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…to bring you an important announcement: 

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Our son, Hale True, was born last week. He was a couple months early, but both mom and boy are in great shape. 

Why not go and have a look at the little blog we set up to share pictures?

 

Amy and I are utterly thrilled to be parents.

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One of the most common questions brides and grooms ask us is if we do portraits. Our main approach to photography is photojournalism. The vast majority of our pictures are not posed or staged in any way. However, the portrait session is an important part of the NonFiction Wedding day. Scott and I even think of it as part of the celebration. There is ritual to it—the families gathering together, generations arranging themselves, standing up tall and everyone is reeling from excitement, nerves and/or their first sips of champagne.

Kimberly and John squeeze their friend and officiant

Kimberly and John squeeze their friend and officiant.

 At the same time, the day is NOT about making pictures, the object of the day is to celebrate. This is why we make our portrait-taking part of the day as easy-going and well-paced as possible. The way we make portraits is pretty organic. We ask the brides and grooms beforehand what group pictures are important to them.  We let people arrange themselves— the way they feel most comfortable. We don’t pose, or move anyone’s chin here or there. We just make sure that each person is comfortable and ready — then we go ‘click’. It really works well. 

Kids don't have to smile if they don't feel like it. They are still super cute.

Portraits before or after the ceremony? Both times can work equally well with a little planning.

 

Peter with his siblings. They say this is the best picture they have ever had of the four of them together. Portraits are really important.

Peter with his siblings. They say this is the best picture they have ever had of the four of them together.

We don't very often tell brides and grooms to kiss. They just tend to do it and we go 'click'.

We don't very often tell brides and grooms to kiss. They just tend to do it and we go 'click'.

Scott took this one while Amanda and Ryan walked from the ceremony to the party.

Scott took this one while Amanda and Ryan walked from the ceremony to the party.

But wait, there is more. There is something in between candid pictures and formal portraits — candid portraits. Scott is great at these. Candid portraits are when the photographer/camera and the subject have a brief interaction. There is not necessarily any conversation about it. The picture just happens. Not planned, no “One, Two, Three”, but still the result can be called a portrait. I love these. 

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She wanted to dance so badly and finally did.

 

Mahnaz, the bride, watches the sunset

Mahnaz, the bride, watches the sunset.

Ellie waits for the limo driver under the viaduct

Ellie waits for the limo driver under the viaduct.

Amanda had hot dogs arrive at midnight. Perfect timing for a perfect snack at a perfect wedding. Yum!

Amanda had hot dogs arrive at midnight. Perfect timing for a perfect snack at a perfect wedding. Yum!

We didn't tell them to do this. They were just that adorable.

We didn't tell them to do this. They were just that adorable and the sky was that blue.

The more the merrier!

In just the past three years, the number of wedding guests taking pictures with their own point and shoot (and sometimes bigger, semi-pro) cameras has become larger. People love  having their own record of the day whether it be the sister of the groom or an office-mate of the bride.

Scott and I both feel The More, The Merrier when it comes to folks getting their own shots. It is on a rare occasion that a guest-photographer interferes with what we are doing. Most people are very aware and super respectful of our job.

Also, the photos taken by friends and family are important in themselves. They tell different sides to the same story. The sister of the groom and the office-mate are going to have a different vantage points.We all have a different eye. Who knows what moments they might catch. We love to work others’ acts of documentation into our own. 

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I love taking photos of the bride getting ready. This tends to be when a big portion of the day’s emotion, excitement, nervousness and hilarity happens. Photographing the bride surrounded by her friends from all parts of her life along with her mother, soon-to-be-mother-in-law, sisters, brothers, aunts and such is such an honor. This is often a time for reminiscing, for sweet words, for joking and for all the hard work put into the day to come together. This is ritual! It is a bounty to photograph. And to boot, there is almost always beautiful light during the preparation time, streaming in from somewhere.

Documenting the preparations before the actual ceremony is a fairly new phenomenon in wedding photography. However, I predict these are going to be the images that are gone through the most by the next generations. The formal portraits may become the familiar photos, the pictures that are framed, hung on the wall to do the job of establishing ‘this is my great-grandmother and great-grandfather on their wedding day’.

I believe the shots of the bride or groom surrounded by their dearest friends in the moments building up to their nuptials—these will be the photos that answer the questions about WHO they were, HOW they felt, and WHAT happened on their wedding day. 

 

It is really happening!

It is really happening!

 

 

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I love the backstage pass!


