As lead photographer at a wedding, I HAVE to guarantee that my couple gets the images they want, but I know that if I miss something, Pete usually has my back – and a whole lot more. He’s always in the background, interacting with the wedding party, guests, and vendors while I concentrate. He’s an excellent second-shooter, willing to do anything anybody needs, right down to rolling the carpet down the aisle if the coordinator forgot. There is nobody I trust more to be at a wedding I’m shooting, and evidently, other people are grateful for his presence too.
At our last wedding, someone pulled him aside while I was shooting formal portraits and whispered conspiratorially, “It’s photographers like THAT who make me glad for photographers like YOU.”
My husband swallowed a grin and shot back, “I happen to be married to THAT photographer.”
I am not always “photographers like THAT” (just during portrait formals on a wedding day), but I am always on the side of my couple. They have trusted me to do what I need to do to capture their memories, and even if friends and guests don’t care about what they want, I DO. I’m willing to fight for that; I’m willing to let go of what people will think of me.
That courage to throw the approval of everyone to the wind comes from the knowledge that I’ve got Pete in my corner and on my side. He knows my style; he knows my heart.
Pete is amazing with people – having been blessed with a personality that is nowhere near as polarizing as mine. He’s Mr. Nice Guy to everyone, but we both know why he’s really there, and why I can’t shoot with anyone else.
He picks me up when I fall down, runs interference for me, defends me and our contract to pushy people. He is my safe place at the end of the day, absorbing me on the drive home – everything I have to process from what I saw and what was said and how people didn’t like me or my style and the mistakes I made and the shots I missed. He’s there, loving me, and he’s the one person at that wedding who sees everything I see and whose approval I will never have to earn, ever.
He’s held me when my camera died as the bride came down the aisle, brought me food in the middle of a portrait session, tracked down the lens caps I leave lying around, sat with me through culling and processing and the hardest, hardest moments I’ve had coming to this place.
Husband, business partner, photography assistant, second-shooter, best friend – It is a man like THAT who lets me be the photographer I have to be in any situation. It is a man like THAT who I can – and do – trust with my life and all the fine art to be found in it. He’s my hero, the person in the world I most want to be like. I respect and admire him more than anybody I’ve ever known.
What I do now? I do it because he believed in me before I dared to believe in myself. I do it because he wanted me to share what I see with the world, wanted everyone to see the way I see.