This was it. The precise moment. The calm before the storm before the calm. When the sound rang out from the alarm clock the sky was still lost somewhere in the hours of the night before. Caught in the struggle between late evening and early morning. Black slate. We struggled with our morning of a shoot routine. Eyes still locked in a dream. Hot shower, quick dress, bag check and warm up the car. These were the last couple of hours before the madness set in. Took over.
A last chance. To let it all out. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale…
We pulled away from the safe confines of home some time after seven a.m. The roads were all but empty that morning, save for the early morning commuters and people lost in the shuffle of life. The two of us locked in our thoughts and running through the day’s checklists. The order of the day was already playing out, scripted countless times before. Albeit different names and faces. They all went off the same script.
When we arrived at the bride’s house, everything was calm and relaxed. That was bound to change. It changed. After rolling through shot after shot of the bride getting ready and the minor details, the influx of family and noise changed the mood of the house. The excitement of the day took hold as controlled chaos moved from room to room. We went through the family shots and bridal shots and packed our things. Part one finished. And we were off. Again.
As we left the euphoria behind us we made our way to the church. The anticipatory dance of words and vows from the minister was less than an hour away. Less even. In that precious time we had to scout out the shoot locations, check our lighting and set our cameras up for the biggest moment of their lives. And then, when all of that was set in place, we rushed back out to take pictures of the excited guests and nervous family members.
After all the invited guests made their way into the church, the bride and her parents made their grand entrance. A vintage Rolls Royce, perfect for the old Hollywood feel they wanted, took the long road into the lot. Slowly, surely. The bride was escorted down the long red carpet with each parent on her arm. All the while snapping pictures so they’ll always remember that moment. To play back again and again.
The ceremony was beautiful. The moment a bride and groom first lock eyes on each other on their wedding day something magical transpires. There’s a look that can’t be mistaken for any other time in someone’s life. It’s your heart’s recognition of your one true love and the comfort that comes with that recognition. It’s head over heels and your best friend wrapped up in one slow walk down the aisle. It’s all those questions forever answered.
We left the church after the necessary group shot and headed uptown to an old converted cinema, now home to special events and weddings. It was late November, but for one day, nobody seemed to know that. Or remember it. The weather was somewhere between early spring and mid-autumn.
The bride and groom had given us almost two hours to capture some incredible candid moments in and around the venue. With just the two of them. We went up and down the main street, stood in the middle of an intersection and walked into and out of alleys out back. We stopped for reflection shots, told them to sit outside this gorgeous little bakery and took full advantage of the Rolls Royce. It was the biggest prop of all.
The biggest challenge when shooting a wedding is keeping yourself energized and fuelled, both emotionally and physically. It’s also about taking the risks necessary to take photos that stand out. Today and for the rest of their lifetime. And yes, forever is a really long time. So we tackle the necessary pre-set shot list and then think outside our comfort zones and the proverbial box. And follow our instincts. And hearts.
The rest of the night was spent inside the black and white converted movie theatre. I grew up a mere few blocks from the location and saw at least a few movies there growing up. To be back in that space all these years later and see the transformed spot turned into something out of 1940′s Hollywood was beyond even my imagination. It was beautiful. Romantic. Perfect.
The speeches were emotional, concise and focused. And they were filled with the love that comes through at a wedding. We captured the first dance, the parent/bride/groom dance and the numerous dances between the newlyweds. They snuck out on the floor by themselves between meals and danced to big band standards that brought them together in the first place.
Wendy and I stayed until just after midnight. We stayed to photograph the mood of the dance floor and sneak in one candid shot after another of the bride and groom, all by themselves at the head table. Or at the end of the floor, stuck in a sea of people but all by themselves. Right before we left we snapped a few last pictures of the cake cutting and then, when the moment was right, said our thank you and goodbye.
After about fourteen hours on our feet, we were exhausted. Every kind of exhausted. We drove back home through the darkness that greeted us all those hours before. I kept my eyes open long enough to get back home. I tucked my wife in, tucked myself in and then crashed. Good night.
When we woke up it was mid morning. We planned on sleeping the morning away but our internal clocks, programmed for those weekday work days, kicked in. Too early. Way too early. It felt like we lived through a party, and in a way we did. Our bodies were sore, fatigued. Our muscles lay witness to the events of the night before. We needed food.
I stumbled downstairs and made this breakfast. It’s quick, easy and delicious. I also call this my recovery breakfast sandwich because I always feel better after eating it and it’s quick and easy and delicious. Exactly what I need after those crazy days of wedding shoots. Like this one.
This was it. The moment. The calm after the storm. These were the last couple of hours before everything returned to normal. Came back to us. Only now we had the memories of one magical day to keep us busy. Keep us company.
From my kitchen to yours,
P.S. Since some people have been asking, below you’ll find some shots from some of our recent photo sessions. A bit of everything. And thanks for always reading!
Creamy Eggs with Sage & Parmesan, Smoked Salmon & Capers on Toast
- 4 large eggs
- 2/3 cup cream
- 2 tbsp. butter
- sea salt & cracked pepper
- 2 tbsp. sage, finely chopped
- 1 small package of smoked salmon
- 2 tbsp. Parmesan, finely grated
- 2 tsp. truffle oil
- 1 tbsp. capers
- 2 large slices baguette, toasted under the broiler
- Place the eggs, cream and salt & pepper in a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add in the sage and Parmesan and mix to combine.
- Melt the butter in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Pour in the eggs and cook for 1 minute, or until just set. Stir with a wooden spoon, folding the egg mixture on the outside of the pan to the middle. Let cook another 30 seconds, and repeat.
- Toast the baguette slices in the oven and place on plates. Top with scrambled eggs and a drizzle of truffle oil. Top the eggs with smoked salmon and the capers. Serves 2.
You can find some more images over at my wife’s site: