I pride myself on being able to get moment photos where a story can be told in an image, one that summarises a feeling or experience quickly and universally. They tend to be the ones that get you in the gut because you can feel the tears or they instantly make you laugh because you can see hilarity unfolding – even if you don’t know the people and weren’t even there for the event. But another aspect I pride myself on is my ability to capture love and beauty in both the relationship and the surroundings of the couple.
I feel so lucky to live and work where I do and I can take a trip to the mountains for snow-covered treks in the deep quiet of the winter or I can just as easily sit at the ocean’s edge at dusk with the water hitting the sand in a metronome pattern of relaxation.
We have dark green hills with bright blue skies, rocky coasts and sandy beaches, boats that take you out into the ocean where no others are in sight, and the joy of floating in a lake with a relaxing book. Truly, I feel like we have it all here so to have it be the backdrop for the weddings I photograph makes me happier than you will ever imagine.
On a wedding day, the constant voice running through my head is to get in close to capture that split second of a reaction and then also reminding myself to pull back and see the views or to lead couples into a moment that probably wouldn’t have happened without my intervention, but truly sums up the love story.
As a photojournalist and a member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA), the goal on the day of is to be as unintrusive as possible to get to the real story of the day instead of leading it astray from what would have happened naturally. But what I love about the WPJA is that they also recognize and celebrate the need for those posed moments even the ones that couples sometimes think are completely candid but I had a hand in making happen – whether large or small. These awards are the Artistic Guild and they tend to either be close up of details on the wedding day (like hands folding a letter) or of portraits where the photographer helped guide the couple into the moment.
Strict photojournalism says you don’t tell people where to stand, what to do, or how to feel/react, and the Artist Guild of the WPJA allows for a bit of the photographer’s personality to come through which is something I love to be a part of too! And while I missed submitting for about half of this year’s contests in both the WPJA and the WPJA AG due to them (understandably) changing deadlines a bunch and not being able to keep up with them as the world went topsy turvy – I have won a few awards!
Portraits on a wedding day isn’t always an easy task or one that works the same way every time, instead, it’s one that requires you to be open to the personality and differences of the people who stand before you. One approach to breaking down the walls doesn’t work for everyone and while there are always some that are harder, I feel that almost anyone you put in front of my camera, I can capture a good portrait of their love.
The image that you see here is one that I took almost a year ago and won an award in 2019 with the WPJA AG for portraits!
Wendy and David eloped in the White Mountains and hired me for 5 hours to drive to various locations for photos of the two of them. They traveled by car from the mid-west to NH and secretly got married without telling a soul and while we went around to various places in the cold winter air, we bonded over music because David owns and runs a recording studio and he’d made THE COOLEST road trip mix for the two of them that he played while we bopped all around.
When we weren’t running around taking pictures to keep warm, we were laughing and sharing music stories since music has been something that’s a big part of my life too since I was little – thanks, Mom and Dad!
But like I said, it was C O L D outside. The wind was whipping hair everywhere and while there wasn’t a ton of snow on the ground, after we’d finish photos at one location we always had a chatter to our teeth when we’d hop back in the car.
One of the last spots we visited is a secret favorite of mine with mountain views and open land where typically no one else is around. It’s a quiet peaceful place and while it was beautiful as always, it was also even windier since it’s out in the open. So after a few moments of the two of them dancing together, a giant gust of wind rushed past us and I told them to pull each other in tight to warm up and to do all that they could to keep the other one warm.
Then * CLICK * this photo happened.
As I said, it isn’t always the same with every couple. Some couples are more open to being affectionate with one another while in the presence of a photographer and some couples are a little more hesitant – and both are perfectly fine! How we get to a great portrait is going to look different for each couple’s love!
Wendy and David warmed up to me completely and were open to the whole entire process so it was easy to photograph this moment and get the energy that you feel when you look at it. I love the wild hair in the wind, her hands gripping his lapel to pull him closer, and her smile even though you can tell without a doubt that it’s chilly where they are.
They’re an affectionate couple with no qualms being that way in front of the camera and as a result, we got lots of pictures of these two cuddled in close all around the mountains for their winter elopement.
Once again, thank you to the WPJA AG for recognizing my work and awarding me for this image – it truly means a lot to get these awards and to be among a ton of greats. If you’d like to see more from Wendy + David’s elopement in Jackson, New Hampshire CLICK HERE!
Thank you once again to WPJA for recognizing my work and awarding me for this image!
If you’re interested, feel free to take a look at my full profile on WPJA to see the rest of my award-winning wedding images by heading HERE!
Maine & New Hampshire wedding photographer, I AM SARAH V Photography, photographs events for wildly in love couples seeking an NH & Maine wedding photographer with a photojournalism & cinematic approach. You can see more of my work online at www.iamsarahv.com or on Instagram. I photograph many locations including being a New Hampshire Elopement wedding photographer in Jackson, NH in the White Mountains and I would enjoy photographing your day too! If you’d like to contact me directly, please email me at email@example.com
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