By Samantha Barrett for the RSDSA blog.
I’m back! We’re officially less than a year away from my CRPS wedding. I’m taking you all on this journey with me.
Believe it or not, I have shy tendencies. While I used to be able to perform at Celtics games, competitions, and recitals, that was with a group. When the attention is on me, I get quite nervous. Plus, over the past few years, I’ve become more self-conscious. Because of my inability to constantly be active, I’ve gained weight. My teeth have shifted despite having braces and a retainer for over 4 years (thank you, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome). So, getting my pictures taken isn’t something that puts me at ease. My fiancé also gets very nervous at getting his pictures taken and has never had pictures professionally done. But, we needed a wedding photographer.
I went to a few bridal shows with my mom to check out different vendors. At one of the shows, there was this photographer that I just clicked with. Her practices are eco-friendly, she has a really great way of presenting the album, and she works with her husband. She was so sweet and just had the most breathtaking pictures. I kept her in mind as I checked out other vendors. No one seemed to click with me like she did. But, I selected two different photographers that I liked and had my fiancé look at their portfolios online. I was nervous he would select the person I wasn’t sure of, but he ended up picking the woman I really liked.
I set up a meeting with the photographer on a day where my fiancé and I could both go (our work schedules don’t mesh well right now). The photographer, named Amanda, decided she wanted to meet at Panera Bread so we could get some goodies while we chatted. I was so anxious when I got there that I was shaking and had to have a little extra help getting in. I had my list of questions in my planner and had anything I thought she would need with me.
As soon as we started talking, she completely put us both at ease. We had so much in common with her and her husband. She took an actual interest in the things we said. She embraced the fact that we are middle school sweethearts who were nicknamed “Beauty and the Beast.” She took so many notes and asked so many questions that she used to connect with us that if felt like we had known her for years. She was enthusiastic and just amazing.
Now, I know when I walk into a room people wonder why I walk with a cane. When Amanda asked if there was anything that she should know about us as a unit or separately, my fiancé and I knew we should at least address the whole thing. I started explaining CRPS/RSD to her (as well as EDS and POTS). I told her that I’m in and out of a wheelchair and that everything is unpredictable. My device of choice is a cane, but with the stress of a wedding, you never know when a flare will happen. Instead of being uneasy or pitying me, she asked what my limitations are on a good day and what they could be on a bad day. We made a plan for if I have to use my wheelchair, as I wanted to do my pictures in a local garden that isn’t the most handicap accessible. We also decided that I’ll have some sort of signal for if I can’t stand anymore and need to pause the pictures or if I need to sit. It was so nice to have someone that wasn’t afraid to address everything head on and to have someone that had so many ideas in case something happened. I also explained how the discoloration is something I get self-conscious of. We decided we would handle those pictures on a case by case basis, since I’m not trying to hide my CRPS/RSD from anyone.
We ended up deciding that we would go with her as our photographer. We are so excited to see what she does with us. We have engagement pictures set up for the fall, since I’m more of a flannel girl than a shorts and tank top girl. We will see where this goes.
Tips for Booking a Photographer
- Have a few photographers in mind. View their portfolios, the different packages they offer, and reviews from previous clients
- Go with a photographer that has images with the same feel as your wedding. If you’re having a very glamorous wedding, you may not want a photographer that exclusive does rustic weddings
- Set up an in person meeting so you can get a feel for how the photographer will be.
- Create a list of questions you may have for the photographer in general (you can look on WeddingWire or TheKnot to find example questions).
- Make sure you are comfortable with the photographer. If you aren’t, your pictures may not come out the best since there will be an awkward energy
- Don’t be afraid to address having CRPS/RSD- own it! Create a plan either on your own or with your photographer based on different pain scenarios or if you could change assistive devices. This could include an alternate list of shots you’ll want, a different place to have pictures taken, the quantity of posed pictures taken, and even the level of editing you would like done
- Have a list of things you want from the photographer. Whether you want certain pictures taken, have certain places you would like to be, or any other things that you want.
- Do a test run. Most photographers offer engagement photos as part of the package. That is the perfect way to test them out and is a great way for you to see how the photographer can adapt to changes you may need.