By Storey Wilkins, MPA
A wedding brings together a group of people to celebrate the birth of a new family. My job as a photographer is to capture the heart and soul of the people there. Weddings are joyous, fun celebrations, and my goal is to make the photographs reflect that joy.
Three critical elements to capturing that joy are as follows: documenting the rhythm unique to that collection of friends and family, achieving expression-rich candid photographs of the guests, and creating relaxed yet elegant family portraits with a minimum of fuss.
So let's say a couple is leaving their friends' wedding. They exchange stories of the day...how
they caught up with old friends and the new folks they met in the course of the evening, what they talked about, laughed at, and who they gossiped with. They will discuss the ceremony, its ambience, its quotes and its emotion...how this "new family" has been created amongst their group.
They laugh at how much fun it was to get up on the dance floor (that band was fantastic), how great the food was--and didn't that room just take your breath away when you first entered? They'll ask: So what did you think of the signature drink they created for the wedding? What was your favorite amongst that superb range of nibbles?
In a quiet moment, they will realize that this has been a "marker point" for them, a "milestone" for their friends and a special, shared day for all of them. This birth of a new family involves everyone. And I believe that in order to do true justice to any coverage of a wedding, the pictures must ultimately convey all of the above. What It's All About
Indeed, the bride and groom are at the center of a wedding. They are supported by their parents and siblings, surrounded by their friends who comprise the bridal party...and celebrated by the wider group of friends and relatives, all of whom are special to the bride and groom and their families.
This is not just about the bridal couple, but this is also about the community surrounding this couple. So many photographers get negative about doing groups. I've even read one photographer quoted as wanting to "...get the dumb groups done as quickly as possible and move onto the real photography."
What did that photographer think the "real" photography was? Did it involve taking the couple away from family and friends to a location that had little to do with the wedding and a lot to do with what the photographer wanted to do? I don't think our imaginary guest couple at the start of this article would be discussing the fact that the couple had such fun at the Junkyard taking pictures. Rather, they may well remark at the elongated absence of the bridal couple on their own wedding day.
As an industry, we have increasingly imposed our views on what should be photographed on a wedding day--and this has produced some lovely trends, admittedly. But I believe it is my responsibility as a photographer to capture a balance
of documentary, candid and formally posed photographs, and these photographs should be a balance of the bride and groom and
their loved ones.