Low-Cost Wedding Photography and Abiding in the Vine

Wedding photographers are an interesting lot. They have a tough assignment. I’m wondering if the “herding cats” expression started with these brave folks.

Actually, one time in my eclectic past, I agreed to shoot a wedding using a 4x5 press camera.  Bill Miller, a professional photographer and a friend of mine, had double-booked himself and needed someone to fill in. I borrowed one of his cameras. At least I looked official.

If the mother of the bride had known how little I knew about what I was doing, she would have expired on the spot. Fortunately for me, making it up as I go along was an ability I received in full measure at birth. The bride’s mother had no idea.

In any case, I know about the unique challenges of herding “both sets of parents along with just the maid of honor and the best man with the flower girl but not the ring bearer or the groom’s grandmother” (phew!) for a lovely shot.

This wedding was a long time ago. I think I charged two hundred dollars for my services. Three decades later, as the father of the bride, I was on the other end of this transaction. Suffice it to say, two hundred dollars barely covered the cost of the photographer’s private limousine. However, we were very happy with the pictures we got from my daughter Missy and her beau Jon’s wedding. In fact, the photographer threw in a free video—probably out of guilt for overcharging. His wife walked around the whole time the wedding was going on with a high-quality video camera resting on her shoulder. We were crazy about this video. I’d say we liked it more than the “stills,” but after paying so much for them, I just can’t bring myself to say this.

Several years ago, before feature-length movies were a click away from our Apple televisions, we rented videotapes from a local rental center. And somehow, in our haste of popping videotapes from our VCR into the storage boxes, we got our daughter’s wedding video in the plastic rental box and the rental video in our memorabilia drawer! Three days later, we got a call from a very nice couple who had curled up for the evening to watch one of their favorite shoot-‘em-up-nail-biting-helicopter-soaring adventure movies. You already know what happened, don’t you?

If you want to see the right movie, you’ve got to be sure you’re plugging the correct videotape into your VCR . . . or clicking “Purchase Now” on the right icon. You can stand there wishing you were seeing helicopters and nail-biting car chases, but you’ve got me in a tuxedo at First Presbyterian Church. I’m sorry.

Here’s the principle: If you want a certain result, you’re going to have to be plugged into the right source. Jesus called this truth “the vine and the branches.” “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must abide in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in me” (John 15:4).

Being a man, husband, and father who lives in such a way that your friends, wife, and family are actually blessed by your life is a very tall order. In fact, Jesus was quick to say that if we’re not connected to him, our “fruit” will be worthless and our “branch” will die. And dead branches are only good enough for a bonfire.

There is nothing very deep about this truth. Who doesn’t already know that if we’re not connecting ourselves to the right stuff, our disobedient lives will show it? “Garbage in, garbage out” is what computer programmers used to call it.

If, in the quietness of your own heart, you know that you’ve got a “fruit problem,” check what your branch is connected to. “Apart from me, you can do nothing,” Jesus said.

By the way, we didn’t charge that couple the full retail price for renting our daughter’s wedding video. Because they hadn’t actually ordered it, we gave them a small discount.

(BTW, I’ve taken some liberties. The photo above was taken at “that moment” in my granddaughter’s wedding on May 20, 2017. Clearly, the maid of honor was also the official cheerleader!)