There's a lot of reasons why I love weddings, but ultimately, it's the love and the people that make them so great to be a part of. Many photographers focus on details and not, what I feel anyway, is the most important part of the day: the people. In these days of Pinterest and wedding blogs and platinum wedding shows, are we forgetting why we have the wedding? Is it to impress all your friends with your dress and shoes? Or is it to marry the one that you love and to celebrate it with your friends and family? Many photographers focus on details when photographing a wedding with the ultimate goal of being published on the wedding blogs. Being published is fun. It really is nice to see your work appreciated by the wedding industry and I've been published myself. But I don't shoot my weddings with that goal in mind. I shoot my weddings with my clients, who are people, in mind.
There was an article posted very recently on Huffington post about the most important wedding images to capture. My friend Anne Almasy really made good points about the images that are actually important. The rings, the shoes and the dress you spent so much time choosing, will not compare to the feelings, emotions and love that are already there.
One of my favorite wedding images ever is this one:
This was a completely unpromted, candid moment. This photo is priceless to this bride. This couple had a lot of other really stunning moments and portraits of their wedding, but this is the image that forever is remembered. The bride put this in her album and bought prints of it. It's important to her and one of those "once in a lifetime" shots that really make me love what I am doing.
Or this one.
The couple is so very much wrapped up in their service, each other and there ceremony. I still remember thinking how those two must feel like the only ones in the room. And this image really captured that for me. This wedding will forever been remembered by me for many reasons, but this is also one of my favorite wedding images ever.
Of course, I love a good wedding with beautiful linens and decor, a stunning cake and a designer dress. But I also love the weddings in country churches and receptions in barns where they load up in the pickup truck to head to town. And no matter which wedding I am shooting, my goal is to make my couples look great, showcase the love between them and their families. I don't show up there planning on using your wedding as a way for me to get published. I really don't care if that happens, what I care about is getting images that will take your breath away with the memory they evoke.
Do I have some really amazing bouquet and ring shots? Yeah, I think I do. But they are not my favorite wedding images.
I shot a beautiful wedding recently with another photographer. (not my client) We had a TWELVE PAGE LIST of images to check off. (I wish I were kidding) and the entire day the photography team (There were 4 of us) were so worried about missing a shot from the list, that we actually had to create them. Grandma walk up three fights of stairs to pin the boutonniere on the Father of the groom... CHECK!
Bridal party and guests were annoyed, there was no free flowing movement, there was not real emotion because it was so sterile and directed, nothing was left. I remember the bride double checking the I had photographed wide and close up of the place cards. She interrupted a guest congratulating her to remind me (who's shot over 200 weddings) of something so trivial. I remember initially being so struck and in awe of the decor and setting, but sad afterward thinking how the bride really didn't get a chance to enjoy just BEING at her own wedding. I wonder if she will regret that?
My favorite part of Anne's article says:
If you're planning your wedding right now, please just close the magazine. Log out of Pinterest. And look at the person you want to grow old with. Remind yourself of why you're doing this. And really CELEBRATE when that day comes. Don't stress about your shoes or your cake or your flowers. Don't stress about anything. When it's all over, you will be married, and surrounded by the people who know you and love you most in the whole wide world.
I promise: that is the Perfect Wedding.