Every now and again a bride will ask the question of what happens if their is a disaster with the photographer. What if gear gets broken or I get hit by a bus? It’s a great question.
This has come to mind because today just such an event has occurred. Not with me though – another wedding photographer. I’m just happy to be part of the solution. In a couple of hours time I’ll be handing over some gear to get someone out of a pickle. Not renting it. Not expecting anything in return. Just a loan. Ten years ago this would have been unlikely to happen.
Years ago wedding photographers would protect their patch with the ferocity of drug dealers. They wouldn’t help others, wouldn’t share and were less than friendly. Sadly, there are still many photographers out there like that but the new breed of wedding photographers are different. We like each other, we help each other, we look out for each other, we hang out together and we help each other to be better photographers. It’s this network of other wedding photographers who are “what happens” if disaster strikes.
When I attend a wedding, I not only have my gear I am am shooting with, I have three sets of backup gear (yes, three). I have about 3 times as much volume in memory cards as I expect I will need. I have three times as many batteries as I expect I will need. But sometimes, stuff happens. Over the years, while photographing a wedding, I’ve had a camera break, smashed a lens, had two flash units fail at the same time, batteries haven’t held charge and back in the days of film, had a groomsman drop a bag of film in Sydney Harbour (fortunately, unexposed). I’ve also been food poisoned (shot the wedding with the help of drugs) and my wife gave birth just before I shot a wedding. But that’s nothing compared to the stories I could tell about other photographers.
Even the best laid backup plans can get overwhelmed and that’s when the magic happens. Within a couple of phone calls, wheels are set in motion and a network of great photographers is springing into action. Disaster averted.
And the great part. Almost all the time the bride never, ever gets to know anything occurred.