2019 will be the year of my 10th wedding anniversary .. and the 10th year of documenting weddings as a profession. 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 witnessing so many couples take such sacred vows and celebrate in the most amazing and creative of ways?

The lesson is simple: to be present.

Over the years I have learned to position myself as a talented observer who conveys images with truth and authenticity. I’m able to anticipate moments and position myself accordingly without interfering with the scene, this is something I’m immensely proud of and a skill every wedding photographer should master. These real moments are the images which endure, these are the images which mean so much.

Yet for me and many of my clients, there’s a little bit more we want to say. As creative individuals, we have a signature aesthetic and the vibe we want to create. And here I’m talking about the photo shoots and the editorial interpretations “engagement shoots” and “pre-wedding shoots”. For me, it’s about being playful and having fun with the expression of the event.

The additional photo 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 on your wedding day and around your guests.

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

The key is timing: when you’re with your guests then be with them – completely and utterly! When we’re on a shoot then let’s have some fun and express ourselves. This works best on a multi-day event and we shoot some fun photo shoot content in the days leading up to the wedding. On the wedding day itself, let’s keep it timeless and simple.

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