One of the things I'm almost always asked by potential clients is how I approach the weddings I shoot. To be honest, I never really tell the complete truth because my mindset going into weddings is kind of goofy and embarrassing. That being said, as goofy and embarrassing as it is to say out loud, or in this case write, I do think there's a lot of logic to it and I believe it really helps me capture more meaningful photos for my clients. So here goes. Deep breath. My mindset is time traveller. That's right. Time traveller.
Now, I know that sounds dumb, but let me explain. When I shoot a wedding I'm constantly aware that my clients aren't just the bride and groom on their big day. My clients are the bride and groom 10, 20, 50 years from now as well. As far as I'm concerned that's a massive thing to keep in mind. Obviously the main focus of weddings are the bride and groom, but my time traveller mindset has made the wedding guests a major focal point of my wedding photography as well. Years from now when my clients look at their wedding photos I don't believe they're going to want to see 600 photos of themselves. Yeah, obviously they're going to want to have a bunch of great photos of themselves, but I believe what they're really going to want to look at are photos of the people they chose to share their big day with. Enter the time traveller.
If my clients were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary and they could send me back in time to take photos of their wedding day, what would they tell me they really wanted photos of? That's basically what I'm thinking about while I'm working. That kid over there, she's married with kids of her own now. That grandparent or parent, they're not around any more. That friend by the bar, they moved and my clients haven't seen them in years. There are so many small moments and interactions during weddings that may not seem particularly meaningful while they're happening, but photos of those people and those moments could end up being priceless to my clients.
Some of it is a bit depressing to think about, but it's how life is. Happiness is only real when it's shared and the people we share the best moments of our lives with are what make those moments what they are. To me that's what weddings are all about. When else in anyones life will they get to have all of their family and friends in one place? So I go trigger happy taking photos of my clients guests. As much as I enjoy shooting the formal photos, some of my favourite photos have always been the candid shots of my clients friends and family.
Now, despite my best efforts, I don't always get great shots of every guest. In fact I don't think I've ever got great shots of every single guest. Some people are harder than others to get good candid shots of because their peripheral vision is dialled in and the second I point my massive lens at them they awkwardly stare at me and it ruins the photo. I don't blame people for having this reaction. I don't like having my photo taken at all, so I can relate to that uncomfortable feeling some people have when they're being photographed. That being said, I do wish people would realize who's really looking back at them through my lens. It's not just me. It's the bride and groom many years from that moment. It's the bride and groom's kids and grandkids who haven't even been born yet. I think that's something worth keeping in mind if you're ever attending a wedding and the photographer points their lens your way.
Honestly, I wish I could be invisible during most of the wedding day. I do my best to go unnoticed, but I am a 6'4" redhead, so it can be a challenge. In all seriousness though, aside from the formal photos I really do try to be as unnoticeable as possible. I want my clients to forget I'm even there for most of the day and just enjoy themselves without even thinking about their wedding photos. And when they get their photos I always make sure that there are not only lots of beautiful photos of themselves, but there are plenty of great photos of their guests as well.
So yeah, in case you're wondering, that's my mindset while shooting a wedding. Time traveller.