Wedding pictures are a great opportunity!
Let’s get this out of the way immediately: wedding pictures are a great opportunity, absolutely! They represent the chance for the bride and the groom to craft an emotional memory of their day, to freeze that moment in time, the crossroads of their life together.
The pictures of a wedding will tell about the bride and groom to their future generations. They will eventually help the bride and groom make it through arguments when those times will come, when the couple will need to go through their memories to renew what may seem lost. Wedding pictures are positivity stored away for the future.
So while it is as clear that the wedding pictures represent an opportunity for the couple, the point is that the couple needs to be aware of that and act accordingly, by hiring a wedding photographer able to create for them this emotional memory. Wedding pictures are an opportunity that brides need to seize.
Actually, if we think of certain tasteless, directed wedding pictures, so anonymous and so predictable, then I have a hard time to see them as an opportunity. Wedding photography has gotten a bad reputation over the years due these types of photographs, that are an inconvenience for the couple on the day of the wedding and a nuisance for friends after the wedding, when they’re shown the wedding album.
Wedding photography is close and personal
Instead, wedding photography can and needs to be close and personal, to represent the bride and groom, their friends and families the way they really are. Wedding photography should be all about the subjects, their natural behaviour, their attitude. Wedding pictures should tell the story of the day for what it really is, where the wedding photographer does not take center stage but is a keen and unobtrusive observer.
The beauty of such photography lies in the story itself and is rooted in the simplicity of the events that happen on the wedding day. Without the need for the photographer to make things any better or anymore striking or dramatic by adding content that has no place and has no purpose other than to mess with genuine ingredients, such as the way people are and how they interact when left alone.
For these reasons, I am convinced that wedding photography should really be documentary, as the strength of documentary photography consists of making the best visually of what naturally unfolds. Documentary wedding photography makes sense when it tells the story through a direct photographic language, based on the photographer’s ability to manage the elements of a photograph (light, composition, moment) and to use his own sensitivity to capture details and nuances. Beauty is in the details.
I find that staying true to the story, even in an extraordinary setting such as a wedding (which is extraordinary at least for the couple), does more justice to people as such and as subjects of my photographs. Conversely, the attitude of looking for ‘striking’ images at all costs in wedding photography, unless the photographer has sensitivity, culture and photographic maturity beyond the ordinary, is likely to turn out into a caricature and hence into the caricature of the subjects (the couple and the guests attending the wedding).
Documentary wedding pictures represent a tangible value
An authentic photographic essay, made with discretion, empathy, technical ability and possibly a good deal of humility on the part of the photographer, is the way to go in my humble opinion. This approach to wedding photography is what produces a document with real and lasting value, preserved from passing fashions. Such as is the nature of the bond between the bride and the groom, hopefully!
Do you have questions? Or maybe you just want to say your opinion about this? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment or get in touch. You’ll find all my contact details on the contact page.