It's no secret that I photograph a lot of weddings, being in a small town its also no surprise that I photograph people that I know. But I have only photographed a handful of true 'friends' weddings. Tiffany and Braden fall into the very good friend category. (I'll apologize in advance for the long winded round about way this is delivered.)
The first wedding I ever photographed, I was in the bridal party... another one a few years later was the deciding factor for me, that I should be photographing weddings for a living. That one was 5 years ago, that was my good friend Sarah and Jody's wedding.
The moment I knew I HAD to be photographing weddings, was not during the wedding, when I was bouncing around, crawling on my tummy for the perfect shot... or even when I was climbing up a ladder (in a long skirt) to reach the roof top of Jody's parents house for a fun group shot.... but more so after... when so many people made a point of talking to me, and letting me know how much they appreciated my energy at the wedding, and also seeing the reaction of everyone when they saw the images. It was then that I realized... hmmm... maybe I'm alright at this. Not to mention... hmmmm maybe weddings are alright to photograph. (I was one of many budding photojournalism students who swear to NEVER shoot weddings, for fear of bridezillas, momzillas... and doilies) Truth be told, I loved Sarah and Jody's wedding, and I loved photographing it. So there spawned my wedding journey.
What I'm getting at is that being at weddings, involved with weddings is natural for me. Its what I do. I go through the motions, I get to know people, the connections they have with one another. I pay attention to detail, I look for light, I watch peoples faces, their body language. I capture memories... almost without thought. It feels right.
So I never really realized that it WOULD be different photographing a good friends wedding at this stage of my career.
I have done many MANY foolish things with Tiffany, driven cars without licenses, picked up random hitchhikers, (a LOT of stories that stay locked within us as well)....I've stayed up talking all night with Tiffany, shared a love of literature, art, books and dance with Tiffany...
I put as much energy into every single wedding. I give every client, every thing I've got. I truly do. Maybe that's why I've heard people say, they feel like they know the people in my images... because even if I don't, I feel like I do. So I was working, bending my mind, my heart to create wedding images for Tiffany and Braden... pre-ceremony, I was photographing her through her veil, her shoes, the makeup, the dress... I was scurrying over to catch the fellas, Braden waiting patiently, admittedly, finally "a little" nervous... I was working, going through the motions... It wasn't until the ceremony when I watched Tiffany walking down the isle with her dad and mom, welling up with a few 'almost' tears... that I realized... I know her. That is Tiffany. The same girl, I wrote notes religiously back and forth with in high school, the same one that shaved her head for fun, the same one that knew my family, knew my history, knew me, just as much as I knew her. TIFFANY was walking down the isle! My senses tingled, and I became incredibly present. Increasingly so. It was a beautiful thing.