I forced a smile through my teeth and told her it was okay.
No really. It'll be fine. As I frantically doused my favorite pair of dress pants with a rag soaked in soda water, I told the waitress I had done worse. My second day at waiting tables I spilled piping hot coffee onto a woman's lap. Hearing this seemed to ease her mind a bit. I mean, the longer I thought about it the red wine on my pants didn't scald me like hot coffee and it might leave a stain, but at least it didn't get on my camera. The camera that was sitting just inches away from the glass of wine that that I was now wearing. The camera that I got a loan for, along with my first lens and my first imac computer. The camera that got me through photography school and the first two years of business as a wedding photographer. Portrait photographer. Food photographer.
It was at that moment that I realized, wow, I'm doing what I want to be doing. It's real. I'm getting paid. I'm traveling. And It all feels so good, so right. Who would of thought that having wine spilled on me at a wedding reception that I was shooting would put it all into perspective? But it did. I mean, yesterday the UPS guy delivered my new camera bag. A bag that I've wanted for at least a year now, but couldn't afford or justify. And in a couple months I plan on purchasing a new camera. All decisions that are signs of a growing business. Putting money and energy back into something that can only get better from here.
And as I sat there at the end of an exhausting wedding day and cleaned wine from my clothes, a part of me thought, as I always do at some point during a wedding, "why do I do this?" By the end of the night I usually have a headache, my hand is cramping from holding my camera 12 hours straight, my feet ache, I've usually skipped a meal, and the mental stress has my hair nearly falling out. It's hard work. But it's worth it. It's worth every second. The emotions expressed that day are priceless. The beautiful image opportunities are endless. The fact that every wedding is different is an exciting challenge. And the love expressed between that new man and wife? It leaves me (sometimes) crying and longing to be swept away into some girly fairly tale. Sappy, but so true.
I love what I do and who I am becoming. I love to look back on the growth of me as a photographer and say,...wow. And I'm not even close to where I want to be yet. But a little wine's not going to get in the way. I'm just glad I was there that night to be a part of that couple's life, and future. Stain, or no stain.