Behind the Scenes Photos and Videos....I love them! Love them! And I've become known for them over the past few years. Recently, I received the following Direct Message via my Instagram account:
Q. Beautiful weddings! Do you also work as the wedding photographer for your couples?
It turned into a whole series of messages back and forth..."If your couples have their own photographer, then why do you take so many photos?" and "Did you ever take photography classes?"
Where does my obsession with behind the scenes photos comes from?
The not so pretty answer is that once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I was working at a venue when one of our client's photographers had a mishap resulting in all of their wedding photos being destroyed. All of them. Every. Last. One. Now, this was before the days of cell phones. All the beautiful bride and her groom had were cobbled together from those cheesy throw away cameras people left on the table. I don't even think they have a full length photo of her in her dress, or a clear one of them together.
Years later, when I first started my own wedding planning business, I took on a client who's photographer I wasn't quite comfortable with. A rash of panic came over me...What if something goes wrong? What if this photographer isn't good, and the bride doesn't get the photos she is hoping for? And, selfishly, what if all the beautiful detail that we've worked so hard to put together goes undocumented, and then I don't have anything that properly shows my work?!?!?
Thank God for my very patient, brilliant, and resourceful husband. He jumped online and the next morning a J1 Nikon arrived at my door. "The only way to be sure that you get the pictures you want," he said, "is to take them yourself."
See why I married him?
Let me state something for the record: Since starting my company, I have never (knock on wood) had an issue with any of the professional vendors that I have hired showing up. In fact, all I have ever been is blown away by the talent, the craftsmanship, and the amazing results we have gotten. My couples all enjoy stunningly photos and video that are certain to stand the test of time and become heirlooms, beloved by generation.
So why do I still do it?
Well, to start with it's become somewhat of a passion project for me. After months of planning, I become invested in each wedding I do. Being able to capture the day through my eyes, the way that I see it, has been a very special experience for me.
I find that I also tend to get one shot that the couple loves. I get to know my brides and grooms so well, I develop a sense about what they want to see, and how they want to see it. It makes me happy to get that one shot that they love that they can put up on Facebook or Instagram really quickly.
I also love getting a photo of the photographer working. So many times these awesome people are behind the camera. People don't realize what goes into taking the perfect photos. Capturing someone I love doing what they love is always a treat, and over the years I've gotten some spectacular pics! It's always nice to be able to share a cool photo with someone who spends their life taking photos of other people.
But most importantly, in the event that there is ever a "God-forbid" moment, I know that my couples will have at least a handful of high-res, in focus, and clear photos that document their day for them. But honestly, I worry about that less and less, because the teams that I work with are so beyond good...They actually have double cards in their cameras, so they won't loose anything!
And the truth is that no one person can be everywhere at one time! And that means that, occasionally, to get the "money shot" there are secondary shots can get missed. For example, in the moments before the ceremony starts, it's most important that the photographers get great photos of the ceremony location and take their places to shoot both the bride coming down the aisle and the look on her face when the groom sees her for the first time. That leaves her final moments unattended to and undocumented. That's where I come in...
Side Note - Beyond a few classes in high school and a life long love of documenting everything, I have never formally studied photography. The only teachers I have had are the tremendously amazing professional wedding photographers in Las Vegas that put up with my lurking and who have provided me with thousands of photos as inspiration. And after seeing their work, I would never presume to serve as anyone's wedding photographer. I'm happy to simply serve as the best wedding planner I can be!
Word to the wise - no matter how much you, your best friend, your cousin, or your neighbor's sister's roommate loves photography and weddings, always leave photo and video to the professionals.