Go big or go home!! Tyler and Lyndsey elope to San Diego

I mean, if you’re going to elope and do a small wedding, you might as well go big and have the smallest of weddings and do it during the 4th of July weekend… because, why not… they’re Canadians. LOL.

The awesome Deborah Young, a very well respected wedding officiant from San Diego called me and asked me if I was willing and available to shoot a very small and very short wedding a whole 3 days before the wedding was to take place as she apologized for the last minute request. The couple was coming on vacation to sunny city and wanted to get hitched… in a spur of the moment kind of way…

“hmmm… well, let me see if I’m available”

**flipping through the pages of my imaginary paper calendar**

“Yes Deborah… I believe I am”

That’s right… 3 days later, I was at Tyler and Lyndsey’s wedding which included all but 4 people: Deborah The wedding officiant, the couple and yours truly at Seagrove Park in Del Mar at Sunset. I had never met the couple for obvious reasons but we had a fantastic time! they are lovely people and I felt immediately comfortable with them.

Now, believe me that’s up close and incredibly personal. As you can see in the pictures, there’s no reason for me to be anywhere but right with them… all up in the grill.

I was involved! I had never been a witness at a wedding but I guess I can cross that off my bucket list now.

I hope you enjoy the photos… I am very proud of them.

I am NOT a wedding photographer

I say it on a regular basis… I am a documentary photographer that shoots weddings…

In a very recent issue of my awesomest newsletter (which, shame on you if you’re not subscribed already), I talk about my non-traditional approach to family and wedding photography. You can check it out here.

The good news is that documentary wedding photography gets a guest spot on CNN… woot woot! And, If you want to read the article (you should), click on that screenshot.

My interpretation of wedding photography is extremely similar to my colleague’s so I’ll do a little exercise here and answer the questions CNN asked of Ian (without looking at his answers) as if they had interviewed me. I think that’s kind of fun.

Here goes:

What aspects of wedding photography appeal to you as a photographer?

I love documenting weddings because they are essentially stories packaged and tied up with a pretty little bow on top. They have clear beginnings, middle and and ends… the stress of the day always brings out an amped up version of people’s personalties. It is about drama, emotions, fun, tears and love. It is beautiful. I’ve never been to a wedding I didn’t love. It’s a celebration of lives coming together. It’s about new beginnings. It’s about being human. All that interested me deeply and I felt naturally drawn to weddings.

In your view, how has the lucrative wedding industry evolved for photographers?

When I started photography, we were at the height of the “boho chic” style and hipsterism, especially in photography. There were a lot of warn and earthy tones and of taking pictures in fields. it was very Pinterest and it was everywhere!! It was a fad. I was just starting back then and even I tried to make my photos look a bit like that… but I hated myself for it. When it comes to photography, I can’t help but being my own. I was not able to dissociate my art from my self and I could not turn out photos I felt proud of if they were imitating a style I did not believe in. I had to figure out a way to create art that would stand on its own and my interests in photography were photojournalism and documentary photographers from the 1950s. I think you can see that in my photos today.

Your photos capture lots of very spontaneous moments. Do you find that people feel pressured to act a certain way when a photographer is around? How do you get those candid shots?

In talk to the couples and families I shoot with about what they should expect from my behavior at their wedding or their family shoot. I expect people to feel a little weird around me for the first 30 minutes and then they invariably stop caring that I’m around taking photos. In fact, I’ll take it a step further to help the process. I talk to them. I engage them during my sessions. I crack jokes, I have conversations, I tease a little. All of this is to get people to trust me that I’m here for their story. I’m not here to make them look bad. I’m here to service the story and I truly mean that. That’s why candid moments are best to tell those stories.

The only ones that I feel truly person for the camera without shame or self-restraint are the kids. And I love it. Kids are honest in that sense. They cannot escape from themselves unlike we adults do so often.

Do you have a favorite photo from the series?

My favorite photos are invariably the ones where I see true emotions in them. When I find photos where the bride, groom or even better the dad seeing his daughter getting married get emotional, it is photography gold for me. The power of that raw moment is precious for my couples… especially years down the line. Posed portraits of couples tell me nothing about who they are but a candid photo of them forgetting that I am there absolutely will. Kids pulling funny faces or crying or having a tantrum is always amazing because it is real. It happened. I was there. I want my couples to remember those moments because that’s what they will remember and laugh about 10 years from now.

How do you find your clients, and what kind of relationship do you form with them before and during the wedding?

I find my clients by talking to like-minded people but people find me and mostly chose me because of me. I care about them and I care for their legacy. My photos are aimed for that. Anybody who’s met knows that I am genuinely interested in people and their stories. I love shooting street portraits of strangers and some of the best photos I have ever taken were on the streets talking and photographing strangers. As I mentioned earlier, I am involved with my couples and their families. I’ll get on the dance floor, I’ll play with the kids and make funny faces.

With all that said, my first impressions are very very important in my style of shooting that’s why I like to come to a wedding knowing the bare minimum necessary. My art comes out as more genuine that way because I express my experience of the day through my camera.

How do your clients react to seeing your photos?

As I’ve mentioned, people hire me because of me, my style, my approach. They want someone they can rely on to be there for the story and they usually are very excited because to see the photos as they have no idea what I captured or not.

Being interviewed by Cindy Matalucci for Wine Wednesdays

As I mentioned in my newsletter… oh yes, I have a newsletter and judging by the feedback I’m getting, it’s pretty amazing. No biggy. :D… But I digress.

So anyways, I mentioned in that “famous” newsletter that I was interviewed by my friend Cindy. She’s the creator and host of The Pulse, a local TV show that caters to everything San Diego. They talk about up-and-coming companies, people doing important and interesting stuff in our gorgeous city as well as a bunch of other stuff. They’re great. Love’em.

In the age of the podcast where raw honesty and openness is the law of the land, they are venturing into a new thing: doing long form interviews of interesting people in a slightly less polished version of their show. It’s pretty great I gotta say… I mean, I was on it after all. HA! ;)

Jokes aside, seeing myself on TV was cringe worthy for sure. It’s awkward, I look/was nervous and I have to live up to the invitation. After all, they are doing a whole episode about me and I HAVE to be interesting… otherwise, why am I on? Sooo, no pressure.

I relaxed after a while… there WAS wine involved. In the end, I think I did not embarrass myself. Pfffiu!

Watch it here

The Pulse Wine Wednesdays Episode 3 with local entrepreneur Antoine Didienne. Cindy & Antoine talk about Antoine moving here from France, making the transition in his career to a professional photographer, and the truth about what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Antoine Didienne of 147Photos is an award winning wedding and family documentary photographer.

Mel and Steve

Mel and Steve

The wedding of Mélanie and Steve was a small affaire as they wanted to keep it a small personal event to the people closes to them but it’s a small affaire to me. I care about the couples I work with and this one was no different. It was a beautiful wedding and it could have been with a nicer bride and groom.

Read More