This is how you Groom on your wedding day.
Just a few images from Richard and Jessika's wedding in Ft. Worth. If you ever wondered what a southern gal that works as one of Texas' top wedding designers does for her own wedding...here's your answer. It was a sweet, traditional and very personal wedding with no shortage of beautiful details. Very happy to have been involved in this one! Thanks to the Diamond Affairs team for all your amazing work!
Matt and Emily. Salt of the earth people with amazing families. One of those initial meetings, when you look up and realize you've been talking for 2 hours. I don't even know where to start with all the amazing storylines that were happening at this wedding. Friends from around the country, sisterhood, adorable young ladies in ballerina slippers idolizing the bride in her dress, best men brothers away at military training, Father thanking son for his unwavering character that helped him find God. Real life in all it's profound beauty! The team and I stood in the parking lot for half an hour after they left and talked about which part made us cry the deepest.
So this wedding, and a few others over the past year have helped me develop so much. I've noticed that when all of us in the business of pulling off wedding days do our jobs well...we make space and time for these amazing interactions. Life changing stuff. That's why it's so important that after we help it happen...that we LET it happen.
Ok, admittedly I've started to get a little preachy about this over the past year. Started mentioning to my couples that I want to help you plan a relaxed, intentional day and then get out of the way and "let real happen". In fact, in an attempt to be social media relevant I've started to use #letrealhappen and made mention of it my print advertising. Never thought I'd be the kind of guy that tries to invent a hashtag. It appears to be, if not the only way, a hopeful way to legitimize an approach to wedding photography that has been overlooked for a decades in favor of editorial style details and perfect (not so candid) candid portraits.
Make no mistake. We all love those things, especially my dear friends who work their backs, feet and fingers sore to make those details happen. Of course I still photograph flowers, dresses and shoes, and rather enjoy it! They're what makes a wedding day beautiful. I'm only asking...shouldn't there be more? Shouldn't those details, those utterly beautiful flowers, the colors, and the fashion add to a collections of wedding photos when they're surrounded by the real stuff?
Thats the whole thing for me, really. The beautiful is assumed. If you're a professional photographer, beauty is the price of admission. It's step 1. Let's move the conversation forward, let's get into the real stuff!
If you're a bride who wants and beautiful and memorable wedding day. Hire good folks and let them work for you. When you hire professional vendors who care, the beauty will be there. Step back and take it in. Be present. Dwell on the relationships around you. Let yourself be in place of joy and appreciation. Let real happen.
See how I worked it in there again...
What should a perfect engagement session experience be like? Well if it includes a road trip to a beautiful spot in the woods, a meal and some great beers...then it can't be bad. It's hard to overstate how much fun I had with Jack and Lauren. So glad that I get to be a part of their wedding!
This is what we mean when we talk about looking for connection. These are the photos that make me tick. I had a couple minutes to chat with Jessika’s Dad just before the ceremony. The church was bustling, everyone rushing around doing last minute tasks and he was just gazing out the window watching guests arrive. My inner curiosity took over and I had to ask…what’s going through you mind right now? He asked if I had children. “Let me tell you. It goes by so fast. Better make sure you’re enjoyin’ it!”
Sage advice from a guys who’s been through parenthood, minutes before he walks his beautiful, well mannered, empathetic, successful daughter down the aisle. I hope some day I’ve got a couple of well mannered, empathetic, successful boys that are at the end of that aisle. Congrats Mr. Williams. You’ve arrived!
Disclaimer, if you hire me as your photographer, I may seek parenting advice from your parents. I hope thats ok.
Someday I'll share the whole story of Weston and Hannah’s wedding day. This was a wedding that embodied what we mean when we talk about #letrealhappen. I’ve always made it a habit to listen closely to the personal vows at each wedding, and theirs were some of the most realistic and humble messages to one another that I’ve ever heard. The kind that make you so utterly grateful to have love in your life. Everyone there swelled with pride to know these two and have some small bit of participation in the forming of their family.
While I’m sharing about things I love, you’ve got to check out The Wild Mother. This floral team puts together stunning pieces, but as I say so often, pretty is just the beginning. What makes them remarkable is their commitment to story and their understanding of the foundational truths behind a wedding day. They're a talented and heartfelt team to watch!
I heard an interview with Suroosh Alvi, co-creator of VICE recently. He was asked about how they approach creating authentic content. "We asked, how do you create REAL? The way to do that is to get as close to the source as possible." It's true in journalism and it's true in wedding photography. If we're not emotionally connected throughout the day, how do we expect to translate such an a profound day through photos. Sometimes that means hanging with bridesmaids as they laugh/cry/bustle right after an amazing ceremony. #stayclose #letrealhappen #momentsovermountains #bridesofok
I’ve been collecting images for a new portfolio in the hopes to show how different brides can be. Some are bridal portraits and some are passing moments from a wedding day. But they all show just a glimpse of each girl’s personality. Much like this photo of Rebecca. It really shows how graceful she was that day. Weddings are so personal now, in that a couple is able to shape the whole experience of their wedding day. I’m glad to be able to document so many different couples and different wedding days. It keeps me curious and always on the lookout for that subtle layer of personality and meaning just under the surface.
I'm working through this wedding and reflecting on all the stuff that goes through my mind as I’m shooting now as compared to 10 years ago…
10 years ago….
