“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving… it remembers the little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” Aaron Siskund
Should you hire a professional photographer? If you think so, let’s talk about choosing a wedding photographer. If you’re not sure, let me share some thoughts.
Why is wedding photography important?
After the guests go home… it will be the two of you, left with your memories, your rings, and your photographs. Thousand little details you have painstakingly created. Your thoughts, the effervescent excitement about your future life together, the happiness and gratitude to everyone who is spending this day with you. The anticipation and focused attention of those most dear to you. The exhilaration of this great life’s milestone.
The truth is, you only get one shot at this. You’re throwing a lavish party – and it will whizz by in a flash. After the wedding… and as years go by… your photographs will become priceless. They will allow you to relive, again and again, the way your spouse looked at you that day. And your youth and beauty and the tears and the laughter.
What does a good photographer bring?
Let’s talk a bit about photography. Unlike painting, photography does not create reality out of nowhere. It has to work with what already exists. On your wedding day, everything will be beautiful: two loving people, enjoying one of the happiest days of their lives, in a gorgeous setting, with their closest family and friends. So, an easy task for anyone with a camera?
Not so. Photography does not always do reality justice. It freezes it, flattens it, crops it. It reduces colour and exaggerates shadows. It suffers from harsh light and darkness. It takes a special skill to overcome these obstacles and do justice to the person on an image. It takes even more skill to convey the impression, the feeling of the moment.
And on your wedding day, there will be plenty of feelings to go around. How does one capture a near-perfect day if it is hectic, emotional, and seemingly disorganized? If there are a million priorities vying for the attention of the bride and groom? If the mother of the groom is jet-lagged after her long flight? If the sun is about to set, thus wasting an opportunity to take the most romantic shot of all times?
Just compare a wedding to the shooting of a perfect portrait in a photographer’s studio. It takes hundreds of shots, controlled environment, and seemingly overkill of lighting equipment to get a few natural and attractive images that convey something meaningful about the subject. The wedding photographer has limited time, sun shining from an inconvenient angle, and no space for his lighting equipment. The photographer has to make up for the missing elements with superior skill.
A good photographer will be able to work quickly to make the most out of every moment. They will find a way to capture a natural look or comfortable pose which is also flattering. They will know when to watch for a special moment – an expression that speaks volumes and forever tugs at your heartstrings. A precious expression is much more valuable than perfect light (which can be somewhat improved after the fact with advanced photo-editing software). It is important that the photographer is proficient at using those.
It’s not all up to the photographer
Everybody knows how unforgiving a camera can be. Do you feel a bit uneasy about wedding photography? Do you think maybe sometimes you do not look very photogenic on pictures? You are not alone. But have you ever watched a video of a celebrity being photographed? You can bet they feel a bit uneasy, but they just know how to strike a winning pose. There are certain tricks of the trade that models and red carpet celebrities can teach us. Take a look at our summary of the Art of Looking Photogenic.