In Theaters, Literally

The amount of times I’ve been to a theater can still be counted on fingers and toes. Weird that I’m a film student, isn’t it?

The Cameo in St. Helena is particularly special; I’ve watched my own films play on the screen and my cousin got married there. Guess who got the privilege in photographing the event? This is not the first wedding I’ve ever done but it’s definitely the one with the most involvement.


It started with the movie posters a few months before the event. There were seven total but only four made it to the Cameo for display. Movie PostersA couple days before the big day, I got to stay at my cousin’s house. We had never hung out before. In fact, his wife knew we were related before he did! The day after, we all made the long drive up to Napa. I spent that night with the Bride’s family and friends. Hanging out with both sides of the family made me more comfortable in taking their pictures. The actual event was a lot of fun!

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Here are some tips that helped me keep sane throughout the process.

Take note:

  • Have alternatives for each piece of equipment. It doesn’t matter if you don’t use it, its better to be prepared than ill prepared. Also, keep a list of all the equipment you are using to make sure you don’t lose any of it.
  • Don’t expect lighting conditions to be ideal. Do a pre-wedding scout to determine what kind of lighting you will be working with. If you are unfamiliar with the conditions, do test shots with friends under similar conditions.
  • Have a buddy! If at all possible – hire someone to go with you!
    During this particular project, the videographer and I worked together to get a lot of the shots. This is not recommended because both services should provide unique visions into the wedding and not the same one.
  • Get a list of the shots needed along with the program and plans for the wedding. Use these to make yourself a schedule before the wedding.
  • Become friends with the participants in the wedding.


I’ve since been asked to do three other weddings. Two of them were politely turned down. Honestly, that kind of photography still scares me. Around the age of ten, I attended a different cousin’s wedding. After the event, my aunt was pretty upset when she explained how the wedding pictures had to be retaken because the photographer’s images hadn’t turned out. I’ve been paranoid ever since. No one wants to be that one person who ruined the memory. There is always a chance that might be me.

Ewwk, what an awkward ending!


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