I read an article written by Rebecca Reid in the Telegraph which made me chuckle, and then made me think. It was called ‘Hanging off a cliff and exposing your knickers? Extreme wedding photography has gone too far’ and you can read the full article here on the Telegraph’s website.
Rebecca Reid recently got engaged and has been finding out information about Weddings which up to now she just didn’t know and her witty writing style had me nodding in agreement and wryly smiling to myself. The thoughts she has on ‘extreme Wedding photography‘ are very pertinent of course and I thought I would add a few thoughts of my own about how to find your Wedding photography style.
My approach to Wedding photography has always been that my job as a photographer is to capture great photos of the Wedding Day as it unfolds, not to make the Wedding about the photography. This essentially means a great deal of forethought and planning before the Wedding Day to make sure that I know what is planned to happen and what to expect so that I can make sure the photos are taken in a more documentary, free-flowing style than in a staged manner. There are parts of the day where making sure the required photos are captured means putting groups of people together – and sometimes that means a more formal section of group photos, and sometimes that means being with the Bride and Groom as they greet their family and friends so I can take photos of them in a more informal style in small groups or with individuals.
I have not yet photographed what I would call an ‘extreme’ Wedding – to me that would be taking photos of sky-divers getting married, perhaps rock climbers on their favourite mountain, or kayakers negotiating waterfalls and white water rapids. I wouldn’t be opposed to considering these situations, I just haven’t been asked yet.
I have taken some staged photos though which were later transformed into images reminiscent of the ‘people running away from a dinosaur’ Wedding images which were so widely shared on the internet when they were first done. They didn’t take long, perhaps 2-3 minutes, and involved lots of guests as well as the Bridal party – and a considerable amount of laughter and some quite dodgy acting. Fun, over in almost an instant, and some great finished pics.
There was a specific reason for that though, and one or two other photos that day. The Bride and Groom went to a horror movie on their first date and share a common interest in spooky movies as well as superheroes. So it made sense to have a little fun with those ideas as photos, as well as it being something they wanted to spend a little time doing on their Wedding Day.
Would I offer ‘extreme’ photography just so I could attract clients who wanted to perch on a cliff-top ledge totally out of context and without any relevance? Probably not. Not in the middle of their otherwise normal Wedding Day.
Themes, whole Weddings arranged at unusual locations, or people getting married because it has a relevance to them all sound good to me. As does taking stylish, creative, documentary style photos which reflect a perfectly normal Wedding Day. Every couple is unique, every Wedding Day has it’s own style and feel, and every marriage or partnership has story so why not make a fantastic job of capturing that on camera?
I welcome new ideas, couples and individuals who have ideas, and who want to contribute. I love listening to people’s stories of how they met, their romantic (or otherwise!) tales, and about the people they will be sharing their Wedding Day with. I’ll make suggestions using my creative ideas, looking at locations and venues, and from just listening to their stories and expectations.
So my top three tips for finding the kind of photography right for you on your Wedding Day:
- Extreme ideas are best left for a photo-shoot, not your Wedding Day – unless it is relevant and meticulously planned as part of your day as a whole.
- Find an experience photographer who listens to what you want from your photography.
- Both meet with and talk to your potential photographer so you can both be sure you are getting the photography service you want. An experienced photographer will help find ways to incorporate idea or suggest acceptable compromises for your photos or style if you both have different ideas.