5 Things I Learned from Working with Sony Artisans Amber & Garrette Baird
Recently I helped assist with a wedding shot by Amber and Garrette Baird of Eyenamics. Amber & Garrette have shot weddings for 15 years, they are Sony Artisans and most importantly kind, creative friends with great hearts. Here are 5 things I have learned:
1 - Let the Couple Speak and Camera Record
I'm typically one to dismiss gear. There are so much hype and pointless debates about it online. My thought has always been that we should invest our time and energy into the hard things like having the vulnerability and presence for a subject to feel comfortable. Or, putting the work into seeing the real story. Amber and Garrette made me put a lot more merit into the value of your gear. Yes, they have the top of the line equipment, but it wasn't about that. It was about being professional & documenting their couples wedding day as best as possible. Letting the couple speak and the camera record.
It wasn't about having a 70-200m G-Master lens it was about making the couple feel authentic and safe during their first look or the best man during the toasts.
It wasn't about having the newest camera body it was about using autofocus to capture the bride walk down the aisle with her mother because her father had passed away. A moment that will never happen again.
It was about having great tripods to set up and document the speeches without any shake quickly.
It is beautiful gear but more importantly, its a tool — a means to an end of capturing moments honestly. Amber and Garrett have great tools which only adds to their storytelling skillset.
2 - There is No Such Thing as an Over Night Success
Near the end of the wedding, Amber was talking about some of her current clientele. I couldn't help but notice some thoughts from my super-productive lizard brain pop up:
"Oh my gosh, why are you awful?"You will never be there?"You stink"
A couple of seconds later, my more compassionate part of my brain spoke up.
"There's more to this."
First off, thank you, compassionate brain.
Second of all, dear lizard brain: Amber and Garrette have been filming weddings for over 15 years. They have made sacrifices. They have been where you are - probably in situations just as tough. They have treated people right and made the most of where they are. Even where they are now is no walk in the park. With higher-end clientele comes more expectations and responsibilities.
It's easy to look at where they and want to google a clickbaity title like "How to Make $100,000 Filming Weddings - IN ONE YEAR!?!". Then one week later you are disappointed because your bank account has not moved. Hearing the jobs that they have done in the past affirms that they were once in my shoes. It's not an easy walk to where they are now instead months of self-doubt and making ends meet. It took building a strong base of trust with people and then repeating that again and again. There's no such thing as an overnight success.
3 - What Professionalism Looks Like
Psychic powers. Yep, I am pretty positive I found out what they do at those Sony events. They transmit superpowers like the "Psychic Ability Mark 4". I swear Amber and Garrette have psychic abilities. They were like SEAL's executing a mission. There was no guessing who did what while they seamlessly captured these once in a lifetime moments. Or maybe it was working together for thousands of hours? That's one-way professionalism looks.
Another way is by showing up and doing your job even if you don't feel like it. Only three days before the wedding, Amber had undergone breast cancer surgery. You could physically see an implanted tube around her collarbone headed up her neck intended to deliver chemo to cancer. It did not look comfy. She was prescribed not to lift anything above 5lbs, a role I gladly filled. Nonetheless, she showed up and had a great attitude. She was a pro.
4 - Put Gaffer tape on Your Tripods.
Garrette looks over to me as we reload on the gear in the corner of the reception hall:
Garrette: Pro Tip. Put gaffer tape around one of your tripod legs it will save you.
Me: [Thinks to self] Why didn't I think of that? That's brilliant!
It's such a simple and useful hack. This past weekend the toasts were starting earlier than expected (as usual), but luckily I had my gaffer tape on hand to set up my lavalier on a mic stand. Typically, I would have to rummage through my tripod bag to find the roll. It can save you missing and crucial moments. Always be ready. As Garrette says, "put some gaffer tape on your tripods."
5 - Just be Steady
While filming a lot of the wedding, Amber and Garrette just stayed steady. They picked their shot and stayed with it, allowing the action to move through the frame. Often I run into the problem of fidgeting with my focal length, aperture, or perspective to get that unique shot. In my head, I feel like a shot is golden. But come editing time I am grumbling at myself because my footage is too short or shaky. I learned to take a breath and hold the shot. Just be Steady.
The Mavic Pro 2 is a Bad Ass - As we finished up the portrait session, a storm blew in. To Garrette that meant it was time to test the wind capabilities of the Mavic Pro 2. The Mavic passed with flying colors, and Garrette was stoked.
Videography Yoga is a Thing - Sometimes you have to lay in the middle of a golf course or sit cross-legged to get a shot. For those who want to know Garrette's videography yoga secrets you can download "Yoga by Garrette" here... just kidding!
About the author: My name is Aaron Pea. I am a wedding filmmaker based out of Southern Indiana filming destination and Midwestern weddings. My business name is Journey Home Films. Our goal is to tell honest stories about wholehearted couples.