This article originally appeared in Bridal Guide.
By G.E. Masana
Ever see those street photos from the 1940’s of lovers strolling down the cobblestone streets of Paris, arm in arm? Maybe stealing a kiss while seated at an outdoor cafe? Huddled in an embrace?
I believe those images hold the key to how to make your wedding photos timeless.
Think for a moment about cheesy wedding images from the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s. Back then there were common shots wedding photographers did such as, among many others, the best man mopping the groom’s brow as he anxiously looked at his watch; the bride fawning over her bouquet she caressed in her arms like a newborn baby. Not to mention the obligatory double exposed shot of the wedding couple superimposed over their ceremony.
You may have seen these stock poses in your parents’ wedding album. They were cute the first time around. But by now they tend to get mocked because they’ve become cliché.
Today some of the stock poses are of tightly cropped photos of feet that showcase the shoes the couple wore; brides and grooms jumping in the air, heads cut off in photos at the neckline showing only the torsos… I’m sure you’ve seen these too.
And they were cute the first time around as well.
So here’s something to consider:
These later photos are actually getting as cliché as the photos from the 70’s to 90’s. And none of any of those photos are as old as the street scenes from the 1940’s. Yet the older street scenes are still relevant to us today, some 70 years later, while those photos from recent years already look out of date and hokey.
Have you guessed why the older images endured so well?
The photographers back then were photojournalists looking for what they called the “Definitive Moment” to photograph. The moment that tells a story.
And the stories those photos told were of real couples in love doing what real couples in love do. They were authentic.
So they contained real moments and honest emotions. They weren’t about the pose or about doing something gimmicky or trendy for the camera’s sake.
Here’s the thing:
We all react to stories and emotions. It’s like a common language we all understand.
Look at a photo of a baby or a puppy and it can make you smile. A photo of a mother grieving in a war torn land can make you cry. We’re human. We’re all wired to respond to emotions.
We all share this universal human condition.So when we see moments which resonate with us within this way, we’re moved.
But when images are contrived and manufactured, they’re totally void of any real meaning or emotions. We may like them – or not – on a superficial level when they only have a gimmick based on some trend going for them.
But when that trend fades there’s nothing left in the image of much substance, and so it has nowhere to go, except to look dated.
Yet the images which speak to us about our humanity, about reality, the images that make us laugh, cry and say “awww”, those photos continue to speak to us. And they speak to us at a very core level. And so because of that, they speak to everyone, everywhere.
So they transcend borders. They transcend cultures. They transcend politics, religions and languages. And since their message speaks to anyone of any generation, they transcend time.
The emotions and reality in the image is what makes it timeless.
And here’s the irrefutable proof right in front of us, because those images from the 1940’s endured so well they’re now considered iconic.
No wonder. Fact is, reality and emotions are some things which naturally are impossible to go out of style.
Here’s how to infuse reality into your wedding photos to make them timeless.
1. Don’t play to the camera. Don’t stop what you’re doing to do something affected for the camera. In fact pay no attention to the camera at all. Instead, live your real moments and permit the camera to witness it.
2. Be in the moment. Be fully present, open and immersed to each second of your wedding day. This gives you the fullest experience of your day. That also gives your photographer true real moments to photograph which will contain unique and deep personal memories.
3. Speaking of the photographer, make sure they’re skilled at this approach. You can’t be immersed in moments if your photographer is the kind who pulls you out of them for their shots, directs all their shots or depends on trends for ideas to photograph. Look for someone with the skill set to get the “definitive moment” kind of images.