When I work with couples to document their wedding, I feel a real sense of responsibility for helping them not only look and feel good in front of the camera, but look and feel good throughout their celebration. After all, as the photographer I spend the most amount of time with a couple on their wedding day; more than the moms or the Maid of Honor or the DJ or the florist or the wedding party. I’m there for everything. Which means I also witness – and can help mitigate – the family drama that may arise.
Not every family has drama, I understand. But if you do, somewhere, lurking in the shadows, then it’s likely to come out on your wedding day. These are high stress events with a lot of moving parts, opinions, egos, relationships, and decisions. It’s likely that the couple is going to experience some kind of dramatic (read: emotional, sensitive, difficult, trying) situation. And they may get upset, because stuff gets upsetting. But me? I’m Switzerland.
See, I’m the neutral party just tagging along for the fun. I’m in the situation, but I’m not in the situation. Get it? This gives me, as the photographer, the power to help diffuse, distract, delegate, demand, and otherwise intervene to make sure that drama gets diverted away from the couple. This keeps them calm, happy, relaxed, looking great, having a fun time, focused on what is most important: each other. And when they focus on each other, the photos are fantastic. Thus, I take this part of my job very seriously.
Here’s the key, though. Couples have to first let me in on their family dynamics. I am good a reading a room and navigating through some tricky territory, but it always helps to have the background. Your sister is going through a divorce? Your mom drives you nuts on a good day? Your mother-in-law is an alcoholic? Your dad hates your mom’s new boyfriend? Everyone hates your brother’s boyfriend? And no one knows your brother is gay? I can help handle this! By keeping you and your sweetheart focused on each other, and not focused on all the crazy happening around you.
Like I said, I take this role very seriously because I believe that happy, relaxed couples look better in their wedding photos. And, more importantly, have better memories of the experience of their day. To me, that’s what it’s all about. It’s a day that you’ll remember through photographs for sure, but I want you to remember it in your heart also. I know a few people who have beautiful wedding photos, but look back on their day with grief because their experience of it was awful. I want you to have beautiful photos and beautiful memories.
I bet you didn’t think that was part of the photographer’s job, did you?
Well, it is for me. So we’ll talk about the family drama at length, it will feel weirdly intimate, and then you’ll be so happy you did. It will be written all over your smiling face. And maybe your mom’s face too.