THOUGHTS ON MY WORK AS A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
For the last seventeen years my work as a wedding photographer has offered me the remarkable privilege of witnessing other people’s lives in some of their happiest moments. My work has never ceased to move me. I adore the photographs I have from past weddings in my family, the enduring elegance of formality and the timeless quality of the ritual being photographed. But perhaps my favourite photograph is this one of my grandparents that shows a moment of natural and spontaneous tenderness. My grandparents are both now gone, my grandfather died when my mother was five, but in a way, the photograph makes them both alive now. Photographs bridge the past and the present by freezing time, but they also remind one of time’s inescapability, that we are all on its path. I see wedding photography as an ode to life and love, a visual celebration of beauty and joy to cherish in the future. But I don’t just aspire to capture beautiful images, but also meaningful images that capture and evoke the real moments and the real people in front of my camera. Your wedding photographs will be some of the most important and treasured photographs you and future generations will ever have.
(Bibi The Photographer)
The Three Key Parts of Wedding Photography
I. Couple and Group Photographs
Classic shots of the bride and groom and the wedding party
These are the classic wedding photographs of the couple, not necessarily posed but certainly intentional. My approach to these photographs can depend on the taste, style and personalities of the couple. I usually try to take the couple away from the busyness of the main part of the wedding to several previously scouted spots, typically for between twenty and forty-five minutes. Although I will sometimes offer specific directions, my aim is to allow your natural interactions to dictate the composition of these images. Wedding photographs are far too important to be overtaken by passing trends and I aspire to make these images timelessly beautiful.
II. Documentary Shots of the Day
Evocative images that capture moments throughout the wedding day in all its planned and unplanned its glory
These photographs will usually make up the majority of your wedding photographs, although I always want to know which aspects of the wedding photography are the priorities for you. These shots tell the story of the wedding day, documenting the event with images of the key moments as well as the details and setting of the wedding in all its glory. However, I also capture those smaller sometimes in-between or unplanned moments and interactions that often provide the most evocative images of all. Even if nothing goes to plan, I am not fazed, I always find ways of documenting the fun and joy of the goings on.
III. Candid Portraits Of All Those Involved
Vibrant meaningful portraits of the people that make up your wedding
These are the natural unposed shots that capture the people of your wedding; a mother moved by a speech or two friends in hysterics at a remembered story. It is the people (probably the most important ones in your life) who give meaning to your wedding and (without being intrusive or conspicuous) I aim to come away with lots of candid portraits of them. Some wedding photographers seem to capture the couple and the details while overlooking the other people the make up the wedding. So many couples whose weddings I have photographed have told me how delighted they are to have such lovely shots of their favourite people enjoying their wedding.
WEDDINGS IN SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE
MY FIRST EVER WEDDING IN MEXICO
The first wedding I photographed in Mexico (eight years ago) was in San Miguel de Allende. The ceremony was held in the distinctive neo-gothic pink parish church (known as La Parroquia) and the reception was down the hill in the exquisite Casa Hyder. Central San Miguel is made up of steep, cobbled streets lined with old wooden doors that open to beautifully restored houses with courtyards, gardens, shady pools and terraces. Its churches, plazas, gardens and colonial houses are a delight to photograph in and its celebratory atmosphere is unique. I don’t think I will ever tire of working in San Miguel.
AN INTRODUCTION TO PAPEL PICADO AND WALL TO WALL BOUGAINVILLEA
This wedding was a gorgeous Cuban-American event held within the cobbled streets and ubiquitous bougainvillea of central San Miguel. During this wedding I bore witness to the beautifully kept up private houses close to El Jardín, their courtyards and terraces just could not be better for a unforgettable party. The pre-wedding portraits and the preparations for this wedding were all held one of these beautiful colonial houses, I cannot remember the name and cannot find it anywhere when I try to look it up. We shot the main formal shots up on the roof terrace amongst bright pink petals, nothing quirky, just classic timeless bridal portraits. The rehearsal dinner was held up the hill in Casa de la Cuesta and it was at this party that I first saw the gorgeous papel picado, a staple of Mexican wedding celebrations and of all my own parties ever since.
SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE IS PARADISE FOR A WEDDING AND FOR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS!
It was also at this wedding that I had my first glimpse of the now so familiar to me - Parroquia. Following the ceremony, we walked from the church to the superb Casa Hyder, where the reception was held. The procession through the cobbled streets was a classic San Miguel-style callejoneada, headed by mariachis and mojigangas (huge wooden puppets of the bride and groom) and fuelled by the customary mescal. The shots I took that day are still some of my favourite San Miguel wedding photographs, especially an image of the mariachis navigating a passageway along side the street as they tail a slightly out of focus bride and groom. Taken from above, this shot shows the mariachis’ hats in all their glory.
SAN MIGUEL HAS SO MANY BEAUTIFUL WEDDING VENUES TO CHOOSE FROM
Although, Casa Hyder and the Rosewood have provided the venues for most of the weddings I have photographed in San Miguel de Allende, I have recently been hearing more about Casa Tortugas, a private house near the centre. In November last year I shot a truly unforgettable wedding there. The bride was a very talented American artist and it was an immaculately planned and designed event, traditional, intimate and full of the loveliest of people. Even though I do enjoy photographing big Mexican weddings of five hundred or so guests, perhaps it is these smaller weddings in which people have come from afar and are all close family or friends, that I feel most akin to.