"My fiancé is dying."
I sat there shocked when she said this. It was unexpected.
She was a thirty-something bride to be, sitting across from me at her wedding photography consultation.
Before her fiance's illness they had been to sixteen weddings. She told me how, in each of those weddings, all the wedding photographers took the same exact shots.
"They all did the wedding jump shot. You know, the one where everyone jumps in the air? But the thing is, they don't just make you do it once."
In painstaking detail, she explained how it involved at least five takes with each wedding. Because not everyone jumped right, not everyone jumped high enough, not everyone had the right expression on their face when they did jump. So each of the sixteen photographers made everyone run and jump. Again and again. Five times to get it right...
...and everyone's banging into each other as they're jumping, landing twisting their ankles, flower petals are spilling, hair gets messed up, sweat stains starting to appear on the dresses. And all minutes before they're making their grand entrance at their receptions.
This is one of the problems when you're mature but the photographer isn't. It's a mismatch. A much younger person barely into adulthood may still see a wedding as solely a rambunctious booze fest. A time to get drunk, party and do meaningless shtick for the camera. If you're a younger wedding couple maybe that's fine, it's your vision. And if that's your wedding photographer too, then okay, you're both on the same page.
A thirty-something bride sure does want to have fun at her wedding too, but it's at a different level of fun than it was back in college. The last thing a thirty-something bride wants to do at her wedding is look like she's trying to be twenty or act like she is. And a photographer who believes making wedding couples do juvenile antics for their wedding pictures is what documenting a wedding day's all about probably isn't the best fit for her.
For this bride it was all about celebrating what's most dear in her heart.
In no uncertain terms she made it known she didn't want to waste one second of her wedding day being pulled away to take meaningless wedding pictures. She wanted to be fully immersed in her day and experience it on a genuine level. She wanted to take in every moment of laughter and tears, deep heart-touching moments that would be forever forged as loving memories, to have no matter how life may turn out later. Because all we really have is today. This is the time she wanted to make sure she could grasp on to and keep close, and visit to remember again, even years from now.
She wanted every last wedding day moment to count. And she wanted every wedding photo to count.
Jumping in the air and wedding photos like that have nothing at all to do with her wedding, she said. They're more like things you do at a kid's birthday party.
But her wedding meant more than that of course. To her the wedding was an intimate celebration surrounded by her loved ones and dearest friends. And that's the spirit she wanted her wedding photos to capture.
And she wanted to be depicted as the person she is.
Someone on cloud nine, but with her feet on the ground.
Your own real life moments are unique and precious. That's where your best, real memories will always come from, every time. Real memories of your natural organic moments, not memories of making artificial moments, are what you want to have to look back on it years later. Because they're the only ones with substance. They mean more than any cookie-cutter shot any wedding photographer could ever dream up.
Want authentic wedding photos of you and your day? Get a wedding photographer who understands and gets that.
Because that photographer gets who you are.