“Perfection is okay, I guess, but it’s the cracks that make things human. And sometimes, being human is better than being perfect”
A wedding photographer friend shared a link to this article from Oh Comely magazine recently. I subscribe to the magazine and have the article in print somewhere and it really resonated with me.
I was browsing another wedding photographer’s blog recently. As I scrolled through there was image after image of beautifully styled, editorially photographed details; beautiful flowers, sumptuous cakes, pretty light and perfectly executed portraits. There wasn’t a single shot of the wedding ceremony. Not one. It might as well not have happened.
At my own wedding one of my strongest memories is standing in the middle of the dance floor, looking around and seeing everyone having a good time. I also remember the bar running out of Jagermeister and tentatively trying my first Jack-Daniels Bomb (I wouldn’t recommend it!).
I remember our first dance and a performer friend singing our song for us, while Pete sang along in my ear. I remember getting up at 6am to decorate the marquee. I remember the cheese we ate. I remember eating left over wedding cake for breakfast the next day. I remember my mum’s speech.
The details that we spent a LOT of time working formed the backdrop. The obvious key moments, like the first kiss, punctuated the day. The cracks – those in-between moments – are what made our wedding ours.
And that’s why a handful of couples portraits and some pretty detail shots don’t make up a wedding for me. I loooooove a pretty wedding as much as the next photographer. I swoon over flowers and sigh over amazing cakes. I do a small seal-clap when couples have quirky details or non-traditional elements but those things in isolation do not make a wedding great and details are not the things that become memories.
Those cracks – the bits that make us human – do. Your baby crying because everyone clapped at once and the noise startled him. Your aunty getting up to dance in between courses at dinner, because she loved the band so much. Your sister spilling champagne all over the carpet in your expensive hotel room. Your daughter helping the registrar, as you say your vows. Your taxi breaking down on The Old Kent Road, on the way to the ceremony. Friends being silly on the dance floor.
A wedding is made up of hundreds of cracks. Quiet moments of in-between. The epic to the obvious. Portraits, details and what you ate for breakfast. Your first kiss, your first dance and hugging your grandma. The way your friends laughed during the speeches. Socks hanging up to dry in your hallway, while you get ready in another room. A glance between the two of you. The perfectly imperfect story of your day.
“There will always be the photos of the ceremony and the speeches, of the dinner and the dancing, and of my sister and her husband, newly-wed and beaming for all eternity in the Spanish sun. But nobody takes photos of the cracks, which is why we have to make sure we remember them”
Well they do. I do. The cracks are important. My approach to wedding photography is to focus on story telling. From the epic to the in between. From the key moments to the cracks.