That mythical creature known as The Friendly Dragon
So what is that mythical creature known as The Friendly Dragon? First I’ll start with the origins, which also involves knowing where I started life and my upbringing; so here goes.
I started life as an Englishman and grew up in middle England in a town called Nuneaton or an area commonly referred to as the Midlands. This was my mom’s side of the family as my Dad’s side hales from Essex or North East London. As is typical in England different parts of the country have different nicknames for people, actions, and objects. So “The Friendly Dragon” is a term commonly referred to describe ones mother in-law or as we say in wedding photography circles the mother of the bride i.e. MOB.
So why is this person important? Well they can make or break your wedding shoot. Lets not forget your customer is the Bride and Groom and by making their guests happy can affect their happiness with you. As a parent I can relate to the fact that we are always going to protect and look out for our children. So when its our child’s wedding being photographed and a couple of thousand dollars is being spent on that service, said parent can be very protective and stuck on you like glue.
My own experiences have been parents who are there to party and completely leave you alone and then the complete opposite and hover. My worst was a Mom who virtually stayed by my side for every major shot (group formals, ring shot, first kiss, cake cutting, first dance, introductions, etc….) and looked at the screen on the back of my camera giving either suggestions or her approval. Oh how I had wished this wedding were shot on film…..!!! What I’ve learned over the years is just to be extremely patient and understand that this type of parent is doing nothing more than looking out for their child.
How I handled this particular mom was to explain how each image was taken, my work flow after the shoot, why I took it that way and went as far as to show and explain histograms and white balance (don’t worry, I’ll have a blog post on this stuff to). Basically she got bored but more importantly I’d built up enough trust with her that I knew what I was doing that she left me alone for the most part. Through out the rest of the wedding I would cast a welcoming glance her way for approval and that worked wonders.
As a whole it pays to have the patience of a saint when shooting weddings and to also understand where the other persons intentions are coming from. That way the potentially flame spitting dragon of mythical tales can become The Friendly Dragon in the room.