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pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

October 27, 2010

Yeah, that’s an Oz reference (Oz as in Wizard of, not Oz as in Buffy, but I do ❤ Buffy’s Oz). And just because I made a WoO reference doesn’t mean you should go all clicking away to watch that dancing parrot or Marcel the Shell videos again; stay with me for a few minutes while you’re enjoying the totally sweet face of Xenia looking at her brand, spankin’ new husband, Glen.

I’m not a Wizard of Ozzie and I don’t know the movie that well. But I do remember that line, and although it’s bad advice in politics, religion, and when you’re having home repairs done, it’s generally really good advice when it comes to your wedding. Especially when it comes to your wedding photographer.

Portraits, people. I’m talking about portraits. Shooting the “official” portraits at a wedding is probably my least favorite part of the whole day. The time is usually rushed, and I’m not really a big fan of the “line up here and look at meeee!” shots, nor of the couple looking wistfully off into the future. Don’t get me wrong, I can rock the posed portraits hard, but generally, no…not my favorite kind of picture.

But there are these little golden moments of opportunity during the portraits sessions that present themselves, moments when nobody is really paying attention to me. They’re in frame, they’re generally doing what they’re supposed to be doing, , but their minds, their hearts and their eyes are nowhere near the vicinity a portrait photographer wants them; they are usually focused on the person they love. POW! That’s the shot I want, that’s the shot I keep doing weddings for. That is, as they say, the money shot.

It never fails. Get 2 or 20 people together in a bunch and tell them you’re going to take their portrait, and then wait…and watch. While they’re shuffling their feet and straightening their clothes and shimmying up closer, I’m clicking away. I’d say it takes about 20 shots to get just one or two of everyone looking me, with their eyes open, and a smile on their face. That may be the shot that they put in their wedding album, but that’s not the one that expresses who those people are.

This shot, however, does:

I adore this shot; it makes me love this family. They’re fussing, talking with one another, not sure what exactly they should be doing, but all the time showing me their natural selves. That’s the moment a photographer wants to capture. This is Briana’s family, and I really hope she put this shot in her album because the bunch of them are freakin’ darling.

So when it comes time for your “formal” portraits, relax. Don’t worry about everyone looking exactly right or standing in just the right spot. A good portrait should show your personality, not how well you can all take direction from a complete stranger you’ve basically hired to boss you around.

Have fun, be yourselves and always, always always always….stand up straight! (that’s the mom in me talking). 🙂


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