When you open a bridal magazine or planning book, you see wildly romantic wedding photography, sometimes even mildly erotic bride and groom portraits. I love this, myself. Some of them are like 21st century versions of gothic romance covers.
You need to know a couple of things about these images, if this is what you want from your photographer.
FIRST, a competent photographer feels excited and intrigued at the notion that this is what you want. They won’t wince, or draw back; they’ll lean forward and breathe a bit harder.
The OTHER first, (because it IS NOT second) is that these photos take time. Not hours, usually (unless we’re driving to an historic location an hour from your reception venue) but time – away, without your best man yanking your chain because you’re showing your new wife some love, away – from your mother who is to my right saying “HONEY! SMILE!”, away – from Grandma, who wants to coo and have her bachelor son with too-much-camera-for-his-skill jump in front of me and say “Let me get one”. If it’s not an ornately staged production shot, but you still want something romantic, and less Ken and Barbie-ish than your sister’s, you still need SOME time budgeted in your day!
If you want creative/unique work from your photographer, please discuss your timeline with the photographer more than once prior to the week before your wedding. Allow time. This can be worked out.
A great way to do this is to take some time together BEFORE the wedding.
DON’T LOOK AWAY NOW.
I personally love this, and consider it more romantic. Let me tell you why!
I urge the couple to choose a spot to see each other for the first time. I have the groom turn his back and have the bride approach. He turns and gets to see her FIRST, and review every detail of her, and she HIM. They get to say things to each other, compliment each other, soak each other in. The boutonnière is not crushed by the receiving line before she is alone with him. Her veil, hair and make-up are not wrinkled and wilted by hugs and perspiration. They are the first to see EACH OTHER, and in my experience, the stress bubble begins to deflate, and I see these two people begin to ENJOY their wedding day. They’ve seen each other (their best friend); they begin experiencing their day TOGETHER. The dynamics of that kind of wedding day are immensely different from the scenario where he paces and sweats, she fumbles and tears up constantly, and the tension is what gets documented the first part of the day.
Many times I have heard resistance to this idea, and the notion that “if he sees me before the wedding he won’t feel that rush of seeing me at the other end of the aisle, it won’t be the same, and it won’t be the way it’s supposed to be.” Remember folks, I have photographed LOTS of weddings now. I watch these people all day. The notion that he won’t look down the aisle and say to himself, “Here she comes. There she is. The girl I’m about to marry.” Believe me, the groom still wells up, the best man still pats him on the back, the bride still feels all the emotions she would have. After all, she is STILL walking toward Prince Charming on her dad’s arm, she is STILL about to marry the man she loves, her life is still about to change forever, there are still all her friends standing up as she enters….and that walk is still a very special one!
So, to recap, creative portraits take time to photograph. Of course we can do it after the wedding and before the reception, while your mom is hissing “HONEY, the guests are waiting” or we can get them done before, and then you two sail out of the church, onto the party bus or limo, have some extra time with your friends on the way, and you get there before the hoers oeuvres are gone.
If you’re certain you’d rather not see one another beforehand, you can always put a delay between your ceremony and reception to get some fun shots with your wedding party, and then your new spouse. We can stop along the route to the reception, I’ll even ride in the limo if you’d like. If you’d rather, when we’re all finished, I’ll race you to the party, get detail shots of your table settings, your place cards, and your cake before there’s a crowd around it, and greet you as the DJ announces to your guests that you’ve arrived.
Either way, if you plan it into your day, we get the photographs you’ve hoped for. The ones your girlfriends, sons and daughters will ooh and ahh over for generations. Either way, we get the documentary of your day. This is the only thing you have left after the gifts are put away and the gown is cleaned.
Your preparation for what you want is just as important as mine, if you want more than the standard fare in your wedding album.
On the other end of the spectrum, if all you want is the standard fare, you DO NOT want one of those photographers that takes you away from your guests for hours before you get to the party. Check with other brides, talk to them, and don’t take their written word on the website for the final word. Was this person a commando who was rude to the guests? Did they have great ideas, or did they look to the wedding party for guidance? Did the contract they signed represent what REALLY happened? Did this bride get her pictures in a timely fashion? Were they what she had hoped for? If there were any problems or questions whatsoever, did the photographer handle them in a CAN-DO way with prompt responses, and solutions to her issues?
So, to conclude…I don’t want to be rude, but it’s true in some odd ways. Hiring a photographer is like buying a car. It can be pretty and shiny in their portfolio and their website, but they may be letting people down left and right, and if you don’t check, you’re stuck with a big clunker for the rest of your life.
All Eyes on You Portraiture and Event Photography