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!