Wedding Photographer’s Hair Goes Up in Flames As the Bride Walks the Aisle

Wedding photographers are supposed to stealthily document unique moments, not become part of them. Unfortunately, the latter is what photographer Jacki Bruniquel did last month while photographing a wedding in South Africa. As the bride walked down the aisle with her father, a wedding photographer’s worst nightmare unfolded for Bruniquel: her head got too close to a burning candle, kindling a small blaze in her hair. In a few short seconds, the entire room was staring and gasping at Bruniquel rather than the bride.

Videographer Mark Thompson captured the clip above, and writes,

While photographing Murray and Emma’s wedding Ceremony at Netherwood Estate, Jacki Bruniquel’s hair caught alight after getting too close to a candle. One of Murray’s groomsmen attempted to help Jacki put the flames out. The moment when the groom meets his bride at the alter had some added entertainment.

Fortunately for Bruniquel, the bride and groom were both easygoing people, and everyone in the room had a good laugh.

The photographer writes on her blog:

In that situation the only thing you can do once the flames have been patted out is to once again… laugh and keep on shooting. It was funny. It was certainly a wedding I will never forget that is for sure and my hair did actually need a trim! (although I have to say that it hasn’t been quite the same since then!)

This is actually not the first wedding horror story Bruniquel has experienced during her career. She had a smellier one during a different wedding a while back:

[…] I sat in horse poo whilst doing a few groom portraits right before the speeches were about to start. I was sitting in the grass shooting away and when I stood up my assistant gave me a look that indicated that something was very very wrong. She had a reason for the horrified expression – My butt was covered in brown manure! Not cool. What was even more uncool was the fact that I didn’t have another pair of pants to change into and it looked as if I had had an accident in my trousers. There was nothing I could do. I just had to laugh and keep on shooting!

So if you ever find yourself in a situation has suddenly gone very wrong, just do what Bruniquel has learned to through her singular experiences: laugh and keep on shooting.

(via Jacki Bruniquel via HuffPo)

Image credits: Video and stills by Mark Thompson of Beyond Measure Productions

  • Mark

    All it took was one tumble down a flight of stairs while shooting a corporate event for me to get into the habit of doing a quick glance behind me every couple of seconds. It’s become second nature now and it’s saved my ass (literally) dozens of times. Can’t shoot with blinders on, especially with reportage assignments. At least it looks like she wasn’t wearing a lot of hairspray.

  • Mark Dickinson

    oh god, the smell is so bad it probably ruined that day.

  • Chris Popely

    Ha, yeah, that would have been a whole other Petapixel article!

  • Blue

    She’s gotta be more aware of her surroundings. Didn’t learn that from the horse poo, loos like she wont learn it from the candle.

  • Chris Popely

    You’re right, all accidents are avoidable.

  • Will Ablett

    Those violins could make cats cry. Ouch.

  • rohicks

    I sat on a small cactus shooting a model once, and ended up with the needles stuck in my ass. Wasn’t very pleasant pulling them out!

  • Tj Ponds

    they laughed so hard, was it really that funny?

  • ennuipoet

    Not exactly the same thing, but when I was just starting out I was in the middle of photographer scrum at a St Patrick’s Day Parade in Queens, trying to get photo of Mayor Bloomberg. I said something to the effect of “Could you people Effing move so I shoot the mayor!” and the people I said it to were his protection detail. They had a little chat with me about my phrasing and I never made that mistake again.

  • Guest

    I made the mistake of kneeling down to take photos of decorations at a wedding when the mother of the groom stepped backwards and tripped over me. She was fine but it shook us up for a few seconds.

  • miah8000

    I was kneeling down to take photos of decorations at a wedding when the mother of the groom backed up and tripped over me. She was fine but definitely shook me up for a few minutes.

  • Yoni

    The photographer is obviously not aware of her surroundings, I can’t imagine what her photos are like.

  • Dee

    hahaha i can imagine

  • fahrertuer

    Not all. But proper prior planning could have prevented some of it

    Having a change of clothes available when you have to look impeccable, watching out where you sit or stand…

  • Annemari

    Her photos are actually very, very good.

  • Mike

    Blah Blah Blah. Sometimes when you’re focused on getting your clients incredibly precious moments you loose the normal amount of regard you have for your surroundings and your situational awareness. It happens and I think all wedding photographers have experienced this to some extent.

    I’m not sure non-wedding photographers can fully relate. Do many photographers have one shot at getting fleeting, transient moments, where you have to see it, constantly re-position, shoot, and if you blow it, it’s gone (poof!)?

    Time to leave the judgements to yourself. I just got back from shooting a wedding–I laughed HARD at this… this could happen to most wedding photographers. Pretty rad that the videographer (?) got this moment!

  • Mike

    yeah people don’t get the to be a wedding photographer sometimes you have to give up some of your own situational awareness to focus on what’s happening around you. Wedding photography requires a ton of concentration, as there are too many ways to blow it…

  • George

    your coment made me ROFL

  • fahrertuer

    Yeah. Getting you clients precious moments sure is your no1 priority.

    But you have to be on the lookout.

    Here everything went ok. Just a few burnt hairs or a few dirty spots.

    What if it didn’t go that well?

    When noone notices the burning hair early enough you can easily end up with sever burns to your head and a large part of the ceremony will be left uncovered. Brush you manure covered butt against the white dress of the bride by accident…

    Those things might at best cause a scene that leaves you fired on the spot. Or worst you end up in hospital and with a lawsuit.

  • MrNew

    I feel bad for the photographer. I hope she’s alright (at least emotionally). I don’t understand why that is a laughing matter.

  • Mark Thompson

    Netherwoods church is very tight up front with the Bride and Groom, Efficient and the bridal retenue, there is not too much space to move about. As I was standing still filming, Jacki moved in between myself, the efficient, and the space that was available in the front of the church to get the shots she needed. And getting too close to a candle while concentrating on photographing the Father handing his Daughter over, is easy to do. Thankfully, Jacki was not harmed at all and she had a good chuckle at what happened.

  • herb derbderb

    I love watching the bride in this. Her reaction goes from uneasy smiling to “OMG can I borrow your camera to take a picture of this?” to full on schadenfreude unduced laughter.

  • Alan Dove

    That’s an unorthodox approach to off-camera lighting.

  • William Zhang

    I can’t help but to say: the photographer is too hot, that she’s literally on fire! hahaha

  • Angie Jones

    Thank you for making me snort my coffee.

  • Nariman Enverov

    )) зато все насмеялись

  • Thatlense

    She could be the most OCD always prepared in advance, but the brain doesn’t works like that, the most important is to you what’s is in front of you, the less you are concerned with your surroundings. And “Getting you clients precious moments sure is your no1 priority” still makes you a douche

  • Thomas Casey

    She should have kept the flaming hair and used it to set fire to the band’s instruments. They have no business in show business.