Friday, November 13, 2009

Photographers get sick too

*Note: All photos in this post were taken by Robb Duncan.*

You know the feeling. After a restless night of sleep you wake up and every inch of you hurts. Even your eyelashes. You don't move in your bed as you assess how big the truck was that your body is telling you you've been run over by. And if you're really lucky, your stomach starts to churn, you get all hot, you sweat, then you have to bolt to the bathroom because last night's dinner is on it's way up.

I woke up a couple of Saturday's ago and this is exactly how I felt. I had gastro, pure and simple. I'll spare you the details (gastro has got to be the most unglamourous illness in the world!) but I was very very ill.

And in a few hours I had to shoot a wedding.

I spent about an hour trying to convince myself I was fine in between vomiting and feeling very woozy. Amba didn't even try to pretend. "You look like crap," he offered. "I'll be fine," I muttered with my head over a bucket. I'm sure he said something else very sympathetic but I didn't hear him because I was doing the gastro boogie again.

So I had to make the decision to bring in another photographer to shoot Erin and Trevor's wedding. This.was.devastating. I pride myself on my care for my couples, so having to swap photographers hurt. But I had no other choice.

I got onto the phone to Robb Duncan with my fingers crossed that he was free. Luckily he was, and agreed to come and shoot Erin and Trevor's wedding for me. He drove down (managed to get a flat tyre on the way) and was there to capture Erin and Trevor tying the knot.

I went back to bed to continue dying for the next two days.

Obviously having to swap photographers at last minute was not the plan. But like all good plans, they don't always work out. No amount of anything in the world would have stopped me getting sick. I couldn't predict it and I couldn't do anything about it. But swapping photographers doesn't mean the worst for a wedding day.

Erin and Trevor took it all in their stride (thanks guys!). Their day was beautiful, so I'm told, and the photos are still beautiful (check them out, mighty fine).

So I want to warn brides that this could happen to you. Your photographer could fall ill on your wedding day and not be able to get there. It doesn't mean though that your wedding day still won't be perfect. If you're prepared that it could be a possibility, and if it actually happens, you'll be able to roll with it.

My advice for brides: Ask your photographer what will happen if they get sick. A good photographer will have a back up plan, a list of photographers they have pre-arranged to step in if the need arises. And those photographers have to be as good or better as the photographer you've hired. If they aren't demand your money back. Also have an open mind and an open heart. Your original photographer will be feeling pretty miserable about having to pull out so don't feel like they've let you down. Remember that your wedding day is about getting married to the one you love, not your photographer. So with that in mind it shouldn't affect you too much.

My advice for photographers: Have a back up plan! No really, go and get one, now. Talk to your clients about the possibility. Reassure them that you've got it under control. Know you're limits. I was trying to convince myself that I was fine when I really wasn't. I had to know my limit, and pull out rather than battle on and potentially ruin a couple's day. You can't produce your best work if you're sick so don't be stubborn. You'll just let the couple down by producing less than awesome photos. They deserve a photographer at the top of their game. Remember shit happens, and it's all part of being a wedding photographer.

I've got to make special mention of Robb for coming to my aide. He didn't hesitate to help me. He didn't stress. He pulled out all stops to make sure Erin and Trevor has a great day. And on top of all that he produced killer photos. Robb, you're gold.

* Meaghan

If any of you brides or photographers have had an experience like this, I'd love to here about it. Just leave a comment.


Alicia Kennison November 13, 2009 at 8:54 PM  

Great post and fantastic photos from Robb. Congratulations to the couple also - I bet they are breathing a sigh of relief. :)

Charmaine Otto Photography November 13, 2009 at 9:25 PM  

Ohhh you poor dear! I'm so glad Robb was able to help you out. He did a mighty fine job too i might add!!

So true about having a back up plan...Sometimes things like this happen to the best of us, and can't be helped. I'm sure your B&G will be thrilled with Robbs amazing images :)

Kelly Stephens November 13, 2009 at 9:33 PM  

You poor thing :(

Lucky Robb came to the rescue - and what lovely images he has produced!

