My first opportunity as a wedding photographer was with the Hornblower in 2000. At the time, I thought I was ready. The bride was stunning; the sky was deep blue and filled with puffy clouds. The cool air from the sea kissed my skin. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day. Excited to build my business, I pulled out my camera and started shooting. After taking a few images, I looked down at my viewfinder only to discover all of my photographs were underexposed (dark). The colors looked dull, and the sky was white. I couldn’t figure out what it happened. What my eyes saw, was not what my camera captured. On the day of the wedding I realized I was way in over my head!!
Yacht weddings are quite different from church weddings. Because the ceremony is on a moving vessel, lighting constantly changes. To add to this, the reflection off the water, the reflection coming from the white yacht, and the intensity of the sun tricks a camera into thinking there is too much light. My camera made an over compensation on the photos by making them dark and dull. That night I downloaded the photos onto my computer to see what I had taken, and I was shocked. I spent the next three weeks trying to salvage the photos from my first wedding. What I learned from that experience was being a photographer meant more than pushing a button on an expensive camera. Being a photographer meant one had to know how to use their camera, and one had to learn how to master light.
For the brides to be who are considering a wedding at sea, yacht weddings are much shorter than other weddings. They are usually four to five hours. And in that time, all the formalities of a wedding must take place. Hiring a photographer who is recommended at the venue your wedding is held is invaluable. As a preferred vendor, I understand timelines set fourth by the venue. I am also familiar with the layout of the yachts. And most importantly, experience counts! I have photographed weddings on every Hornblower yacht in Newport Beach, Marina Del Rey and Long Beach. And I can attest, no wedding is ever the same. The tide, time of day, and the weather (overcast days, the wind, haze) can play a pivotal role on how your images turn out. Although I cannot control Mother Nature, I’ve learned to work with her to make the best possible images. Be sure you do your homework by meeting with your photographer and visiting their website. Ask to see samples of their work at the venue or yacht you’re getting married on. Lastly, don’t ask your family member or friend to photograph your special day. Allow them to be a guest and let them enjoy their day with you. Your wedding day is one of the most important moments of your life. Make sure you hire an experienced professional!