Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The best of both worlds

I want to talk a little bit about a dying art form in wedding photography: Classic Portraiture.

The current trend in wedding photography (especially in Tampa with carefree beach weddings) is photo journalistic. Take a look at just about any website for a wedding photographer in Tampa Bay and you will see dozens of fun, candid pictures from the wedding day that "tell the story." This is my style of shooting as well, I typically deliver around 600 images from a wedding day shoot. It requires a certain skill and talent to be able to capture moments in a unique way that is still artistic and there are a lot of very good wedding photographers who devote a lot of time to this particular style.

What I don't seem to see much of anymore is classic portraits and I think that it's a shame.

You see, in the "old days" before the digital revolution, wedding photographers didn't take 600 pictures at a wedding. Film was expensive (and there's the cost of developing) so the focus was more on classic, posed portraits. We've all seen these pictures in old wedding albums... the family together, the cake cutting, etc.

Now that we use digital camera's we can shoot all day long with no added cost. The "classic portrait" has fallen by the wayside and rightly so... I think it's a little silly to "pose" people for the cake cutting. However, I do think that there is still a place for classic portraits in wedding photography, specifically when it comes to the bride.

Candid, fun pictures from your wedding are the most personal but it's the classic portrait that will last forever. When your long gone from this earth, your great grandchildren won't appreciate the fun pictures because they don't know those people, they don't have a connection to them. It's the classic portrait of you in your gown, beautifully lit, that will be cherished the most because it's just you at your very best.

Many brides don't want to take the time to pose and many photographers don't want to take the time to learn how to take the shot (or bring the equipment necessary. I can sometimes use three different flashes for one picture). I'm often a little sub-conscious about the formal portraits because it's the only time of the entire day when everyone is waiting for me to get set up. I just keep reminding myself that it will all be worth it when they see the pictures. The bride spends hours getting ready, then squeezes into a very expensive dress..... it should be captured in the best way possible. Even if you personally don't like posed shots, there are a lot of people who do (like your parents and grandparents, for example..)

Looking at the two pictures on this page it's obvious that the first one is the one with the most heart. The bride dancing with her father is one of the most emotional moments in a wedding (especially for me, I have two daughters. Don't be surprised to see your photographer crying right along with you!). But it's the second picture that will be cherished by future generations. The second picture will come to represent you and your wedding day over time.

Photo journalistic style and classic portraiture. There's a place for both of them in modern weddings.

See more wedding photography on my website.