What My Wedding Photography and Jimi Hendrix Have in Common

Jimi Hendrix. I love rocking out to some Jimi and often blast out some Hendrix on the way to shoot a wedding. The Fender Stratocaster guitar Hendrix set on fire with lighter fluid at the end of his March 1967 show at the Finsbury Astoria in London is now for sale. It’s expected to get more than $1million at auction. I think the bidding will actually start around there.

Anyway, the Hendrix guitar revived some thoughts I had a while back about what Jimi’s guitar playing and my wedding photography have in common. Just as there were better guitarists and musicians around than Hendrix, there are a hell of a lot of photographers around who are technically better than me. They know how to work out things like hyperfocal distance in their heads, know the ‘zone system’ inside and out and other techy stuff like that. But as far as being great wedding photographers go, they just don’t make the cut.

In the music world they are like session musicians that can be plonked down with some sheet music and a band and play the songs perfectly – but without that something special that makes the performance truly magical.

Hendrix loved to play and did whatever was required to get the performance that was required. He’d play behind his head, with his teeth – set the guitar on fire. Same when I’m shooting a wedding. I’ll do whatever is required. I haven’t needed to light up a camera yet but I have been soaked to the waist in the ocean by a rogue wave (at most beach weddings I end up wet to the knees with soaking trousers and boots full of water), rock climbed, hung out of moving cars, used groomsmen as improvised reflectors and gone the extra mile hundreds of times.

The session muso will never be a Hendrix. Never be a superstar. The rockstar difference is passion. I don’t know if I am a rockstar wedding photographer, but I love it.