The Writings

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

I wake up in the morning, completely in a state of panic.  What if I mess up?  What if something goes wrong with my camera?  What if the weather doesn't break?  What if, what if, what if.  It's the morning of a wedding day, and I am freaking out.  I don't know if I can handle the work that I'm about to undertake, and I get extremely worried, doubting my abilities.  I start to think that I should tell the bride and groom to ask their Uncle Bob to take the pictures - he's the hobbyist with a dSLR and would be getting in my way anyway, so why not?

I continue to get ready anyway and run through my checklist.  Memory cards?  Check.  Batteries charged?  Check.  External flash ready?  Check.  Two camera bodies in the bag?  Check and check.  I run through the playbook to review what the events are for the day.  First look, ceremony, reception... the usual.  I go over the shots I want to get in my head: family shots, details, B+G portraits, candids, cake, blah, blah, blah.  I put on my Sunday best, making sure I look sharp and will blend in with the wedding guests.

And then something weird happens: I get psyched.  All my anxieties and worries vanish, as if they never existed in the first place, and I am extremely excited to be shooting someone's special day.  I can't wait to get to the church and show 'em what I'm made of!  I look over the images of Jasmine Star, The Image Is Found, and other wedding photographers to cycle some ideas in my head so that when I get to the location, I've got a couple of images up my sleeve, in case nothing hits me in the face right away when I look at the premises.  I am ready to rock this wedding!

I'm a very peculiar case when it comes to the day of shooting a wedding, but the one thing I've noticed about myself is that, no matter how panicked I initially am, I always overcome it and my confidence is restored.  I think I start out worried because my competitiveness doesn't want me to fail.  I want to be the greatest at what I do, always.  So when all my anxieties and worry get out of my system before I actually arrive to the location, I'm alright with that.  I think it's only human to be nervous before a big day such as shooting a wedding, but when we allow our fears to overwhelm us into not being our best or not even trying at all, we should be worried - not about what's initially worrying us, but about our personalities not being strong enough to overcome.

I go through spurts when I look at my images compared to already established photographers.  When I put my work up against that of Jasmine's or Nate and Jaclyn's, I start to feel I'm not worthy.  But then, I could revisit that same comparison and think, "I can totally do that!"  I guess I have two sides to me: the worry wart and the confident beast.  However, the best part about me is that I allow both to coexist, but not override each other.  I let the worry wart out of his cage every now and then to keep me grounded and evaluate the possibilities to plan accordingly and prevent failure.  I let my confidence out more to lead the shoot and get what I want, making sure that the images I create that day of shooting are going to melt my client's face off.  The two personalities are a yin and yang, and as long as one doesn't outshine the other, I'm a well-balanced photographer.

I'm shooting the wedding for two great friends of mine tomorrow, and while I'm nervous as hell, since I'm shooting it all by my lonesome, I'm also beyond excited to be the one to capture the special moments of their big day.  I will probably wake up tomorrow morning, scared out of my mind.  Give me a few minutes, though, and I will be the most confident, talented, and outstanding photographer those people have ever seen in their lives (at least, that's how I bill it in my mind).  I'm starting to be alright with my own version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and I'm learning how to work with them both.

Until next time,

- Patrick