Ah, yes, the question frequently asked by many clients and friends alike. Sometimes they throw in their anxieties about the job being stressful (“it’s someone’s WEDDING!”), or that wedding photographers charge a lot (“It must be a great way to make money!” – Pro tip: If you want to make any portrait photographer laugh and cry at the same time, say this).
Sit, let me explain why I chose the path of a wedding photographer.
As a natural creative, my heart was always in art and design. Even as a kid in art classes, I gravitated toward drawing people, for some reason it’s always fascinated me. So I guess it was only natural that I was drawn to photographing people.
I picked up a camera and learned kinesthetically (ie: pushing buttons and studying my results). I took a formal photography class in high school, and found the technical approach to be limiting… So much to remember (f-stops, ISO, shutter speed, what?), granted we were using film cameras, and in order to get a good exposure you need to know your stuff.
But for me, weddings require so much more than technical knowledge. Yes! You absolutely must know your camera like the back of your hand. You need to know it in every situation possible and on the fly, because you never know what will happen next. You can’t be great at just one photography niche either (like, just great at documentary photography, or portrait photography, or details). You are the whole package, baby. You have to be a master generalist, sharp technicalist (I made that word up, just go with it), and truly mountains over all of that; emotionally intelligent. You have to read people, emotions, and anticipate. You are going to read people and know what they will do, say, or emote next.
So yeah, it’s scary being a wedding photographer. Do you know how many dreams I’ve had (literally) about my camera being lost or stolen, or my computer crashing with all of my life’s work on it (I back them up, but still…), or being sick, or my camera breaking/freezing/malfunctioning?! Why not throw myself in a profession that stresses normal people out, let alone a natural-born worrier!? I live on the edge, people! So why do I still do it? Because I love love. Paint me a Nicholas Sparks junkie, but I love watching people in genuine love. And I want them to see how beautiful they look living it.
When I stop and think about why I shoot love portraits – and weddings in particular –it’s not about the people at all. It’s about the moment. The emotion. The feelings. I look at my personal wedding photos, and remember the exact way I felt that day.
I always say, if I can make my bride (or groom) cry when they see their photos, I’ve done my job. Hell, if I’m not crying at my clients wedding, I’m not doing my job! I want my clients to feel emotion – the exact emotion of the “happiest day” of their life. I want to take photos that get couples through their inevitable rough times because they were able to remember how they once felt about the person laying next to them.
I may be a little bias, but this session was one of the best I’ve had. But I didn’t really have to work too hard with these two love birds, simply because they were so natural in front of the camera. It was great! I would put them in a position, and they would make it nice and comfortable for themselves and just chat naturally between the two of them. It was so easy to just let the shutter roll 🙂
We took photos all over Ballard and Golden Gardens. It was the perfect day for photos too! When golden hour hits Seattle, there is really no other place on earth so beautiful.
They really like black and white images, so that is why most of these are.
As always, I’d love to hear what you think!
Well, last night I talked the hubs into driving me to the camera store so I could pick up my new lens! I was like a kid on Christmas snapping pics all over the house. Hubs was annoyed… Sorry!
– – – – – – –
Andrea Guerra is a photographer and designer located in Seattle, Wa. Serving the Greater Seattle area, and Eastern Washington (including Pasco, Kennewick and Richland, WA).