It's a hot day in 2013 - This is Marisa and Matt, a wonderful couple I had the honor of capturing, but there lies a deeper personal story for me in these images, I would like to be transparent and explain and maybe give hope to any others reading.
No wedding photographer can claim to be a true professional until something strikes so hard during a job, like... a broken camera, a tragedy in the family while shooting, sickness, anything of the sort and they still make it through without missing a beat.... That's a professional - I have had all those things happen. But this one occasion It was sickness - I didn't tell the bride and groom at the time of shooting but told them years later. I woke up with a 102 degree fever and throwing up. Now mind you the day was set to be 98 degrees and humid like no other. So I started my day feeling like death and decided I could make it with lots of water and a good companion by my side.
I started the day like any thing else and it was a struggle but it went ok , now heres the part no one knows till now and I am comfy enough to say it publicly. It was also the weekend I left home without giving my wife of 9 years a kiss ( like I always did when leaving for the weekend) , I found out the day before she wanted to leave me for .. (a non photographer of course, lol) and it all stemmed from me working to much and never getting a weekend with her for years and years. I blamed my self employment. That day, I left to do my job. I had a lot of time to think, but to drive the nail deeper I was capturing two people fresh in love. Neither I nor my wife had fallen out of love.., we just hadn't communicated well about the real issues, I wanted to make the most money for the family and she needed me to be "not working so much" - I spent countless hours in my office during the week , I did not have set hours, I stayed till it was done. I traveled for weekends at a time to anywhere the jobs required.
Wedding photography and photography in general is a cruel and unusual beast. I have done hundreds of weddings. They are unforgiving to the new shooter and possibly worse to the old pros. But! From the work that is posted above, and in the condition I was in physically and mentally in, I proved to myself I am a machine. This was some of my favorite wedding work I ever did. I know I am worthy of the title Professional without any doubts. But was I a professional husband and father? Thats does not mean only to provide food and shelter, I needed to provide more of my time.....
But the good news is, I learned from that experience of almost loosing my best friend, wife, possibly daughter. I adjusted. Since 2013 I am out of my office at a set time just like everyone else with a regular job .... No work related things are on my cell phone (facebook, email), I actually leave my phone in my office when I leave and give my family 100% of my attention. I limit my weddings to 14-18 per year and that led me to pursue other forms of paid photography work that free up some of my weekends, I signed onto an agency where I have full creative and logistic control, they just sell my work for me while I sleep. My wife heeded my change and stuck in there with me , we bonded over long talks on the porch with wine and video games ( thank you blizzard entertainment, diablo 3 to be exact) and it's been better then ever. It was a thing that needed to happen. We are currently going on 13 years and people who know us, most will honestly admit that they envy our relationship. I hope the best to all and pray for every couple that see us and that I photograph, That they all will someday find that perfect balance like I had to.
*brandon shane warren , wedding photographer , west virginia , brandon s. warren , calvert county, maryland , virginia , martinsburg , weddings , harpers ferry