It would appear that I have exhausted my list of very favorite moments of a wedding day, but I want to continue this series with some other moments and how I approach them. I won’t say that I dislike any moments of the wedding days that I get to photograph because really I don’t. Every second of these days is full of energy and beauty, and while I enjoy certain parts of the day explicitly, I find a certain satisfaction in finding that energy and beauty throughout my time working for each of my couples. Every part of a wedding day brings me some kind of happiness, believe it or not. Let’s talk about photographing the wedding party.
For me, natural is always better in a a photo. However, sometimes the definition of natural needs to be stretched… I admit that it’s just NOT natural for 10 or 20+ adults to stand really close together facing the same direction unless they are posing for a photo. But I don’t want just a photo of everybody smiling at the camera. (Well, of course I do want that, but I want much more.) So how can we achieve a “natural” feel in a large group photo? Bear with me.
The purpose in a bride and groom choosing bridesmaids and groomsmen is to surround themselves with their favorite people to help them celebrate one of the greatest days of their lives. The purpose of having these lovely chosen people dress similarly is to show the couple’s wedding style and to set the honored best friends and siblings apart from other guests. The purpose of taking a photo of all of these people together is to remember who all was in the wedding party and how they looked on that particular day. Now, let’s be honest. That is a sweet concept, but it’s not very natural. It’s a tradition which has a tendency to go awkward and cheesy really quickly. The key is to avoid being too creative. At all costs.
You see, I want to make sure my couples are having fun, so that when they look through their wedding photos, they will smile remembering excitement and joy. They won’t be embarrassed by any fashions that may have come and gone–no photoshop gimmicks or silly poses where the subjects are quite convinced they are “en vogue.” No. I don’t like that. Let’s save ourselves that humiliation, shall we? The couple has already made it easy. They are surrounded by people who they love with all their hearts–ones who they think are beautiful, kind, and hilarious. That’s just it. I need to capture them being together, nothing more. What I want my couples and their friends and families to see when they look back over my photos of their wedding parties is true, honest, pure joy. Celebration, laugher, motion, anticipation, and sentimental gestures. They will see eyes and smiles. People. They’ll remember who was there celebrating with them on their wedding days, and they’ll remember why they chose those select few in the first place.