As a wedding photographer, I get asked a lot of questions by bridal couples and most of them can be anticipated, such as "How long will you be there on the day?" and "How many images can I expect to receive?" These are the regular queries, the ones you have a ready answer for and that are an expected part of the booking discourse. Just occasionally, though, you get a question from left field, something really smart that makes you think, with an answer that tells the interrogator much about yourself and that leads me to the very best question I've been asked as a wedding photographer...
"What's your favourite movie?"
It's such a simple question, yet so smart because the answer can tell you so much about a person! Of course, absolutely everyone will give a different answer, but when you going to spend countless hours with an individual and you are trusting them to capture the memories of your most important day you can infer a fair bit from their answer! After all, if someone were to choose a violent slasher movie, would you really be that keen to spend the day with them?
For me, the answer was simple - it's Notting Hill, closely followed by Love Actually! Yes, there are plenty of other cinematic masterpieces I enjoy (and some others I endure), for their sheer art or storytelling, but if I want to go a happy place then give me Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts any day! I'm certainly not a soppy romantic by any stretch of the imagination - my wife will testify to that - but maybe it's because I have such fond memories of living in the same part of London or the larger-than-life English caricatures I can relate to, but there is something about the movie that makes me happy to watch it over and over again. There may be better movies out there, but few leave me feeling as warm and contented as Notting Hill does and because cinema is meant to provide entertainment and escapism it certainly succeeds for me.
As a wedding professional, I do think you have to be "in love with love" to do your job well! I'm not talking sickly sweet, besotted adoration, but more a deep appreciation of romance, hope, and commitment. You have to enjoy working closely with passionate people on what can be a stressful and emotionally charged day and you have to have a ready supply of positive energy to lift spirits if need be. This certainly isn't an industry for the dispassionate, the disillusioned or the cynical! With world news so often full of dread and gloom, weddings are a necessary glimmer of light and hope that provide us all with joy and escapism.
Notting Hill was a clearly a good answer because I got that booking, and enjoyed a fantastic day in the company of some genuinely wonderful people I still keep in touch with to this day.
So questions about weddings are great - they convince me that couples are invested in their day and want to ensure that the person who is being paid to capture their emotion is on the same wavelength as them. I love it when a couple has lots of questions, however, there is one question I always dread, and it's one that's completely irrelevant and is, quite honestly, probably the worst question you can ask any photographer and it goes like this...
"Do you use Canon or Nikon?"
Why? Why does it matter? As the great Ansell Adams once said, the most important part of any camera is the 12 inches behind it! Of course, the inference from that is that it's the knowledge in the photographer's head that is critical to the process, not the camera, which is simply a tool! Asking which camera brand is kind of like asking a pilot if he flies Boeing or Airbus, or a professional driver whether he is a Holden or a Ford man. The skills required are the exactly the same, it's just that some of the buttons and levers may be arranged in an alternate pattern and there is a different badge on the front.
I may have been using Canon professionally now for over 25 years, but that doesn't mean I couldn't capture exactly the same work with an equivalent Nikon system, or indeed an Olympus, Fuji or Sony mirrorless camera! It just means I'm not all that keen on throwing away the money I've invested in changing for changes sake! Both systems have their own merits and whilst there have been times when I have considered switching allegiance to Nikon, my patience has always been rewarded by Canon's newest innovative offering. Much more relevant than the brand of a camera these days is what software will be used to process the imagery as that can, and undoubtedly will, make much more difference to the final presented image!
If I am being 100% honest, though, there is a question that couples should really be asking about camera brands, but it isn't "Canon or Nikon?" it is "Why don't you use Leica?" but then that's a whole other story...