Telling a story – documentary wedding photography
Here’s the (belated) follow up to Becs & Fraser’s wedding blog post.
If you’re a regular follower of our blog, or our Facebook page, you’ll see that we often share many of the sweeping, epic, glamourous images from the bridal party photo shoot. Many of these we carefully craft & direct – to ensure that while the people / expressions all look natural, they’re also “perfect” pictures that will look amazing in an album, or up on the wall as big canvas prints.
However, a wedding day is so much more than that – and about 50% of the imagery we create on a wedding day is purely documentation – taking photos of what’s happening around us. We’re aiming to tell the “story” of the day through the images we capture. In many of the photos, it won’t even be immediately apparent to the casual observer what the significance is.
But when the images are of the stories that unfolded during YOUR wedding day, then the images bring back the memories, the little joys, tears, and laughter that make up a wedding.
Every single wedding we photograph has moments which are completely unique to that couple, on that day, at that point in time.
Becs & Fraser have kindly agreed for us to share some of the stories that go behind these images – we hope you enjoy them.
At the ceremony, the guests passed the wedding rings amongst themselves, offering their own private blessing.
While our cameras are usually trained on the B&G as they walk back up the aisle during the recessional, we are also keep an eye out for other interesting stories.. like this little man giving them a clap.
As the bridal party entered the reception, they were each presented with a lei. Then, they all had a special little dance that they entered the room with!
And the guests were suitably impressed.
They had a lolly bar, with lollies for the guests that tied into the green colour theme:
And scrabble letters played a significant role in the reception theme too –
We were honoured to be included in the festivities – even getting our own place setting cards. Becs had taken the time to write every guests’ name in scrabble letters on a board, photograph it, and then print them as the place settings. So what is essentially an unassuming photo of mine & Amber’s place settings – is actually a story about amazing attention to detail, fabulous insight, and DIY skills!
The scrabble letters were also used on the cake – important terms which really summed up the experience of the whole wedding day.
The story this image tells is of respect & remembrance, for those that have gone before… or couldn’t be there on the day. I think it’s also testament to the longevity of photographs themselves. It reminds me of a quote by the famous NZ photographer Marti Friedlander.. “One day, we will all be only photographs”.
Their dessert at the wedding was displayed on an impressive tower – the tables made by family, and the chef in charge of the dessert doing the arrangement as a surprise for them. I love that you can see the bridesmaids in the background admiring it!
On each table, there was a bunch of loose scrabble letters. During the evening, there was a competition – the table that could form the highest word score with their letters was the winner!
I love black & white photographs when the focus of the image is on the people & their expressions. The absence of colour draws your eye right into the important elements – what people are doing, and their reactions. These were taken around various tables while they tried to make the highest scoring scrabble word:
This table thought they were the winners…
But unfortunately, the victory dance was performed by another table who managed to score one point higher!
They were presented with a little trophy.. and somehow (I still don’t know how) – this guy managed to take their table’s winning word & attach it to his shirt.. proudly on display for the rest of the evening!
(by the way – “questionably” was the top score!)
Becs’ cousins made the trip down to Gore from Tokoroa – and performed traditional Cook Island wedding dances & songs at the wedding.
Now – that’s a freaking cool story on it’s own… but made even more so by the fact that they had spent ages fundraising as a family to make the trip. Just so incredibly special – and they rocked it on the night, too!
Checking from behind the stage curtain whether it was time to go…
The bridesmaids & groomsmen were swept up into the action, too..
Fraser’s family had Niuean heritage – and they also had some performances & traditions …
Including presenting the bride & groom with lavalava and money – so much fun to photograph!
And of course – everyone was up on the dance floor after long, and the party continued!
Storytelling – it’s a huge part of what we do. And we’ll still keep showing you all the sweeping, dramatic, “ooh” and “ahhh” shots… but just remember that in between taking those, we’re often tucked away in a corner, quietly snapping away without people being any the wiser… so that you can look back on the wedding day & remember all the parts that came together as a whole.
Becs & Fraser – thanks for letting us capture, and share some of your stories.
Isaac & Amber.
- Isaac de Reus
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