The Way We Shoot Weddings

Wedding photography should evoke memories of the emotions in play at the event, like this playful moment from Abby's daughter's wedding in 2009.
Wedding photography should evoke memories of the emotions in play at the event, like this playful moment from Abby's daughter's wedding in 2009.

I am not a wedding photographer by trade, nor is my wife. Once in a while, though, when the occasion calls, she and I will join together and shoot a wedding, like when Abby’s daughter got married in 2009, or last night when two friends of ours wed in Ada’s Wintersmith Park. On other occasions, I have teamed up with other photographers, like the time Michael Zeiler and I shot a traditional Jewish wedding (my first) for a friend of his, or Robert Stinson. Michael and Robert were, by the way, among the many photographers who shot our wedding in 2004.

In this image of Abby's from last night's beautiful ceremony in Wintersmith Park, you can see me in the background; shooting from two very different perspectives is one of the strengths Abby and I bring to event photography.
In this image of Abby's from last night's beautiful ceremony in Wintersmith Park, you can see me in the background; shooting from two very different perspectives is one of the strengths Abby and I bring to event photography.

Regardless of the combination of photographers, the way we shoot weddings is essentially the same way I shoot everything else: photojournalistically. Not only is my strength in photojournalism, I feel that it represents the events and emotions in play at weddings. Other photographers might not agree, and certainly there are other styles, many more formal, for shooting weddings. But when I am at these events, in my head I am “covering” the wedding.

Abby works the same way, and like when we hike and shoot together in the wild, we fill in each other’s gaps nicely. The fact that we are roaming around shooting in this style also keeps us out of the trap of being micromanaged by some major player at the wedding, often the mother of the bride, who feels she knows more about photographing her daughter’s wedding than anyone else possibly could. This character, by the way, is a leading reason why many talented photographers don’t like to shoot weddings.

Abby and I had a great time shooting our friends wedding last night. Though we were not the official, paid photographer, I feel that the images we made will stand as some of the best from the evening.

I made this image when working with Michael Zeiler at a traditional Jewish wedding in Oklahoma City; surely this will evoke more vivid memories for everyone than an image of this man posing for the camera.
I made this image when working with Michael Zeiler at a traditional Jewish wedding in Oklahoma City; surely this will evoke more vivid memories for everyone than an image of this man posing for the camera.
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3 Comments

  1. Sadly, wedding photography has become much like the rest of the wedding — just a tradition that we do without even thinking about it. I’ve seen far too many boring, cliched, and honestly really crappy wedding photos, many of which were taken at the direction of the ‘character’ you mentioned.

    I have been a ‘second shooter’ at several weddings, which means I had the freedom to roam and see what I could see, instead of taking the forced shots that everyone else was looking for.

    Excellent blog entry, and really cool photos too.

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  2. I think once someone sees how rich the photos are that come out of a journalistic stle, there is no way you could be satisfied with the standard posed wedding photos. Hence the preponderence of disposable cameras at weddings. People know how stiff wedding photos can be, but it doesn’t ocur to them to break away from their pre-conceived notions of what photos should be taken. Of course, my photos were taken by people I completely trust, including my mother.

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