It’s SO hard to believe that on Wednesday, we’ll celebrate 3 years of marriage. THREE! I really don’t have a clue where the time went because some days I look back and feel like our wedding just happened yesterday. And it keeps amazing me how much better and more fun and more familiar and more wonderful our relationship becomes with each passing day. I’m SO thankful!
One thing that we’re both really thankful for is that we’re able to work together and that it’s something that comes easily to us. I have several photographer friends who tell me time and again that while they wish they could shoot weddings with their husbands, they know it wouldn’t work for them. They would drive each other crazy, it’s too stressful of a day already, they’d both be under each others’ foot, and all kinds of other reasons. Not that Ben and I never struggle with any of those things… we’re still human after all.
And since we’re still human, no matter how easily it might be for us to work together, we still have to work AT it on a regular basis. And it’s always a work in progress. The longer we work together, the more we figure out in terms of systems and communication. But it also helps us see what systems don’t work and what we STILL need to communicate better about! And believe it or not, all of this flows in and out of our marriage too.
So, since it’s Monday and your eyes may still not be fully open from the cup of coffee you have in hand, I thought a list would be best suited for how we work together as a husband and wife team. (Please note that every couple is different and every husband and wife team out there work differently too! So, this isn’t an exhaustive list for everyone, it’s just what works for us.)
- We love and respect each other. Photography and video are our jobs. And when working, we’re very aware of what we’re doing, why we’re there, and how we’re in a position to serve our clients on one of the most important days of their life! And when you’re working in that kind of setting, there can be a lot of pressure and it can get stressful. However, even though this is our job, our marriage still comes first. So, above all else, we do our best to love each other and respect each other as the day unfolds.
- I’m the primary shooter, but he’s still my husband. This actually stems from what I mentioned above… on wedding days, when Ben is photographing with me, I’m the primary/lead photographer and he’s my second shooter. Which in short means that I’m the one in charge. However, since our relationship comes before any job we ever have, my main desire is to love him well (even on what might be a stressful wedding day!) by showing him respect. Practically, that means that I’m kind to him no matter how crazy things may get. I always do my best to ASK him to do something/help with things instead of TELLING him to do something/help with things. If things get tense between us for any reason, I do my best to apologize quickly (because it was probably over something I didn’t communicate!) and we do our best to not let anyone know that we aren’t 100% happy and on top of things in that moment.
- We talk about the wedding before the wedding day. Since I’m the one getting the inquiries, talking with the bride, going to the engagement session, etc., I have the chance to get to know the bride and groom well before we arrive on their wedding day. Most times, Ben doesn’t get to meet the couple until we arrive with cameras in hand. So, in order to help Ben, I do my best to talk about our couples with him as I’m getting to know them. I fill him in on inquiries, on how meetings went, on the stories of how they met and how he proposed… and the week of the wedding, I let Ben read over the wedding day questionnaire that the bride has filled out for me and he looks over the timeline for the day. We still usually have a “wedding briefing” in the car on the drive to the wedding, but by that time, he’s already familiar with everything so that we’re mainly able to talk logistics for the day.
- We have fun! I love my husband more than anything and one of the things I love about him is his ability to make me laugh at any given time. What that means is that there is a good chance that you’ll see us making faces at each other during the day, taking photos of each other (at the same time), or laughing over shots we captured of someone in mid-sentence or mid-dance step or mid-blink that we would never show anyone else and that we actually delete as soon as possible!
- He helps in ways that no one else can. Us working together goes far beyond him picking up a camera to take photos on any given Saturday. It’s because of Ben that I actually have “books” for the business accounts, that invoices are truly kept up with, that I don’t spend every incoming dollar on a new lens or software, and that we actually get paid each month! I still don’t have a clue about how to do most of that, so I’m SUPER thankful he does and that he enjoys that side of things! And since he’s my husband, he can also call me out on things that others may not even pick up on… he helps me understand how my words might come across to others and he lets me know when my facial expressions make me look angry or bored (even when I’m far from feeling either of those things!). And since he’s my husband, he knows what I’m feeling as I walk into each wedding since he’s been with me since we woke up that morning. If I’m nervous, he reassures me. If I’m afraid I’m going to miss something, he helps remind me to look out for it. If I was bummed about something unrelated to the wedding at all, he makes me laugh to the point that I forget what was bumming me out in the first place.
- He loves me really really well. This photography thing, this “job” that I have, has been a dream of mine long before Ben was even a thought in my mind. But ever since he met me, he has been my number one cheerleader and encourager. Not that I don’t believe others when they’re cheering me on, but he isn’t just seeing the highlights of what we captured on the wedding day… he sees me at my best AND at my worst. When I make really good decisions and when I make really bad ones, he helps me walk through them either way. And because of that, he’s able to know what I need (personally and photographically) when we’re at a wedding. When things get chaotic or I get overwhelmed, he pulls me aside (or we talk in the car on the way to the next location), hugs me, gives me a kiss on the cheek, and reminds me why we’re doing what we’re doing. Just being able to be by his side every weekend helps give me energy when I feel like I might not have any left!
Working with Ben has also helped me work better with others. He’s shown me what it’s like to be beyond helpful on a wedding day so when I am able to second shoot with other photographers, I have an amazing example to look towards. And the same is true when I have someone else second shoot for me! I’ve learned how to better inform my seconds of what’s going on, how things will unfold, and how to be more clear about what I need them to do on a wedding day.
As I said before, all of this is still very much a work in progress and we learn from each wedding we photograph or each wedding we work at together… with him shooting video at some of these weddings, it’s brought on new situations that we haven’t even thought about before!. But in just a few short weeks, we’ll be wrapping up our 4th wedding season of shooting together and I wouldn’t change a minute of these last four years!