I have heard a saying: “What does a nature photographer know about photograhping people?” Well, if that nature photographer is just as keen on taking pictures of people as I am, then I would say he knows a lot. The situations I have faced in nature photography have prepared me very well for the dynamics of wedding photography. Animals are like people, they have their unique character and behaviour – a studio photographer doesn’t know that. The body language of an animal on a wildlife photo is as important as with humans. However, there is one fundamental difference between photographing people and animals for it is impossible to tell animals where to be and how to pose so I have to be able to find a best angle on my own. The most important lesson I have passed with flying colours in wildlife photography that I take to my wedding photography is that in situations where guidance is not possible I can quickly find a suitable shooting position without disturbing the bride or groom nor the quests. The portfolios of most wedding photographers in Estonia consist of photos only from the guided sessions, where the photographer has the ability to tell the couple exactly how to pose. For me that is an important part of a wedding day, although the easiest one photographically. It is much harder to come away with emotional and memorable photos from the preparations, ceremony and the reception that make up a much more significant portion of a couples most important day of their lives. The ceremony and reception is shared with all the guests, whereas the guided session is spent only with a photographer and an assistant. Even so, the reportage style coverage of the wedding day usually remains hidden or make up only a tiny portion in most other wedding photographers’ galleries. The reason is not to show well below average photos from situations they cannot control.
I believe that a wedding day is so special that every aspect and detail from it deserves to be photographed and stored for forever in its entirety. Therefore all the events that make up such an amazing day need to be photographed equally well, there cannot be any letdowns.
Why do I like photographing weddings? Well, because the adrenalin rush is present during the whole day due to the huge responsibility on my shoulders to produce the best photos for two persons, who are experiencing something they will never forget. The adrenalin dose that keeps me sharp is similar to what I am experiencing when a Ural Owl lands on a perfect perch in perfect light. Then I have to be super fast not to miss anything or mess something up, because I may only have a few seconds to get the photos, sometimes even less. A wedding day offers a similar rush for the whole day and there will be no chance for a retake, whereas if I screw up the owl shot I can go to the same place the next day and keep my fingers crossed. That’s why I may not miss any smile of the couple when the guests surprise them, I have to capture every tear during the ceremony and every trick during the games after the reception. I have to store one day into an everlasting memory that is photography.