People always seem to be surprised to hear that I photograph weddings, and they become even more surprised when I tell them the real secret – I really like it! No, really! Whenever I get a wedding on my schedule, I get really excited.
I suppose the disbelief comes from the fact that I most of my photography is rather fanciful – I can often be found photographing Space Captains, PinUps, Trolls, noir Detectives, Barbarians, on rooftops and wandering around in graveyards. After all that, weddings may not seem like they are particularly my style. Also, a lot of photographers don’t like doing weddings – just not their thing.
But they are completely my style, and I love doing them. With my love of telling stories and creating characters, it might not, on the surface of things, make sense why I like photographing weddings, but I do, and it has to do with two main things – my love of portraits, people, and stories.
One of the things that runs through my photography is my love of photographing people. I enjoy a beautiful landscape, and I respect a well designed still life, but it’s people that capture my imagination.
While I may take some time to shoot table settings and the venue at a wedding, it’s the people that are truly the focus. Shooting a wedding I get to point my camera at the subjects I love the most – people. I get to know the faces of the wedding party as if they were old friends.
When I take photos, arranging shots on my own, I am primarily interested in creating characters who can tell an interesting story. I suppose that’s why I’ve gotten hired to do a lot of book covers – I like taking photos of stories.
At the root of every wedding is a love story – sometimes, many love stories. It’s the story of how a couple got together, and often the story of a parents love for their child, or how a community came together to support someone they love. Many times, the eyes in the room turn to a grandmother, and how generations of love culminated in this moment, this wedding. I think this is my favorite part of shooting weddings – that I get to see this story unfold.
I will never get tired of love stories. There is a joy in every wedding that I’ve been to. No matter how early I had to get up to be there for the brides hair, or how late I’ve been at the reception, being there for that kind of joy is energizing. My body might be exhausted at the end of the day, but I will have had the privilege of feeling that kind of love. In a difficult world, weddings give me the chance to see once-in-a-lifetime joy, over and over again. I will never tire of that joy.
At my last wedding, I got to be very close by when the father of the bride placed his daughters hand in the hand of her groom. Her fathers eyes welled up with tears, as they all looked at one another at this pivotal, wonderful, bittersweet moment. To be present there for that is an honor.
Shooting weddings isn’t something every photographer enjoys. I can understand that. Weddings have long hours on your feet, and afterward there is photos to edit and albums to arrange. They conquer your weekend and eat up your time.
But photographing weddings is rewarding for me. I get to photograph the things I like, people and love stories, and I get to do it in a place filled with love and joy. I like being on my feet and running after flower girls, taking pictures of dances, meeting people and capturing that love story. It’s work, but it’s work I love doing.
Interested in hiring me for your wedding? You can find more details about my wedding package here: https://jrblackwell.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/weddings/