STORYTELLING WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY
HOW DOES IT FEEL?
In Stephen Daldry’s smash hit film, Billy Elliot, there is one line that always stands out to me. In Billy’s audition for the Royal Ballet, a tutor asks him, “What does it feel like when you’re dancing?” He replies, in very Billy style, “Don’t know. Sorta feels good. Sorta stiff and that, but once I get going… Then I like, forget everything. And… sorta disappear. Sorta disappear. Like I feel a change in my whole body. And I’ve got this fire in my body. I’m just there. Flyin’ like a bird. Like electricity. Yeah, like electricity.” I think most other people who love this scene probably love Billy’s wonderful response comparing dancing to ‘electricity’, but I love the question – ‘How does it feel?’
I am an avid reader. I absolutely love books. A good author, to me, has the answer to the question ‘How does it feel?’ perfectly encapsulated in their chapters. The descriptions of the weather, the colours, the light, the emotion, the temperature, the character’s reactions, thoughts and feelings are all beautifully written to build a perfect picture in the reader’s mind. The reader is able to understand how the moment felt. Just as an author uses words and a page to create this magic, storytelling photographers use a camera.
IT’S THE PEOPLE THAT MAKE A WEDDING
For me, people are at the heart of a wedding. A bride said to me recently, “It’s about the people, not the stuff,” which completely resonated with me. It is the only day this exact group of people are going to gather together with the sole purpose of witnessing and celebrating this marriage. While the venue, the decor and the food have been chosen by the couple, how the day actually feels very much comes down to how this group of people interact and celebrate. It is something you can’t predict or mould. It is special and unique and unpredictable.
That unpredictability is what makes it so exciting for me. When I arrive at a wedding, I often look around at the guests and wonder how the day will unfold. I’m not wondering about the timeline, or the predicted elements – but how the people, their personalities, will make this day unique. And that, my friends, is at the heart of storytelling wedding photography. It’s wedding photography where the main focus isn’t some beautiful, magazine-style portraits of the couple, but instead answers the question ‘How did it feel?’ instead.
IT’S NOT ABOUT THE GROUP PHOTOS
I often hear guests say, “I’m just keeping this on until after the photos,” and it always makes me smile – that idea that the organised group shots are ‘THE’ photos to impress for and that everything else is of lesser importance. To me, it is almost the other way around. While a few group photos have their place, they are unable to provide an answer to the question ‘How does it feel?’ The unposed moments, that capture the truth of the day without direction, can answer that question: they are the most important.
STORYTELLING WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY
Storytelling wedding photography tells the real story of your wedding day. It has the nerves, the laughter, the banter and the tears. The photographs give a sense of the location, the weather and the crowd. They should ‘read’ like a beautifully written novel: building a picture in the viewer’s mind of how it would have felt to be there and be a part of it. For those who were there, the photographs act as a lasting reminder of how they felt that day. And for me, capturing that feels like electricity.