Reflections : Family Wedding Portraits


Well, it’s Monday. Wheeee. Or should I write, Wheeee!! Don’t exclamation points change the tone of a post? A period could make it sound sarcastic or matter-of-fact-ish. An exclamation point? I’d say exclamation points show team spirit. They’re like the mascot of a paragraph.

I thought it’d be nice to start this week with a Reflections post. As I’ve said before, Reflections posts are entries dedicated to addressing an issue I faced during a shoot and the decision I made to change the outcome. At my last wedding, I spent a wonderful morning with the bride, Tina, while JD hung out with the groom, Vince. They did their First Look at The Standard Hotel and wedding photos in Downtown Los Angeles. I suggested completing family formal portraits before the ceremony and the couple readily agreed. We decided to meet at the church for these pictures and take things from there.

Sounds straight-forward, right? Not so much. When we arrived at the church, the wedding scheduled before Vince and Tina’s was running late. In a relatively short amount of time, hundreds of guests would pour from the church and disrupt family pictures outside of the church if I posed them outdoors. The areas surrounding the church weren’t exactly picturesque (nothing against the church…I’m speaking from a strictly photographic perspective) and the space I needed for group shots wasn’t available.

Still determined to make things work, I started taking small group photos as we waited for others to arrive.

When I viewed these pictures on my LCD screen on the back of my camera and immediately went into panic mode. Not okay. TOTALLY. NOT. OKAY. I was just picturing an album spread filled with that yellow and red background and then I got a nervous twitch in my left eye. I smiled and politely said I’d wait for the others to arrive before completing the rest of the photos. Then I ran across the street to look for an alternative location.

When I found a spot that worked, I ran back across the street (no one saw me running…Internet, I’m totally CLASSY) and made a tough decision. I asked everyone to move. I can’t tell you how uncomfortable this made me (partly because I didn’t want them to think the church wasn’t working and partly because I didn’t want to bother 25 people), but my request was greeted with total support. I believe the support came from a few things, but mainly: 1. My clients trusted me; 2. They, too, saw the environment and potential obstacles and; 3. I acted in control and made a professional request as kindly as possible. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for my amazing clients.

Because it was an overcast day, the afternoon light was pretty much perfect, so JD was able to shoot from an entirely different angle and diversify the family portrait portfolio…

Vince, Tina, and his ever fab sisters…love these girls!

Because of their trust and support, I believe they’ll have stronger family photos that are simply prettier. I created a win-win for myself and my clients…and this makes me happy.

If you’re ever in a situation when you feel like you need to make a tough decision, trust your gut. As professionals, we’re in charge and we hold the key to narrate our clients’ wedding day in the best possible light. Happy Monday. Wheeee!!