To Photograph A Wedding Or Not?
I have been asked many times over the years to photograph various weddings. My answer has always been the same: "I do not photograph Weddings, Children or Animals!" Why? Well, I just do not think I have the patience or personality needed to be good at these types of shoots. But, that may have all changed recently while photographing my nieces pre-wedding events.
Sydney & ReaganSydney & Reagan Wedding Rehearsal
On Decemebr 16, 2017 my niece Sydney was married to an amazing man named Reagan Jones. A few months before the wedding, my sister called me and said the following: "I know you do not photograph weddings, but your niece Sydney would be honored if you would consider doing something else for her. We have hired a great wedding photographer Amber Joy Malone, (Wow! you must check out her and her husbands work, they are amazing!) so we want you to come and enjoy the wedding. But, would you be willing to photograph her and her bridesmaids the morning of the wedding while they are getting ready?" How could I say no to my sister and beautiful niece? I agreed that I would bring my camera gear to Savannah, GA and shoot the girls all getting their hair and makeup done prior to the wedding. Once I arrived in Savannah, I decided to bring my camera with me to their Rehearsal as well. Of course my sister had a huge smile on her face when she saw I had brought my camera. It warms my heart to make my family happy, so I was happy to do it.
Sydney & Her BridesmaidsRehearsal Day Fun!
From what I have learned, many Brides & Grooms do not get photographs of their Rehearsal or Pre-Wedding functions for various reasons. Apparently, the main reason is it is cost prohibitive as they would rather spend money on capturing the actual wedding. Also, some wedding photographers do not offer this as part of their services. For me, as a photographer that has avoided shooting weddings because of the stress I assumed it would cause me, I found shooting these pre-events for my niece to be fun and non-stressful. To be fair, my aversion to weddings came from shooting a wedding many years ago and that one experience left a bad taste in my mouth. It was chaotic and the families of the Bride & Groom were just way too pushy and opinionated for my taste. Almost every shot that I had planned in my pre-meeting with the Bride & Groom were hijacked by their respective families and I found myself shaking at the end of the day and vowed to never do it again.
However, my experience shooting the pre-wedding events for my Niece was the total opposite of what I experienced many years ago. What I experienced this time was the family and wedding party were in a more relaxed mood at the Rehearsal than they are on the actual wedding day. I was able to interact with them, laugh with them and found the entire experience inspiring and quite fun. The morning of the wedding, my niece and her bridesmaids were all getting their hair and makeup done and I just floated around between them shooting and having casual conversations with them as I photographed. I brought my partner JC with me and he was a great help in pointing out opportunities for some great shots. They were all having a great time with each other and in turn with us. Mind you, I did not know her Bridesmaids personally (out of the 12, I only knew 2) but in this environment, I found it easy to engage with all of them and gain their trust. I found this experience to be much more relaxed than photographing an actual wedding. As a result, I was able to capture some special moments that would have otherwise been lost to a memory. This entire experience has me re-thinking my aversion to wedding photography and perhaps I will include a few more in my future. Perhaps there is a market for a Pre-Wedding Photographer and I might have a new niche. What do you think?
The Morning Of The WeddingSydney and her Bridal Party Prepare
The Bridal PartySydney basks in the sunlight surrounded by her Bridesmaids before the wedding
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