I believe you deserve a detailed, emotionally punctuated, beautiful interpretation of your wedding day. I understand the impact and significance every moment can potentially have after the fact, exponentially so as they network through your family and loved ones. I believe you deserve to rest easy, knowing your photographer is hard at work behind the scenes, working tirelessly on your behalf, considering the highest and best collection possible at all times. I believe you deserve clear, consistent and timely communication, never sacrificing a sense of humour to do so. I believe curating and retouching a collection should never be rushed but also completed in a reasonable amount of time. I believe your photos should not only embody the 'look' of your day but also the 'feel.' I believe in serving with excellence, pushing the boundaries of photography, always seeking better ways to do things and above all, regarding every person with the utmost respect and kindness we often neglect in this modern age. I believe the whole process should be easy for you from start to finish and that you should whole-heartedly enjoy the journey (especially if you're camera-shy or think yourself un-photogenic). I believe in planning out every detail then being prepared to throw the whole plan out on the day if need be. I believe you shouldn't have to understand a thing about file resolution or print quality and that collections should be organized in the most user-friendly, print and social media compatible ways possible. I believe your wedding photos are yours and you should be able to share them however you wish without restriction. I believe in delivering what you want but also everything you never even knew you could have....
I offer cinematic and ethereal wedding collections in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and beyond .
My name is Joel and I would be very honoured to discuss the possibility of working together. Get in touch using the form below or email email@example.com.
Victoria Wedding Photographer
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
“The pics are so delicious. You have crafted a photographic memory train of our wedding story that is truly amazing. You're a boss and a total pleasure to work with. Just show us where to write your flowery praises and we will do it in bright pink highlighter.
"One day you will
be old enough to start
reading fairy tales
Victoria, BC Wedding Photographer
Photo by Tatjana Maas
As a Victoria wedding photographer I (in no small part) measure success by my ability to discern, capture and deliver that which is significant. However, to do so, I must first have a iron-clad definition of the word. Online, significance is generally defined as the quality of being worthy of attention or importance. The speech Dr. King gave on August 28th, 1963 for example, was significant. A child's first birthday, albeit very special, does not even remotely bear the same significance. So I think it's important to first communicate that although a thing may be special, being special in itself is not a guarantee of significance.
So, how does one distinguish between a thing being significant and/or special? It's a good question and as a wedding photographer, documenting occasions for a living, one I should be able to answer readily. But couldn't. At least, not articulately or without the aid of interpretive dance or projecting hand-formed shadow puppets onto a white wall. To better articulate myself I conducted an interrogation of my own work. That is, I pulled apart one full day wedding photography collection and dragged every photo that I felt bore 'significance' into a folder. Out of 1000 photos or so I was left with about three hundred that I felt qualified as significant. They all qualified as 'special.'
Why spend so much time invested in determining this? I expend a lot of energy on a wedding day. A lot. I would like to have a good R.O.E. (rate of return) on that energy (for my clients) and like I said before, I judge my success (effectiveness) as a wedding photographer on the proportion to which a collection is significant. If that's not good enough of a reason for you then consider this: when something is worthy of attention or importance, it will be relevant after everything else begins to develop patina; after the initial tidal wave of the experience has crashed and the tides of life begin to ebb and flow again, certain photos will retain more value than others. Knowing which ones is key to a couple loving their collection not just immediately but generations from now.
At this point I'd like to note that as an objective viewer, I cannot add the myriads of layering context which is necessary to truly understand how significant a photo is. I may photograph a butterfly on your wedding day because the butterfly just happened to land in front of my lens but what I may not know could be that your Grandmother who recently passed collected butterflies. Sappy example but you get the idea. Or, the bride in these photos would probably argue that every food photo is significant because she's a mad foodie. Either way, my ability to perceive significance for you personally is limited by an objective viewpoint. That being said, I try desperately to be a keen observer and listener. How a person says something and the context in which they say it often speaks volumes about character (often even more-so than what they actually said). So, I'd like to believe, even though we're relatively new meeting one another, I'll be a fast learner and good judge of significance for you. Also, just telling me what's significant works wonders.
Okay, back to the folder. I was left with three hundred photos after the sort. From there, I studied each one, discarding a few more and from there created a list defining significance as it specifically relates to what I do in the hopes of making me better at it. You want to know what makes a photo (objectively) significant? I mean, significant past the first two weeks of receiving your collection and twenty years later the photo has likely only appreciated in value to you?
Here it is:
1. The most significant photos I found were the ones that communicated a sense of relationship. Moments of connection between family, friends, generations and, of course, the couple themselves. A look, a smile, a touch all speak volumes about a relationship. I don't mean a photo of two people in the same frame, I mean a true visual representation of a deeper connection.
2. The ones that revealed a person's character. Those priceless moments that are rarely seen by camera because people instantly become guarded in front of a lens. It's when a subject doesn't know you're there and they're just in a moment. Or a detail about them you're able to capture (unchanged by your presence). A broach, how their cuffs are too short because it's the suit they wore to their own wedding forty years ago, or their hands. Admittedly, I'm a bit obsessed with hands for this reason. De Niro in Great Expectations tells Finn that people are always saying that eyes are the window to a soul but he thinks that's false (paraphrasing for etiquette). It's the hands according to him. They're the sign of a person's true character.
3. Shots which communicate the atmosphere of the day. The way the light hit the wall in the room while the vows were being said. These, in context are powerful for stimulating memory and add greatly to the overall 'feel' of a collection. I love taking these. Some would dismiss them as just artsy but they are in truth, so much more.
4. Symbolic things. This doesn't just refer to everything you chose to include in the design of your day. It refers to the details that bear meaning and/or have purpose, representing a greater idea or person or thought. A bouquet of tulips because it's spring isn't significant. A bouquet of tulips because they're the first flower he ever gave you is. Meaning attached to inanimate objects makes them personal... and significant.
5. Lastly, I would say the actual events themselves. Even then, it's not the actual event that makes it significant, it's the intention and commitment of the person behind it. A photo of two people on the altar dwindles in comparison to a heartfelt look captured with the intent alive behind glassy eyes. This really reinforces that how you interpret something (i.e.) frame) really determines the significance you're going to get out of it.
Back when everything was shot on film, (baby-boomer) couples came away with a few to a dozen maybe wedding shots: the cake cutting, a vaseline filtered portrait and maybe a family/bridal party photo at the altar. That was what was deemed significant. But as wonderfully special as the cake cutting is, the act in itself isn't that remarkably significant. Oh, you could make up some symbolic excuse for it: the cutting of the first piece represents the beginning of a new sweet life together or feeding it to one another represents the intention to always provide for each other or some melarchy but I bet dollars to donuts that if your house burnt down and you could only keep some of the photos, you would choose the relationship ones over the cake being cut and force fed (sometimes violently so: ahem, Angela).
You may not agree with the choices but generally, I think we could agree that being 'special' is not a guarantee of significance and that significance needs to be regarded well before and whilst shooting to maximize the impact, resonance, importance, worthiness and value a collection may ultimately have. After all, what gives my job meaning is my ability to capture meaning for others.
Joel Abrahamson // Victoria Wedding Photographer // BC Vancouver Island // Article: What Makes a Wedding Photo Significant?
a Wedding Photo
Victoria Wedding Photographer // BC Vancouver Island
"When something is worthy of attention or importance, it will be relevant after everything else begins to develop patina; after the initial tidal wave of the experience has crashed and the tides of life begin to ebb and flow again, certain photos will retain more value than others. Knowing which ones is key to a couple loving their collection not just immediately but generations from now."