Want to know a wedding photographers deepest & darkest fear? It’s having to answer the question “What happens if you get sick on the day of my wedding?” It’s something we think that will never happen and we answer the question in a somewhat cavalier fashion trying our best to not show fear in our eyes or spill our coffee because our hands start shaking. Later that night however, we have nightmares about the contingency and wake up in cold sweats. You know why? Because we honestly don’t know the answer to that question. We have no idea because while we all have friends in the industry, if it happens a week before the wedding on the busiest date of the year and the money has already been used to pay bills, what the hell are we going to do? And that is the honest answer in a nutshell and regardless of what any photographer will tell you, it’s the truth.
All that over-dramatic talk aside, you do however have a basic framework of ideas. The first and foremost, also the most tried and true method, is to play hurt. I’ve shot weddings with torn ligaments in my knee, with food poisoning, the flu, and a plethora of colds and other illnesses that were treated with some ibuprofen, DayQuil, a few self inflicted smacks to the face and self talk that goes, “this is gonna suck, but this too shall pass.” Enter a positive COVID-19 test…
Even though my symptoms of COVID were extremely mild and I would have happily just popped some of that DayQuil and truthfully not thought anything of it, that wasn’t an option. I’m just not about sending Granny to the ICU because I needed to work. So, the next course of action is to pick up the phone and start calling my friends. The second weekend of October is without a doubt the busiest wedding weekend of the year and it’s not even really close. You could argue maybe the second weekend of June, but in my experience, I’d bet the house that statistically October 10th is the most popular date of all time. And guess what Desirae and Chris’s wedding date was that they planned around my availability — Yup…..
Luckily it was a Friday wedding which played slightly into my favor and my good friend Michael was available to run the show. I still needed a second shooter. I have a Rolodex of shooters that I have met over the years that I call on such occasions, so I started down that list. Phone call after phone call, text after text, Facebook message after Facebook message, everyone is booked. Everyone. Finally, as I was racking my brain I thought of my friend Stephen. I’ve shot for his family once, and he second shot for me YEARS ago and I’ve always admired his work, so I gave it a shot. He had to work, and his wife is about to have a baby any day now. It wasn’t looking good, but it wasn’t out of the question either. A few hours later I got the go ahead, he was good to go. I’ve never felt so relieved.
Friday comes and I have never felt that much stress and anxiousness in my life. I check my phone every six seconds for group chat updates. And every six seconds I started the text, “how’s it going?” and erased it to not bother them. They’d send intermittent updates throughout the day, but I was on pins and needles until 10PM when they said that everything went great, Desirae & Chris were stoked, and the cards were in route to my mailbox.
I uploaded the cards and in a moment of complete honesty, I didn’t hardly look at them for weeks. I had tons of other editing on my plate, and I used that as an excuse to procrastinate editing them because I was afraid that because I didn’t shoot them Desirae was going to be disappointed. She did plan her wedding around my availability after all and there is no pressure like needlessly self-imposed pressure. Finally, I got a gentle nudge from Desirae asking about them, so I just put my head down and got to work.
This may be the longest blog post I have written in years because it’s necessary to set the stage for what I found. I found that they KILLED it. They did amazing. Seriously, I don’t even want to post their websites because they’re going to take all my business now. They did absolutely amazing. Michaels eye for emotion and Stephens eye for composition and graphics complimented each other perfectly. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the turnout. They did amazing. Did I mention they killed it? I should probably mention that too. In case you skimmed that last paragraph, they killed it.
So, in summary, the answer of the question, “What happens if you get sick for my wedding?” is that “I call in the actual professionals.”
Please take a moment to check out each of their amazing portfolios and you should probably consider skipping the middle man & hiring them instead of me next time…
You can find their respective portfolios for Michael at www.thebeardsphoto.com and Stephen at www.smdiphotography.com.