Some photographers feel at home in the ritz and glitz of a fancy hotel or venue. They thrive in the atmosphere of lush and they love the comfort of a room with all of the tailoring’s to make every angle be crisp and clean.
And while I don’t mind working in those spaces and certainly would work just as hard in them as I would anywhere else, I don’t find myself particularly inspired when I’m in them.
So what do I like best? Getting ready with a couple in a space that feels like home to them…and to be even more specific, I love taking these photos actually *in* their own home or that of a loved one.
The reasons for that are plentiful and they range from the details hung on the walls like framed photos of family from years gone past to awards from when the person I’m photographing was young.
But it’s not just the things, it’s also the way the rooms feel so familiar to the people. Their best friends have spent years sleeping over on the bedroom floor or the couple knows just the right chair to steal away from the hustle to work on their vows last minute.
The hair pins are tucked in the cabinet underneath the parent’s bathroom, the big soup sized mugs are hidden on the top shelf above the sink, the window seat in the living room is perfect for doing your toenail polish…
It’s the life that are in the walls, the history, and the stories and it’s honestly where I feel myself come alive as a photographer.
Like I always remind couples, I’m not looking for the perfection, I’m looking for the real.
I remember the first time I worked in a family home that really felt like a place of love and I felt such sparks of inspiration all over the place. When Oscar, my second photographer, and I went to the car to head out for the ceremony we both looked at each other and were like, “THAT was such a cool place to work in!”
It wasn’t fancy, it wasn’t polished and prim – it was exactly what you think of when you think of when you imagine a home whose walls hold a million and one stories and the memorabilia takes you through all of the love and triumph of the people that have called this place their safety.
And Dallas + Drew’s home was exactly one of those so very loved homes and I feel like you can feel that level of comfort in the faces and mannerisms of the people who knew this place well as they got ready for the wedding day.
There was breakfast at the kitchen table from their favorite local restaurant and favorite blankets wrapped around shoulders to keep warm while putting on makeup on the comfiest couch in the house.
Melissa and Adelaide, Dallas’ sister and niece, sat watching a favorite DVD while Melissa brushed her daughter’s hair, Dallas patted her pup’s head while he relaxed on the kitchen floor, and Drew grabbed snacks from the fridge and prepped the tents for a chilly Halloween wedding celebration.
It was perfect and because they felt so at home and so naturally relaxed it was that much easier to break down those barriers that inevitably exist when you first start photographing people.
So when I saw Melissa doing her makeup while bundled up on the couch and Adelaide was sweetly checking in on her mom from time to time, I knew that if I waited ever so patiently, a story would come together. And it did.
And it won me a gold award!
I love this moment so very much, from the look in Adelaide’s eyes to the smile of Melissa while trying to balance a million things as all mothers do – it just feels so real to me.
Wedding Photojournalism is about the moments and knowing when to anticipate them so you can be in the right spot at the right time with your settings ready to go to tell that moment’s story. And man, when that all comes together, it’s magic.
It isn’t planned and it isn’t rehearsed, it’s simply beautifully real.
If you’d like to see more from Dallas + Drew’s wedding on Lee, New Hampshire (and trust me, this was a damn cool day you definitely want to see!) 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 elopement 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 Halloween wedding photographer and I’d love to photograph your day too! If you’d like to contact me directly, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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