“Hi,” I told my cousin’s photographer, as I held open the door to the church. “I’ll be shooting video for the ceremony.” He just stared at me. And not in a good way. “My name’s Erin.”
“You’re setting up THERE, hm?” My camera was wedged into the second row of seats, close enough so I could still get good sound but far enough away so that I wouldn’t interfere with things.
“Does that not work for you? I can move. I don’t want to wreck your shot.”
“Well, it’s not MY shot,” he huffed, busying himself with a remote flash unit. “they’re THEIR pictures. You’ll just be IN all of them.”
I could see that this would not be the same harmonious working environment I’d had with Studio Noir or Erica Ferrone – both wonderful photographers who are as kind as they are talented. This gentleman was obviously not of their ilk. I smiled, nodded, and complied.
“All the videographers I’VE worked with do handheld for the procession, then set up in the back and just zoom in,” he opined, as I reset the tripod.
“I shoot the whole thing on sticks,” I replied. “Seems safer that way.”
“Maybe you should set up back there, by the tree,” he suggested, ignoring my comment. “You’ll lose the backlight.” It was possibly the least helpful suggestion anyone has ever given me, but I pretended to consider.
“True,” I agreed, “But the I’ll miss the rings.” Vendor lingo. I’ve kind of got it down by now.
He asked if I did this professionally, I answered that it was a side business. He told me he’d shot over three thousand weddings, I told him I was a documentary filmmaker. I pretended that I was impressed with him, he looked at me like I was a fire hydrant ripe for the pissing. I don’t like to hate people on sight, but this guy was kind of toeing that line.
As the night progressed, things became more acrimonious. We didn’t speak as we shot details, and the room was so dim I didn’t think I’d be able to get much without my LitePanels, a super-bright LED which my cousin had asked me not to use. “My camera hates this room,” I confided. “I don’t know how much I’ll be able to get.”
“If you’re going to shoot weddings, you should really have a unit that can handle low light.” (I kind of DO, dude, I just can’t implement my low light solution)
“You shoot on the tripod for the FIRST DANCE? EVERYONE I’ve worked with does it handheld.” (I leave the first dance as one long piece, I don’t want it to look shaky)
“You’re shooting HD? SD needs less light. You ought to shoot SD.” (This, technically, is not even a true statement. It’s a gross oversimplification of a complex nexus of factors)
Over the course of the evening, I never saw him smile once. I only saw him take about 100 pictures. Total. And you know, I still don’t know what the hell his name was. For all his other sage offerings of unwanted assvice, the man never even told me his first name. I really hope he did a better job with my cousin’s pictures than he did at not being rude.