I’m a photographer all of the time and on occasion, I actually have a scheduled photo shoot. This past weekend I took save the date photos for a couple at a local NYC park. The soon to be bride is a close friend of my sister on law. I don’t know if wedding related photography is my thing necessarily, but here’s what I do know. While it certainly does take some skill as a photographer to capture good images of a couple in love, what also makes the photos great is the energy of the couple themselves. When they feel comfortable expressing how they feel for each other in front of the camera, there’s no way that doesn’t transfer to the image. Taking photos of people is always a collaborative and co-creative effort. Depending on the nature of the project, both parties have to be somewhat committed, because the product is always a direct reflection of that.
When I get home and start looking at all the photos I’ve taken on any shoot with clients, I can tell right away if it’s been a success, not just in terms of technique, lighting, or exposure but in the spirit of the entire endeavor. Did the vision in mind translate to the truth of this particular person or people? It’s always good to have a plan and this couple had a clear one. It’s like the plan is a canvas in which to explore the painting, we don’t really have any idea what the painting will end up looking like. We just have some idea of what we’re going for, and often that’s a feeling right? We’re filling up a raw space with our creativity, using something that’s already been done as a guide, as inspiration. It’s very exciting to me.
I’ve done nuptial related photo shoots only a small handful of times and even though I’m always a bit nervous, the nerves never override the feeling of excitement. Lastly, I have to say that no amount of editing, photo-shopping, airbrushing or cosmetics can take the place of the core energy of people in a photo. All these things can help the vision along but if the spirit isn’t there, there’s no there there. In my experience so far, if the energy and the vision is there, than for me, as the photographer, almost half the work is already done.