2019 will be the year of my 10th wedding anniversary .. and the 10th year of shooting weddings for others. I have been to so many weddings I really have lost count. I’ve seen it all, and I’m lucky to count so many of my past clients as among good friends now. So what is the lesson from being married myself, and from witnessing so many others celebrate such sacred vows and intimate connections?

The lesson is simple: to be present.

Over the years I have positioned myself as both a casual observer who conveys images with truth and authenticity. This is something I’m so proud of. These are the images which endure, these are the images which mean so much. However, I’m also known for executing carefully crafted imagery of couples in directed photo shoots. These shoots are so much fun and really give me and my clients a chance to express our creativity and individuality but they should not come at the expense of being authentic and present.

So how do the two different approaches come together in a real wedding environment?

The key is timing.

Clients tend to commission me for anything from 2 – 5 days over the wedding event. In the days leading up to the wedding we schedule a few hours here and there (without guests and family), to play and really get into the editorial style shoots and get so many great images of the couple. I love to take a well thought out editorial concept and create a series of stylized images. Doing this before the guests arrive is the ideal solution. The remainder of the coverage of the real event unfolds as it happens, in a documentary style which allows everyone to be present and to enjoy time with the couple. Perfect. 

Most couples still love to do some “photo shoot” time on the wedding day itself, as well as to do a “family photo list”, but it means we can make it a lot shorter because we have already secured so many great images on other days. 

In short, the answer is yes, you can have both – if you are smart about your timeline.