Wedding Photographer Falls - How Often Does It Happen?

Snapping away at the bride and groom as they pose, walk, dance, or whatever, and the wedding photographer falls into... you can finish the sentence any way imaginable and then some. This latest example from Estes Park, Colorado saw photographer Nathan Welton fall through the ice at Bear Lake. A fresh layer of snow apparently hid the edge of the lake and Welton got, well, too close. Nevertheless, he's recounted his story several times and says he just kept shooting and got some interesting angles.

So how often does this sort of thing happen? Anywhere from "more than you might think," to "all the time." Google "Wedding photographer falls" and you get nearly 1.7 million hits. "Into water" and "into lake" are the top two searches by the way. There's also plenty of evidence of some of these scenes, because cameras seem to always be rolling and clicking away. Check out the video from last year, when the photographer (one of them) falls into the lake. Type in "wedding photographer falls" into YouTube search and you'll get more than 41,000 results. 

Watching videos like "Wedding Photographer Falls into Water Fountain" brings up an important point about situational awareness. It's easy to get too focused on your subject, too distracted as you walk backwards to get the best possible action shots. Not to mention the prospect of ruining some very expensive gear. But don't worry, it happens to others too and cameras catch those scenes as well. Check out "Wedding party falls into lake" from 2014. Twenty-two people posing on a lake dock, when in slow motion, it slowly sinks and the wedding party scrambles. There are two versions; the first set to music, the second is just natural sound. Only one soul escapes dry!

[via Caters News

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That was one of the biggest over reactions I've heard. Sounded like she just witnessed someone die

Felix Wu's picture

Feel sorry for the photographer and the B&G. She should just toss the camera up to the dry land first lol. Being a pro photographer you need to watch your back. lol

Keith Sheridan's picture

It hasn't happened to me yet, but if and when it does I truly hope I behave more professionally than she did. As a newer wedding photographer, I'm not speaking with much experience, but you have to learn to deal with whatever gets thrown at you and at least look calm and cool to not take too much attention off the wedding and the couple.

Joe Schmitt's picture

You could tell that she felt horrible for ruining the moment for the bride and groom...I get that part of her reaction. But I think her overreaction was mostly about HER embarrassment...not the embarrassment of the bride and groom and that's unprofessional.

Marie Fröhlich's picture

I'm glad everyone of you acts super professionally all of the time.
I'm a wedding photographer and fairly new to the job. I'm always incredibly nervous because my brain seems to be programmed to be like, 'yeah girl, something will be going wrong and it will be your fault'.
Don't get me wrong, I usually act very confident and don't let it show. But I'm pretty sure that on a bad day, if I fell into the water like her, I would have snapped and cried like she did because of my own embarassement, my probably broken equipment* and the fuss I've caused. It's part of being an empathetic and sensitive person and a fairly new/young photographer that feels the need to do everything right and please everybody.

*if you're one or two years in, you probably don't have 3 backup bodies yet.

I'm not saying that her reaction was professional, but it was human. It can happen to anybody.

Ngaere Woodford's picture

I usually trip over something or fall over every time hahaha, im just clumsy! But has never effected my work so that is a bonus, but I am always careful around heights and water, having an assistant to work with watching where you are makes a huge difference too.

Scott Mosley's picture

I've fallen down a few times, but my partner falls down nearly once per shoot, its almost hard to believe she's not doing it on purpose. Worst thing though i was wearing some poorly made cotton slim-fit slacks and, while crouching, the whole inseam ripped open, knee to knee. This was right before the first kiss (as the officiant pronounced them man and wife) and I was facing the whole wedding party! Bride, groom and wedding party had the best reaction, and ill see if i can find/post the photo. Glad I was wearing boxers and that I had a pair of black workout pants in the car.

Vincent Morretino's picture

I'd love to see the photo! :)

I've ripped my pants in a similar way, but not during a wedding, just a shoot for a friend. I just kept shooting, and it cooled me off because it was hot outside. Got some funny looks from passersby.

Well, it can happen. But hey, you just can't go on a wedding as a photographer and wear flip flops. OK, maybe in some exotic beach, but even there would be strange for me. Get real shoes, so you can walk.

Percy Ortiz's picture

is she a pro photographer? :O

Joe Schmitt's picture

Based on the fact that she had her autofocus lock-on beep sounding...I'd say no. LOL!

David Stephen Kalonick's picture

That and she's shooting Nikon... lol

Leigh Smith's picture

Pretty sure that beeping was coming from camera left.

I was doing wedding videography as a second shooter about 5 years ago when we got onto golf carts to drive out to a hole to get some nice photos and video footage. Unfortunately the person who was driving the golf cart (a very young teen girl) was going kind of fast and took a turn a bit to hard I with my camera fell out and hit my head pretty hard on the sidewalk and had to be brought to the hospital for treatment of a concussion. Broke a lens and scuffed up the body of my camera. I felt so embarrassed, Good thing I was only the second shooter and not the main one. They made due and everything worked out in the end.

This is why I never bought into that "zoom with your feet" methodology.

Always remember, never walk on ice covered with snow, unless you KNOW the depth of the ice. Snow will actually warm the ice to where its thickness is unknown.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

I cringe, i really feel for the photographer.. :-( Glad I'm not a wedding photographer..