Whats my exposure?! Should I shoot this in AV mode? Which lens should I use now? Is my aperture right? Wait, did I format this card? How can I make them look happy?
Are they comfortable? What are they getting too hot? What will they take away from this? Are we taking too long? Is this a pose cliche? Will they show this to their kids…would I show this to my kids? What does this photo feel like? … Wait..what’s my exposure?!
I'm spending the day recuperate from an exhausting but wonderfully honest wedding day. Joseph and Amy were a joy to photograph. It can be a challenge for couples to be fully present for the entire wedding day. It's a full day, with a lot going on. Distractions and questions coming from every angle. People like Lindsay Gibson help a great deal with those things. It was clear to me that Amy wanted to soak in every minute of the day with all her loved ones. When I'm able to photograph that experience; that's when I feel most at home.
Maybe the better question is, why do you need a portrait of your best friends on your wedding day?
To remember how you felt! How great it was having them all in one place to celebrate. All the stories that got re-told. The shared history...and of course to remember how great you looked!
So what's the best way to remember that feeling? How about a photo of the feeling itself?
Let’s be honest. Most guys don’t just love the idea of shooting engagement photos; at least not the way a bride does. I don’t want to generalize, but as men it’s not necessarily our skill set to parade around and dial up affection on command. My shoots are always casual, and normally start and end with a pint. But even then, having portraits made is not something us guys find natural. It’s always great to see when guys are clearly doing something outside their comfort zone for the girl they love. It’s great practice for a long marriage! Atta boy Richard.
A photo should communicate a feeling. It should be more than just pretty. We ,all photographers, should be looking for connection, emotions and depth. When it comes to wedding photography it also requires a natural experience; a synchronicity with your subjects. That starts by understanding their values and genuinely helping them remember their experience. You have to care more about their memories that your portfolio.
Karly is a woman of few words. She could be described as reserved. Her quiet, sweet sensibility was a joy for me to document the subtle moments of her wedding day. Like this split second after her Mom helped her finish getting ready. To steal a phrase from my friend at Todd Scott I would rather do "photography at weddings" than #weddingphotography. Less about control and and directing and more about observing and reporting.
Which is why I'm training myself to look beyond canned photos of shoes and flowers. Don't get me wrong, I still think they belong and I still shoot them. I want to tell the whole story of the day. Especially when they're this beautiful. This bouquet is absolutely a work of art, and I want you to remember how beautiful it was. But that's only half the story. Not even half... I'm really at your wedding to create photos that you'll love in 20 years. The photos that will make you miss someone, or laugh at your Dad because his jokes bombed during his speech. The ones you haven't seen, and can't predict. Marriage is more than fresh flowers, perfect hair and designer shoes, so the memories of your wedding should be as well.
This is what marriage is about. You may be consumed with flowers, shoes and dresses now. But in 20 years, you should be able to remember moments like this as well.
If you invite me to document your wedding in Santa Barbara, I'm going to find a way to put as many mountains as possible in the photos. That makes two Moore weddings in the books for me now. I'm so grateful to shoot for families like these and help them remember life at its best! Much more to come from this beautiful wedding!
Weddings are interesting. I've been to 300 or so, and things never happen exactly the way we plan them. Just ask Chelsea. We had a bit of rain on her day.
That many wedding days has taught me remarkable moments are kinda like summer peaches. You can't tell them when to be ripe. They just happen when they happen. That's why I'm moving away from hourly wedding coverage. My contract now includes full day coverage with me and an assistant. No compromises. I want to be there for it all. I'm thankful for families like Chelsea's who get it. Here's to embracing the unexpected with a smile and remembering the experience well!
What makes a good bridal portrait? A smile that that is a great place to start.
This wedding was put together perfectly by Leslie Herring and her team. The reception tent was really amazing with all the florals by Poppy Lane They incorporated some really great small details, even down to the shotgun shell boutonnière. Infact that boutonnière was telling. Since the wedding, Hank and Brittany live a block from our studio and have become the owners of the rambunctious young bird dog puppy. It looks like they are off to a fun start!
Most of us who are married with kids have told the story of how we met many times, even to our own children. But after just 12 or so years, Katie and I have developed slightly different versions of how we met. I'm sure her's is the correct version, I have a terrible memory! The point is this, it's important to preserve the first chapter of your family story! We all know this, but how many of us are actually intentional about it? I'm always trying to encourage my couples to think about their engagement shoot as a way to remember the beginning stages of their relationship.
An engagement shoot can be so much more than just a chance to get dressed up and create some beautiful portraits in an stunning location. It can be both, really. I'm so glad Cole and Alli were able to see that. They took me to the EXACT spot they first met inside their high school. (seen below in black and white) We were able to shoot on the field where Alli cheered on Cole's baseball team and now they'll have those photos to go along with their stories someday.
Sometimes it just isn't realistic to plan a wedding over the course of a year. Sometimes a family illness dictate that you have a wedding in 18 days! When you are on a shorter timeline, the wedding becomes more about who can be there and what the experience will be. Although still important, it becomes much less about what the wedding looks like. Brian and Cassidy were wise to hire Lindsay Gibson. She excels at not only making weddings look great, but making sure that no matter what the timeline is, the experience is a memorable one. I'm very fortunate to have been a part of this one!