Keeping my Cool under Pressure

I know the meaning of stress when I see brides crumple in frustration at an ill-fitting dress or when a groom shows up late for the ceremony. I feel it myself when the family is fighting during the wedding, the weather is too hot, or the venue is not photogenic. You can usually remedy a lot and years later, the camera did lie. Everything looks peaceful and elegant. Thankfully, I often work in places where I can tote along my outdoor misting fan to help me keep my cool.

I remember one July when the temperature hit 105 and the tempers hit the ceiling. They rose steadily as the wedding wore on. Everyone was sweating profusely. The bride and maid of honor kept wiping their dripping foreheads, mussing their makeup. It was just plain humid. How was I going to get around this? Shininess gleamed off the faces like morning dew that was starting to heat up into steam droplets. So much pressure. The wedding party, from the bride and groom to the mothers in law, were demanding that I get great photos. Nothing would do for posterity but perfection. The problem was: the circumstances were not conducive to anything even close.

We ordered fans from the hotel and a few on stands were available. They were fairly good quality fans, some like the floor fan reviews here. We placed them strategically but then the bride’s hairdo flew apart like a bird’s nest gone wild. The bridesmaids were getting fuzzy and wilted at the same time. I was in a panic.

Taking a few close shots from a portable mister fan, I mustered up some courage. I called a friend to rush over with pots of makeup and cakes of face powder. Hair spray was to be included: cases of it. The wedding party looked frightful by the time she arrived, box of tricks in tow. They were grateful for some much-needed reparation. They did look better about 30 minutes later. When their moods cooled down, so did their body temperature and ultimate appearance.

I lined them up in the requisite positions and aimed the camera. It was hard to get smiles but a few jokes sparked a few grins. The first effort was meager but I kept at it. Click, click. The camera did its work. I cropped, focused, removed red eyes, enhanced the color, and voila! The wedding party looked less frazzled, even pretty good.

The weary bride grabbed the camera while I was on break. A smirk soon broke into a real smile. “I look good,” she beamed almost not believing her eyes. I had done a little editing, working my best tricks. She thanked me and ran back to her waiting guests. Dancing that day wasn’t vigorous but there was joy in the air. I got other good snaps throughout the event and was pleased with the results. Not having expected much, it turned out to be a big photographic success.

Let that be a lesson. Weather permitting, or not, you can make do with what you have and call on extra help if needed. You have to keep your cool and go with the flow, such as it is.