A couple of days ago I was involved in an online discussion about wedding photography and what makes great, soulful wedding photographs. I thought I’d share my thoughts on what takes good wedding photos and makes them great wedding photos.
A couple of years back I had 5 out of 6 straight weddings at the same location, same celebrant and same reception venue. My wife asked how I was able to do different work for each couple. It’s simple. I’m taking photos of two people on their wedding day. Not the venue, not the locations.
I believe there are 3 kinds of wedding photo. Who was there, where it was and what happened.
Old school ‘posed’ photography is often little more than a pictorial record of “who was there”.
The stuff that gets published in magazines and makes photographers famous is “Where it was”. The magazines want to see details of the decorations and locations so other brides buy the magazines for their own wedding research. When they show photos of a bride it’s normally only so they can illustrate what the dress looks like.
Great wedding photos are “What happened”. Photos that capture the unique nature of the couple. Their emotion, their personal connection.
It’s why people put awful, blurry photos of them drunk and stupid on Facebook. Those images have true meaning to the people in them and they feel an emotional connection to the time and place they were taken.
Same with wedding photos. The connection evoked by great wedding photos is one of love between the couple, their families and guests. Not a memory of a photographer telling them how to stand, where to look and how to kiss.
I’m looking forward to taking more great wedding photos this year and putting together stunning wedding albums that become the treasured heirlooms of generations yet to come.