Today I began thinking about what it means for a wedding image to truly be timeless. For me being able to relive the moment through the photograph is what makes it timeless. A photograph sort of steals a piece of time and lets you hold that moment in your hand again and again. My grandmother recently passed away and while we were not particularly close she was a very remarkable and extremely unique woman. I asked her for months and months if I could photograph her but she never really wanted me to, and now I wish so much I had just been a little more persistent so that I could give her son and her daughter their mother for the rest of their lives.
A photographer friend of mine was talking about how one of his acquaintances had lost a son in the past and now her husband is bed ridden and sure to die. I said to him the only thing there is to offer that family is a family photograph. For me the gift of a photograph is the greatest gift I can give or receive because it allows me to have that moment or that person in my life forever.
I don’t do the best job of living in each moment everyday, I often loose sight of how amazing my life is. When I thought about this today I realized I do live for the moments and in fact in every moment I capture with my camera I feel there is a part of me there in that image. Just as my client can relive their wedding through the pictures, I can relive the moment I took it. One of my favorite photographs is of a bottle on the beach. It was taken before I even really knew how to work my camera. I can remember exactly what brought me to the beach that evening to take pictures, and how I thought about that bottle and my life. I still call it “message in a bottle” because that was what I thought about it as I took that photograph.
As I look at wedding images from this year I wondered to myself which ones would be considered “classic” or “timeless”. Those words are what every wedding photographer dreams to be known by. When I looked over some of my industry favorites I decided that my idea of timeless may be different than someone else’s. Someone once told me that “I should take a picture of anything that cost money” at a wedding. When I look through magazines I often find “detail” shots and know it is for other people to be inspired by. I also know that without the photograph in 30 years it may be hard to recall what the colors were or what you ate that day. Yet I think instead of desiring to have my photographs described as timeless I wish for them to be described as fun, true, and beautiful.
Recently my childhood best friend who is very into design and how things match was attending her boyfriends sisters wedding. She told me about all the planning and the decor and how she was concerned that nothing was really going to flow or match. When I asked her how the wedding went she told me that she finally realizes that actually those details aren’t what mattered to her or the guests. What mattered was being in the presence of family and friends and having a wonderful time. She said she and many others didn’t even think about or notice the decorations. That is why when I think about the photographs that I consider to be timeless I realize for me it is those moments in-between, or those seconds where I stole a shot of the bride and grooms quiet moment. It is the ones where they are laughing and smiling, where their guests are telling stories or jokes and I catch them. Those are the pictures that bring you back to a moment and you remember what you were talking about or how you were feeling in that first dance.
So please…get that family photograph taken for Holiday cards, get images printed because technology is always changing, and spend the money on your wedding photographs because you never know when they will be all you have to remember it by. Ask yourself what you consider “timeless” so in 30 years when you look at the images you will still love them and be brought back to the moment. The greatest wedding regret is not hiring a professional wedding photographer. In fact even my parents who have been married 39 years wish they had more photographs. There are only two that I know of…and one of them is timeless. It was the moment my mom stepped out of the house to marry my dad. A black and white of her and my grandfather standing on the steps of our old house. For me I have to say the camera just may be one of the greatest inventions of all time.