Today I want to write a little bit about my style. As you can read in my previous blog, I went to Italy to attend a Fearless class about Moments. In wedding photography, we kind of drive each other crazy. Before I became a fulltime wedding photographer, I was a proud enthusiast. For a couple of years, I had so much fun shooting models, fashion and portraits with extreme hair and make-up concepts. They literally took all day, and we had a blast :-)
But (for me) I could not find a way to earn money with it. Simply because there where so many photographers, models, stylists, and make-up artists trying to get into this business. So, it was all on a TFP agreement (Time For Prints - everybody did it for free). And yes, I did make a bit of a name for myself, even got published with an interview for the Zoom magazine for example. But there were other photographers who upped the game by so much, who truly were so much better in it. The quality of their work, their way of using studio light, or editing was extremely high. I kind of felt a bit of a fraud, but I learned a lot from this time and experience and most of all: made friends and had a really good time!
But what I did not know, was WHY I did not feel completely happy with it. Why did I keep searching for something else? Why wasn't I satisfied?
Now I know why.
It all comes down to the following: Photography, for me, has to be Real. It has to be a real moment, OR, a staged setting but with an actual moment or emotion happening. That's why I did not stick with any of my concepts. That's why I did not know or think about the outcome. We spend hours on transforming someone, and in the end, I was simply looking at the soul in front of me and waited and searched for something to come to the surface.
Now I know.
So, to come back to Wedding photography. When I joined this ‘world’ I was stunned. I could not believe the high level in this genre or the diversity in styles. And I can imagine my wedding couples don’t know either. But believe me that there are many different styles. I summarized it to the following:
You either love posing, beautiful light and colors, and will want to pose for a while to get a beautiful portrait of you (together).
Or you are someone who hates posing and you want to simply enjoy the moment. (Of course, you can also be a mix of this!!)
I am a Real moment photographer. That is my style, that is what I do naturally. And those are the couples I love. When wedding couples come to meet me, I need to feel at ease. I need to know they like my work and that they trust me. I need to know all about who they are and their family. What is going on in their lives, what is important to them, what do they expect. I need to know because it matters. Yes, I feel everything, but when I can place that feeling, it makes so much more sense. When you come with a list of ‘moments’ you want, I need to swallow and count till ten. And then I ask why? If you can let go or explain why, I will try to do my best to capture them. But know, it are the ‘unplanned’ moments, that are unique to you and I have no control over them.
Let me finish with why I still do group shots or portraits. First of all, I do not like them. They make me uncomfortable because I have to direct something. But… I do have the experience and try to make the best of them. Most of the time I do that by making people laugh. (When I feel uncomfortable, I have to make jokes …) But in the end, it is really worth it. Because A: you will never have all your loved ones together at the same time, and B: you deserve a moment together. So yes, I am fine with shooting this and have the experience to do so.
I hope this makes sense and you understand what I am trying to explain. Just think about who you are and what you like and ask your photographer questions. Question him or her on who they are and what drives him/her. And if your characters match, you know you will have found the right photographer for you.
(Below some examples of 'moments' that recently got awarded and reflect my style)