First Assignment and other assignments following. Boy I am a professional !!

I have a nephew who will be married. Low budget. Little secret: I was not paid for the job. Do you see everybody share the same path? It is soooo typical. New kid on the block stepping up their first ladder through wedding photography job. You read that almost everyday in photo.net’s forum.

But apart from being not paid, do you know the positive? I had a very good reason to buy new gears !! Hurray !!! My shopping list:

  • Nikon F80 (I don’t like the D version with date imprint – it looks unprofessional everytime I see prints with date on them, but cannot afford the S version with exposure data imprint between frames, though that is VERY cool).
  • Tamron 70-300 4-5.6 zoom. I know… I know… it is not the best lens in that zoom range. In everyway it is a dog lens. At least that’s what they say in the internet. ‘Nuff said. Although I find it acceptable for my usage… okay… okay… ’nuff said.
  • Hold your breath for the next item : Metz flash model 70MZ5. Yes the hammer head style flash unit. It was the top of the line model from Metz Mecablitz line up. Since it is a third party brand so I bought also the SCA 3402, the flash adapter for Nikon to enable exploring the TTL capabillity of the Nikon body. All I can say is that this is an incredible flash. Totally awesome. Never, never dissapoint me in terms of exposure. Spot on. Nailed it. Period. The only drawback for this flash is the weight and the battery that still uses NiCd. The memory effect (not that I know scientifically what it does to my battery) worries me everytime I plug the charger to the wall.

I am ready for action.

The traditional wedding ceremony consists of several rituals for two full days. As usual the peak is at the reception with a lot of guests coming in and myself (yes, only me, the ‘professional’ photographer being the only photographer in those whole events). It is not that I do not have a thought of several ‘what ifs’ : what if I could not nail the focus, what if my big Metz flash decides to give a little extra light or lazily throw too little light to the subject, what if after the processing all films comes white and nothing exposed to it, what if my F80 failed, what if I suddenly getting sick? But like nothing concerned me, I kept going shooting.

I equipped myself with a bunch of film. Lots of them. A cheap film. It is very seldom mentioned in the internet but very popular amongst low budget wedding photographer in my country. The film called Kodak ProImage 100. I cannot say it is the best film for people, since I also do not have a chance and a luxury to use other famous film like the expensive NPS and NPH. I think all the people in the internet praise these professional film. That’s nothing that I can debate nor I am willing to. To my experience the Kodak ProImage 100 delivers what it suppose to do: an acceptable pictures. Even printed to 10×12.

The outcome of my first ‘assignment’ is a mix. I have some pictures that are really really really not acceptable. And some good ones that I can give to the newly weds as a present (I was not paid for the job, remember?). Overall I am happy I can finish the job, although my technical and my esthetic capability is not something I can brag about, obviously.

This one job to be followed by another job. This time paid job. And then by another job. And another job. And then when the digital era comes, everybody edvertise himself (or herself) for being the professional photographer ready for action. And they come with cheaper label on it. Suddenly I looked at them as if I looked into myself when I started. Sometimes I met with a young wedding photographer with their state of the art digital body and big zoom lens, but what break my heart is the other times I met with photographer who brought old beaten FM’s Nikon with lens with the brand I do not recognize. Usually the latter do this for a living. They are already wedding photographers even before the digital attacks. The former do that for fun. Just like myself. So I stop the assignment jobs. Never advertise myself again. I still have the passion of photographing wedding. But I mean, I have other jobs that can buy me good stuff from Nikon and Metz. Not that I am rich. But there are people who needs more than I do.

I quit photographing wedding. I feel it is not fair to compete with the guys making their ends meet from it. I feel like I bite their lunch meanwhile I still have my own. Often I was even surprised how much money they charge to their customer. I charge double or triple. For fun.

I quit.

I came back to where I belong. Photographing my kid.

PS: Image above was made using Nikon F80 with Flash Metz 70MZ-5. Lens was Nikkor 50 f1.4 AF-D. Film was Kodak ProImage 100.

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