Over the years, I've heard so many poignant stories from photographers about how important their images became after the loss of a loved one they photographed at an event previously, usually a wedding. However, nothing has touched my heart like the images New Hampshire photographer; Jay Philbrick shared the other day in the Facebook Wedding Photographers forum.
Jay posted the image above, with the following comment:
"First Kiss - Most difficult wedding we've ever photographed. Bride was very ill, wanted to stand for the ceremony but was unable to. She passed away two weeks later. These are some of the most important images we've created."
The advantage of social media is sharing images and ideas, but a sidebar benefit is being able to pick up the phone and just talk. Well, that's what I did. I called Jay after seeing the image above, and we had a great conversation. I made the request for a few more images to share in order to make a point about the importance of never compromising on your skill set.
The definition of a professional photographer is centered around your responsibility to your clients. You owe them your very best images and in turn, you need the skill set to be able to deliver.
Think about this particular wedding. There was no room for error. No excuse to the couple would make up for lost images or memories. Jay had one chance to get the images they were expecting.
There are too many photographers today, especially in the wedding category, who think capturing a wedding is just a matter of pointing their camera in the right direction and clicking the shutter. Well, there are no shortcuts to quality. There's no room to compromise on the responsibility you have to your clients and their families. Last on the list, if you call yourself a professional, then there are no excuses for not having the skill set required to meet a client's mindset.
A big thanks to Jay for not only sharing more images but taking the time to talk about his work and the industry. If you'd like to see more of Jay's work visit his website. You'll find an artist focused on so much more than just great photography. He knows how to focus on his clients!
I was immediately overwhelmed by the story and at the prospect of covering such an emotional event where there was no room for mistakes or do-overs. While sad, in retrospect the wedding, it was also very uplifting. The incredible courage and love displayed was something I'll never forget.
This brave woman was able to marry the man she had always loved. She passed away two weeks later.