How to deal with embarrassing situations on a wedding day!

Written by: Henry Paul

Ok, I have a confession: I have a serious problem with trousers. I have ripped my trousers not once, not twice, but three times at weddings! But my problem doesn’t end there. I’ve also spilled coffee on my trousers right before a client meeting, had my fly undone during bridal portraits, and sat in spilled beer at the reception. Second only to guests attempting iPad photography, trouser troubles are my worst nightmare.

Almost every time something like this has happened I’ve been overcome by an immense feeling of humiliation.

Henry Paul Photography
So why is embarrassment so excruciating? Well, if we want to get all science-y, when someone is embarrassed in public, they often experience something called the “spotlight effect”. This is where we believe that everyone else is paying just as much attention to our awkward situation as we are. This explains why we often relive our most embarrassing memories as the main character, even if we only drew attention to ourselves  momentarily.
As creative professionals, I believe we’re prone to the spotlight effect more than others. But if we don’t learn how to cope with our embarrassments, it can have serious effects on our confidence, and ability to communicate with future clients. Below, I have outlined a few things to keep in mind the next time you slip into a pond whilst taking a photo.

1. Laugh it off.

Although it might seem like a complete disaster at the time, accepting the humour in a situation is one of the fastest ways to move past an  incident, and get your focus back onto the task at hand. Let’s face it, there’s not a lot else that you can do, and being the first to laugh at yourself gives others permission to laugh too, which can swiftly turn an awkward moment into a fun memory. Never take your work so seriously that you are unable to enjoy a light moment at your own expense. From personal experience, clients who have witnessed one of my stuff-ups are able to relate to me sooner, and in a more genuine way.

2. Perspective

As much as you might feel exposed and vulnerable, it’s not all about you. Although awkward at the time, a good artist won’t let any mishap  have an impact on the quality of the final product. Take a breath, and look past the moment to where you are going. Most people’s focus will be quickly diverted elsewhere, and chances are, whatever occurred during the creative process will not ultimately pull attention away from great work.
As a wedding photographer, I constantly need to remind myself that as badly as I may screw up, nothing I do can ever detract from the significance of two people committing to spend the rest of their lives together.

3. Learn from it.

The late, great Hollywood director, Garry Marshall, once said ‘It’s always helpful to learn from your mistakes because then your mistakes seem worth while.’
Instead of ruminating on the embarrassment of what went wrong, seize the opportunity to consider how you might do things differently in future. One of the best ways to fight feelings of embarrassment is by taking back control of the situation and committing yourself to positive action. Tomorrow, you will be a different person to the one who knocked Grandma into the champagne tower.
Which is why, as a rule, I now carry a spare pair of pants in my car at all times!
Henry Paul Photographer
Henry Paul is an award-winning, Australian based wedding photographer. He has a unique ability to capture both the playful and the heartfelt moments experienced on any wedding day, and translate it into something artistically beautiful, and emotionally raw. For more information regarding Henry and his work, visit www.henrypaul.com.au. You can also follow him on Facebook and Instagram.