Real Wedding Photojournalism

Portland-Oregon-Wedding-Photography   MPP083115 copyThere is something special about real wedding moments captured without the knowledge of the subject or subjects. Sadly, however, we are becoming a society that has been programed to believe that staged moments are real moments. Whether it’s “reality” television or “real” weddings being passed off as true moments, there has been great damage done to the idea of wedding photojournalism. The concept of wedding photojournalism grew from the thought that wedding pictures didn’t need to be staged, as they had been for years. There are so many real moments at all weddings that to create fake photos simply cheapens the honest feelings and interrupts the expression of true love. Unfortunately, the world of wedding photography seems to have come full circle with what I like to call “toppers”. Toppers are photographers who either aren’t skilled enough to capture reality when it happens in front of them or unable to see it when it occurs and are compelled to create a photo that tops the last one they saw by being more dramatic, more colorful or more sensational – as if that makes up for telling real stories. As a result, what floods the marketplace of photos are over-the-top visuals that neither capture honest emotions or depict real events in logical places. Next time you look through the portfolio of a wedding photographer, ask yourself if the pictures you are seeing seem like they make sense. Would a person really do that or, even, is this a logical place to find a bride and a groom or a bride and a bride or a groom and a groom? The worst offenders of creating fake wedding photos are the photographers who are so bad at capturing reality that they actually create a fake wedding – often called “stylized” or “model shots” or “inspirational shoots”. Believe it or not, they gather together friends and other vendors – who evidently are so not busy that they have time to create fantastical fantasy – and stage scenes from a “wedding” so that they may have “real” wedding photos to show. This is a trend that makes me ill, to be honest. And it’s one that I don’t understand. Maybe the reason some wedding photographers make stuff up is because they aren’t able to capture real moments that are also graphically pleasing. While it’s possible – and often easy – to capture true moments that are graphically strong, there’s nothing wrong with images that tell a story but aren’t constructed like the Mona Lisa. I’d rather have a collection of real, story telling pictures from an event, than a bunch of fake ones that look beautiful but tell me nothing about the honest love and emotion of the subjects. Unfortunately, our world seems to be going in the other direction. So, when looking through a portfolio of a wedding photographer, and some images seem like they just can’t be real, they probably aren’t. Don’t be shy about asking how a photographer captured a certain image or images. If they start with “well, I had this idea…” then it’s probably time to look somewhere else. If you like this photo, check out more at