I want to write a bit (a lot) about something I feel very strongly about and it is pertinent to those looking to me for wedding photography;
I truly believe that a wedding day should be allowed to progress, to flow freely without interruption, overt guidance or interference from those tasked with documenting it.
I believe there is a time and place for my direction and that's during the few parts of the day that explicitly calls for it, e.g. during formals, portraits, etc. Beyond those times, I think a photographer's role (or videograpger) is to document the day. THAT IS NOT an opinion shared by every photographer or videographer and if you agree with the foundation of what I write here, you can use these ideal to help guide you in selecting vendors for your wedding.
Yes, a quick setup of the bride's jewelry/garter/flowers, or hanging the dress for a few shots before she gets in it is fine but spending the bulk of the time pre-ceremony and at the reception manipulating everything that happens to make the pictures "just right" or the video perfect is, in my opinion, contrary to what makes a fun wedding day and if you've spoken to me about your wedding, I've probably said it many times that I consider your experience nearly as important as the images themselves because I believe they are intertwined completely.
Any photographer or videographer who has to stage events, "redo" moments or spends inordinate amounts of time focused on inanimate objects is missing the point.
Yes, the pictures need to be good but that's MY JOB to be in the right place, at the right time and get the right shots. If I have to stage every single thing to occur in just the right place at just the right angle, I believe I'm taking the easy way out. At worst, if I have to manufacture events that "should" happen just because otherwise my narrative is incomplete then it's not really the narrative of your day as much a narrative of a wedding archetype.
It's very easy in this business to "mail it in" and just do the same 100 shots every wedding, without passion, without artistic interpretation, without concern that the time spent doing those "standard shots" causes you to miss real, honest moments happening nearby. Naturally every photographer whether or not they try to will repeat themselves. It's human nature and part of being consistent to recognize opportunities to do shots that you know will work based on experience. It's also common sense that some shots need to be done weekend after weekend but that's because certain moments will always play out. The kiss, dad seeing his daughter in her dress for the first time, the bouquet toss, etc, NEED to be photographed. What I object to STRONGLY is the idea that it serves you, my clients, to just go through a routine of the same shots every wedding and if those shots don't present themselves, or aren't convenient to do, don't fit with who you are, I should interrupt whatever's going on to force/stage them.
NO, NO, NO! If that's what you want, I'm not the photographer you want. I believe that I can be consistent in terms of quality and results without resorting to micro-managing your day. I believe that if I focus on the moments of your day, stay true to who you are as a couple and allow that to dictate the images I make, I will deliver a set of images that is unique to your wedding and are in keeping with the body of work I've produced over my career.
There is a saying that is often presented as fact by photographers in the wedding industry. It goes something like this; "10 years from now your flowers from your wedding will have died, the food will be eaten, the venue may have closed etc, etc, and all you will have is your husband and my pictures." This used to point out how valuable wedding photography is. I totally agree with that as far as it goes but I'll change it thusly; "You will still have all your 'stuff' 10 years after your wedding. You can pull out your jewelry and your dried flower petals. You can bring your dress out of the closet and can smirk at your garter that still hangs from your rearview mirror. You can marvel over the creativity of your invitations saved in a box with other wedding keepsakes. As time goes on, what you can't do is clearly see the moments and the people who made them with you at your wedding. Memories fade and people move in and out of our lives for many reasons. In my opinion, that's where my photographs can best serve you. The artistry inspired by your day, and the subtle interactions of those you love portrayed as photographs have the power to take you back to that day more than anything else and that's what I hope to be able to do for you whether it's a month after your wedding or on your 10th anniversary."
Add to that my hope that when you do remember those moments, those people and your wedding day, you also remember that capturing those images was a fun, effortless part of your day. If that's the case, I've done my job.