Every bride has a wish list. It’s no surprise that parts of her photography coverage will include items on her wish list. It’s my job to find out what she has in mind… to be sure that we communicate in detail about the parts of the day that she has dreamed about. Case in point, I don’t usually look for a huge landscape with a tiny couple in it when I consider portraits. It is a trend in today’s wedding imagery that sort of baffles me because it takes the emotional content out of view.
Last week, I had a a great little wedding in Old Town Alexandria. The Morrison House Hotel was the venue and my couple really wanted a portrait on the front staircase… they had seen one like it during their planning sessions. It was a classic sort of space and it made for a nice image. It may not classify as a portrait, per se, but I am sure it will satisfy her wish and will remind them of this happy day for a long time to come.
If you are making plans, local or destination, I’d be happy to talk to you!
The grace moments happen without fanfare… you can’t really stage something like this without making it look dorky. It’s not something you can suggest to a couple, it has to be an organic thing. It has to come from them.
Jessica and Phil had a crowded wedding day. Many people and a tight timeline made for sort of a frazzled tone to the early parts. It was most noticeable when we took 15 minutes after dinner to sneak out for some pictures of just the two of them. I watched them exhale and they began to breathe a little easier. Shy of the camera to start with, I asked them if they had honeymoon plans. That was all it took as they started to talk about Cabo San Lucas and the relaxing they’d be able to do there… like a great shiny reward hanging just ahead.
Trust your photographer to find and catch the grace moments… you’ll want to have them for later.
We all know what a pain it can be to spend an otherwise lovely afternoon in the company of your dweeb cousins. She got the plum assignment of flower girl and was very excited until she realized that she had to work alongside her cousin… it just went downhill from there. This moment was one of several where she had to hang with him and keep her dress clean, waiting for the ceremony to start.
These are the little moments I live for… anything that can tug at your inner child and send you rocketing back to the scratchy dress and the patent leather shoes and all of the other injustices in a young life. Weddings are full of moments… some are grand and some are small but they all count.
I am lucky in my job!
There once was a wedding on a sunny farm in Newberg… high in the hills on a very hot August day. We had to do some dancing around our original schedule to accommodate the flavor of the light. There literally was no place to go for romantic portraits until after dinner… that’s when the sun had gotten low enough to give us this lovely light for softer portraits. What I like is that Betsy and Rob trusted me to make it work. We slipped out to the back of the property between dinner and toasts… we only needed these ten minutes but we couldn’t have had them at any other point in the day.
Vibrant Table designed and catered this marvelous day… they were able to roll with the weather, too. ;0)
Keep your plans flexible if you can..you won’t regret it!
The architecture of a face is in the bone structure, yes, but more in the character of the person. You can tell by how they carry themselves that they are strong or soft, complex or simple. All of that means that there is a sense of architecture in a good portrait.
Cait married Matt on a blustery September afternoon in downtown Portland… the wedding was at the elegant University Club… an institution in the very best sense of the word. When it was time to have them out for portraits, we went out into the streets looking for good light and interesting spaces. They both brought this wonderful sense of play to the table and they trusted me to make it work.
Everyone has an interesting face… the key to it is to be alive in your own skin… stop worrying about the magazines and the media. The architecture of your face won’t be like anyone else and that is something to be celebrated.
Let’s talk about interesting pictures, ok?
Be still… be really still for just a moment. Sometimes I see a chance to make an interesting portrait but I know it will hinge on the ability of my subject to just focus for a minute and that can be really hard to do on a fast paced wedding day.
Tiffany and Jon wanted to have their first meeting on the rooftop of The Nines so off we went… we did several in the bright September sun with Portland all laid out around us. To get to that section of the roof, we walked through this very dark, breezy space with tall shifting panels of gauze. It was sort of trippy and it registered in the back of my mind as something interesting. Just as we were finishing up, we walked past this hallway on our way to the elevator and I got to see it differently. I knew time was tight but I asked Tiffany to stand in the space and to hold very still… I was working without a tripod and I knew that flash would ruin what I was seeing so I turned my shutter way down and leaned hard into the wall. She did her elegant best and we have this glamorous piece as our prize. ;0)
A professional photographer will see the possibilities and make them work… how about that?
