A bride-to-be came to me about photographing her wedding. She was armed with a pile of several favorite wedding photos she had clipped out of wedding magazines to show me, asking if I could do something like those for her wedding.
When I looked at them it took about two seconds before I realized why they were so familiar. They were mine! They were wedding photos I had photographed which had gotten published!
That was a funny but nice little moment. Life has some major moments in it -- as does the wedding day. But most of our life -- and our wedding days - are made up of little tiny moments.
Yet the things which happen in those little moments, within a few scant seconds, can be huge. And give us memories which last our entire lives. Or stories which get handed down through generations.
That's because what occurs in those moments is significant and bigger than the time it took to happen. Time isn't relative to significance.
But when you see other people's wedding moments pictured in magazines, blogs, Pinterest...
If you're moved to clip them, repin them... then obviously they hold so much feeling, beauty and meaning that you, although you weren't there or know these people, aren't invested in them at all, even though these aren't even your photos... you feel it too.
And you respond to that so much so you'd love for these moments to happen at your own wedding as well. And have the photo of it.
The thing is, those photos are of someone else's times. It's what really happened to that couple naturally, organically, as life unfolded for them on their day.
Either that or it's a styled shoot which may have taken an hour to get and 27 takes to nail down just so with a team working on it. You probably won't have the luxury of time or the resources to do something like that all for the sake of one photo on your wedding day.
But back to genuine honest moments. Isn't it better then not to try to live vicariously through someone else's moments in an attempt to emulate the wonderfulness they may have experienced, but instead, live your own moments? So you can be immersed in thoroughly enjoying your own unique experience aka "your life"?
Because the second you get involved contriving something for the camera's sake, you've made yourself inaccessible and shut off to your own real life. Here's why: it's because you're busy manufacturing your life moments. Affected life moments.
To me, that's a crime. It's robbing you of your own life. So instead, let your life happen. Be fully open and present to it. Let it be free to bring you the unscripted, unplanned, huge significant wonderful little moments in store for you. The ones which truly can be said are original to only you. And which then will hold the most meaning to your heart than any xerox copy of some stranger's photo could ever mean.
And the funny thing will be this: sometime, down the road, another bride-to-be will see your special moments perhaps on a blog or Pinterest. And she'll want something just like yours for her wedding day.
These photos which time and again contain more meaning may come from any fleeting moment during your wedding. We know not when. And not from candid photos so much but more so from story telling (or "documentary" or "wedding photojournal") images.
Because there's a difference between the two and to clear up any confusion here's what I mean about the difference between a candid and a story-telling photo:
A candid is a photo of someone unaware of the camera. A candid tells us what it is we're seeing in the picture. It could be, for example, any moment of a bride walking down the aisle. Naturally that tells us we're looking at a bride walking down the aisle. I know that sounds rather obvious but hang on...
To compare that to a story telling photo -- the story telling photo's going to tell us something more, something beyond the obvious we plainly see.
In this example below, see how the bride glances at her dad. Look at the loving expression on her face in that moment. And see his face, looking so proud escorting his daughter? If you're like me, you may pick up a sense of something which suggests how they feel, it may say something about their relationship.
It's more than just a candid snap of the two of them walking down the aisle.
Or this one. A photo of the parents seated in the front row of the ceremony. But here we see a little more than simply a photo of people sitting. We can see in the upper right the bride's hands holding a piece of paper. From that we can deduce she's probably reading her vows. And we see her mom visibly reacting to her daughter reading her vows. And that says something.
It's their story. Those are their moments. You might find those moments in someone else's photos, even share similar types of moments -- but what will be your moments captured in your photos, which will be unique to you?
Live life fully, enjoy yours -- and let's find out.