I experienced an absolutely amazing time in the Dominican Republic last week. I flew down with Charity Swords to shoot a wedding, someone whom I had only met once. This scenario could scream disaster in so many ways, especially since I read the reviews about our hotel room being very "open concept".
It was a great way for us to get to know each other considering we are working together all summer shooting weddings from May until New Years Eve. You know when you just know you'll get along with someone? From the moment we stepped into the airport, it was nonstop eruption of laughter. The sounds that were coming from our hotel washroom were entirely different sounds of eruption. It was an instant friendship in all regards.
We did not stop talking the entire vacation, so much so that we almost missed our hotel, as I asked her what her background was, and she replied "Dutch", to which my next question had her in stitches: "What language do the Dutch speak?" She responded straight faced: "Dutch" and spit out her beer with giggles.
We swept into the breathtaking lobby of our hotel to meet our bride and groom. They were just as adorable in person as they were in their photos. They were smiling, despite the fact their luggage had not arrived for the few days they had been there. We awoke the next morning and met with the couple to go over the details. Charity had asked if I was okay to shoot the guys on my own to which I confidently nodded my head and inside was thinking to myself "noooo way!"
Like anything I tackle that I don't think I can do, I always prepare myself in all regards. Sometimes I overprepare but for me, my motto has always been overplan and then go with the flow. This way if something goes wrong, at least I know I have done things to the best of my ability. Everyone knows how lost I get. This resort was absolutely massive with no trolly cars. The first thing I wanted to do was familiarize myself with where everything was. The last thing I needed on a wedding day on top of worrying about equipment, camera settings, poses and heatstroke was getting the groomsmen lost.
That evening, we joined our guests of honor for dinner with their families and friends and got to know everyone better. The bachelorette party followed dinner and we met up with some other Torontonians who were part of a wedding party. We had a great night and met some wonderful people. We all tore up the dance floor and had many laughs and shots of mamawana (sp?) It was absolutely the most disgusting drink ever but is famous at Dominican Republic resorts.
Cassandra and Nick, our bride and groom were relaxed and ready for their special day. The sun was shining with barely a cloud in the sky. The ceremony was performed by Nick's longtime friend who happens to be both a Doctor and a Minister. I don't think you can get much closer to God, blessing your special day. Charity and I worked together as if we had done so for years, each performing a sort of familiar dance. When she moved left, I moved right. When she moved back, I moved close. The role of a second shooter is diverse. It encompasses anything to make the first shooter's life easier. If they need their bags carried, you not only offer but insist. You need to find different angles to shoot than the main photographer. You need to be flexible, eager and above all have a smile on your face.
We were asked to take some shots of another wedding later in the week. We didn't want to intrude on the hired photographer but in hindsight, I wish we stayed longer as we got some great shots.
The plane ride home was to be quiet and sleepy as we were quite exhausted from our adventures but instead, Charity and I chirped on and on until we parted ways. It's been a week and I am just now soaking up the memories that were made, the conversations had and an epic trip on so many levels. I found myself, for the first time in my life, when people asked what I do for a living, proudly talking about photography.
I most definitely made the right choices for my own soul's happiness.