How to Ensure Your Wedding Photography Tells an Emotional Story
In the world of destination weddings where opulence meets romance, every detail matters. And at the heart of it all lies the art of wedding photography.
As an award-winning destination photographer, Abul has had the privilege of documenting love stories in the most enchanting locations on earth. “My passion for capturing these moments is more than sincere. It allows me to see beyond the lens; to capture the knowing smiles, the stolen glances, those moments that transform a photograph into something you can feel. ‘In my work, I try to balance storytelling and art. But I often come back to the same question… what truly sets a luxury wedding apart, and how can I move my couples/ the viewer? It’s those genuine, candid, and unscripted moments that tell a love story like no other” says Abul.
Abul (https://abul.co/) is a passionate and talented destination wedding photographer whose lens captures the essence of love and adventure in the most beautiful and exotic locations around the world. With a keen eye for detail and an artful approach to storytelling, Abul has a remarkable ability to turn each wedding into a visual masterpiece. His work goes beyond traditional photography, evoking genuine emotions and immortalizing precious moments that couples cherish for a lifetime. Abul’s dedication to his craft and his unwavering commitment to creating timeless memories make him the perfect choice for couples seeking a photographer to transform their destination wedding into a breathtaking narrative of love and celebration.
What truly makes a wedding story extraordinary is not just the details, but the authenticity. In a world where staged shots and ‘fine art’ styles often dominate our feeds, it’s the candid and authentic moments that truly encapsulate the emotion, energy, and essence of the day.
Let’s delve into the difference between posed and candid shots. The posed photographs are beautiful, no doubt. They showcase the couple’s elegance and the grandeur of the setting. An experienced photographer will understand how to flatter their couples and always strive to do them the justice they deserve on the day, making them feel excited to share, print, and display their photos for all to see. However, posed and staged photos alone will lack the raw, unfiltered emotions that make a wedding truly special. I believe, as a lover of the arts, that it’s the journalistic approach, the candid moments which leave us wanting more. They are like stolen glances into the souls of the couple and their day. They capture laughter, tears, and the genuine moments when two people declare their love for each other. These images have the power to transport you back to that very instant, evoking the same feelings of joy, love, and devotion.
So, how do you identify a photographer’s ability to capture these emotions? It starts with their portfolio. A seasoned photographer knows that the portfolio is not just a showcase of their best work; it’s a window into their storytelling prowess. Look for photos that make you feel something deep within. Emotions may not leap off every photo on the screen or page, but you should feel connected to the overall sequence of images. It’s the ability to trigger emotion(s) through imagery that sets a true artist apart.
How can I tell if a wedding photographer is good at storytelling and/or candid moments?
As a photographer, let me remind you that we all start somewhere. While you might not need the reassurance of having a photographer with several years of experience to capture your special day, it does help! Will it help? Of course! You could get lucky and find that Uncle Bob’s friend’s nephew’s neighbour is a rising star in wedding photography who can shoot your wedding exactly as you want them to. But let’s face it, it’s unlikely. Experience is priceless.
There has been a growing trend within the industry, especially for photographers working to develop their under-developed portfolio, to create and take part in styled shoots. Understanding, if a photographer is capable of capturing a journalistic yet creative style while also distinguishing between a styled shoot and a real wedding moment, can sometimes be challenging. However, there are a few key indicators that they can deliver on your expectations:
1. Emotion and Spontaneity: Real wedding moments are often filled with genuine emotions, such as laughter, tears, and affection. In contrast, styled shoots or posed photos may appear more controlled and lack the spontaneous expressions and reactions that naturally occur during a wedding.
2. Interaction and Connection: Authentic wedding moments capture the interactions and connections between family members, friends, and guests. Look for candid shots that show people genuinely engaging with one another. You should feel the sincerity in the connections and interactions.
3. Environmental Details: Real wedding photos often feature the actual wedding venue, decor, and surroundings that are unique to the couple’s chosen location. In contrast, styled shoots may have meticulously set up scenes with elements that are carefully curated to create a specific theme in a smaller area.
