It is -6 degrees outside, Hobbes my cat is in my lap and one room over, I can hear Jayden playing his Switch AND watch Youtube at the same time. These end of year posts of mine always create in me a sense of pride for what I was able to photograph through the year. This year though, this year means something a little more. 92,784. In 2017, during just weddings, that is how many times I clicked the shutter button on my camera. That is 92,784 chances I had taking a photograph that will forever be cherished by a couple in love, a parent, a child or a friend. I really want this post to be lighthearted and fun look into the year I had shooting wedding, especially with how little I was able to blog and share photographs this year. However, I also really want all you out there to know how important each and every wedding is too me. I shared last week about the year I went through on my Facebook page and while during long stretches of the year I struggled to keep up on the daily part of running a photography business, I always looked forward to holding my camera in my hand and just be in the moment of a wedding. Some of these moments are ones I helped pull out of the chaos and create for my couples while others of these moments are a culmination of relationships, knowing weddings and frankly, a little luck.
The little things are what the big things are made of.
All the little details and touches are what makes your wedding, well, yours. I have photographed many weddings at the same venues but I have never photographed YOUR wedding before. So all your little touches, all the pinteresting, all the family memories, all the late trips to Hobby Lobby… I want you to be able to remember all those things like they were yesterday, I want to still be able to smell your flowers when you show your daughter a photo of your bouquet, I want you to hear the laughs, feel the tears… the difference in our memories is the details of those memories.
Sometimes you just need a little guidance. I have not had the pleasure of photographing a wedding with a single professional model. Now some of my Grooms will argue that Derek and Hansel have nothing on them but that will not make them male models. These photographs are the ones where I helped create a moment for my couple that will give them a photograph that they will cherish forever. These are the complete opposite of the “photojournalist” or “story-telling” buzzwords currently being used waaaaaaay too much… and I could not be more proud I helped create these moments for my couples. Lets take a look at how this plays in real life with Monica and Dom, the first two photographs are without my guidance and the 3rd one is with my guidance.
Capturing a true, real, organic moment that will stand the test of time in the midst of full on chaotic wedding day takes a few different things to happen. It sometimes takes a solid understanding on the natural ebb and flow of a wedding day. Other times it is the trust a couple has in you as a photographer and they relax and the moments just find them. Add in some luck (dirty wedding photographer secret, we do just lucky sometimes) and you can catch that laugh, that tear, that look, that fleeting moment that only a still photograph allows you to soak in. These are my some of my favorite moment I captured in 2017.
Getting to know my couples.
The greatest compliment I could ever receive from a couple after sharing their wedding photographs is when their friends and family just simply say “These are so you!”. That is it. That is all I need to know I photographed a couple’s wedding day that is authentic to who they are. I want to take a few moments and share with you some of my couples that never fell into the trap of chasing something that was not who they were just because it was trendy, or pretty, or a blog/website/magazine says it is popular. The happiest people I have ever met are the ones who know who they are and chase the things they deeply love.
Amanda and Carlos – In all the weddings I have photographed, I have never had a Bride go through as much as Amanda did to get to her wedding. I really don’t have a way to describe it without throwing a bunch of people under the bus but I personally was gleefully ready to drive the bus myself. Through it all though, they both just wanted to BE married. In the end, Amanda trusted me and shared with me a moment that I will forever cherish and Carlos…. Welllllllll I learned a few things about Carlos along the way too!
Margie and Kevin – Wedding days can be stressful and I truly want to help in anyway I can relieve that stress. Even with all my expiernce though, sometimes after a couple makes it through their ceremony, they just need a drink. Like a little something to take the edge off. Orrrrrrrrr maybe just a bit more.
Meg and Mike – Early in Meg and Mike’s wedding, another wedding vendor was trying to stir the emotions between them and asked the couple to whisper a sweet something to each other. I have seen this done before and sometimes, with the right couple, in the right situation, in the right moment, it does stir up a decent response…. So like maybe 3 times ever has this worked as intended. In the case of Meg and Mike’s, lets just say they were not part of those 3. Seriously, this is the couple who LITERALLY used Rick Astley’s “Never going to give you up” as wedding vows… WEDDING VOWS!! If you want a reaction from Meg and Mike, you ask them the story of why they had an “UP” cake topper, or you question Mike’s commitment to leg day at the gym and wait for his response.
Joanna and Mat – Guess what? A different vendor tried that whisper something sweet again… and it failed. You want to know why it failed? Well because this is couple where Joanna got Mat a sword as a gift and I was left in charge of him and his sword.
Nighttime – I wish I could guarantee a beautiful sunset that and a perfect timeline so we go frolic in field for 2 hours on your wedding and pretend we are doing a styled shoot. OK, that is not true, not at all. Even just typing that makes me feel exhausted! The most important, THE MOST MOST IMPORTANT part of your wedding day, is just simply that you enjoy your day. If I do everything I can to do to help you enjoy your day and you go to be that night and just whisper to each other “That was so much fun”, I am know that I am going to give you photographs that you will cherish forever. Sometimes that means we do get to go enjoy the sunset but let’s be real. In the midwest, we do have these things called clouds. Sometimes it even rains! Or it is -6 degrees or it is 104 degrees… All of these things is why I started doing nighttime shots with my couples. So just enjoy your day, have fun and do not worry about anything else!
If you made it this far and took to read this post, thank you! This year has been a really tough year for me but after putting all this together, I really am so full in the inside with the amazing couples I was able to hang out with this year. 2018 is shaping up to be something so different for me, so a big thank you to each and every person that gave me hug, let me photograph them and simply just gave me smile when I needed it!
Now one more favor, please please please share this post far and wide for me!!