...and What to Expect from your (Maine) Wedding Photographer !
While I was looking over the images from Catherine & Tim's wedding day and rehearsal dinner at the Spruce Point Inn a few years back, I thought this wedding is a good example of the range and style of images one can expect to receive from hiring me, the candid, directed, spontaneous, and posed images from Friday night through the wedding night. When I looked at all the candid portraits shot at rehearsal dinner, when I saw the images of the Dad giving his toast speech* I was reminded of what great candid images are all about. And it got me to thinking about candid images.
I would like to break down what is behind being a candid photographer to help you better understand what capturing candid photographs on your wedding is all about.
Candid Wedding Photography. The number one requested style for me from couples is, they want candid images on the wedding day. Behind this request for candid is the idea that the majority of the images they will receive when it is all said and done are images of moments, and not just posed images and images of decor. Images with life and that are not static. Also behind this desire for candid images is the desire to not be subject to hours of posed pictures, missing out on time with the guests, and or just be plain miserable on any part of the wedding day. I understand all of that, and doing posed portraits of family members and wedding party can be done in an efficient and fun way so that the celebration is what the day is about. And moving beyond what is the opposite of candid style of images I want to talk about a few things that make great candids.
Great candid images are capturing images of people in a moment. A moment that highlights them, or the moment they are in. These are images that are personal and can be a fleeting thing. I don’t play basketball well at all, but I do compare shooting candid images at a wedding to shooting baskets in a game of basketball. You got to the hoop time after time, sometimes you score, sometimes you don’t but you don’t stop until the game is done. Or in my case the wedding. Just like in basketball you have to stay alert the whole time, as do I in a wedding. I can see a moment and by the time I bring my camera back to my face, while simultaneously thinking do I have the focal point exposure right where I need it and shoot, well sometimes along comes a wait staff and they block my whole shot. Not on purpose, it just happens. There are many factors in getting great candids, and many stories of the almost pictures. Faces change within a second, and after years of editing I can say that confidently. Sometimes I got everything right and my finger is coming down to capture that shot and bam their face changes, just like that. It just happens. So no worries keep shooting! Sometimes I shooting something over here and someone taps my shoulder to something over there. When in a room with 150 people it is very possible there are photo quality moments happening at the same time. Wouldn’t it be awesome to get them all! Well, I do my best, but I do bring along a second shooter so we can be covering two different angles at the same time.
Here are my recommendations when wanting to hire a photographer who will deliver candid images and the experience that comes with it. Number one, look at the portfolio and the best they present. Are they primarily showcasing candid moments, moments engaged with a feeling? Photographers will show what they want to shoot the most, what they think is their strongest work. Next, decide for yourself do they have the work ethic and endurance to play the whole game? Remember candids are hard work to get hour after hour!**
Next, hire your photographer for a good length of time. Don’t cut short the time you have them. This means hire them for the rehearsal dinner if you have one. All of your favorite people will be there yes? Get more images of them! This means don’t limit the hours hired on a wedding day. If you have your photographers for 10 or 11 hours instead of 8, what does this mean? It could mean the hour or so you take before the ceremony for first look will get you photos with the two of you and family members and provide time for lots of candids after the ceremony. It could mean that the time we are there shooting before the first look we also get lots of great candid moments while you not only get ready, but are sharing moments with your friends and family.
And lastly, once you have hired your photographer to get the shots you and many others will hold near and dear for many years to come, be ready to look at photos. Be ready to see images that might make you laugh, and maybe laugh at yourself. Don’t worry if your chin is in a funny angle in a photo I caught of you laughing, nobody cares about your chin, we love seeing you laugh, even those who don't know you. We connect to that feeling and it feels good. So thank you for being you in front of a professional photographer! And if there is a picture of you tearing up, be ok with it. Again it is all a part of you being human, and we can connect with that. And WE want to connect with that. Good candid images reminds us what being a live is all about and that is why I love to shoot weddings. Good candid photographs help us celebrate life better! So while the wedding celebrates love and life, pair it up with great photographs that will too!
* During Dad’s speech, he was giving Catherine & Tim advice on being married. He said “remember don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small stuff”. The way he said it I knew he knew what he was talking about. 4 years later I still remember that.
** Side note! Do remember if hiring a photographer for 10-11 hour day of shooting. We do get hungry and thirsty! It is like playing a long game of basketball! We will need to eat and drink and we don’t want to miss ANYTHING either! That’s another blog post and conversation. :)