Justin Hill November 13, 2009 at 9:56 PM  

Talk about Super-Robb to the rescue! Awesome coverage as well. This is such a well written blog post, great info for both clients and photographers - I love your advice, thanks for sharing!

Christine Pobke November 13, 2009 at 10:30 PM  

wow, amazing story, thanks for sharing! you're right though, we do get sick too, and i never thought about a back up plan! :) good to know though - it's never too early to have a plan. and robb did an amazing job - these are stunning and the bride and groom look absolutely lovely! :)

Robb Duncan November 13, 2009 at 10:50 PM  

Thanks for the kind words Meaghan. It's not often in your photographic career that you have to make "the call" and I can only imagine what you were going through. It's a total nightmare for sure.

I have to admit, I was a little shocked at first, for sure. And I did feel a lot of sympathy for you as well, not just for the illness, but for the timing of it all and the stress it must have created for you, you poor thing!!

While I wasn't totally prepared to shoot that day, I did get plenty of notice, so it wasn't too hard to get in the groove of things. And lets face it, if you are going to get that kind of call on the morning of a wedding, its a real plus when its coming from someone you respect and admire as a photographer.

Apart from the flat tyre, and not knowing Erin and Trevor at all (who were both awesome btw and so casual about it all, thanks guys!!) the day came together beautifully.

And I was just happy to help.


Kat Forsyth November 13, 2009 at 11:30 PM  

Oh, man. This is something we all hope never happens! Thanks for writing about it.

Melissa Lawler November 14, 2009 at 12:54 AM  

I am so sorry you were sick. Robb did a great job for you, everything looks fabulous.
Thank you for blogging about this. I feel like it has calmed my fears a bit.

JOE sanfilippo November 14, 2009 at 3:11 AM  

stinks that you had to get sick, looked like an awesome wedding!

Shyann November 14, 2009 at 6:46 AM  

Aww... Great post! Glad you are feeling better! Robb you obviously rock!! ;)

Love the shots!

Whint November 14, 2009 at 2:22 PM  

golly gosh... I have had to reschedule before from being really sick.... not like you can re-schedule a wedding!! Glad it all worked out in the end and you are happy and healthy again!!

Kevin Ford November 14, 2009 at 4:54 PM  

The images turned out wonderfully, it is always a good idea to have a wonderful photographer backing you up and it seems that you had the right one on your calling list. Great job, great shots.

kirsten November 14, 2009 at 5:11 PM  

Hope you are well now. What a hard place to be in. Glad Rob was there for you and the bride and groom!

Fabulous photo's - looks like they had a wonderful day!

Lana November 14, 2009 at 5:30 PM  

You poor thing Meaghan and well done Robb - awesome shots. So glad it all worked out in the end!!

Phillip Allen November 15, 2009 at 7:20 AM  

The true test of how good a business is comes in how it provides for its clients when things go wrong. You've truly proven your professionalism Meaghan in ensuring you clients got all that they deserved, regardless of your incapacity, and Robb likewise really proved his professional mettle. Both are clearly excellent photographers but also now fully proven as having scaled the highest peaks of customer service.

claire November 16, 2009 at 4:20 PM  

Phew! Well done for getting through that!Lovely words and lovely comments :)

Story November 17, 2009 at 3:56 AM  

So glad to hear you're feeling better and what a relief to have had a back up plan! Your info was well recieved by me darling, there must be a plan B!

Mark November 17, 2009 at 8:58 PM  

Wow. Robb is my new hero!! great images, but I hope your feeling better. it pays to have good relationships...

Ben Godkin November 19, 2009 at 9:37 AM  

Thanks for sharing your experience. This is always a fear of mine, to get sick or hurt just before a wedding. It's good that I have plenty of friends that could step in for me on a moments notice. Good to hear things worked out for you. Hope you feel better.


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