When your family hauls out the memorabilia for your 10th, 25th and 50th anniversaries, it won’t be the cake or the centerpieces or the flowers you agonized about. Those are all important, but they’ll want to look at the pictures.
So will you.
They make you feel good. They make you remember how you felt on your wedding day, and maybe they make you feel that way again.
“In 10 years, they won’t have anything but the pictures,” said Michael Rawlings, an Eagle County photographer who specializes in weddings. “The dress will be packed away, they may not remember what the meal was, the tux is rented, so that’s gone. They probably have a copy of the invitation and menu, but those are kept in the photo album.”
The types of wedding photographs people ask for have changed over the years, along with the equipment used to create them. Traditional poses capture things like the decorating scheme, the general setting and family and friends who came, which is nice, but it doesn’t tell the whole story of your day.
“In the ’70s, wedding photography was double exposures, fancy filters. We used to make fun of it in journalism school,” said Rawlings. “Now people just turn the photographer loose. A wedding is just a big party, a happy day.”
Many wedding photographers and videographers, including those who do not have backgrounds in photojournalism, have turned away from portrait-style techniques and adopted a more news-oriented approach. The idea is to document the event by capturing key moments.
This is not always easy. Weddings don’t stop because the photographer is in the wrong place.
“There are moments a photojournalist will anticipate ” the kiss, the ring ” and will have to plan in advance and think, ‘I need to be three pews up and to the right in 10 seconds,'” said photographer Rex Keep.
Everyone wants photographers to keep a low profile. So do they.
But there are times when a photographer has to get the shot, like when the bride and groom leave the church and are taken away. The key for the photographer is getting in and out quickly, and be prepared.
Rawlings often goes to the rehearsal to learn who’s who in a wedding’s cast of characters.
“Going into a group of 100 to 200 people, it takes a while to figure out who’s mother is who, is this the bride’s best friend since high school or someone she hardly knows,” Rawlings said.
Of course, not every friend and family member is actually participating in the wedding. And a casual acquaintance at the wedding may become a good friend later. A photographer who captures every attendee on film may be doing the couple a service they will come to appreciate in the future.
Some couples want all the pictures and opt for a buyout. They hire the photographer and then take the film at the end of the day. That’s usually the least expensive option and allows you to review all the shots rather than just the ones pre-selected by the photographer. On the other hand, photographers do this for a living and their expertise can be important.
The photographer can also put together a package of prints, which saves you the time of wading through shots that would not make the cut.
Above all else, remember that this is your day and a wedding picture is worth a thousand words. Choose them wisely.
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