“I want them to see emotion jumping from the images and back into their bodies.”
Wedding photos should tell a story – a unique glimpse into the unfolding journey of a couple in love as they commit their lives to one another. The emotion is imbued in the image and reignited each time you revisit it. Photographers have the great opportunity to not only share in such a pinnacle moment of one’s life but they often “see parts of the day that others don’t get to see,” as Samantha reveals. The way the flower girl might appear lost in a world of wonder, or the sense of unparalleled joy on the face of a mother or father, the photographer searches for authentic expressions of what love ‘looks like’ for each and every couple. For Samantha, this means being a “fly on the wall” on the day of the wedding; a subtle presence with the goal of capturing sincere and organic interactions. In order to create this climate of comfortability there must be a foundation of trust between the couple and their photographer. After all, you spend the whole day together, from the precious moments getting ready in the morning to all the fun and festivities of the reception. It’s important to get to know each other and develop a strong sense of communication so that any preferences, queries, and expectations can be addressed. Your initial consultation is a good place to start. “When I first meet with a client my main purpose is to get to know them and for them to get to know me,” says Samantha. “I ask them about how they first met, who made the first move and what have been their best memories since they started their relationship.” You may begin as strangers but by the end of your consultation you should have a good understanding of the person you’re working with, and vice versa. The more comfortable you feel with each other, the more comfortable you will feel on the actual day, which will in turn allow you to be more honest and vulnerable. And these are essentially the main ingredients to ensure great images.
“Vulnerability, intimacy, and connectivity are all elements of a relationship that are beautiful and unique to each pair. Being able to find someone who you can express those emotions with is key in creating beautiful, honest and raw images.”
Having clear communication will better allow you to entrust your vision to the photographer and simply enjoy the process. It also involves marrying the two visions together – your own and that of the photographer – to create something magical and organic. As with any other style feature of your wedding, the photos will reflect the atmosphere of the day and your unique aesthetic as a couple. As you begin to develop a vision for what you imagine your big day to look like (often in the form of countless Pinterest boards, am I right?) it’s natural to consider the style of photos you would like to capture the essence of your wedding. Having a good understanding of the photographic style you are most drawn to will allow you to more effectively identify the photographer that’s right for you. “It’s important to express the style of photography you love to your photographer or to only book a photographer whose style you love,” advises Samantha. While there is clear value in knowing your style and having a vision that you can clearly communicate to the photographer, it’s equally important to allow for spontaneity in your shoot. With a style she identifies as photojournalistic in nature, Samantha works at capturing “moments rather than poses” and tries to cultivate an environment where the couple can forget all that is going on around them and really hone their focus on one another. This may involve being open to some suggestions from the photographer, hence the importance of trust. Dance in the rain? Jumping unabashedly into your partners arms? They may sound like impractical things to do on your wedding day but the fact that you’re genuinely having fun means you can expect great images as a result.
“Letting go of the details and the expectations and obligations that weddings often bring is the start of having a happier and more enjoyable engagement and wedding. And the happier you are, the better your photos will be.”
With all that is involved in making a wedding day vision come to life, your wedding shoot is the perfect opportunity to let go of the details and just have a blast. Often this means just relishing in the time you have with your partner and forging incredible memories to hold on to. Focusing on the connection you have with your partner and your bridal party will help you to relax and feel more comfortable. “I get them laughing, being silly, dancing, walking, exploring… and before you know it magic starts to happen!” This is particularly helpful for couples who may be camera shy or don’t typically enjoy having their photo taken. This is extremely common, as Samantha reveals, but once the couple begins to relax and simply have fun, their sense of comfortability and genuine happiness translates into effortlessly beautiful images. Naturally there may be a few shots that require a level of orchestration, but otherwise it is more enjoyable that you seize the moment and don’t sweat the details.
Check out @samantha.heather for more wedding photo inspiration.