Having photographed hundreds of thirty-something couples and their weddings, here are 10 of the things I’ve learned about what’s important to the thirty-something bride.
But first, here’s why I’m writing this.
You’d think wedding photography is simply about picking up a camera and taking photos at a wedding. And if you’re lucky enough, there’s some actual talent behind the camera and the photos come out looking rather nice.
You’d think that, but that’s not all there is to it by any means.
Because I’ve photographed weddings for couples in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s… and how different age couples go about their weddings – and how they want their weddings photographed – is different.
And so if you’re a thirty-something wedding couple then you want a wedding photographer who understands how you see your wedding. Because they need to be on the same page with you to get the photographic results you want to get.
For that reason you might really prefer to have a wedding photographer who understands that:
1. Your wedding is an intimate celebration of your love. It’s not about making it a big show, a three ring circus spectacular, like it might be if you were twenty. There’s no guest invited because of office politics or because you’re trying to impress people. Every person in attendance has a personal, meaningful connection with the bride or groom. You want a photographer who understands that your guests are not there because they’re on your mom’s list of friends but because they’re on your list of friends.
2. Your wedding isn’t a frat booze party. You’re not in college anymore. Your wedding isn’t going to be about how drunk you and your friends can get on the dance floor and having pictures of everyone swigging back beers and shouting “woo hoo!” The photographer used to photographing twenty-somethings is geared to see wedding receptions as club scenes instead of getting photos depicting genuine moments with the couple’s loved ones and great moments of their dear friends having fun.
3. Make sure your photographer is at your emotional maturity level. Since you don’t wish to be treated like you’re still twenty years old, avoid the photographer whose portfolio’s filled with having couples do juvenile antics for the camera like jumping in the air. Or embarrassing you in front of your guests by doing things like resorting to fart jokes to get people to smile (oh yes, I was reading younger photographers online talking about their favorite ways to make people smile. That was one of them).
4. A photographer more sensitive to your needs will understand you prefer being immersed in your wedding, not pulled away to pose for a bunch of staged photos that are ultimately meaningless to you. Your photographer should have a strong preference for photos of you celebrating and having fun with your guests. That trumps cookie-cutter shots of being dipped backwards in a kiss any day.
5. Get a knowledgeable and skilled photographer. Your tastes are more refined than they were a decade ago. You know what you like. You’ve seen wedding photos out there looking like your cousin could’ve taken them – snapshots of people milling around, nothing too exciting – and you simply demand better than that.
6. You probably don’t want the photographer to concentrate on you, following you around all night taking a thousand shots of you. That’s kind of the photographer’s default setting when the bride’s of an age where she feels it’s all about her. Make sure the photographer knows your wish to have all your guests represented in your photos, as those are the memories you more than likely want.
Besides which, you probably feel the best photos of you are always when you didn’t even know the camera was there.
7. There should be a connection you feel with the photographer. You should feel the photographer understands what’s important to you. Though it’s not a simple matter of you “handing over the keys” to your memories and blindly trusting a photographer just because they’re a photographer. Communication about what’s important to you is key in connecting with each other. Otherwise by default you risk getting the “leave it up to me, I know what I’m doing” treatment from the photographer, as if you were still a little kid.
8. Make sure your photographer doesn’t do the cookie cutter routine. You likely don’t want photos that look the same as other weddings, but rather, unique images from your wedding. But that stumps a lot of photographers because they can’t fathom how a wedding can be that different from any other wedding that the photos would look any different. In my work I’ve discovered this has more to do with how the wedding’s different more than it has to do with what is different about the wedding. When you’re interviewing photographers, see that they truly understand this fine nuance.
9. And KNOW who your photographer is. Maybe if you were younger, not sure of what you wanted, you’d be okay with the studio sales person picking out a free-lance photographer for you, handing off a responsibility like that to the studio’s sales staff. But 30-something brides usually always want to know the people on their team and be more directly involved. In that case, you’re better off hand-picking the photographer personally.
10. You may not be a big follower of wedding photo trends. A few years ago, the trend was to take a photo sitting on a couch in a meadow. Last year it was to take a photo pretending to run from dinosaurs. Whatever. When you’re twenty, that’s fun. When you’re 30, 40… it’s juvenile. But not only that, doing trending novelty pictures is probably not where you want to invest your time into on your wedding day. There’s more meaningful activities you prefer to be involved with throughout the day. And you need the photographer working in accordance with your vision.
Is this all I’ve discovered?
No but it’s certainly the top ten. There’s more. Generally speaking, a 30 something person’s world is entirely different than it was for them at 20. You’re evolved, grown as a person having acquired more life experiences, have emotionally matured and now have a stronger handle on who you are, what you like, what you don’t like, and what you want. And that’s reflected in every aspect of your wedding.
Working on those weddings is like having knowledge in a specialized field for me. My other 30-something couples can tell you I was on the same page as they were and to know more about working with me at your wedding, call me at (646) 543-1321 and we’ll chat. Or go ahead and reach out to me here.
**G.E. Masana (portrait artist and Huffington Post contributer) As Seen In HUFFINGTON POST | MARTHA STEWART WEDDINGS | THE KNOT | NEW YORK MAGAZINE | BRIDAL GUIDE | BRIDES | STYLE ME PRETTY | ELEGANT BRIDE | GRACE ORMONDE | WELLWED | TOWN&COUNTRY **
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