4. Lighting and Atmosphere: How do they cope with different lighting conditions? Wedding moments are often captured in varying lighting conditions and environments because it’s an all-day event. For destination weddings, celebrations are often held over several days which can result in a mix of lighting styles from daylight to candle-light receptions.
5. Authenticity of Details: Pay attention to the details in the photos. Real wedding moments often include personal touches like DIY decorations, guests in their natural attire, and unplanned moments that reflect the couple’s personalities. Many couples who organise their own wedding without a planner may have created the centrepieces themselves, so an understanding and compassionate photographer would want to capture these finer details for couples to look back on.
6. Posing and Composition: Every photographer has a style. Some are more formal and others are more relaxed and candid, while others are balanced. Look for a consistent style when it comes to capturing natural moments, but consider the fact that you will also want those ‘hero’ shots, so someone who can help you be comfortable and position you would be great. Not everything has to be polished, but you will want someone who is consistent. You may struggle with your confidence in photos, but a good and experienced photographer can help with that.
7. Consistency: Real wedding photos may display a variety of emotions, expressions, and scenes, as a wedding day is a collection of diverse moments. Styled shoots, however, may have a consistent theme or look throughout the entire series.
8. Storytelling: Real wedding photos often tell a narrative of the day’s events, from getting ready to the ceremony and reception. Ask to see a full wedding and look for consistency in their method to capture the progression of a wedding day.
9. Photographer’s Style: Get to know the photographer’s style by reviewing their portfolio. Established photographers often have a distinct approach to capturing real moments, which can help you recognise authentic photos. Some photographers have a talent when it comes to making people feel comfortable on the day, so meet them for tea or jump on a video call and make sure you are all comfortable with each other.
It’s important to keep in mind that many wedding photographers use a combination of both candid moments and posed shots to create a well-rounded and visually appealing wedding album. Perhaps it may help to see one. But whether you do or not, ask yourself as you go through a portfolio ‘What do I feel?’.
Lastly, not wanting to labour the point, but there’s more to it than just their portfolio. A gifted photographer is a keen observer of human nature. The best photographers are more than that. They are curious and loving souls. They know how to blend into the background, allowing moments to unfold naturally, while leaving the subjects of their frame at ease and comfortable enough to be themselves. They seek out the subtle expressions, the fleeting glances, and the tiny gestures that convey emotion (and love) in its purest form. This may be a hand on a shoulder, a side glance from a groom on the aisle towards his bride-to-be, or perhaps even the twiddling of thumbs which signifies nerves on the wedding morning. This requires not just skill but also a deep understanding of the human heart. They are more than just lovers of the art, they are often creative and emotionally intelligent people who love being of service to others.
As I’ve journeyed through countless destination weddings, I’ve seen love in its many forms, from the charming streets of Paris to the sand dunes of Morocco that stretch as far as your eyes can see. I’ve been humbled by the privilege of being both in awe and being able to preserve a couple’s most special and intimate moments in a sequence of frames. The wedding industry has evolved, and with it, so has the art of photography. Today, wedding photographers are not just photographers but storytellers, capturing the heart and attempting to translate the energy of the day into images that will last forever.
The future of weddings is a blank canvas awaiting our hands. A stage set for new love stories to be written, which will inevitably inspire waves of industry trends and inspiration. Personally, I’m excited to see how technology and artistry will continue to blend, introducing even more creative ways to present memorable and emotional moments in print for couples around the world. As a destination wedding photographer, I am thrilled to be a part of this ever-evolving world. We should embrace change and the technology that comes with it, not be fearful of it. But as we allow ourselves to travel with the times it is important, especially as an artist, to know and respect the art and its masters that came before us. Because I believe every branch should know it’s roots, in order to better understand it’s direction of travel.
In the grand tapestry of life, love is a thread that binds us all. Weddings are celebrations of that love, and through photography, I genuinely believe and have even witnessed how it’s possible to immortalise the entire spectrum of emotions that emerge on these most special of days. So, when planning your dream wedding, remember that it’s the heartfelt, unscripted moments that will be cherished for a lifetime. Cherish your love story, and let it be captured authentically, beautifully, and passionately.