When our daughter Rhylie graduated from high school, I paid Jenny (then my new hire and now an associate photographer) to pay attention to the little details at Rhy’s celebration. Afterall, I wanted to take pictures of our little girl’s big day, and that’s the one thing that always fell between the cracks. You know what happened? I took one stickin’ picture the entire evening. I remember it vividly - it was of Rhylie and Great Grandpa Meckel - already in the car, ready to go. It was my last-ditch effort of capturing the day.
So, what the heck; it was the first time I had tried to set myself up for success to take images of an event, and I still failed. Lesson learned. Even as a professional photographer who gets hired by others to capture their special moments, if you want the job done right, let someone focus on working the room while you enjoy your event. In hindsight, I would have Jenny to take pictures. And, for less than $50, I would have had a teen, looking for some extra cash, to offer drinks, refill the coleslaw bowl, clean up spills… you get the idea.
So many times I get calls just days before someone’s celebration because they check every box (including ordering a bunch of crap that will end up in the landfill) but they forgot all about event photography. Then, if just by chance, we have a photographer available, they decide it’s not in the budget. I’d like to think it’s not just because I am a photographer that I think images of your big event should rank #2, second only to eats and libations.
Just the other day, my mom and I could not remember if a particular couple had attended Michael and my wedding. Scanning my brain, I remembered an image of the couple at our reception. I then recalled one of them in the family portrait at the alter. Also, every year on our anniversary, we open up the wedding album and talk about how young and naive we were when we walked down the aisle. Nobody forgets to hire a wedding photographer, now do they? Heck, and 50% end in divorce. So, why on Earth do we not bring a photographer in for birthday celebrations, Baptisms, graduations and more? Portraits of a backyard crawfish boil will never get thrown in the fireplace.
You know who rarely forgets to hire a photographer? Big corporate. Corporate photography is used for annual meetings, anniversary celebrations and town halls. My images have been used in countless retirement parties, lobby slideshows and, of course life happens, a plethora of funerals.
I may even forget about the gathering if there were no pictures. Hopefully, you have a better memory than me. Now, remembering you have those images or where you stored them is another story for another blog.