Great solid, creative photography that captures the essence of the individual will always stand the test of time. Advertisers and advertising photography tries to win the game of promotion by catching the eye with the latest and greatest thing or by attempting to set trends. The problem with taking this approach to wedding photography is that you end up with a ‘Velvet Elvis’.
The original Velvet Elvis was a trend that saw people buying portraits of Elvis Presley painted on predominantly black velvet cloth to decorate their homes. It was cool at the time, had a stab at quirky chic a short time ago but ultimately will forever be seen as tacky and trying too hard to be cool.
It’s my belief that wedding photography should be treasured forever as a selection of timeless, elegant and classic imagery that becomes an heirloom. Not something super trendy that ends up relegated to the bin of future embarrassment.
In the past trendy wedding photography has included a range of poses and effects that all were popular at the time but now really date those photos and make them look tired. An example I like to give is the photo with all the groomsmen wearing sunglasses. I still get asked to take this shot all the time. Now imagine the photo was taken in the 1980s. Everyone would be wearing wrap around sunglasses with fluoro arms and ‘iridium’ lenses. When the photo was taken all those in it would think they were super cool and looking sharp. Looking back at that photo now they’d just look dopey.
The latest and greatest trends in wedding photography rely heavily on Photoshop manipulation. Often this manipulation is done through commercially available actions. The result is a bunch of trend chasing photographers using the same Photoshop actions and producing wedding photos that all look the same as the next guy.
Over a six week period a couple of years back I shot 5 weddings at the same venue, with the same celebrants, same makeup artist and same hairdresser. The photographs and albums from all five weddings looked completely different. Why? It’s because I don’t use a set list of posed photos and don’t rely on Photoshop to make my photos look cool. Instead I photograph the couples naturally, observe how they connect with each other and capture the moments between them as they happen.
My wedding photography is about the love between the bride and groom. Classic, timeless and elegant wedding photographs. Something to be proud of in 20 years time. Definitely not a Velvet Elvis.