The most important pictures of someone’s life

This month’s post is a more personal one than usual, and is about why I enjoy wedding photography – I’ll be back to writing about the latest tech next month. Until then, I hope you enjoy the change of pace.

I have the privilege of being an occasional wedding photographer. I often feel honoured that I get to witness someone have never met before having possibly the most emotional moment of their life.

It is my job to capture it in a way that they can look back on for many years to come. My pictures will (hopefully) make them smile for the rest of their days. I realise that it’s more the event itself than my pictures, but my pictures still become the lens through which the event is remembered. The sands of time will eventually bury any memory not preserved through media, so the couple’s memory of the event eventually becomes my experience of it. Which is why it’s so important for me to document as much of their big day as possible.

wedding photography

The bridesmaid adjusting the bride’s veil. Moments like this are spontaneous, and can only be captured as they happen. Something is lost if you try to stage them afterward. It’s not a particularly important shot like exchanging of rings or cutting the cake, but without my picture this little snippet of time would be lost.

Having that responsibility does bring with it a bit of pressure, as there are no second opportunities to get many key moments, although some pictures can be staged after. I enjoy the challenge, and have fun with my shots as well as being chatty with the bride and groom.

A couple I shot recently were goofing around for much of the day, enjoying themselves the way they wanted to on their day. I wasn’t going to tell them how to act or how to pose – my documentary, almost photojournalistic style of picture taking allows me to capture the way things are in a particular instant. There is something real that can’t be replicated or recreated after a moment has passed.

Wedding table

All the decorations have been chosen by the couple and reflect their own personal taste and style. Capturing this in a photograph preserves that style and entwines it with the rest of the day, building a feel for the event.

I will never tire of capturing the emotions of a wedding, but also of vital importance is all the many tiny little details like table decorations, champagne glasses, the guest book, and small things that when all added together are what makes that wedding unique. Let’s not forget the disco at the reception, rounding off the day with a bit of cheesy ‘80s pop music and putting a smile on everyone’s face. Every time I shoot one, I feel so lucky that I get to do wedding photography for a living – even if it’s not full-time.

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