Families, and what precedes them (weddings)

Why do I love to shoot weddings and families?

Because we live to love. We live a short time (although my son Daniel, when he was perhaps nine years old and I said “life’s very short!” instantly responded “No it isn’t: it’s the longest thing you’ll ever do.”)

In any case, capturing personality and life events is one way we can be immortal. Look at this kid at a portrait shoot I did yesterday: four different looks in a few minutes. Happy and open; death stare; typical teen Facebook pose; and cool. If you were the parents, would you not love immortalizing your daughter this way?

And just think at the excellent pictures mom and dad will be able to project onto the wall at the time of her wedding (or more likely by then, holographically project in front of each guest).

Talking of weddings… I just got back from Jamaica, and my mission there was to tell a story. Not just to get the standard wedding shots – the ones you might get when you hire a local resort pro – yes, those too, but so much more: the story of the entire trip. Smiles. Moments. Love. Beach. Fun. Friends. Outings. Jamaica. Airports. Buses. The entire trip. One of the bride’s best friends (and bridesmaids) just responded to teh slideshow I put together:

What an amazingly great job on the video Michael! I LOVE the pictures!!! I laughed and I cried! I flashed back to the great times we had on the trip…and it made me wish I was closer to my friends! THANK YOU so much!! Amazing, amazing, amazing job!!! 🙂

And THAT is why I shoot destination weddings: I met great people and I made a difference to them by enabling them to remember and relive this life event forever.

And that of course must include a “b-roll” of pictures that include:

  • fun.
  • events (like “the plane ride”)
  • background, to show the environment.

Like these:

Most of these were taken at 5:30AM on the day of departure. All of these are extra to a “normal” wedding. No local wedding pro will every get you anything close to that. So if you want a wedding trip to remember, bring your own photographer.

So when you make a trip:

  1. Tell a story! And to do this:
  2. Look for markers – moments in time that mark a transition, like airport arrival; climbing up the waterfall; leaving; entering the bus; that sort of thing. Every time a new phase starts.
  3. “If it smiles, shoot it”.
  4. Look for anything funny and capture it, too.
  5. Carry the camera when you think you will NOT need it. Some of the best pictures arrive without warning.
  6. Look for background, the “B-roll”, to remind people “what it was like”. Signs are good. So are views. The food. The detail; the little things you notice when you arrive. Shoot them; later, sort out of you want to use or not.
  7. Sort into the right order later.
  8. Make a slide show – or make multiples, maybe 5 minutes each. Background and “Ken Burns effect” are good.

That’s what I do when I shoot a destination wedding.

 

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