Every year the big box wedding mega sites love to come out with their lists of "must-have" wedding photos, and so as not to disappoint, The Knot published their latest list of 50.
Fifty wedding photos they believe stand out from all the rest.
In turn, leading legions of wedding couples to believe that their best wedding photos should consist of "A Really Good Kissing Shot," "Your Shoes," "An Artistically Angled Shot," "His Boutonniere..."
...and 46 more just like those.
But I think not, Knot.
It sad to say a photography genre that can document such a significant day in two people's lives, a day filled with emotions and whimsy and laughter and tears, colors and details and moments and memories -- a virtual banquet from which to create photographs -- has been dumbed down to such basic cookie cutter notions.
There are so many great, creative wedding photographers out there with such a better vision for their clients than that, it becomes a shame the louder voice goes to the big corporate mega site instead of to the true artists who serve their clients with inspired images. Ah, but such is the way it is.
Which is why I'm writing this.
Because I'm only one small voice. Yet I guarantee you I haven't reached my decisions about what constitutes a good wedding image couples will cherish the rest of their lives by way of a committee meeting last Friday afternoon. Any feelings I have about what wedding photos should be a "must-have" haven't been the result of a poll populated by stereotypical wedding shots. What I believe constitutes the type of wedding images couples want to hand down to their sons and daughters and future generations hasn't been arrived at by editorial staff looking to come up with some material for this week's edition.
No sir. I've come to my conclusions solely based on what moves me and touches my heart, and that of my wedding clients, and from what I've experienced first hand at weddings I've photographed, when emotions run deep.
In my world, weddings mean more than a snapshot and correspondingly the photos which come out from a wedding also mean more. They hold significance. So if anything, I think I'd say the following count as five of my "must-haves." If I were to have anything at all I really want to remember from a wedding day, it would be:
A parent's love. Not merely a photo with a parent, mind you (which the Knot hasn't even listed as any sort of must-have) -- but an image which depicts the depth of your parent's love for you.
The passion in that moment right before the kiss. I understand kissing happens on a wedding day. Obviously. But to have couples kiss for a photo has become such a crutch for the uncreative photographer. It's become a cliche pose repeated often throughout the day. But the emotional content of the anticipation of the kiss when it's just the moment before... that speaks about the couple's feelings even more so. It comes through.
The connection of the generations. That instance when your parent or grandparent for example, eyes beaming, kind smile on his or her face, treasuring you, reaches out and there's a gentle, loving intimacy in all of that. It's the moment which simultaneously reaches across the generations and makes that connection.
The understanding that life has now changed. When we say goodbye to what was and embrace our new journey forward. Things are the same, but yet different. It's an unspoken recognition. And ultimately, it's really about life. And that is what the wedding is. The cycle of life, and life's journey.
And to remember that we are loved. We often regret that we didn't tell someone how much we love them, and then it's too late. But it was said - in a photo. Silently. There, in the look on the person's face, captured as it happened. Completely camera unaware. Caught in the act of showing what they were feeling in their heart at that moment. For you to remember how you were loved. And for you to see how wonderful your life really is.
I believe these are some of the true must-haves. Because 25 years after your wedding day you're not going to crack open your album because you just got to see those angled shots of the shoes again.