This is a big one. These are the pictures that will preserve memories of one of the most important (and hopefully one of the best!) days of your life. And what an industry it has become! Not only the wedding photography, but the whole kit and caboodle, all the way down to the graphic design firm that we hired for all the creative work. As soon as you say “wedding,” tensions heighten and prices jump. Everything from the venue to the cutlery will be scrutinized. The people who do your place settings could be different from the people who provide the table cloths, and they could be different yet again from those who do the chair covers. The whole thing is a bit nuts.
And all of this is reflected int he wedding photography. Or, that’s the way it seems to me, at least. I’ve seen professional wedding albums that include pictures of the centre pieces and the napkins and the bows on the back of the chairs and the perfect little cupcakes. And I don’t think anything of it, initially. You probably don’t, either. It seems pretty normal to want to remember every little detail about your big day. Goodness knows you spend enough money and time deciding on the little things. And then … after you’ve had that particular thought … maybe you stop. And think. My goodness … the money and the time … and they’re napkins ….
But that’s the way the industry is! Your napkin choice is so important that a professional photographer has felt the need to capture an image of those napkins on film. And you what might be even worse? I don’t … not want that. I do want beautiful place settings, and I do want to remember it all in a photo album. So I’m not saying, necessarily, that this is all bad, I just think it’s important to realize what photography can tell us about what society tells us is important.
On a totally different – yet still wedding-photography-related – note, let’s talk for a second about personal pictures at a wedding ceremony. A friend of mine is a professional photographer, and she posted an article a few months ago about how photographers hate it when people try to use their phones and their own cameras during the ceremony when the photographer is trying to work. Because then the pictures are just full of people with their phones in front of their faces!
Imagine the bride walking down the aisle, in all her graceful splendor, and the photographer is at the front of the aisle, blending professionally into the background while getting the perfect shot. And she has it: she’s facing the bride, she’s almost at the perfect distance – and then seven arms shoot into the aisle, all holding camera phones. Now fast forward to two months later, when the bride looks at her photos. There isn’t a clear one of her walking down the aisle, because a bunch of her guests, who thought that they were doing the right thing, trying to capture the moment, got in the way of the professional who was hired to do just that. So think about this next time you attend a wedding, and save your photos for the reception!