I often joke about learning photography from You-Tube University and it’s mostly true. It’s all out there with many different talking heads online. If there is any one thing I wish I had in my background, it’s photojournalistic experience. I say this with a wink and a nudge, but Im starting to hear voices. “Don’t move those shoes.” “Do NOT interfere.” “Anticipate and wait.” I’ve learned to deal with these voices but the struggle is in balancing these voices with the others. “Set up all your lights and light the fuckoutofer“, “You should get them to do this…” or “Set up 7 lights and 4 flags and have them run down steep flights of stairs.” These are the voices that want to ‘create’ cool moments at a wedding. I’m the flag in the tug of war rope that hovers over the line of victory for photojournalism or victory for a more commercial approach. The more time passes, the more I realize I’m a wedding photographer with a dirty little commercial photography habit. I’m so happy to spend most of the day with a camera and a 35mm lens…but when it comes to portraits, Steph opens the truck and gear comes spilling out like clowns from a circus car. As a wedding photographer you walk a fine line between capturing the day, as it happens, pure and true and uninterrupted…and then you flip 180 degrees and take control of everything. Light, shadows, poses, background, locations, feelings and stories.
Full disclosure, sometimes I stand on a location and make myself sick to my stomach because I can’t think of anything cool or different to do with a couple. The creative genius just doesn’t show up. It’s a terrifying feeling but it’s been my experience that cool shit just happens. Why am I telling you this? Not because it happened with Anna + George but because I knew that the ‘portraits’ we took of Anna and George were important to them. Anna wanted less than traditional portraits to directly contrast with her traditional cathedral wedding ceremony. It was the perfect fit for all of the voices in my head.
When I showed Anna this post, I purposely included just one photo that Steph and I had setup. What I wanted to show her was not so much ‘look at what WE did on your wedding day’ but rather ‘look at what YOU did on your wedding day’. Yeah, we strolled the streets and made some cool portraits…but for the other 12 hours that day…it was all about what they did.
Maybe it’s because Im getting older and my first born child is going to school in less than 2 months…but for me, more and more, wedding photography is about what you do and not what Steph and I make you do*.