Just a quick blog post on Photographers’ Corner this week, to talk briefly about a discussion I had with a potential client yesterday.
The couple I met are marrying in Bournemouth in Dorset, and we met in Wimborne to talk about how I could assist with their wedding photography. At one point during the meeting, the couple asked me what I thought was ‘different from the rest’ when it came to the way I photographed weddings. Now, wedding photography is such a subjective thing that it’s often difficult to verbalise. Good wedding photography, of course is well executed, well exposed, well framed, technically good. That should all be a given. BUT, great wedding photography is a level deeper. It not only works on a technical level but also on an emotional and instinctive one. That’s why it’s hard to explain what makes your own photography different to someone else’s.
However, during that discussion, my potential client said something to me which was so insightful that it resonated with me for long after I completed the meeting. He said, (and I paraphrase): ‘When I look at your wedding images, there’s an action within them, and I don’t mean that someone is walking, or running. I mean that I can imagine the moment that just happened and the moment that’s just about to come. Your wedding photographs are obviously still images, but they work in my mind more like a film. I can feel the story.’
And there you have it, described so much better by a potential client than I could have ever done. This is ABSOLUTELY what we as wedding photographers should all be looking for and working to capture. We are storytellers. We are creating a still from a film which the viewer can turn backwards and forwards in their mind. We have to capture so much more than merely the moment; we have to photograph an entire story in one fraction of a second. And yes, this is what’s been talked about for many years as ‘the decisive moment’ – but I like the way my potential client described it much better.
To photograph a wedding day in such a way is more about watching and waiting than photographing. It’s about learning to feel when the big moment in a small story is about to happen. It’s about understanding people. So we, as wedding photographers, have a much bigger task ahead of us than just taking pretty pictures of a wedding day. We are also the storytellers of a day in many peoples’ lives. And those images you take… they need to be able to help the viewer feel emotive about a person they’ve never met, a moment they were never a part of. Yes, just like watching a film.
So think like a film maker, not a photographer, and think about how to make these brief moments in the lives of the couple and the guests really ‘speak’ in every frame you shoot. Happy Sunday 🙂