My husband captured this moment at the wedding we shot last weekend. I’ve looked at it about 50 times in the past 24 hours and I have teared up every.single.time.
One of the only fun parts of editing is “surprise photos.” When I edit the photos I have personally shot, I pretty much remember every image I took. Or I am at least reminded of it when I see it. But when you have a second shooter who just hands over their images at the end of a night, all of a sudden you have the gift of being surprised.
And that’s exactly what this photo did for me.
I was scrolling through the wedding last night, going on my 11th hour of editing this week, and I got to this image. I saw it and I literally gasped…in that old, “Oh my-lanta” way where I brought my delicate, gloved hand to my mouth. I’m serious! That almost never happens to me.
It is such a genuine moment. (Sidenote: I can brag about this because I didn’t take it.)
She wasn’t thinking about the cameras, how she looked in her dress, how the decorations looked at the reception, or what kind of flowers she was holding. She was thinking about walking down the aisle and marrying the man at the end of it.
And it’s not a perfect picture. This is obviously not natural light. The ceremony was dark at places. The highlights are probably too bright and the tones in the photo are a little too gray. But I’m guessing you didn’t think about those things when you saw it. (If you did, you should see about getting your heart melted somewhere.)
Photography in general has become such a production. We are daily assaulted with gorgeous, posed photos. In ads, on TV, magazine covers, meticulously crafted selfies and food photos…they are everywhere! And they absolutely have their place in this world and at weddings. What bride doesn’t want to feel like a model on her wedding day? Who doesn’t want a photographer to take the time to move the strand of hair, position her arm in that skinny, hand-on-the-hip way and tell her groom to smile bigger? The posed photos matter. But oh, photos like these, they mean everything to me.
This photo encapsulates what I want to do. I want to help people forget about the camera, at least for a second. I want to take photos of people’s lives as they are living it, as it actually looks, strand of hair in their face and all. I’m not saying I won’t ever do posed photos, but I hope my work always demonstrates a strong combination of both. I’m so grateful to my husband for this image and the reminder that this is why I started taking photos in the first place.
What better way to capture Debbie on her wedding day? There isn’t a single other image in the 600 I’m going to give her that will give her the feeling this one will.
And all you Instagramers out there looking for the perfect brick wall to pose in front of…don’t forget to capture what your life actually looks like sometimes. Because I bet you’ve taken a blurry pic of a McDonald’s cheeseburger after a late night out – I wanna see it. I bet you have a grainy shot of your friend laughing until she cries – I absolutely wanna see it. Also? I bet you took and unflattering selfie…publish the outtakes. The world could use a little less pose and a little more real.