Diary of a Destination Wedding Photographer

Outside the arrivals door at the airport looking for the shuttle to the hotel. It is a beautiful day here, much warmer than Toronto! For a moment I pause as I forget where I am…ah yes…Melborne, Florida.

In my room on the sixth floor and checking all the equipment and plugging in the back up batteries. I have a beautiful view of the ocean and there are crowds of people walking, tanning and surfing. All of a sudden something glides my balcony. It is a pelican and it is huge! I suddenly realize I have never seen a pelican outside of a zoo before and they are beautiful birds.

At the rehearsal dinner and meeting the family members. It is an intimate wedding with only 27 guests of mainly immediate family and close friends. I try to memorizing the names and the faces while getting some candid shots of everyone mingling.

Sitting on the balcony having a coffee with my camera in hand. I am waiting on the pelicans! They have been gliding past my balcony all morning along the same route. It is like there is an aerial highway that they repeatedly use up and down the beach and I count 13 in the air at one time. There are also gulls and something that looks like a hawk…must check online for confirmation.

Just had a look around the property and there isn’t much to work with for the pictures. Not much for architecture and foliage so will need to be really really creative here. I find two palm trees, a textured wall, a fence and of course the ocean…I feel like this is a job for Mac Gyver!  The sky is solid blue and I am not expecting any clouds for softer light either. I estimate I will have a large shadow right on the water’s edge from the hotel later in the evening so I know I can get some good results from that.

Worked out my shooting order so laying by the pool getting some sun. Next to me is a man that must be in his eighties laying on a beach chair. He is wearing a shirt, shorts, black socks and sandals with his hat over his face and holding a walking stick while laying down. This is a scene straight from Weekend at Bernie’s. He is asleep…I hope.

The wedding is running a bit behind as the musician arrived late. The bride smiles radiantly as she glides up the aisle next to her brother and I get a great shot of her mum wiping a tear. The light is really pretty at the alter and the green of the bridemaid’s dresses is gorgeous.

Shooting on the beach with the couple and laughing as the groom mentions he once thought about being an actor. Suddenly there is a group of five pelicans flying in a perfect formation. Instinctively I aim and fire off about three frames and they split into two groups so aimlessly it must be choreographed. I really am in love with these damn pelicans! The shadow from the hotel gives me a soft ethereal light and I get some awesome shots of the couple playing on the beach. I am already thinking these will be great in black and white.

The party is in full swing and I am getting some fun shots of kids dancing. The music is great and everyone seems to be having a blast. I love weddings!

Back in my room and just finished the first edit on the images…really happy with the shots! Now about to back up the wedding to separate portable drives for safe keeping.

Equipment all packed and I double check I didn’t leave any chargers plugged in under the table…as usual.

At the farewell breakfast saying goodbye to some of the guests I met last night. Everyone is still in great spirits as expected and there is hugs all around. I can tell this is a really close family. I wish everyone safe travels and then head to the buffet…the french toast is excellent.

Found a golf range 10 mins from the hotel so hitting a bucket of balls with a 7 iron. The pre-season rust is very evident but it is a great way to end the weekend. It is another gorgeous day here!

I am at the airport and ready for the flight home but finding out there is a mix up with my booking. My only option is standby and the flight is oversold by seven people. All I can do now is hope and smile.

Passenger O’Connor is a no show so I get their seat! I am being hurried down the jet bridge and being told one of my carry on bags must be checked as there in no space…cameras or computer…which leaves my side? Hmmmmm. I pull one of the drives and the flash cards out of one bag and put them in my pocket and say a quick prayer as the computer bag dissappears through a door. The adventure continues.