A new year and a clean state; last year’s resolution was to take wedding photography "back to basics" and capture images that truly matter to couples and their families. At the end of this year, I had the opportunity to look back on the moments of 2014; a new emotional set of images that are imperfect perfection.
The wedding industry glamorizes perfect details, designer dresses, and diamond rings. While all of these are beautiful, what really matters is the people and the moments they experience on one of the most important days of their lives. The images in this post are not technically correct, posed, nor will they win any awards. They were shot on the spur of the moment in situations where lighting was not controlled, the background was not ideal, and I couldn’t ask them to “do that again”. You may not fully understand the emotions in these photos, but to these people they mean the world. To be in the moment and capture those once in a lifetime photos you have to be connected to your subjects and have excellent timing.
Connection. Creating a friendship with your client is key to allowing them to feel comfortable. Meeting and working with your couples prior to the wedding will make you seem more like an old friend on the wedding day instead of the paid help. Your couples will be more relaxed and genuine. If you won't be able to meet before the wedding, Skyping or emailing back and forth will allow you to get to get to know each other. It is key to ask what is important to them on their wedding day. Make a list of people or things you know they will want to see in their final photos. If you are working with members of the family you haven't met before, be friendly and make them feel as comfortable as possible with how you will be shooting that day.
Timing. This is the hard part, be ready for anything at anytime during a wedding day. Instead of snapping one picture of a particular moment wait to see how it all plays out. You never know when a portrait session will turn into an informal story telling moment or when a bride will fist bump her dad on the way back down the isle. Many of these moments will happen when we aren't ready or when our camera settings aren't ideal. Do the best you can and always shoot in RAW. Your clients probably won't be paying attention to the technical aspect of these images anyways. Hiring a second shooter will also elevate some of the pressures to be everywhere at once. Have your second shooter focus on basic shots, which will allow you to focus on capturing real life. At all times during the day take a 360 degree look around the room or area. There are more things happening during the ceremony to capture than just the bride and groom saying their vows.
The purpose of this article is to inspire you to live in the moment this upcoming year; a challenge to connect with your subjects and be in the right place at the right time. Forget about the shots that will look good in your portfolio, or what publications will want to see when you send off to a blog or a magazine. Think about creating imperfect images that will mean the world to your client. At the end of the day all that really matters is love, family, and relationships.
Happy New Year!