Wedding photography that tells your story
If you’ve been reading about wedding photography, you have probably come across the phrase “story-telling.” Wedding photographers approach story telling with varying visions and techniques, and often will refer to or emphasize story-telling in different ways. I thought it would be interesting to outline the different types of story-telling a photographer can do to help you visualize some ways you would like your wedding day captured.
A wedding day comes rich with beautiful details, gorgeously dressed people and compelling events that will never again repeat. Capturing all of these aspects of your wedding day can prove both challenging and a lot of fun.
Wedding story-telling through details
When I chat with clients that have retained my services, I aim to discover what details of their wedding day are meaningful to them. This could be something as simple as the flowers, the rings, or something more complex, like party favors or the cake decorations, or something over-the-top special like a wedding dress veil passed on from the bride’s mother or grandmother. Sometimes clients put a lot of work into those details, even going as far as creating some of them personally, and that means I must put a lot of effort in capturing something that is key to them and their day.
Wedding story-telling through locale
While the first type of story-telling we discussed tends to capture close-up, small details, one could say the environment where the wedding is taking place is another type of detail. Including a sense of place and location, the clients will have a memory of where their wedding day took place. Architectural or landscape type photos capture these memories nicely. I believe that integrating the bride and groom into a locale shot, as shown in the third example below, is particularly effective and meaningful.
Wedding story-telling through formal portraits
Among many photographers I respect and admire, wedding portraits, also called formals, don’t have a high reputation. They fear that formals take a lot of time and often present our clients in stiff, unnatural, contrived poses. They would much prefer capturing natural moments. Fortunately, formals don’t have to turn out boring or stiff, and I think capturing a few “set” shots where we present our clients, family and friends in set arrangements is very important to them because these photos portray them as they looked on that big day. Ask people which wedding photo is most likely to hang from a wall in their home, or stand on their desk at work, and this is the type of shot most of them will choose. For this reason, I believe taking the time to present my clients at their best to show how they looked on their wedding day documents a crucial part of the wedding day story.
Wedding story-telling through in-the-moment photography
This type of wedding photography is often called photojournalistic or documentary. Think of the type of photography a war zone photographer does… okay, just kidding, but it is similar in how the wedding photographer is capturing unscripted moments, personal interactions and events as they occur during the day. Whatever you call it, I like to think of it as in-the-moment photography. No thinking, no staging, no pre-arranging, just anticipation and being there. The wedding photographer is watching and anticipating those key moments and reacting quickly to capture them with his camera. The resulting photos often prove very special since they feel real and portray unvarnished emotion.
As a wedding photographer serving the Los Angeles area, I employ a mix of these story-telling methods. I hope to join you on your wedding day to capture you, your family, your once-in-a-lifetime moments, the special details of your day, and through all of it tell your story.
Eduardo Suastegui seeks the heart and spirit in each image as a wedding photographer serving his clients in Los Angeles, CA.