Dear Wedding Guest

Dear Wedding Guest,

Please, please stop thinking I’m trying to catch you at your worst, most unflattering moment. I promise I’m only paid to be here to catch everyone at their best, happiest, most relaxed – and besides, you look awesome today, decked out in the dusted off three-piece or long-sought summer dress – what better time is there to be caught on camera? 80% of the time you run up to me and say ‘Oh! That photo of me must be *so* awful!’ I was actually shooting past you – your vague outline the blurred bokeh to a capture that sees beyond, to where someone is stood, relaxed, chatting. The other 20% of the time I was focussed on you – and you looked so happy, so unashamedly yourself, that I couldn’t resist; trust me, you’ll come to love the photo.

Please forgive me all the times I nudge you, reversing into you when I’m focussed on getting a shot – I didn’t mean to spill your drink, but this dance floor is so small. Please stop flinging your own camera in my face and announcing that there ‘has to be a shot of the photographer’ – there really doesn’t, I’m a sweaty, focussed mess and besides, this happens at least once a week. I’ll forgive you for each of the drunken embraces, the too-close forehead kisses that I have to laugh off as someone who’s not altogether comfortable with being touched by strangers, if you *please*, please stop shouting ‘Oi! You! Over here!’ at me. It’s 11pm, I haven’t had a meaningful conversation in a week, left the house nineteen hours ago and trust me, I’ve seen you, but I already have forty photos of you wrapping your arms round various other guests and I’m focussing on someone I’ve seen much less of today, someone who’s finally found their own on the dancefloor after being shy all day.

Please stop trying to guess how much my camera cost. Sure, it was a small fortune, but if you were a lorry driver I wouldn’t stand next to your Eddie Stobart and brashly try to determine how much it set you back. Please quit saying ‘it’s all in the camera now, anyway’ – years of practise, training and a genuine eye for this is the reason I’m here, not merely the fact I launched my savings into Canon’s pocket. Equally, ‘I bet my iphone takes better photos’ doesn’t really leave me inclined to stand there listening to you any longer.

Please don’t draw attention to me if I’m creeping round the middle of the room – these are the moments you’ll love, the candid glances, the wide-laughter, the moments of still in the chaos. Please just leave me be, let me do my job, and when it gets to almost-midnight and I’m finally stashing my camera away ready to drive exhausted through the night to the long-awaited comfort of my own bed, please, please don’t harass me for ‘just one more’ – trust me, there are plenty.

I love you guys – I love capturing your character, your loves, yourselves – if you’ll let me.

With thanks,

A Very Sleepy L x