So often I see the word timeless placed in someone’s bio or description on Instagram. Every photographer should have it somewhere on their website. Hell, I think it’s written a few places on my own.
Today I am able to reflect on my own wedding and identify things I did love, as well as things that I did not. Then thinking on my own experience in the wedding industry I felt like I needed to share the secret to timeless photos with the world.
But like shhh don’t tell everyone or I’m out of the job.
Photographers have no magic power or button pressing ability. Timeless is not posed, prompted, or even created. The secret to timeless photos is the following:
You are truly the number one secret. If I show you wedding photos of someone else, you may think they are beautiful. Timelessness, however requires that they be of you. You have to have been there, felt the emotions, been consumed by the love. You are the one getting married, I am simply there to capture that story.
I truly wish more people believed that the wedding day was a storytelling day rather than a celebration. Like yes it’s a celebration that the two of you get to forever say “that’s my life partner”.
But how did we get here? How did you meet? Show me how you love!
According to The American Wedding Study, conducted using both men and women, 44% of couples consider the incorporation of activities and hobbies a prioty when planning their wedding. Just as you want your wedding to be a display of your hobbies and interests, it is equally as important that we capture the love you share in a way that is uniquely yours. When I meet my couples the first time for a session I give my elevator speech preparing them for how little I’m going to “make” them smile and how much I literally just want them to frolic around with their partner and do all the things they typically do within the comfort of their own home (g rated of course). Okay just kidding. Sometimes it gets pg-13. But that IS the point. Who wants the pictures on the wall where people have to guess if your smile looks happy. I want to see your partner twirling you in their arms and you nearly peeing your laughing so hard. Because otherwise, do you feel that memory?
2. BE INTENTIONAL
This is not a subject where I can spout statistics or show you the research. I have captured more than 30 weddings, and intentional is different to each couple. The intention can be seen in the time you spend, the moments you treasure, and even glances about the room. One of my most favorite intentional actions is when couples choose to take pockets of time to be alone on their wedding day. Yes, even without me! Your wedding day is the day you become a team. It is an entire day to celebrate your love, so take the time to love on your human and soak it all in together. I do have to credit this method to my good friend and wedding planner Hailey Beard Events. She always prioritizes her couples and their desires for the day.
3. DO NOT INVITE PEOPLE YOU DO NOT WANT THERE
I’m not even kidding. If one a family member or a plus one is mean to you leading up to the wedding, I believe these days the kids would say just “yeet” themout of the guest list. You are allowed to ask people not to come. For instance, many couples ask that kids not come. I did! If they will take away or possibly disrupt from the joy of your day, they have no business being at your wedding. The Knot reported that the average price per guest as of 2021 is $266. With this in mind, you are allowed to spend time considering your guest list in terms of whether or not hosting them on your day is worth $266.
Aside from the cost, you should use the KonMari method when going through your invite list. If they bring you joy, invite them. If they do not, do they add value to your day? If the answer to both of these is no, then you should not feel obligated to invite them to your big day.
4. WORRY LESS
In other words, hire vendors you trust to complete their service without causing you more stress.
The Knot found that couples hire an average of 14 vendors. Worry less about the photographer, and the guests and more about loving on your new spouse.
Something I try really hard to do is ask my couples to let me stress for them. Don’t worry about me being where I need or capturing what I need. I am. I am busy looking for handshakes, hugs, kisses, hell I’ve caught couples biting each other. Weddings truly are an interesting place. But that’s why I’m there. I’m there to capture when your groom winks at you, or touches the small of your back. Or when your mom wipes the tears away. But I’m also there to capture all the ways you love the people around you that probably sound 100% different than all the ones I mentioned above because it would be really weird if I captured those things and you don’t do them.
Does that make sense?
Lord, I hope so. See I’m writing this at 10pm on the notes app on my phone because I got inspired.
So anyways, in short. I don’t make the photographs timeless. Your love, your story, being captured in the most genuine and natural way, and then you being able to see that genuine natural love twenty years from now and remembering the joy of those moments. That is what makes the photos timeless.
Thank you for making it this far.. See you in my next one.
XOXO Karen Rutledge