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  • Writer's pictureTina Witherspoon

Wedding Details: On Location

As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. I am obsessed with details, to the point where I have to remind myself to step back and shoot the overall scene sometimes. When I bought a 50mm prime lens a few years ago, it became the gateway drug to my becoming a professional photographer. It simply makes everything look better than real life.

One genre I never entertained was photographing weddings. There is so much pressure and so many emotions surrounding the event I didn't think I could handle it. Several years ago, I worked as an office assistant for a wedding planning company, two seasons in a row, and I saw everything from crying bridezillas to last minute scrambling and finger pointing when things don't go according to plan. Why would I ever agree to be responsible for capturing each fleeting moment of a timed coordination schedule on the most important day of a couple's life? No thank you!

But then again, I truly love weddings! The color schemes and the decor, the sense of a moment in time, the ceremony and traditions — I love it all. I wondered if there was a way for me to photograph a wedding but not get caught up in the stress of delivering the perfect images. I thought about the parameters: limiting the guest count to under 50 would be a good start; and if the couple chose a casual, remote destination spot, eliminating the obstacle course of driving from their house to the church to the reception — also a plus. And of course, there's attitude.

So, when your friend asks for a favor — I know this is not what you do — and assures you they do not have any of the typical unreasonable expectations, and that they don't want to hire a stranger with such an intimate group and they would just like some nice photos of the day — how can you say no? Sara + Jon gave me the opportunity to challenge myself in the wedding arena, and provided the perfect parameters for experimentation. A gathering of 30-ish family members and friends in a beautiful rental house in Eastern Washington, a short-but-sweet ceremony officiated by a friend to celebrate the nuptials of quite possibly the least pretentious couple I've ever known.

It was amazing. I spent 12 hours following them around the property, photographing documentary style, capturing moments of anticipation, emotion, frustration, laughter and tears — as well as all the delicious details a wedding day can provide. I even managed to get all the obligatory posed family shots, as well as an environmental portrait of the bride and groom. I had written out a checklist though I really didn't have time to consult it on the day. I knew what I needed to shoot and also that I needed to be ready for things I couldn't anticipate - like the bride spontaneously jumping into the pool in her dress immediately after tying the knot. I truly can't wait for the next wedding season and another opportunity to challenge myself further.

If you happen to be engaged and you plan to do it in your backyard, or on a farm, or on a boat, with 30-40 of your closest family and friends, and you and your fiancé have a low key, bohemian spirit, please get in touch.

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