Sometimes when brides are interviewing me to be their potential wedding photographer they ask me a lot of questions that they've gleaned from a bridal magazine, like "Do you have an assistant?" or "What kind of equipment do you use?". I think some of these questions are kind of goofy (for instance, unless you're a photography buff, chances are knowing what kind of camera I use will not be of much use to you).
But occasionally I get really thought-provoking questions like the one posed to me by a bride recently: "What made you want to be a wedding photographer?" The answer is this: when I was a little girl I loved to pore over my parents' wedding album. I loved how it looked and how it smelled (like leather). It was a big white album filled with 8x10"s, all beautifully taken and perfectly printed. My parents kept it in a red box under their bed (still do), and every now and then my mom would allow me to take it out and look it over. There was one picture in particular that I adored -- the formal portrait of my mom and her three sisters, Ellen, Linda and Tita. My mom looked like a princess in her white gown and my aunties all looked so dainty in their bridesmaid dresses. I loved that picture and I still do. Recently my mom asked me to scan and make repairs to a loose print of that image (it had a few cracks and minor damage). Just seeing it again brought back a flood of memories and made me realize how important these images are. When I take pictures of peoples' weddings I'm not just taking them for the here and now, I'm taking them for future generations. I can't tell you how many weddings I've been to where several generations of wedding pictures are displayed on a table for all to admire. I'm humbled to think that the pictures I take today may be on display at some wedding 50 years from now. That makes me smile. And it's also why I cringe when I hear the dreaded words, "My friend (or cousin/aunt/hairdresser/neighbor) has a nice camera, I'll just let her take my wedding pictures." Your wedding pictures are forever and there are no do-overs. Hire a professional! There's a whole lot more to being a wedding photographer than owning a nice camera. [Okay, lecture over!]
Another image that inspired me was from the marriage of Grace Kelly to the Prince of Monaco. Grace is standing on a balcony looking outward and her bridesmaids are milling about in the background. The image is stunning -- the lighting and the moment captured just so; she seems so pensive, like she's contemplating her future as a princess. I was in high school the first time I saw it, and I remember gasping at the beauty of it. Years later, working at a job I loathed at a large corporation, I found a copy of it and taped it to my desk to remind me of my goal to quit my job and shoot weddings full time. I had to search online a bit to find the image for my blog but it was worth the effort. Looking at it now, it inspires me just as much as it did before.