Friendly is as Friendly Does

Dionne and Will's David Walley's Hot Springs Resort Wedding Photo

I posted this photo on FB and it made someone a little angry, becasue when Vesta and I were shooting this wedding, apparently we got in her way and blocked her view. She sent me an FB messege and it wasn't very flattering. At first I thought about dashing off a blistering response, but I waited about fifteen minutes or so before responding and it's a good thing I did. I think so anyway.

Below, you can see what I wrote about the photo, her message, my response and our exchange. And below that you can see another exchange between me and my friend Stephanie about how I created this image.

Here are Dionne and Will, last Saturday, their wedding day, about a minute and a half after saying, “I do,” at David Walley’s Hot Springs Resort, which is a hop, skip and a jump from Genoa, Nevada. And, for those who don’t know, Genoa is a few miles south of Carson City.

Vesta and I had never been there before, because it’s a place where there is basically nothing to do but relax, sit in hot springs hot tubs and drink wine. Wait, wait, wait! What was that last part. Drink wine?

Yeah, you can drink wine while you’re doing nothing. And the place is gorgeous, really gorgeous. And the prices are pretty reasonable, but the weekends are usually booked well in advance, because all those folks from California go there.

Back to Dionne and Will. They had a spectacular wedding. Will, his groomsmen and Dionne’s bridesmaids were all in place, when Dionne arrived like Cinderella in her horse drawn carriage.

The sky was overcast, with dark clouds. Thunder boomed off in the distance. But Dionne in her stunning dress, dared Mother Nature to make it rain and Mommy Nature backed down. The only rain this day was coming from a few eyes in the audience, including Vesta’s.

Back to David Walley’s Hot Springs Resort. Wedding season’s gonna be over soon and guess who’s gonna be doing nothing but drinking wine up there on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the very near future? 

_____________ What Jackie had to Say.

I attended the wedding Saturday. I hope they requested that you were to stand in front of the guests and obstruct our view. If not please do not do that on future weddings. You and Vesta ruined the ceremony as far as I am concerned.

If I had been the officiant, I would have walked away saying "when the photo op is over I will be happy to finish this wedding ceremony." The photographer should always be discrete and unobtrusive during ceremony. Sorry but I thought your behavior was in poor taste.

_____________ My reply.

I’m sorry you feel that way, Jackie. I know we obstruct the guest’s view, but not all of the time. We do our very best to move aside as much as possible. But you have to understand, Dionne and Will payed us a lot of money to get the kind of photos they wanted. Sadly, if we were completely unobtrusive, we couldn’t have done our job.

However, I must admit, you are not the first to complain that we blocked your view. And like now, I always apologize.

Again, I know we block the guest’s view sometimes during the ceremony, especially when they’re putting on each other’s rings and again, I’m sorry we have to do that. I just don’t know any other way to get the shots the bride pays us for.

It’s funny how wedding photography has changed. Back in the days of film, which doesn’t seem all that long ago to me, a bride only expected a couple hundred photos. Now they want everything, every moment documented. So, we’ve become almost like paparazzi on wedding days. But if we didn’t, if we didn’t deliver the thousand to fifteen hundred photos brides these days all want, we’d be out of work.

I know it’s not much consolation, but I am very self conscious and I don’t like feeling exposed in front of everybody, especially when I’m behind the officiant, trying to get a shot of the bride and groom and her guests all in the same picture. I dread having to do that, but I do it.

Anyway, it’s late and I’m rambling, so I’ll close by saying I’m sorry one more time for having blocked your view.

_____________  Jackie's Response.

It's not just you! Nobody watches weddings any more. Everyone is trying to get great photos. I phones, I pads. I am in the wedding business in Reno and cannot believe things the guests do. Thanks for letting me vent.

_____________ And my reply.

I know what you mean, oftentimes we have to fight a bunch of guests with iPhones to get the shots we’re being paid for. Anyway, one more time, I’m sorry we blocked your view. I’ll try to move in and out of the aisle faster the next time.

Anyhow, it’s late and I’m awful tired of Photoshop right now, so I’m gonna call it a night. I sent you a friend request. If you accept it, feel free to vent anytime you want. I’m a writer and have gotten by share of bad reviews, so I’ve got pretty broad shoulders, venting wise.


Jackie and I are now friends. So there you have it, the value of being nice. I coulda sent a nasty message and made an enemy or a friendly one and made a new friend. Friends are always better.

_____________ My friend Stephanie's question about the above photo.

Nice pic, Ken. Do you ever Photoshop the bride and groom's one most formal photo? Just asking... Do you have the latest version of PShop?

_____________ And my reply.

Stephanie, we Photoshop a lot. For example, this photo is a composite of two different exposures. One for Dionne and Will, which I layered on a kind of a poppy, lighter image to brighten up the background.

Then, because Dionne had great hair, I painted out the shadows. And in the original photo there was a second post behind them, which was coming right out of Dionne’s head, so I photoshopped it out. And the remaining post was kind’ve ash-white and I felt like it detracted from those smiling faces, so I darkened it. I was going to remove it as well, but these were some of the posts holding up the wedding arch and I thought they’d notice if there were none.

And finally, I used an HDR program on the flowers, to give them a bit of a 3D effect. Not too much though, because even though I wanted the flowers to pop, I didn’t want them to steal the show from those smiles.

As for the version of Photoshop I use, I used to cringe whenever Adobe upgraded, because it was like an arrow to my wallet, but not anymore, we joined their creative cloud program, so for only ten bucks a month, Adobe automatically upgrades Lightroom and Photoshop on both our Macs whenever they upgrade.

Through all that, we try to make our images look like we didn’t do anything at all to them, like what we give our couples is what came straight out of the camera, but in reality, every single one of our photos is enhanced in Lightroom and an awful gosh darned lot of them get more work done in Photoshop.


So there you have it, my night last night on FB. Some people think I spend too much time there, but Vesta and I don't have a TV, so I think an hour or so talking to my FB friends isn't too bad. Besides, I used to write a lot of letters. I don't have to do that anymore. So FB is a good thing, for me, at least.

Ken Douglas Wedding and Portrait Photography, 1250 Ralston Street, Reno, NV 89503 
Phone: 775 393-9529