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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Know Thyself

I got an unusual call last Thursday. A bride-to-be wanted to talk about inexpensive wedding packages. I explained why I don't try to be the bargain-basement option: my style is somewhat untraditional, and if people were to choose me because I'm cheapest rather than because they like my style, the result would be unhappiness all around. She then said something about how I probably wouldn't be available anyway. I said, thinking I was joking: "Well, is your wedding next week?" No, it was Saturday. As in the day after (Thursday's) tomorrow.

I had the day available, and I wanted to be helpful, and I was intrigued by someone who would call up a photographer two days before the wedding without sounding panicky. She said the wedding would be small and very short, and she just wanted a handful of poses, and I didn't need to show up an hour ahead of time (as I usually do). So I gave her an unprecedented low price.

Come Saturday, I found myself getting more and more nervous as I waited around. Showing up just beforehand doesn't suit me, it seems. I decided I may as well just go, and showed up almost an hour before the ceremony was due to start. And since I was there, I started shooting (photographically speaking).

After the ceremony, we did the poses we'd agreed upon. But the bride kept thinking of others, and it didn't feel right to wave the contract and refuse.

If I'd been quoting the photography I actually did that Saturday, it would've cost three times what I charged. So now I know -- I am incapable of sticking to that pared-down a package, and won't quote one again. No harm done -- I like the pictures.

Which raises another question. In our brief acquaintance, the bride has already told me three times (I think) that she doesn't like pictures of herself. Will she like any of mine? I think that in some -- admittedly not all -- she looks beautiful. But then, she comes to pictures of herself with a lifetime of appearance issues. She's looking for familiar imperfections she both dreads and expects to see. I don't have that baggage, and can appreciate the positives -- her beautiful complexion, for example -- perhaps more than she can.

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