Black Belt Ceremony

I have to confess that when I was asked to cover a client’s son’s Black Belt ceremony I may have expected some of the karate fighting I got to witness, but I had no idea what else (if anything would go on).

It was a very interesting experience.  The students who are vying for the belt must pass an oral examination involving demonstrating knowledge of the history of Karate, and of the specific style employed in the dojo, they also have to demonstrate the ability to perform specific moves when asked to do them in the native Japanese, they have to recreate imaginary fights (Kata) and finally demonstrate proficiency in a demonstration combat session.  It was great!

Relaxing before the examKarate-01


100% focusedKarate-03

All of the body’s strength,  focused by the mind in a clenched fistKarate-04

One of the more “intense” guys…Karate-05 Karate-06 Karate-07

…and yet none of the guys could hold a candle to this force of nature in terms of sheer icy determination:

Karate-09 Karate-10 Karate-11

you want intense?  Here’s intense!Karate-13

Sensei looks on…Karate-12

I was particularly drawn by the whole ceremony aspect of it…Karate-14 Karate-15 Karate-16 Karate-17 Karate-18 Karate-19 Karate-20

I hear these two are great friends!  Hey with friends like these…. LOLKarate-21

I hope you enjoyed the photos… it was a trip outside of my comfort zone, many lessons learned, one for all… it’s definitely fun to shoot something totally different every once in a while!

Hundreds of photos are in the proofs gallery

How are my Clients protected if I can’t shoot their Wedding?

Those of you familiar with me know that aside from doing my best to provide my clients with awesome photography (it says it right on the back of the business cards:  You, Looking Awesome) I am very aware of the need for a professional to go well beyond by ensuring that all risks where they are identifiable are handled in  the most professional and smooth manner possible.

In a previous blog post I addressed the question of How my Clients’ Images are kept safe.  If you haven’t read it I would certainly advise you do so.  In the future I will address other “catastrophes” and how I have implemented plans to deal with them.

Before I go any further… I want to point out that I realize many people are uncomfortable with even thinking about something like My not being able to shoot their wedding (due to illness, or worse) and I understand that.  But at the same time, having put a strong plan in place (and one that I continue to improve upon as time goes by) I am actually freed from having to worry about this… and my clients are too.

Ok, so … what happens if for whatever reason I can’t shoot your wedding?  Well for one you can rest assured that if this were to happen it would mean that I’m either too ill to physically stand up and think straight, or that I’ve suffered an incapacitating injury that makes it physically impossible for me to peform as expected, or worse yet that I am no longer among you.  In any of those cases, please spend a moment to have a warm thought for my wife and children.

The key point above is that I’m very aware of the demands of the job and while I can certainly come up with scenarios that would prompt most to not feel capable to “show up for work” … I will show up for work unless what I mentioned above has happened, and let’s leave that at that.

So…  what have I put in place to mitigate the “loss” to my clients in the event of my inability to shoot the wedding?  As with everything else there is no silver bullet… however I feel fairly comfortable with the plan I have in place:

  • I select second shooters whose skills I feel confident in.   While you can certainly expect me to bring along someone with limited experience on an engagement shoot, a family portrait session, or any other session where their presence isn’t really “required”, you will not see a rookie roaming your reception on your wedding day.  While they might not shoot exactly the same way I would, second shooters are familiar with my style and would most likely be able to provide you with photography you would be thrilled with.  Of course that would NOT leave you without a second shooter as I try to have a “bench” I can draw from should the need arise.  This would be the default solution if something were to happen to me during the event or immediately prior, where any thought of finding a replacement would be moot.
  • I am friends with a network of professional wedding and non wedding photographers many of whom shoot in a style similar to mine – I would be able to tap this network to help you quickly find a replacement photographer if that is your preference.  Note that the netowork is actually two networks… one local and one global… so even in the event of a destination wedding I should be able to quickly find an awesome photographer that could replace me should you approve of such.
  • I “charge” a set “fee” to myself against every wedding I shoot and set that money aside in a self-insurance fund.  The purpose of this money is to pay to have a higher-priced photographer come in and shoot your wedding if I can’t – having such a fund makes it so that if the situation were to arise I could truly recommend based on my perception of the other photographers’ work quality, rather than having to be significantly limited by a budget.  Of course this may not be an issue depending on the relationship I may have with the photographer
  • Finally as a member of the Professional Photographers of America Association I am covered by an indemnification trust that would cover many kinds of losses, including possibly restaging the wedding for the purpose of taking the photographs.  This one is clearly not a particularly appealing solution, but it is a final safety net in the event that nothing else worked.

If you read this and think of other things I could/should do to further contain this risk, please share it with me either via email or by commenting at the bottom.

If you find this useful and think you will benefit from what you read here, I would really appreciate it if you would add a link to my site from yours.
Please use the following html for the link:

Many Many Moments photography by Alessandro Di Sciascio <a href=”>South Florida Wedding Photographer</a>

if you add a link please send me a quick note at my email address so that I may thank you.