Creating Dynamic Images
I am going a slightly different direction with this Anatomy of an Image post, because I am sharing 14 images from seven different weddings. The idea occurred to me when someone in a wedding photography forum noted how all the images photographers post seem to be very different then what you would expect in a typical wedding photograph. She asked if all of our photos look like that, or only certain ones. I thought it was an interesting question to answer, since if you are new to the industry or wedding photography in general, your impression would be that every single image looks like something that belongs in a gallery as opposed to a wedding album.
Let me start by answering her question: No, every image does not look like that, nor should they. The issue is that, as a photographer, I am photographing for two different people, myself and the client. It is actually more complicated than that, because I am not only photographing for the clients, I am also photographing for their family, their children, and their grand children that will be looking at their wedding photos one day. As such, it is important to find balance between creating the type of artwork that satisfies my own need to create, and the type of images that will appeal to people beyond just myself and the clients. Striking that balance can be difficult.
One of the wedding photographers who most inspires me is David Beckstead, and he has provided the best advice I have ever heard on the matter. Several years ago, he suggested splitting my time between creating safe images for a wider audience and more dynamic images for my own satisfaction. He calls it “creating an image for grandma, and then creating an image for me.” It is a simple idea, but the freedom is provides is incredible. Once I know I have created that safe image for the “grandma” it leaves me to play and create in ways I have never thought possible. For newer photographers, you might want to devote 90% of your time to mastering the safe shots, but as you become more comfortable in developing your style, and confident that you can create dynamic imagery, you can ease into spending more and more of your time taking risks on dynamic imagery.