Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever ...it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.
Your wedding photographs are very important – and all the feedback I have from clients tells me they become even more important when the day is over.
After months of preparation they provide your only lasting reminder of the day’s special moments, of all the people who matter to you in your life congregated together for just one day, and of the venue and details you have organised so carefully.
Choosing someone with experience in capturing a day full of irreplaceable moments is vital, but it’s also worth spending some time thinking about the style of wedding photography that suits you. There seem to be loads of different styles around, but they fall into three main categories:
Capturing people, moments and events as they happen lies at the heart of this – the photographer is a “fly on the wall” and should be an unintrusive presence, a world away from the bossy wedding photographer of the past. There are many different interpretations of this and the word “reportage” has been used too often to mean much any more – looking carefully at photographs will usually tell you whether your photographer can actually deliver this style.
The great photojournalistic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson used the words “the decisive moment” to describe this style and said “I go click, not click click click” – just because you have a digital camera in multishot mode does not necessarily guarantee you can deliver this style or indeed good photographs, as many who have entrusted their wedding pictures to friends, relatives or weekend photographers are discovering.
This is probably what many people associate with wedding photographers – the photographer is an organising presence, producing well structured posed shots of groups and individuals. Although there is some disruption to the flow of the day and the results can be a little static, this remains popular, especially with parents and relatives who like to see some family groups – my Granny always used to say “I like to see the faces”. Although many of my clients might not choose this for themselves they opt for some, knowing how much they will mean to their families.
Increasing popular, this is about creating pictures that look beautiful, fun, relaxed, and/or perhaps show off a venue or a particular feature of the day. In some ways it derives from fashion photography – it’s set up or staged, even if it appears not to be and can take a little time, but it can also have a huge wow factor. Many of my clients like a brief detour with just the two of them to capture the spirit and beauty of their venue – I’ve done this to show off the gardens at Ramster, the house at Clandon, the castle at Amberley, the Downs at Upwaltham, the countryside at Gate Street Barn, the garden itself and the ruins of Cowdray Castle at The Walled Garden, Midhurst, the vine at Jeremy’s, Borde Hill and the valley surrounding Farbridge.
Every wedding I photograph has an individual blend of the styles above, usually based around captured moments, with some family shots and increasingly location pictures of the couple on their own as described above.
What all of my clients have in common is that they don’t want to spend hours away from their guests – whenever I’m photographing at a wedding I still get told about weddings where the bride and groom disappear for an hour and a half with the photographer, closely followed the comment “I wish we’d had you at our wedding”.
These are comments I regularly hear from prospective clients. To see lots of great pictures of a bride and groom who have said this to me as I work on their wedding photographs is incredibly rewarding – it brings a massive smile to my face.
Similarly to hear a bride who was apprehensive about being photographed before her wedding say ‘I’m really enjoying this’ on her wedding day is wonderful. So if either of these comments apply to you, you have very much come to the right place.