Wedding photography is a very specialized profession; not only from a technical and artistic point of view but especially because of the emotional nature of the occasion, the job itself and how wedding couples respond to your coverage and individual pictures. When I said “emotional” I meant more than just the typical flow of tears and outbursts of laughter that is typical at most weddings. There is, however, an infinite spectrum of emotions stemming from everything from ecstatic love to, believe it or not, virulent hatred. In over half a century of shooting weddings, I can tell you that most weddings go down beautifully, smoothly, lovingly and without a hitch. Along the way, sadly enough, I have covered a few that did not go too well, to say the least. Many of theses negative occurrences were rooted in long standing family issues that remained dormant for allot of years but reared their ugly heads at wedding celebrations where, as I have alluded to, emotions can run high- even the bad ones. Sometimes it is not all that bad but if one is sensitive one can detect negative undercurrents or bad vibes happening and as photographers we learn to work around theses things.
Thus far, this post may seem off topic or irrelevant to the Tom’s original question so let me explain.
Most wedding clients are not aficionados of fine photography so when selection time comes around many of them are responding emotionally, not artistically or technically to the images. This applies to formal portraits, candid action shots and detail images of the gown, the décor and everything else you have photographed during the event.
So here’s the thing! In Tom’s detail shot of the glasses, the couple’s connection may be that the items were a gift received from a treasured friend or relative. Perhaps just the fact that their names are engraved on the glasses is what appealed to them, the image reminds them of a special part of the wedding day or they are simply proud of that particular piece of their wedding décor that they selected. Fact is they are not judging the image on the basis of a fine still life image.
This is a common problem when folks are choosing their “keepers”! I have seen folks choose the worst image of a particular sequence of proofs- the just like it for whatever reason. I remember a bride selecting a photograph that was totally flared out by stray light because she found it “romantic”! I would have no big problems with it as an 8x10 or album size print but she wanted it in a 24x30 on canvas. How about the time when a bride complained that I cropped a print too tightly and thereby cut off her uncle’s nose- only his nose was showing in a candid action shot. I made another print with the nose at the edge of the frame and she was delighted! Then there was a bride who rejected a great (award winning) candid action shot because her (nasty) Aunt Tilley was far off in the background- thank goodness for PhotoShop and the clone tool! I always try to cull any “bad” shots before viewing time but if any of them fall though the cracks and somehow get through, I can bet it will be their all time favorite- Murphy’s Law oftentimes prevails.
I remember shooting some of the best ceremony shots I ever did at a wedding in my entire life. The couple rejected all of them because they were atheists and only got married in a church to please their parents! You never know!