by Tony Hewitt Published
"We are looking for something different."
How often, as wedding photographers, have we been on the receiving end of this request? To make things even more interesting, 'different' can mean so many 'different' things to 'different' people!
Know the feeling? If so, you are not alone.
In trying to be 'different', where do we start? We can be forgiven for feeling like we are in Groundhog Day, every Saturday or Sunday, as we head off to photograph a wedding. So often it can all start to seem the same: a white dress, a special car, a church, a nervous groom, a fussy mother, vows, speeches, toasts, dancing and, of course, the locations. After a while it feels like there are not many places you haven't used as a location and, even when they are new or 'different', it can feel like you have been there before.
There is that word again ... 'different'.
When a client first asks us for something 'different', we need to ask ourselves what is 'normal' and what does it look like when it isn't 'different'? Then we might choose to ask the client the same question.
By gaining some insight into what the client finds normal or expected, we have a greater chance of coming up with something 'different'!
I am sure that, like me, many of you have found on further exploration that the 'different' that is being asked of us is, in fact, exactly what we would be doing anyway. Sure, sometimes they (our clients) want something out of the ordinary, maybe weird, but so often I have found that the style and approach I usually take will, in fact, cover what they want. What they mean by 'different' is really just something that they and their friends and family might find new and interesting. They may be using the albums and photos of other weddings as a reference, or perhaps some images they have seen in the local newspaper; some people even judge what they might expect on what their parents' wedding photos looked like.
At the end of the day the desire to have 'different' images of their wedding is perhaps more to do with feeling special than in breaking new ground in the area of wedding photography. When they look back at their wedding photos, a newly married couple may, in fact, just be looking to feel, "Yes, our wedding was something special, it stands out from the others I have seen . . . we can see it in our pictures, they're so 'different'."
There are many ways we can offer our clients a 'different' experience of wedding photography, including the style of our shooting, our presentation of proofs, the 'look' of our wedding albums, and other contemporary forms of presentation.
In fact, just the way we show up and what we wear can influence their perception of 'different' photography. Now I am not suggesting wearing overalls and work boots to give them that feeling of "Hey, this is 'different'", but who we are and how we show up will influence the wedding day and their memory of it! I believe that the expression on a person's face in a photograph is directly related to what is going on in their thinking at the moment the image is captured. Whatever is brought to someone's attention will be in their thinking. Sometimes it is just an action or a few words. For instance, asking someone or a group of people not to be nervous while a picture is taken will raise the idea of 'being nervous' in their mind and they will show their feelings of being nervous as we capture the image. Think about the following statement:
'Don't think of an elephant wearing red boots and a yellow hat.'
Now most of you couldn't help yourselves could you? You thought of it! Now try harder:
'Don't think of a red monkey wearing a blue suit and eating an orange banana.'
Imagine if I had suggested something that would create strong emotions, it would show in your face.
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