To my mind there are few photographic gigs more satisfying than shooting a wedding. I love the festive, exultant mood of a wedding day, and I’ve never met more appreciative clients, nor more exuberant subjects, than couples getting married. And what fun for a photographer: everybody is decked out, looking great; the florists and designers and caterers have been going to town on the event space; the newlyweds are radiant, the parents are beaming; even the toddlers are on their best behavior, knowing that something important is going on, and for this one day they instinctively concede their role as center of attention to auntie Jane.
Every couple has their own sense of style, and for me the most interesting weddings are the ones where a couple have put their own unique stamp on the tradition. Maybe everybody is wearing red tennis shoes. Or the dining tables are centerpieced with old books. I photographed one wedding where the groomsmen all had fedoras buried in the sand, and as soon as the couple were pronounced husband and wife they shoved their hands down into the sand, pulled out the fedoras, donned them with great flourish, and paraded down the aisle with the bridesmaids, who had pulled Ray Bans out of the cleavage of their dresses and were breaking bad themselves. It’s little fun, unexpected moments like that that keep a photographer on his toes, and keep a smile on his face.
A good wedding photographer needs to have a firm grasp of multiple fields of photography. Sometimes you are a photojournalist, documenting the drama of the day. Sometimes you’re a fashion photographer, finding just the right lighting and coaxing the right gestures and expressions out of the wedding party to make them look their very best. At other moments, you are a landscape photographer, an architectural photographer, a lifestyle photographer, a portrait photographer. You need to know when and how to use supplemental lighting; and how to take advantage of every kind of natural and ambient light, from bright sun to foggy drizzle to burly rainclouds to dark event halls. It’s a marathon of snap decisions, running and gunning, and ideally a good telepathic connection with your assistant. All done with a smile on your face and a genuine sense of excitement and enthusiasm. In my experience there’s nothing a bride loves more than when you get so excited about a shot you have to show it to her on your LCD screen.
While I’ve gone on in my career to work for big magazines and big media, I still love the simple joy of providing a couple with photos they will cherish for years to come, photos of the day everything changed. In some ways I think it’s one of the greatest services I can give as a photographer. So I will probably always shoot weddings, until I’m too old to run around like a madman for five hours with three cameras hanging from my shoulders. If you want to check out more of my work you can visit my dedicated website, www.chrisbickfordweddings.com. If you’d like me to shoot yours, just shoot me an email or a voicemail. I’ve done everything from high-end destination weddings to elopements, so I’m happy to work with you on whatever level you want. Cheers, and congratulations!