As a photographer, there are some hard lines to draw about what’s “art” versus what’s meant to be archived at weddings.
By that I mean this: there are some photographers who, when you look at full wedding galleries, every single image is a perfectly composed, perfectly curated, near completely fabricated moment. These galleries are often magazine quality, and are sometimes hard to believe it’s somebody’s real wedding. There’s few in-between moments and everything that is photographed is done in an absolutely perfect way.
Don’t get me wrong – that takes talent, and these photographers are worth every penny.
But my gosh, doesn’t that sound exhausting?
Imagine having to look perfect in every single image that is taken of you on your wedding day. I mean, as a neutral bystander I absolutely believe you will look fantastic at every point that day. But I’m not here to curate which of those are the best to you. Right?
And of all the ridiculous things I will promise you, I will promise you this: I will most likely deliver some “unflattering” images of yourself to you. Because I’m always photographing the little in-betweens. Walking from hotel room to hotel room, lifting up your dress over a puddle, laughing and crying with an unexpected visitor, everything. And it’s my job to photograph these moments with meaning and acute perception.
But it’s not my job to curate these photographs so precisely that I’m the one deciding which images of yourself are the best ones. That’s for you to decide.
There will be multiple photographs of you petting that random dog because I don’t know which photograph you believe you look the best in. I don’t know what photograph you will choose as your favorite. There are things you love about yourself, and I don’t know all of those. Maybe you love the way you laugh super hard, but aren’t a fan of smiling with your teeth. And though I believe both of these things look perfect, it’s not my job to deliver only the ones I think are best.
So I can almost guarantee to you I will deliver photographs that you don’t like. And that’s okay.
Because it means that I’m leaving the decision of choosing favorites up to you. And I would so rather deliver a few extra images if it means that you get to choose from all of them the ones that you feel most accurately represent your event.
One of the most profound education events I went to had a speaker who had family photos done, and she was sorely disappointed with the result. The photographer spent time getting her to laugh, and photographing that laugh, and she absolutely hated it. Why? The photographer captured this objectively gorgeous photograph of her, and yet, she hated it. Why? She said, and I quote, “I didn’t need HIM to make me look beautiful. I did the work to love myself, and I didn’t need any help from him”.
So, as this woman said, you don’t need my help to love the images of yourself. You don’t need me to make you laugh, to choose which images you look your best in. You’ve done the work, that’s a task that I’m leaving up to you. You don’t need me to love photographs of yourself, and you don’t need me to decide which photographs those are.
So yeah, I’ll probably deliver a few unflattering images of you. But take this as a cue of your freedom to choose what matters to you.
Hey! I'm Makayla, a wedding photojournalist based in Duluth, MN and Saint Paul, MN.
I believe that stories are best told untouched, undirected, and with intentionality and meaning.
This blog is a space to share advice for couples about weddings, advice for photographers about witnessing events with intention, and steps to create decisions based on your values and what matters most to you.
Grab your favorite beverage, pull up a chair, and let's get to know each other.
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