I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine about her wedding and at one point, we talked about her wedding regrets. One of the things she brought up was her wedding photography. She had wedding photography regrets and she wasn’t completely happy with the photos. I feel like I’ve been hearing this now from a few different couples and I want to address it.
Of all the vendors you hire for your wedding day, your photography is one of the few things that linger after the wedding. After the food has been eaten, the drinks drunk, the music played and the decor displayed, what remains your wedding photography (and your memories). It’s one of the few items you get after the wedding and because of this, I think expectations are usually very high. Given the onslaught of media today, I think brides expect every possible styled and candid shot imaginable. They want everything, but the reality is that you won’t get everything. It’s pretty much impossible. And when that long awaited DVD, USB or online gallery arrives, disappointment can replace excitement.
Are you ready? Because I’m going to be honest and upfront with you. Here is the reality of wedding photography. Photography is an art and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You may be asking, “well that sounds nice, but what the heck does that mean?” What it means is that wedding photography is an art that revolves around the person behind the camera’s point of view. It’s how they see the world and what they feel is beautiful, artful and exciting. Because every person is different, every point of view is different and thus, opinions will be different.
Just because the wedding photographer thinks a shot is great, doesn’t mean the couple will. You will like some shots, you’ll love others and then there will be ones you don’t like. This is unfortunately just the way art works. If this frustrates you, think about the last time you went into an art museum. You wandered through the halls and found paintings or sculpture you really liked, ones you didn’t even notice and others that you really didn’t like. Wedding photography is similar and the reality is that not all the shots will be love-worthy.
So, maybe right now you’re thinking that the solution to this is to write down every possible shot you want and provide that to the photographer so that everything you want will get taken. Or maybe your plan is to have a lengthy conversation with your photographer going into great detail about what photos you want and how you want them. This is a bad idea. You can give your photographer all the shotlists and direction in the world, but you’ll never get it all and what you will get, will not always be what you had in mind.
Here’s the thing, you have to let them do their work. You hired them because you like their photography style (if you didn’t totally love their style, then that is a whole different problem suited for another blog post) and thus, you have to trust them and let them do it. What will happen then, you ask? You won’t get everything you want, I can promise you that. But, you will get some great photos and truthfully, you don’t need hundreds of great photos, you really only need a handful.
You want your wedding photographer to tell your story and they can’t do that with a shotlist looming over their head. Photography is art and you have to let them see, feel and experience the day as it is. The day is unpredictable and you can’t control what happens, where they are, and what they are seeing. The reality is that you can’t expect them to be everywhere and get everything. And they aren’t you, so the shots they take aren’t necessarily going to be what you would have taken. But what you should understand is that is also the beauty of it. Allowing them to experience the day and photograph it as it happens is what you want them to do. Take my advice and manage your expectations, understand that you won’t get everything, trust your wedding photographer and I promise you’ll get some shots you love.
I think every couple has, at least, one regret that occurs to them after the wedding. Maybe it’s something they wished they did or maybe it’s something they wish they didn’t do. I can honestly say that despite being a wedding planner and being able to anticipate things, that I even have a few wedding regrets myself from my wedding. It’s totally normal and even expected. But here’s my sage advice, let it go. If you don’t have a wedding regret, then you over thought it and didn’t just live in the moment. We’re human and what comes with that territory is to not always know what we want when we want it. So be happy that you did live in the moment and you experienced your wedding day as you and not some actor in a play. Because really, in the end, enjoying those feelings at that time is the absolute best part and you wouldn’t want to miss that for anything.
(Photo credit: Strotz Photography)