Unexpected Wonderfulness

When it comes to wedding photography, the temptation to micromanage can be overwhelming. Many brides (and grooms) want everything to be perfect, so they plan and plan and plan every aspect of their weddings down to the very last detail. The problem with all that wedding planning is that no amount of planning can ensure that nothing goes wrong, and sometimes too much planning can get in the way! I’m not suggesting that you ditch your must-have photos list — it’s important to get those precious shots with grandma and the fun staged wedding party pics.

But it’s important to remember that so many of the best wedding photos are captured when the bride, the groom, the bridesmaids, and the groomsmen aren’t mugging for the camera. I think the wonderful wedding photos that win each year’s Wedding Photojournalist Association wedding photo contest demonstrate that fact.

Bride shaving armpit

Photo by Stacey Kane of Maine

Scary bride and groom

Photo by Taina Cruzado Cote

Bride boob grab

Photo by Kim Bednarski of Wisconsin

Bridal upskirt

Photo by Peter Pawinski of Illinois

My favorite wedding photos from my own wedding are those taken of me and The Beard when we weren’t looking and the snapshots taken by my talented photographer friends of memorable and mundane ceremony and reception moments. In those moments, no one was focused on the snapping cameras. Instead, we (i.e., the subject of the photos) were focused on saying vows, having fun, reconnecting with loved ones, and even the wedding cake.

So get your posed wedding shots, any and all, but never forget that some of the most gorgeous wedding photographs are taken when no one is looking.

6 Responses to “Unexpected Wonderfulness”

  1. Twistie says:

    I absolutely agree on this, NtB! One of the reasons I chose the photographer I did when Mr. Twistie and I got married was because he had the ability to sort of slip into the background until people don’t notice him. That meant he got some truly priceless shots of people just being themselves. Those shots are the best ones in the album.

  2. Audrey says:

    There’s an association!? I suddenly feel so validated. And like I wish I’d known this when I had photos I could have totally submitted…I guess I’ll have to wait until this year’s wedding. *grin*

  3. Sarah says:

    At my wedding I left disposable cameras out everywhere, which gave me some of the best pictures I have. I have priceless pictures of my Grandmother (now deceased) in a very relaxed pose because she did not feel pressured to mug for the photographer. Ever notice how older people feel like getting their picture taken requires some kind of pose and unnatural smile?

    I also got tons of snapshots of the fun going on at every table while I was off doing serious wedding stuff. In one of them you can see my husband’s friend trying to pick up one of my friends, guess he failed to notice she married and that her husband was standing right behind him the whole time. The look on all of their faces is just classic.

    But the best pictures of all came from the camera I gave to my four year old nephew. The entire roll came from his perspective and included many pictures of the cake looming above him, and a ton of hilarious pictures of my sister’s bust line (he was really short and she is pretty stacked ). Until I got the pictures back I never realized just how excited a little kid could get about cake and boobs.

    My sister had a fantastic photographer for her wedding and one of the best candid shots ever was of an old couple all blushy and giggling, emerging from a coat closet.

  4. Melissa B. says:

    The WPJA is a great resource, I found my photographer through them! I’ve heard they’re one of the few photography associations that actually evaluates portfolios and rejects applicants who aren’t up to their professional standards.

    I love the “candid shots” people get at weddings. They’re so charming and honest!

  5. Twistie: Way to choose an awesome photog! I really hate those in-your-face photographers and videographers one occasionally runs into at a wedding. Luckily, they are in the minority. Any photog worth his or her salt should be able to fade out and capture the action a la Star Trek.

    Audrey: Indeed! I’ve seen plenty of your photos, so I could definitely see you winning or at least being in the finalists. You have the skillz to pay the billz!

    Sarah: Yay! A positive disposable camera story. Too, too, too many of my friends had disposable cam issues, like guests walking out with them or things being too dark for the cameras they bought. How fun it must have been to see the pics snapped by the shorty 🙂

    Melissa B.: Way to go! I wish I had known about the WPJA when looking for my own wedding photographer. Part of the reason I ended up making my own album was that I collected photos from every possible guest, meaning I had hundreds to choose from on top of those taken by my very traditional photog. I really wish I’d gone with a wedding photo journalist.

  6. Craig says:

    I’m a member of the WPJA and it always amazes me that as soon as you think you’ve seen it all in wedding photography, something truely unique happens!