Scroll through the images on any wedding or wedding-photography page and you’re sure to see images that will take your breath away. They take my breath away and I’ve photographed hundreds of weddings.
These images of the bride and groom are often in dishy locations where neither the ceremony or the reception took place: the water’s edge with a reflected cityscape; the Brooklyn bridge; a desert; an alley; teetering on a ledge in some deep and rugged canyon.
The poses are equally wowing. A deep-dip kiss. Bride and groom making a heart with their hands and looking through it. Maybe a grim-faced couple standing 3 feet apart, holding hands, and looking away from each other. (I’m still trying to figure that last one out.)
Does anybody really do that stuff? Don’t get me wrong. I love looking at these images. I’ve shot plenty of them myself and we definitely have a few downstairs in the gallery. But what I’m here to tell you today is... there’s so much more.
Wedding’s are about people. The bride and groom. The families coming together and celebrating this most joyous of occasions. Yes, the pandemic has affected that, but in all cases those closest to the couple are there. They wouldn’t be anywhere else because they want to share this day. Along with these people come the feelings, emotions, and the moments. The real feelings, the true emotions, and the genuine moments.
Accessing these wonderful experiences is really very easy. For the bride and groom, just enjoy your wedding day and your people. In terms of photography, just remember that the pictures should be about the day. The day is not about the pictures.
In 50 years as you leaf through your wedding album, it could be difficult to to explain to your grandchildren why you got married on a dried up lake-bed with nobody in attendance. Trust me on this. What’s going to give your wedding images lasting value is their ability to bring the authentic experience and moments to those who see them. People will want to see who their grandmother really was; where she and their grandfather got married. They’ll want to see their uncle in a white dinner-jacket and bow-tie making a toast. They’ll want to look at the people and get an idea of the true emotions on that day.
Numerous times I’ve spoken at length with couples about all the epic magazine-worthy images we'll get and we do and it’s fun and grand, and our promotional material has tons of those images. Take a look. There are also times when we talk about the epic images, but after the ceremony the couple says “You know, I think we’d really just like to go to the reception.”
And that’s A-OK with me because it’s really about being with your people on this beautiful day.