My wife and I don't have a lot of great wedding photos. From our own wedding that is.
Just as everyone else, we were trying to be budget-conscious and I was just beginning my career as a wedding photographer when Brenda and I got married. I thought, well, we'll hire someone cheap and I'll just compensate for whatever shortfalls the photographer has since I will be taking photos as well. That was probably the only regret from our wedding day. I did take some photos, but there is only so much you can do before the bride says, "OK, you have to be in front of the camera, not behind it." And we did get the photos back from our photographer, but they were only mediocre at best; they covered all of the basics, but certainly weren't anything spectacular.
So, fast forward a few years and I am now a full-time wedding photographer living in San Francisco who shoots close to 40 weddings every year. Brenda and are always on the lookout for new and creative ideas and one day it just hit us. Why don't we go somewhere really picturesque and compensate for the uninspiring photos we got from our wedding day. We still have the dress, still have the bride, we have lots of camera equipment and infinitely more knowledge about wedding photography than we did back then. It was settled, we booked our trip the same night.
We started out in Las Vegas. The flights were cheap (although the food was horribly expensive), but we weren't there to stay, we rented a car and drove through Nevada, Arizona, and eventually ended up in the gorgeous state of Utah with Bryce Canyon being our first stop. I could not believe how fearless my wife was as she put her dress on and went out on that ledge. I took a few frames and rushed back to get her, that was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.
I'm happy to say that the rest of the trip was a lot less scary. We've hit snow, got lost in the desert sand, had a chance to shoot at Canyonlands, climbed a mile to the top of Arches National Park, discovered the stunning Valley of Fire in Nevada and ended back in Vegas where all I wanted to do all night was look through the photos I've taken throughout the trip.
It was exactly what we wanted and so much more. We now have some gorgeous photos of Brenda in her dress, but most importantly we have something no one else does. I look through hundreds of thousands of wedding photos every year and I've never seen anything like these. I'm willing to go pretty far to set the bar higher for all of us and hey, it doesn't hurt if I end up with some beautiful photos of my wife in the process.
There is one piece of advice that I took away from this whole experience. Invest in memories. The food will be gone, the music will fade and flowers will wither, but the photos of you and your loved ones on one of the most special days of your lives will last forever.