The Benefits of Closure

original posted in SHOOT THE CAKE

by MISSY MCLAMB

These are not the sorts of groomsmen who hire girls to disrobe. But here I stand, in a church courtyard with my blouse wide open and five men in tuxedos smiling. They are not looking into my lenses. Last week I spendt exactly 2.5 hours cleaning cameras, checking film, testing backup gear and exactly 12.5 seconds selecting my wedding uniform for the day.

I usually “Aww shucks, I’m just a girl, with a Nikon, some Tri-X and a 50mm lens”. In reality, with all the gear and film slung around my neck (up to 7 cameras at one wedding, and all at one time), I could have been mistaken for a war photographer and not the poet-with-camera nymph I tried to project.

In a nutshell, I mixed too many cameras, each with their own strap and a shirt with as many buttons to recreate the ending of “The Full Monty-XX version.”

Kids, don’t mix baking soda and carbonated water. Chics who click, don’t wear button-front shirts while photographing a wedding if you’re cup size is C or more.

Lesson learned. No more undersized buttons on flimsy fabrics, No more stunned groomsmen. I’m so glad You Tube wasn’t around back then.

On occasion, however, I do surprise wedding planners by shooting weddings in high heels. Here’s the thing…people just look better when photographed from a higher angle. Once, a well-known event planner (definition: she has her own TV show(s), books, and i’m sure a signature drink named after her by now) asked me to meet an adorable couple (they’re writers and were/ are so delightful). The published writers said they’d be fine with using the photographer they worked with for their author photographs. “Look, she’s a lovely woman (that’s the planner, talking about the other photographer, not moi, thankfully), but she’s short and her portraits and party photographs tend to be unflattering,” Fortunately, they agreed to meet with me, regardless of the logic (it’s true about the height thing btw), they liked my work and hired me.

YOWZER. So unless you’re a dude, already north of 5' 6" or have one of those rare personalities where you actually seem taller than you are, consider the high-heel strategy. But consider yourself warned, you must practice walking, running (forwards & backwards), bending and jumping before you sport high-heels while covering a wedding. *hint: change into different shoes, any shoes, once the dancing starts. Simply changing shoes, high-heeled or flat, will shift how you carry your weight and you’ll instantly feel better.

I have additional wardrobe advice on the way. I’m curating a wedding photographers uniform collection for TARGET (ok, the Target part is not true, but a cool idea). The collection has affordable, comfortable and chic outfits perfect for wedding photographers who are tired of being mistaken for the hotel staff. I have some “yeahs” and “nays” for men and women (i.e. vests for men-nay, you look like a waiter, but for women yes! the vests from H&M have a corset effect and I have test-driven the buttons). Be on the lookout for the post later this week.

In the meantime, if your a professional wedding photographer, call your accountant. You can actually write-off your clothes as wardrobe, but there are some rules (like you can only wear the clothes while on the job, so I reccomend you carry you’re camera everywhere).

Thanks for reading and if you’re a wedding photographer, please have someone take a full-length picture of you on your next assignment. I have an idea…missy@missymclamb.com