Archive for July, 2016
Rain plans. It’s a phrase that no bride wants to talk about, but it does occasionally happen and it’s good to be prepared. How about lightning plans? You’d think it’s the same plan but occasionally you have a situation where an impending storm makes you rethink your strategies. I hadn’t thought about it either until literally 48 hours before Sandra’s and Matt’s big day they found out that the weather was going to force a pretty big change. They were changing their entire venue…only one of the biggest decisions you make (other than wedding photographer…clearly!)….with less than two days to spare. Invitations already sent. Directions distributed. Flowers, cake, food…everything going in a different direction that had been planned for months.
If you’re a bride that’s in the midst of planning her wedding you may have just passed out at the thought. Did Sandra and Matt? Nope. Not even a little. Now, this is the part where I tell you that having an exceptional wedding planner and coordinator is worth its weight in corsages and center pieces. Adam Donovan-Groves of Donovan-Groves Events was amazing. He coordinated the entire change with as little disruption to the day as possible. Masterful job, Adam. Truly.
So, instead of frantic faces and worried expressions, instead of blown timelines and missed opportunities, you have an entire wedding day that happened exactly how it was supposed to happen with a simple last minute address change. So, you can now focus on the beautiful little touches that filled the day. Check out that Viewfinder loaded with relationship memories that Matt gave to Sandra before the ceremony. Check out that reveal in the bridal suite at The Lodge at Mt. Ida. All told, a remarkable wedding day.
We often list our wedding colleagues, the “vendor team” as a recognition of their hard work and dedication to making a great wedding day, but this time it’s truly a remarkable list. Everyone involved rerouted everything to make this day happen for Sandra and Matt. Thank you to, of course, Adam Donovan-Groves and team, Milicent and staff at The Lodge at Mt. Ida, A Pimento Catering, MS Events, Nature Composed, Six Stylez Band with Sam Hill Entertainment, Favorite Cakes, and Anne Kibler.
Have I mentioned how much I love being a wedding photographer? Yeah. I have. You know I have. And if you’ve been reading my blog you know why. People. Lots and lots of people. Weddings are about people, defined by the people who are involved and who are invited to attend. When I first got started in photography it was my dream to be a street photographer like the famous Magnum group members or an editorial photographer like the insanely talented NatGeo staff. And I’d say a good 90% of my early film days were spent with a camera around my neck, wandering this town or that city, trying desperately to catch those “decisive moments” that I knew were happening all around me. I had no idea that I’d be using all that practice to capture weddings and couples. None. In fact it wasn’t until my friend Todd Smith, whom I met first as my own wedding photographer, encouraged me to try it that it even became a possibility for me.
But here I am 13 years later, having spent countless hours surrounded by happy, smiling faces. Even in the midst of the hot, full wedding season I find it really hard to feel burdened by the work. You see, I took wedding photography on as a cause quite some time ago. That cause was to create the best, most illustrative and enduring images that I possibly could. I didn’t want to just make a pretty picture and walk away. I wanted my photographs to define the day for my couples and their families. If my best work at any wedding looked like any generic magazine cover then I’d failed. So it was and still is my mission to be better than what’s expected. And the more weddings I was invited to photograph, the more I wanted to.
So, how does this relate to Euridice and Andrew? Look through their images and tell me you don’t smile when she smiles, reflexively and then openly. When I tell you that the picture of the beautiful woman in the picture frame is of Euridice’s recently passed mother, look again at the images of her and her father throughout the day and tell me you can’t feel their expressions as if they’re your own. Look at Andrew’s face as he quite obviously loves and admires Euridice, how he holds her and tell me you don’t root for their lifelong happiness. So yeah, I love my job.
Be ready for anything. Stay flexible. Keep smiling. Those should be some of the first things you learn when you start out as a wedding photographer. You can have the best plans in the whole wide world, but when it comes down to the wedding day you still have to be prepared. Why do I mention this? Because after all the lovely planning I did with Annie and Lynn in preparation for the wedding day, we had a nasty looking storm headed our way and it looked like it meant to stick around. And, when you’ve chosen a family home in the beautiful Virginia countryside to hold your (mostly) outdoor event, a nasty looking storm is definitely not what you had in mind. So what do you do?
A rain plan is always great to have and they did have one. But something else I learned about weddings quite some time ago and it is truly the reason I love each and every one – weddings can be many things and happen on many types of days and in any number of locations, but the most important thing about them are the people. As long as we had these two amazing families and this great couple, we could have held the entire event in the root cellar and it would have been a great time. As luck would have it, we didn’t need the root cellar. The skies cleared up just after the ceremony to reveal a stunning afternoon and evening.
That is why we spend far more time than most in finding each and every interaction, expression, and heartfelt moment that we can. It’s why our blog and our website is filled with faces rather than tablecloths and shoes. Don’t get us wrong, we love the details. You’ll find some incredible ones throughout our work (see just below 🙂 ) and they are worth remembering, just like the portraits. But I’d trade all of them for that hug that Annie gives her father on the dance floor after his welcome speech, or Drew’s face when he unwraps the painted portrait he and Annie received as a wedding gift. And I’m going to assume since you’re here and still reading, that you agree 🙂