In the mirror is a familiar face… the bluejeans are crumpled in the corner and you are feeling the slight edge of the veil on your bare shoulders. It’s been a long time in the planning mode but here you are… dressed and polished to a high point you don’t quite recognize. And, yet, it’s you all along. Familiar is about to change for you and your other half in so many ways… it will take some time but you will see the differences as the years go by. The two of you become more of a team than you ever thought possible… if you are lucky, it only gets better. Old, comfortable familiar becomes new and better familiar and life goes on.
Today, though, is the day to look in the mirror, before the ceremony and all of the people descend on you and see just who you are about to become. It can be quite magical. ;0)
Lauren married Dustin on a warm September evening in Abigail’s Garden at Oregon City’s Abernethy Center. Geranium Lake Flowers staged a fantasy night flavored with Harry Potter references and the night went on for many lovely hours. What I know is that the planning paid off and these two are off on their new journey… new worlds are ahead.
Instead of a Unity candle, consider a Sands Ceremony… you might be sweetly surprised by how personal it can be.
At it’s simplest, a sand ceremony involves a blending of two different-colored sands into a single container. The meaning is clear: The blending of two lovers, into an inseparable unit that is their marriage — the joining of their lives. Hard as it would be to separate out those grains of sand, that’s how difficult it is to separate these two people. Like the Unity candle, this Sands Ceremony can be done at any point in the marriage ceremony… it’s also not going to be too dependent on wind conditions. I have seen couples who are blending their families bring the children forward to add colored sands of their own and I have seen sands from around the globe incorporated into the mix… a way to pull your histories together.
The vessel you choose will dictate the shapes of the sand layers… I would advise trying a couple of containers ahead of time so that you have an idea what sort of artistic piece you might have after the wedding. You should also take into account that it will need to be transported carefully so that the layers stay distinct… this is not something to throw into a purse and take to the reception. ;0)
Michelle and Heather will have this reminder for many years to come.
Again, anything that makes your wedding day more personal is a good thing.
Let me know if I can help!
Remember when wedding photos were kind of stodgy? Attitudes have changed over the years in the best way!
Posing a wedding party used to be about symmetry and well dressed people on their best behaviour… the men all on one side with their hands folded in front and the women all turned just so with their matching bouquets lined up. I have worked a little against this for many years, trying to fit it to each client’s need for their real friends vs the staged lineup. The prevailing attitudes have brought a wonderful sense of fun to the whole process. These days, I’ll do one or two staged set ups for the older generations but if I can get the wedding party or the family groups to play in front of my camera, I feel like I have done my job very well. Many years down the road, you should be able to look back at these pictures of your family and friends and recognize them as the fabulous people in your tribe… not just a well dressed group you happen to know.
I’m hoping there will be a day soon when the brides and grooms follow their own hearts instead of blindly checking off a list in a magazine… make the day your own and have a blast!
Happy to be along for the ride! ;0)
Your best friends should definitely be gathered into a group portrait at your wedding… it’s a no brainer! Some of my clients ask ahead and put it on the to-do list. Some get to their party and realize that it is a good idea… either way, it’s something you may not be able to do as often as you like. If you were to ask me, I’d say to try for this shot right before dinner. The wedding and the cocktail hour have happened and everyone is in a fine mood by then… the pressure is off and the smiles will be easy. Give your photographer a minute or two to find the right place for the size of your group and the rest of it shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. The image will go down in all of your history books forever. ;0)
This tribe of best friends had a heck of a good party at the end of August. The wedding was in a private shared garden and then they moved the crowd to the beautiful rooftop of the Eastside Exchange… a perfect venue for a Portland summer night.
Come make some history with me… it will be a gas!