovely time exploring new cities and picking up a hobby along the way!  I'm sure the dSLR you bought only heightened your interest in photography, and it's great to see such enthusiasm!

And now, here you are, shooting your niece's wedding.  Oh, no, by all means - I'm sure you saw the same shot I did from a mile away!  Great minds think alike, right?  Allow me to step out of your way while you take the shot of the instantaneous moment that I was hired to capture through my lens.  Something tells me your artistic vision and vast experience can certainly do a better job.

Oh, you didn't know you couldn't use flash in a church?  It's ok - I'm sure the priest and everybody else trying to enjoy the ceremony didn't mind.

It sounds like you've read a bunch of blogs about the Nikon vs. Canon battle, too.  Yeah, it's an ongoing debate that always ends moot, but revisiting the age-old topic of conversation never gets tiring, especially for someone just getting started in photography.  I have always said that it doesn't matter what camera you use, as long as the results are there.  But you're right; let's talk about why my Canon camera isn't as good as your Nikon.  I'd much rather discuss that than, say, intellectual property disputes on social media, or any other relevant subject of discussion, like how your family is doing.  Let's beat a dead horse - I'll provide the bat.

No, no - you can step in my way again.  I know you didn't mean it the first time.  Or the second time.  Or this time.  Usually, photographers will try to stay out of the way of the working photographers and videographers, since we were hired to capture the occasion, but we always make an exception for the family hobbyist.  After all, we're just outsiders and are viewing the wedding objectively.  I'm sure your niece and her husband-to-be would much rather see pictures of her-only anyway.

And when the ceremony is over, please feel free to show me all of the photos you have taken with your dSLR, or especially e-mail them to me.  We "working professionals" love seeing chain-link fences and trees - can't get enough of them!  Every photographer has at least 20 pictures of trees in their portfolio, right?  When I started out, I wanted to shoot food photography, so I cooked meals and then took photos of them, since I didn't have the experience yet.  But then I landed some great gigs as a result or those images.  I'm sure a landscaping company will feel the same way about the shots you've taken.

I'm sorry - I got in your way again as you were trying to shoot.  I can't believe I keep doing that!  You know, I thought that I was the only one trying to capture the kiss before they walked down the aisle!  I'm so inconsiderate sometimes.

And by all means, allow me to pose the couple and family so you can piggy-back off my shot.  Call it your own creative vision when all is said and done, too.  I don't mind.  But if you want to interject your own ideas into how I'm doing things, let me know.  I know it may seem like my experience from past weddings would give me the creative know-how to do this myself, but the truth of the matter is I always love having the family telling me what I need to be doing better.  Just because your shots came out overexposed and you blew out the sky doesn't mean you don't know how to direct a shoot!  I only pretend that I know this stuff and blog about it.

You blog, too?  No way!  And don't tell me: you created a top ten list on how to become a photographer?  Amazing!  I think Zack Arias wrote about this after reading your blog post (he's such a copycat).  I love how you've managed to jot down everything other photographers have already said into your own blog.  It's easier to recount that information when you copy and paste it onto your site and call it your own, right?  Telling people how you really feel about photography or expressing yourself can be intimidating, and who really wants to put themselves out there?  I know I've said that if you don't shoot and show, you can't improve, but who am I to say.  Just keep on reading magazines and work on recreating the images other photographers already conceived of and shot.  Imitation is the best form of flattery, after all.

I am really looking forward to seeing more photos you and your wife take on your next RV excursion!  Make sure that when you get to NYC to take pictures of the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, but do so in a way that only gets part of the symbolic structures - nobody has done that before!

Until next time,

- Patrick