Dear Bride & Photographer
Call me old fashioned, but I can remember a time when weddings weren't themed or inspired. Back when details were the friends and family who gathered to celebrate the day with us. We weren't perpetuating empty competition in the size of a paper suite. Phones were mounted to the kitchen wall back home and guests were present. As a photographer, I feel the aesthetics of a wedding are taking precedence over the union itself, and we, the bride and photographer, are to blame.
Brides, it's not about the photographer you choose, the caterer you hire, the venue you book, or the flowers you have flown in. Yes, those things are very significant but they hold no weight to the person that will be standing in front of you while you stand in front of everyone. You shouldn't feel as if you have to impress anyone. There is nothing to prove that hasn't already been proven. Don't get caught up in the details; get caught up in each other. My favorite weddings have one specific thing in common; the bride and groom, on multiple occasions, forget where they are and become lost in each other.
Photographers, one of the best ways, we currently have, to market ourselves is getting featured on any of these huge wedding blogs. If you've ever visited one of these blogs, you have no doubt seen some of the most gorgeous images of some of the most extravagant spoons you can have at your wedding. And while these sources are rich in inspiration for both bride and vendor, they are consuming us, the general population of photographers, all looking to make it big. We are part of the wedding industry; a wave growing as fast as the bouquets and paper suites themselves, larger and larger with each feature. We are inspired by hand-dyed ribbon and mimosas.
"There is nothing wrong with being inspired by someone else's work, but realize that one day soon, the wave will settle, as it always does, and the pursuit of anyone but yourself is an empty one."
I find it odd that we invest in workshops, trying to set our work apart from others by using the exact same camera system, presets, or film stock as the host then wonder why our work looks like everyone else's, or worse, not realizing it. I implore you to shift focus from what you want your photographs to look like and try making them feel like something instead. There is nothing wrong with being inspired by someone else's work, but realize that one day soon, the wave will settle as it always does, and the pursuit of anyone but yourself is an empty one. Show us who you are and what you see.
At the end of the day, the food is thrown away, the tables and chairs are folded, the flowers wilt, and the memories fade. Make sure these things are captured for memory's sake. These images are all but a handful of artifacts from that special day. Work on being in the moment and not in your head. Work from your heart.
"Life is once, forever." - Henri Cartier-Bresson