Emotion or Perfection?

“I want everything to be perfect.”

I hear that a lot with regard to every aspect of a wedding, and it’s completely understandable. Weddings are, after all, a special day and a lot of money is being spent so it’s natural to want everything to go smoothly and look perfect. Who’d want anything BUT perfection wherever possible? Unfortunately, the idea of “perfection” differs from person to person quite dramatically. Especially when it comes to wedding photography.

To some, perfection is exemplified by studio quality magazine fashion shots where every single hair is in place, every pore is smooth, every hem is ideal, every flower petal is exquisite, and 20 pounds magically disappear just by posing a certain way.

To others, perfection is about capturing the perfect moment or emotion. The perfect photo is about an engaging, natural smile or a genuine laugh captured as it happens naturally. It’s about preserving a moment as it happens, not creating a pose. It’s the best moments of real life. And it’s captured unobtrusively so that you can enjoy your day without putting on airs for the camera with a plastered-on smile and the uncomfortable knowledge that your every body position is being scrutinized. Weddings are fast-moving and full of surprises. Ties may become crooked. Hair may become a bit messy, sometimes offering tiny “flyaways”, especially if shooting outdoors. Veils may billow behind you, sometimes oddly, in the wind. It’s just the nature of dealing with real people during real moments.

Perfect? Maybe not, but a true moment showing plenty of emotion.

The beauty of the photo is in capturing the emotion and preserving the moment despite the occasional wayward hem.

As a candid wedding photographer specializing in documentary style memories, I most certainly consider myself a student of the second camp, preferring emotion to studio “perfection” every time. Don’t misunderstand, I never just point the camera in a random direction and call it “candid” and therefore “acceptable.” But it is important to know what your photographer’s primary influence is in making photos.

You don’t want to hire a candid photographer who specializes in emotional documentary images when your own goal is studio perfection.

A favorite expression of mine comes from Joe Buissink, one of the world’s most respected and sought after wedding photographers. Joe believes “There is no such thing as a perfect photo, only a perfect moment.” I absolutely agree with this. Joe is one of the top wedding photographers on the planet, and his images offer those small “flaws” that many studio or model photographers—who are looking for absolute perfection in every way—would shudder at.

All of this isn’t to imply that you won’t get beautiful wedding photography from a candid photographer. Far from it! I am very careful to create photos that are artful and beautiful to behold and spend considerable effort enhancing the emotional feel of the images.

The point is that the beauty of candid photography comes from the emotion captured, the moments preserved, and the relaxed experience that you have on your big day. 

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One comment

  1. Let’s begin with Style. With the digital age upon us, photography has blown it’s stitches and is now beaming with different creative lenses (both literally and figuratively). It’s very important that your photographer’s style best represents your vision for your wedding. If you are planning on spending endless hours perfecting the “look” of your wedding you want to make sure that your photographer incorporates the aesthetics into your big day!

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