Movies Don’t Stop And Smile

From time to time I hear from couples who prefer a more traditional, posed style of wedding photography when every photo focused on the subjects looking directly at the camera. I refer to these as “say cheese,” shots. They aren’t moments they’re poses. They’re actually pretty intrusive because whatever the couple may otherwise be doing, they have to stop to play to the camera. At the end of the day I don’t feel they tell the story as much as they are a series of portraits.

Personally, I don’t photograph a wedding that way. I prefer photos that capture the action and emotion as though I was never even there. Yes, there are formals, and I do those, but I’m talking about the meat of the day… preparation, ceremony, and reception. The story.

Think about how movies are put together. It doesn’t really matter if you like drama, action or just about any other genre. When was the last time you saw the actors stop, look at the camera, and give some forced smile? Kind of a jarring image, really. And it KILLS the flow of the story.

No, generally the characters are going about their business as though the camera wasn’t even there. As an audience, we want to get swept up in the story and feel as though we are right there in the heat of the action (or drama) but as passive participants.

That’s exactly how I tell a wedding story. I want the viewer to feel swept up in the story. I want each photo to make the viewer feel as though they are right there, to almost hear the music and the din of conversation, and to feel the tension in the air. I can’t think of a better way to kill that mood than to intrude, stop the day and have everyone “say cheese!”

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