i spy

… a good idea.
The fun part about being a wedding photographer’s assistant is you are a fly on the wall most of the day. Not saying much but observing everything. And as a fan of all things weddings, it is handy! So, when I spot a good idea, a nice touch, or something magical, you know I am going to share.
This weekend’s wedding was a little different – the groom is in the military (first for me!) and the ceremony was at the Stadacona (CFB Halifax – Canada’s east coast navy base). What’s not to love about men (and women) in Uniform? The couple were adorable and it was fun to see some military traditions added to the day to make everything extra special. My favourite being the Military Sword Arch (Saber arch).
What’s that? White gloves are required for all saber or sword bearers, who are normally officers or NCOs. Military guests usually have the option to attend the wedding in uniform or appropriate civilian attire, but none may carry a saber or sword unless attired in a formal dress uniform. Immediately after the marriage ceremony is officiated, the saber team positions itself in formation just outside the doorway, with typically six or eight saber bearers taking part. The guests of the wedding are afforded the opportunity to assemble outside to view the event before it begins. On the command, the saber team raises their sabers into a high arch, with tips nearly touching and the blades facing up and away from the bride and groom. As the newly married couple exits the building, the senior usher announces, “Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my honor to present to you (Rank) and Mr/s. (insert name)” This is modified when both parties are in the military. The bride and groom proceed into the arch, and as the couple passes through, the last two saber bearers usually lower the sabers in front of the couple, detaining them momentarily. Before releasing the couple, the saber bearer to the couple’s left gives the bride a gentle swat on her backside with his saber, announcing “Welcome to the (insert branch) Ma’am!” If the bride is in the military, this step is omitted. After the couple leaves the arch, the saber team recovers on command and dissolves formation.Only the bride and groom pass under the arch. It is also traditional at the wedding reception for the wedding cake to be cut with a saber or sword.Like this:military-sword-arch
Photo: Military Sword Arch
So the Sword Arch happened, as did the cake cutting with the sword.
There was a moment during the reception when I was half-expecting / very much hoping one of the dressed officers would break out into the Top Gun : You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling karaoke moment … but sadly, it did not happen. Next time?IMG_1104 IMG_1102
Two photos above: Taken with my spyPhone (aka iPhone): Lord Nelson Hotel, Halifax, Nova Scotia
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how many hats can a self-employed gal wear?

Things are getting serious here… I ordered a tripod. Not an expensive one, just one to help with jitters.

Working at home can wear on you at times and minimal interaction with people, can make a self-employed gal lonesome. So this summer, I mixed things up and moonlighted as a photo assistant for the super-talented Ms. Shannon George. Shannon is an associate with Alex MacAulay, and I was thrilled to be a fly-on-the-wall at five beautiful Nova Scotia weddings.

From a university chapel with a reception at a barn by the ocean…

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To Saint Mary’s Basilica with a reception at the Prince George…

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To a vineyard in the valley…

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To a University faculty club (no photo available)

And finishing off at cottages by the ocean…

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It was a refreshing wake-up call, showing me how nice it is to step away from the computer and try something new. And I can now add a new title to my non-existent business card:

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(Still working on my title)

With this being said, I have no intention to be a photographer, but I would love to learn more about assisting and photo styling … and that’s what I plan to do!

Here are great posts I found online by one of my favourite bloggers, Emily Henderson:

How to become a prop stylist and this A day in the life of a stylist

As for me, my responsibilities as an assistant included (but not limited to) keeping on schedule, carrying and setting up gear, holding lights, standing in as the “sun” effect, modelling for test-shots, helping Shannon scout locations, assisting with the bounce lightening and being a blubbering-fool when it came time for speeches.

Guys… after a summer of weddings, I must say I grew quite fond of my new-found career! I guess a perk to being self-employed is never requiring an official one-line title under my name. xomeg

All wedding photos by Shannon George, copyright of Alex Macaulay