It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write. I’ve been working on rebranding everything for months now and that just didn’t feel right without writing a letter to my brides too. This is for you.
I truly can not explain the level of gratitude that my heart holds because I get to call documenting some of the best days my job and build relationships with some of the most loving, compassionate, bold, and talented humans. thank you for consistently being willing to abandon the pressure of having a shot list, for giving me your trust, and for a posture that leans towards what matters most – people.
Here’s my love letter to you all – the heart behind documentary work.
There have been far too many times I have sat down with brides who are scared of hiring a photographer at the thought of them taking control of the day or becoming the focus of it. I’m not quite sure when this became an acceptable idea or a part of a photographer’s job description, but I have never desired for it to be a part of mine. Documentary work is circling back around, but not quickly enough. We have casted visions of posed photographs off Pinterest boards and our idea of “perfect” moments, and if there is one thing that documentary does best, it’s abandoning the idea of perfect. This dream that the perfectly aligned tables and the angle that your head is tilted at matters more than the people who your day is filled with ruins the point. A wedding day has not and should not ever be built around getting specific photographs. Forcing moments to happen for the sake of a photograph simply ruins the beauty of the day single handedly.
Your day will be perfect in it’s own way. I’ve photographed far too many weddings where they look to me for what to do next, what to say, how to pose perfectly, and while guidance is given when needed, I was never meant to be a director; I am a documentarian. I used to come home feeling guilty for not taking enough control. I fell into the trap that to “make it” in the photography world, your portfolio needed to consist of perfectly posed photographs. I photographed my very first wedding when I was sixteen. Before the pressure and expectations began, I photographed the day how it happened. For years I have longed to go back to that. In fact, I often look back that those images with a deep admiration. However, this does not exist without trust. When people say that business is just really selling trust, they mean it, and it may be even more true with art. I do my job at my best when I am surrounded by people who have trusted me to do my job well. I am beyond grateful for the people who have extended that trust and have shared their hearts with me. May this be your encouragement to dance in your dress if you want to dance, hug the people you love, sing to your favorite song, lean on their shoulder, kiss your person. Emotions are high all day long and you have full freedom and permission to act on them.
Be where your feet are. Soak in every single moment. I promise you, the photographs will reflect that. You have the freedom to move, talk, laugh, sit, run. It feels silly to even say. But we live in a world that is so fixed on curated moments we have lost the art of valuing the candid ones.
Abandoning the ideas of perfectionism that have been engraved in our lives for so long is no easy task. But one that is far worth it, especially for a day like this.
The tables are set, the seats begin to fill, laughter echos through the halls as old friends connect and new friends form. The bride is tucked away, glancing in the mirror one last time. This is it. These are the moments we hold close. They aren’t posed. They aren’t forced.
I think the closest thing we can get to perfect is when we are fully present.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the day. Things always work out as they should.
That’s how we ended up here right?