It’s far too easy for wedding photography to fall into the realm of cliché and predictability. There are just too many “standard” shots. The lineup during formals. The “smile for the camera” pose while cutting the cake. The posed bridal portrait. Too many photographers have a mental list and check them off as the day progresses, and it can be tempting to take this easy path to photographing a wedding.
But telling a compelling story is much more than getting the standard, predictable shots. It’s about capturing emotion and a unique perspective. Often the story is told through a different take on a classic scene, and it requires an ever vigilant eye throughout the day.
As an example, take the classic procession of bridesmaids as they make their way down the aisle to the altar. It’s easy to get a snap of each and call the job done. It documents, but is it really capturing much of a story?
On this particular wedding, as I was documenting the procession, I noticed the bride’s aunt and mother grasp hands and give a reassuring squeeze. In this one simple action a world of story was taking place. The emotion was palpable. The moment was tense. It was getting real! In moments her daughter would walk down the aisle and the course of two families would be forever changed.
It only took a moment to capture, but it would have been all too easy to miss. Selectively focusing on the hand clasp draws the eye to the height of the emotion but composing the photo with the out of focus bridesmaid puts it in perspective and tells a more complete story.
If I were a photographer who does nothing but pose photos or captures just documentary images, this beautiful, emotional moment would have been lost forever.