I am incredibly gratified that yesterday's post set off a really interesting discussion here, on the Knot forums, various facebook pages, twitter, and on a professional photographer forum. But, unfortunately, the comments here were hijacked by a single commenter. Instead of responding again and again to his/her repetitive comments (and some directly insulting comments from someone that I kept having to delete) I shut down the comments about a truly important topic about the purpose and beauty in wedding photography.
But I would like to continue the conversation. So instead, I'm requesting wedding stories and photos from anyone who is comfortable sharing them. Send me your photos of real wedding joy. Send me your thoughts and comments. (Let me know if you want to remain anonymous about your stories.) I'd like to try this again, this time with our pictures and personal stories speaking for us. I'm not married yet, or I'd defiantly post our photos of imperfect beauty and smiles-so-much-it-hurts joy. I'd show you how our ordinary looks can be transformed by the hugeness of a wedding and that wedding-art photos capture something more essential than facial symmetry. Because weddings strip back pretense and leave love at it's rawest and most beautiful. Love lights up a face, laugh lines, extra pounds and all.
And that's what I think most couples are looking for. We'd love to be models but we know we're not. So really, what we want from a wedding photographer is someone who understands how to capture our raw happiness. We want "marketing" materials (ie blog posts) that show you are skilled in capturing joy like ours, and not simply stunning photoshoots of attractive couples. We're not looking for fashion photography - we're looking for photographers who see the art in the small moments of weddings: in my mother dancing the hora and in my best friend's baby hiding under a chair with cake and with my forehead resting against my new husband's shoulder and with friends getting messy on the late night dancefloor. And those moments happen regardless of whether the bride is 20, 50, white, brown, slim, chubby, gay, or straight. And we don't need them to dominate the pages of your website or blog... we just need to know you get it before we hire you. In other words, we need clear "marketing" examples that ordinary people are valued and flattered by your photography too.
We expect your websites to have your best work with your most attractive clients. But we want to see ourselves in your portfolios too. And if you're not going to do it, then I'll do it here. So please, send me photos and stories of the moments that lit up your weddings and I will share them here, as a reminder to all of us and our photographers that we are your clients and that this is what joy-as-beauty looks like.