This is something I’ve been grappling with over the past year or so, so bear with me :). I think we’ve all observed that wedding blogs these days put an obvious focus on the bride over the groom- how much time is spent poring over a bride’s details? how many styled shoots have we seen with a bride + wedding details, but no groom in sight? how many posts have we seen on picking the perfect dress, the perfect shoes, the perfect shade of lipstick? And it seems almost natural that this happens, seeing as how much more effort usually goes into planning the bride’s attire, accessories and details than the groom’s. But because a wedding day is about a union, a commitment to love for better or for worse, because a wedding day is about two people becoming one, and because my WHY for my business is to allow my couples to feel redeemed through intimate, organic portraiture, it’s become increasingly apparent to me that my method of posing and the motivation behind it needed to change.
In taking a look back through some of my older sessions, I’m constantly reminded of how “bride-centric” the majority of the images are; photos focused on the bride with the groom in the background, photos with the bride front and center and the groom gazing off into the distance, etc. etc. These sort of photos are fine, in and of themselves, but when it’s all an entire e-session is comprised of? I think it can start to come across as me telling my grooms that they don’t matter as much as their bride, which is clearly NOT true.
I was missing the point. I was failing to capture the excitement, the sheer joy taking place between a bride and groom, and was instead focusing only on the bride- the bride’s beauty, the bride’s dress, the bride’s accessories. And while it may be natural to photograph the bride more because, simply put, she has more “things” to photograph, I find myself cringing when I look through my old work and struggle to find images that also focus on the groom. It was as though I was really just photographing a bride with a groom in attendance as her prop. And how ridiculous does that sound? But that’s how I did it for the longest time, both in my wedding images and during my engagement sessions.
During the June WTAW that I attended, Justin & Mary talked quite extensively on aligning your shooting style to fit with your WHY . And it really stuck with me- I started to question how I was posing my clients, and whether or not it really fit into my vision for my business at all. I was taking my cues from other photographers and the poses I saw on their websites, which is sometimes fine to begin with, but if I’m taking what someone else has done and simply copy + pasting without tailoring it to my vision and my couples? Well, no wonder I wasn’t achieving intimate, organic portraiture. I was achieving stagnant, contrived images.
One of my biggest sources of inspiration in the way I WANT to pose my couples comes from how my husband loves and adores me- his love is redeeming, authentic, and completely organic. So if this is something I want reflected in my images, doesn’t it make sense to photograph my brides and grooms together, in poses that evoke emotion and positively ooze with adoration? I still love the occasional image that intentionally draws your eye to one person in particular, but I’m finding more and more that my favorite images are one that place just as much of an emphasis on the groom as they do the bride.
It’s required a bit of change, this shift in posing mentality. It’s changed the way I think, the way I position myself in relation to my couples, even the way I interact with my brides and grooms. I have a long way to go before I feel like I’ve mastered it, but even just realizing there was a NEED for change has been an enormous step for me. One of the things I love MOST about Justin & Mary is that they’re a team, and their relationship is so clearly reflected in their images- their portraits are always balanced, brides and grooms as a pair. Two parts of one whole, each as important as the other. We all love photos of a beautiful bride, but what I love even more is a bride who’s made exponentially more beautiful because of the way she’s loving and being loved by her groom.