Weddings and Engagements
My experience is mainly in wedding videos, all of them done for people I knew well beforehand. I enjoyed that, but I decided that when it comes to video/film as opposed to photography—see my comments here—I'd rather use video to make movies like this one.
But momentous occasions in the history of real people are much better captured in images. Besides, you can't put a video into an album on or your wall. We're living in the time of a generation, whose memories may get lost in the maze of cyberspace, misplaced DVDs, memory sticks, hard drives, and un-backed-up and discarded computers. Memories crunched into oblivion with the electronic media they're stored on.
Compare this to the simple pleasure of leafing through a gloriously designed album, telling the story of your special day. Something you'll be able to do for as long as you please, quite without any need for computer screens, internet and electricity. Something that will never ever become incompatible with existing technology, no matter how far into the future you may choose to revisit those memories. Among the momentous occasions in our lives, surely a wedding is one that deserves to have a properly-designed album at the end of the 'wedding photography' process.
Occasions like weddings, engagements, Bar and Bat Mitzvah, graduations, etc are intensely personal, despite the paradoxical element of also being public; whether it's 'public' among family and friends or some wider 'community' (held together by whatever common bond). They are personal because they are typically focused on either one or two people. And they are likely to be intensely emotional; most certainly for those at the focus, but also those with bonds of love or friendship to them.
A photographer is often brought into such events as what you might call a 'resource'; someone to take the pictures. Professional ones, produced with the expected quality. 'Good' ones—whatever that means. Freeze the moments on the shot list, and make sure the whole thing is captured in ever more sophisticated glory, delivered to social media, sold in albums, slide-shows with soundtrack and what-have-you.
But what about the emotions? Isn't that what this is really all about? Isn't that what defines as a human beings? Emotions and moments? Some would argue that 'reason' surely comes into any definition of what it means to be human. Well, maybe, but after many years of living I'm not so sure that ultimately emotions are not what actually 'defines' us.
Gerry Ghionis, one of the world's foremost wedding photographers, whose work I respect highly, once noted (and I paraphrase) that the essence of a day-long wedding can be captured in less than ten seconds. Because that's about how long it takes a camera to capture literally thousands of moments; and these can usually be distilled down to just a few hundred.
A few hundred brief moments in time, capturing what made this occasion unique for everybody involved. A few hundred decisive moments in the personal histories of those attending. Joe Buissink, another foremost wedding photographer—whose style differs very much from Ghionis's!—would probably argue that there are far fewer than that, and that if you manage a dozen authentic, emotionally 'true' shots, you've captured the essence; that which truly matters.
My style and preferences sit somewhere between those two.
What can I do for you is preserve memories, and especially memories of emotions; not just the couple's, but also their families' and friends'.
In order to capture these I have to get to know you, and you have to get to know me, because we have to be comfortable with and trust each other. That means you'll have to let me into your lives; not only to make sure that we are a good 'fit', but also so I know about just everything you expect from your wedding. Not just in terms of photography, but everything else as well.
Some of these things can be determined by a questionnaire, but I prefer face-to-face conversation. And even if you're already engaged and have done an engagement-shoot, I'd still like to spend 1-2 hours with both of you and my trusty camera well before the big day.‡ That way you can become familiar with my photographic style. It's also an occasion to get to know each other better and talk about things that might have slipped through the cracks in our initial conversation. By the time the wedding comes around, the photo-part will not just be a breeze, but may actually turn out to add to the fun, rather than just being a 'documentary' type experience.
I, and whoever is helping me, are there to do what we can to make your wedding enjoyable and unforgettable. That's what friends should be doing, and I'd like to be your friend and have our lives enriched by knowing each other.
Having said all this, I hope it's clear that if you just want someone to record your wedding, hit the highlights and take cool pictures, and skip the old-fashioned wedding album, I'm probably not your man. If all you want is a 'photographer' and JPEGs I respectfully decline the offer.
‡ This service is provided free for booked weddings. I'll provide selected small-size JPEGs for social media use without charge. Full-resolution JPEGs or prints (print-only, framed, mounted, or in albums) may be purchased at competitive prices.