Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Photojournalism, more reasons why staged pictures should be banned.

If you have ever glanced through your parents wedding album you are sure to come across the basic staged photos of mom and dad gazing into one another’s eyes at the altar, or looking mischievous at the cake table. There is always the inevitable line of bridesmaids and my favorite, the groom surrounded by bridesmaids as they pretend to flaunt all over him. Please stop the madness, do away with cheesy pictures that portray these fake moments that no one can remember.

The best thing about a wedding is not the things that are suppose to happen, we have all seen this movie before, but the unexpected is what you remember. The way your dad looks after he hands you away. The groomsmen checking out the crowd for dance partners during the vow exchange or the bible being read in the ceremony that belonged to your grandmother. These are the details you want to capture with your photography.

I did not understand the concept of photojournalism until I had the opportunity to meet a photographer that did. The husband and wife team of Paul and Mecheal Johnson are by far the best wedding photographers I have ever seen.
All of the photos on this post were taken by them. If you are planning a wedding, I have never seen anyone as talented as these two. They only take action shots and spend time getting to know who is who, not showing up an hour before. One of their photos I love is simply a woman’s high heel with a grass patch on the heel. That picture has nothing to do with the bride or groom, but that picture says that this was a special day. That this woman wore these great shoes and then was so caught up in the celebration she decided to ruin those great shoes. Pictures like these make me feel like I was there.

So please, stop with the interlocking arm toast. Have your photographer capture the day, the moments and the people. Think of wedding day photography like war photography. If a journalist was trying to tell a story about a war he would probably show the soldiers running around with guns in hand, people in their villages with fire in the distance, and a UNICEF truck driving down a dirt covered road. Imagine that same tale of war with only staged photos, people grouped together pretending to look worried or those same soldiers standing arm in arm smiling. Action photos transport you to that moment, to the day and time, the colors and sounds and the emotions. Be sure to record it right, one wedding decision you wont regret.

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