 

Amanda has known her bridesmaids since she was a wee one. They have shared this ritual each time one of them has gotten married.

Amanda has known her bridesmaids since she was a wee one. They have shared this ritual each time one of them has gotten married.

 

 

 

Mahnaz's bridesmaids were amazing problem solvers. They got the job done.

Mahnaz's bridesmaids were amazing problem solvers. They got the job done.

 

It doesn't matter they happen in a crowded bathroom or in fancy hotel room with a view, the getting ready pictures are always fun for me.

It doesn't matter if they happen in a crowded bathroom or in fancy hotel room with a view, the getting ready pictures are always fun for me.

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I call this one 'anticipation'.

 

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Shellie doesn't have her dress on yet, but she is ready.

 

James, Shellie's groom, is ready too.

James, Shellie's groom, is ready too.

 

 

 

Scott usually photographs the groom and the groomsmen, but sometimes we switch it up. The ritual is rich with them as well.

 

Scott usually photographs the groom and the groomsmen, but sometimes we switch it up. The ritual is rich and sweet and real with them as well.

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There are a number of different approaches to photographing a wedding. Here in documentary world, we feel our mandate is to tell the event’s story, as it really is. Our goal is to find the thread of the story and set it gracefully within its context. Our job is not to direct that thread, or to manufacture the context. 

What that means on the ground is that we observe. Our goal is to disappear. There is a flow; we go with it. When a couple sees their photos, we want them to say, “Oh my gosh, you got that? You were there? We didn’t even see you!”

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Kate changes in the copy room

Take the picture above: A bride getting her dress on in a cluttered copy room. Faced with this situation, a traditional wedding photographer is going to think, ‘how can I get her into a nicer setting for this?’ And that’s a great way to get nice pictures. But if you’re doing that, you’re not doing documentary.

Here, I’m thinking, ‘Statuesque bride, gorgeous, distinctive dress–elegance walking, really–and in this kind of  jumbled, fluorescent-lit copy room. What a lovely, interesting juxtaposition!’

I am proud of this picture. I’d like to think that this image–both the photograph and the memory of that moment–is better for our not having asked Kate to move somewhere ‘more beautiful’ to shuck her civilian duds.

The simplest way  to put the distinction between “documentary wedding photography” and “traditional wedding photography” is thus: No bossing around. Apart from providing a little guidance during the portraits, we don’t do any directing at all.

We’re not trying to make a wedding look the way we want it to look; we are instead striving to capture beautiful, authentic pictures of the way it actually is. 

And we humbly submit that that’s going to make the experience–and the pictures–both more pleasant and more beautiful.

Our Ideal Client

This is the time of the year when we’re not shooting an awful lot of weddings, and so are blessed with the luxury of time to do things like create blogs, update our wedding website, finish up video projects and focus on our portrait work. I love that stuff.

But we’re eager for the wedding season to rev up, too. 

We’re drawn to this work out of a deep human curiosity. We love to see how people live, how they interact with others, how they approach and experience and process the events of their lives. We are anthropologists, really–except that it’s human interest, not academia, that drives our curiosity. 

One of the questions we’ve asked ourselves in thinking about this blog, about our wedding photography business is, ‘Who is our ideal client?’ Who indeed.

The first thing Amy and I both said in answer was, they gotta love pictures. 

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We knew we were going to enjoy Dewa and Grant’s wedding when they showed up to our initial meeting with a stack of photo albums, from both sides of their new family. Now here are folks who care about pictures! The meeting went well–they made all the right noises about the pictures in our albums, and we gave them our little packet of info… but we spent most of the meeting looking through their pictures.

They’d met very young, been highschool sweethearts…

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… and we just soaked up their love for photography.

We love when everyone at a wedding has a camera. People’s relationship to photography is changing. The ability to snap and share pictures in the moment has now simply become part of the way people experience events. It’s part of the celebration. 

Some professional photographers will grump around about it (“grumble grumble, if they’re all takin’ their own pitchers, they ain’t gonna buy none from me, grumble grumble!,” ) but there are always going to be people who recognize this is a different thing. One doesn’t replace the other. One is part of the event; the other is the document of the event.

What better way to show you believe in photography, and that your event is important to you, than to commission artists to create an official document of it? 

For this reason, we feel genuinely honored to have clients who recognize that what we do is truly important. 

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Oh, wait–you’re already here! We’ve been planning to start up a wedding blog for some time. I’m finally getting the main NonFiction Wedding website seriously updated, and so it’s time. Watch for more good stuff to fill these pages in the near future.