Pinterest can be a very useful tool when planning your wedding. You can get all sorts of cool ideas for centerpieces, party favors and unique desserts. You can narrow down dress selections before you go shopping for you and your bridesmaids. You can even learn how to make your flower girl’s dress out of tulle.
But using Pinterest – and other websites like it – to generate photo ideas can be counterproductive. We’ve all seen lists such as “50 must-have wedding photos,” and “Wedding Photography Checklist,” etc. These can be useful if you’re using a friend or family member to shoot your wedding, but if you’re hiring a professional wedding photographer, it can actually be a hindrance.
A photo checklist is cumbersome
First and foremost, the sheer mechanics of consulting a list while shooting a wedding is inconvenient to say the least. Things develop rapidly during weddings and your photographers need to react quickly when moments happen and new ideas present themselves. If they’re caught up trying to check all of the boxes on your list, they’re going to miss the spontaneous moments that are happening all around – the moments that make your wedding unique.
Besides, professional photographers already know to capture the essentials, so if your list has items on it such as “bouquets” and “the kiss” and “first dance,” it’s really not adding anything.
Every wedding is different
Secondly, recreating a specific photograph is an exercise in futility. It’s a different day in a different location with different lighting conditions, different decorations, different wardrobe, different camera equipment, and a photographer with a different style. It’s just not going to turn out the same. It might turn out better, who knows, but the fact remains: it will be a completely different photograph.
Thirdly, when you hire a wedding photographer, you should hire them because you like their style, not because you want them to copy someone else’s style. You wouldn’t go to an Italian restaurant and order enchiladas with a side of refried beans and a margarita. You’d order the pesce fresco with roasted red pepper and a nice glass of chianti (I realize that this is an unnecessarily specific alalogy.)
Moreover, if you have a list of 20 different photos you want to recreate, you’re not just asking your photographers to mimic a different style; you’re asking them to mimic 20 different styles. Going back to that analogy, this would be more like ordering enchiladas with a side of onion rings, a bowl of clam chowder and a pint of home-brewed IPA. Let your chef, er… I mean your photographers, do what they do best. Which brings me to my final point…
Trust your photographers
You’ve done your due diligence. You’ve researched all of the photographers in your area and vetted them based on quality of portfolio, online reviews and customer service. You’ve met with the ones whose style you like most and, taking into account all of these data points, you’ve finally signed a contract with the photographer who fits you best. Now it’s time to trust them.
Besides, you don’t want the same photos that everyone else has. That’s boring. You want something different. Something cool. Something that reflects your personalities and only your photographer could have come up with.
There’s a great quote from the documentary Searching for Sugar Man that really resonates with me.
[Disclaimer: it may not be suitable for children under the age of 13…]
“He had this magical quality that all genuine poets and artists have, to get above the mundane, the prosaic, all the bullsh*t, all the mediocrity that’s everywhere. The artist is the pioneer.”
Rick Emmerson was referring to singer/songwriter Rodriguez when he said this, but his words can be applied to the best wedding photographers as well. Creative professionals thrive when given free rein to explore their imaginations. Don’t curtail that imagination with a Pinterest list.
Now that I’ve said all that, I need to point out that there are exceptions to this rule. For example, maybe there’s an idea for a photo you’ve had your heart set on for years and years, and your wedding just wouldn’t be complete without it. Go ahead and tell your photographers about it. I’m sure they would be happy to oblige. Or maybe you’re having something specific or unusual at your wedding that your photographer might not have noticed. Like a tiny memento in your flower bouquet or a signature mixed drink that’s meaningful to you in some way. Or maybe all four of your grandparents are on the dance floor, collectively grooving to Old Time Rock and Roll. Your photographer will probably capture it anyway, but it can’t hurt to point it out.
Some people are uncomfortable posing in a certain way due to insecurity about a certain part of their bodies. It’s okay to say no to photos that make you feel uncomfortable, and suggesting a few poses that you would feel comfortable doing can be very helpful. In fact, a little spontaneous collaboration between you and your photographer can produce some really nice images!
Finally, I have to mention that many photographers will indeed ask you for a shot list before your wedding, but more times than not, they’re just looking for a list of all of your important family members and wedding guests that you would like included in the formal photo session. As a photographer, it’s good to get to know everyone’s names and it helps to make this part of the day go more smoothly.
Thanks for reading. Please feel free to contact us directly with any questions or comments. We’d love to hear from you!
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