Conquering my vertigo fears - wedding photography at new heights

August 13, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

This is quite a personal one for me, but it may resonate quite far and wide.

Last autumn I was contacted by a couple looking to use me as their wedding photographer. As ever when a request comes through to do a wedding, my heart misses a beat and off I go an do a little happy dance. I really do every time, especially when I'd been recommended by a previous couple I'd photographed.

The date was free in the diary, the location was super convenient and we were set.

Roll on to the spring and I went down to meet the soon to be bride and groom to take some engagement photographs and discuss the day's plans in detail, visit the church and find out which field on the farm the reception was being held in - all good - then came the bombshell! They were looking to get an aerial photograph of them with all their guests. I thought nothing of it as at a few weddings I've photographed there has been a guest, or at one the bridegroom, with a drone to capture aerial footage. It makes for a good double act and several of my photos have the drone at work too.  However, there wasn't to be a drone here.

I was to be lifted on a telehandler - even writing this makes me want to sit on the floor under my desk! I suffer from vertigo in quite a major way. Even watching or thinking about people rock climbing or abseiling makes my palms sweat and my heart rate go through the roof. I'm very glad I was sitting down when then asked me or I might have fainted. With my fingers firmly crossed I agreed because I like to challenge myself. Over the next six weeks, I gave myself quite a few talking to's. The telehandler was totally safe, the cage in which I would be standing was totally safe ... but I would be in it on my own, nobody whispering in my ear that I'd got this and all would be fine.

The day of the wedding dawned and it was an amazing day, one of the few Saturdays in June it wasn't raining. The plans fell into place nicely, everything ran almost exactly to time and then it was the moment of the aerial photograph, With my brain in a spin, I didn't actually take a photo of the Manitou telehandler. We (I say we, I really mean they with a little positioning guidance from me) set it up to get the best overall view covered. In I got and up I went. The operator also had to in the photograph, so once I felt I was high enough up, he jumped out and joined the wedding party. I took several photos and thought I'd done it. It was at that point when they all decided I wasn't quite high enough!! Imagine where my heartbeat was then? 

Back he came and up I went, possibly another two or three metres on the ten or so I'd originally got to. I simply couldn't look down, but photograph I did, camera shake avoided and down I came. The relief of being back on solid ground was more than I can describe, but the buzz I got from overcoming one of my greatest fears in indescribable. I've never been good at heights and as I've got older I've got considerably worse, but I like a challenge and was so up for conquering my vertigo fears.

It was only afterwards that I was told they had to leave the Manitou engine running throughout the time I was in the air or the telehandler would have sunk back down while I was taking photographs!

The comments below sum up just what a fabulous day it was.

"As I said on the phone, we were really pleased with our choice of wedding photographer. You were very professional, completely ‘got’ what we wanted in terms of wedding photos (they are perfect) and had a great sense of humour on the day. We also appreciated the particularly long day you put in and the fact that you faced your fears to get our aerial shot! A huge thank you from the both of us."

So the moral of this - don't be ruled by your fears. Step up to the challenge and you'll surprise yourself. I know I did.



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