What Makes Beautiful Wedding Photography?
Hiring an excellent photographer is always one my clients' top priorities. I talk a lot about wedding photography with my couples, and more often than not, the topic of "What makes beautiful wedding photography?" comes up. Photography is an art form, and like all creative endeavours, what is "good" or "beautiful" is subjective, based on the viewer. But I do believe there are certain common characteristics, particularly with wedding photography, that make the work beautiful. I thought who better to pose this question to than the professionals. Here is what some of my very favourite photographers in Toronto had to say about the subject:
Nikki from Nikki Mills
"I would say that beautiful wedding photography is about showing the connection between a couple - and that doesn't mean staring passionately into each other's eyes if that isn't who you are. Letting go of preconceived ideas and being open and definitely, being present. Take some time to pause. Spontaneity and genuine connection are at the heart of beautiful photos; it allows the heart of your day's story to shine through."
Tara from Tara McMullen Photography
"My definition of a 'beautiful' photograph is probably quite different from what others might define as beautiful. There are all kinds of ways to create an aesthetically beautiful photograph: good light, beautiful bride, perfect makeup, gorgeous flowers, just the right decor, a handsome groom, a stunning venue. All of those things will create a textbook 'beautiful' photograph. To me, a beautiful photograph is something entirely different. A beautiful wedding photograph is one that gives me a glimpse into the reality of relationships. It is a moment when the bride is laughing at a speech, and her new husband is looking at her with love in his eyes. It is a newly-wed couple recessing after saying 'I do!' looking completely overwhelmed and exploding with happiness. It is that deep breath a bride takes before walking down the aisle towards her mate. The real beauty hides in those 'moments-between-moments' when real love shines through. Unscripted, honest, and beautiful."
Tamara from Tamara Lockwood Photography
"Beautiful wedding photography is when a fleeting moment in time has been captured. It is full of all kinds of emotion. When you look at it, you are taken back to a moment in time and you remember exactly how you felt when that photo was taken. It captures a couple's true connection and tells a story. When an image can take you back to a moment otherwise gone, and make you feel something, that is really beautiful. "
Danijela from Danijela Weddings
"Photography can be so personal, and what makes a beautiful photo will probably vary from person to person. As a professional photographer I'm always striving to capture great images for my clients. Although different things will resonate with different people, there are a few elements that are generally present in great photography. The first one, and in my opinion the hardest one, are real candid moments. What my clients tell me is that because wedding days are a whirlwind of excitement and emotion, there are so many moments they miss on the day. When they look back at the photos, they see all those moments they missed and it puts them back in those happy memories.
Another key element, which also comes with years of experience, is light. Light really brings back the feeling of the day, and if a photographer is able to capture the light of the day as it really was, regardless if it was a beautiful sunny day or pouring rain, this will mean so much to the couple. 5, 10, 20 years down the line, the photos that will stand the test of time and bring the greatest joy are the ones that focus on the moments and what is actually happening.
In my opinion, there is no greater treasure than to be able to so vividly recall some of the happiest moments of your life through photography."
"I believe that honesty makes beautiful wedding photography. A wedding is just hundreds of special moments squeezed together into 12 hours. Our job as photographers is to capture those moments in a genuine, natural way. Those photos will always stand the test of time and I think that makes it beautiful."
Lauren from LV Imagery
"When I'm meeting with new clients I often ask what drew them to my photography, and they almost always say they like the clean/timeless aesthetic and the natural/candid moments. I love hearing these answers because they hint toward the 2 most important elements for me in my work.
The first is: natural light. It's really very simple - people just look the most beautiful in natural light. Even if it's overcast, or it's raining, I'll take that any day over artificial light. Best of all is when couples are mindful of timing their photography for when the light is at its best (hello golden hour!).
The other is: relaxed subjects. When a couple is at ease, and BREATHING, and in the moment, there's nothing better. It allows us to work with a sense of play. And when we're having fun, that energy always translates in the photographs."
Corina from Corina V Photography
Beautiful Wedding Photography are photos that capture your unique personalities that are timeless and elegant and that you would be proud to share with your grandkids one day. Make sure you take the time to do your research and select a Photographer that you would enjoy spending your entire Wedding Day with as well as enjoy their artistic style - most people don’t realize that you will spend more time with your Photographer than your own spouse.
Bruna from Simply Lace Photography
"So many things come to mind when I think of what makes a photograph beautiful, but I would have to say that the most beautiful photographs is when real connection between two people is captured on film. Sometimes couples can get a little nervous being in front of the camera, and let’s be real, who doesn't right? But once they have found a photographer whom they can fully trust and connect with, they should be able to let go and simply be in the moment with the one they love and feel completely drawn to. Focusing on each other, on the love they share, will allow the photographer to guide them into poses that feel both natural and inviting - resulting in beautiful photographs."
Assaf from Assaf Friedman Photography
"In all the commotion and stress of a wedding day - a perfect photo will capture the love and bond between the bride and groom. It will encompass their passion and the reason they've decided to commit to each other. Not many things will amount to the excitement and joy that they'll experience in the hours leading to this photo. They're at the top of the world and a perfect photo will bring them back to that place for many years to come."
Celine from Celine Kim Photography
"Photography is all about light, so great use of light is key to beautiful wedding photography. A photographer’s ability to read and manipulate available light helps tell the story and sets the mood of your wedding celebration.
The best times to photograph in natural light is early dawn and a few hours before sunset. For a summer wedding in Ontario, those delicious hours of light before sunset usually falls during the reception. Ask your photographer to step away from your reception with you and into the best light of the day to take some truly magical photos together.
Beautiful wedding photography teleports you back to that particular moment in time. It tells the complete story of your wedding day and brings the emotions you felt that day, back to the surface."
Well there you have it!! "What makes beautiful wedding photography" from the hearts and minds of the professionals. It was so interesting to see a common thread unfold from all the talented artists' answers. If you're hunting for your ideal wedding photographer and feeling a bit lost, take a good look through each artist's portfolio. If the photos feel authentic and evoke some kind of emotional response, well then ding ding ding, you probably have found a photographer whose aesthetic you connect with and whose work you find "beautiful".
Thank you so much to all the photographers who took the time to provide their professional insight!!
By Certified Wedding Planner Alexandra McNamara