The True Value of Wedding Photography

The True Value of Wedding Photography

The bride stood up to make her speech.

She began by apologising for making a speech in the first place, which was rather unconventional and promised she wouldn’t take up much of anyone’s time.

She’d written a few notes on the back of an email she’d printed out, just because the paper had been handy when the idea had struck her, and she apologised for that too while holding the printed side up for all to see, causing a ripple of laughter amongst the guests. I took a couple of shots while she spoke, illuminated by beautiful light from a nearby window.

A bride giving her speech

She began by thanking everyone who had helped towards the day – her mother who had made the dress, her bridesmaids, her groom’s family … and then she spoke about her Grandmother. She spoke about how her Grandmother had been such a huge influence in her life and how she had always looked to her for guidance and if she was far away, (Grandma was deaf and struggled with phone conversations,) she would make decisions based on the principle of WWGD – “What Would Grandma Do?”

She spoke passionately from the heart about all the wonderful memories she had of Grandma and thanked her for everything she’d advised or listened to, or for her unconditional love in times of need. By the end, there was barely a dry eye in the house, including the bride herself, because Grandma had passed away just weeks earlier.

As I kept shooting, there was a lump in my throat too, because this was my cousin’s wedding and so she was talking about my Grandma too. I kept shooting because I wanted to mark this important moment where, during her wedding day, my cousin beautifully articulated what we’d all been feeling since she’d passed away.

Grandma was a source of inspiration, and this was a fitting tribute to her. A speech that voiced the opinions of many minds and captured many more hearts that day. As the photographer, I may not have captured the words themselves, but I definitely captured the feelings those words evoked and I know this because I felt them too.

Great-Grandmother with her Great-Granddaughter

Good wedding photography isn’t just about recording a day or cataloging an event – it’s about capturing emotions. Feelings of unbridled joy are my favourite, but also feelings of pride, of togetherness, of tenderness … This is what a good wedding photographer can do for you. Not just passively recording, but actively capturing moments as they happen, so that every time you open your album, you are almost overwhelmed with the rush of feelings that come flooding back from your memories of the day but also allow you to share in emotionally-charged moments that you, as the happy couple, might’ve missed or not been privy to on the day:

The pride welling up in your parent’s eyes as they toast you.
The mother and father of the bride toasting the happy couple

The laughter shared by friends while you were making your speech.
Laughing wedding guests

The joy of sharing a brief moment together, alone in a crowd.
A bride and groom lost in a moment

This is the true power and value of good wedding photography – the expertise to capture emotions within a moment, so that just by looking at the photos, you feel them all over again and being able to do that whenever you want to. Pretty amazing, right?

Filled Under : Wedding Photography


  • Well my dearest cousin, I was just flicking through Facebook after just putting my head down as my son slept to catch up on some sleep to see a picture of grandma....and just for a moment I thought 'there's grandma' as in it felt she was still here, and then I cried in a good way as just loved her so much. You are an amazing photographer in exactly as you say, capturing an emotion is a true skill, who wants umpteen photos of people stood in a line smiling because they were asked to, how much better to catch people's true feelings and that most certainly is what you did on our wedding day. I couldn't recommend you more highly.... Love you and love your talent, Always Kato xxx

    • deb
    • April 29, 2014
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    Pretty bloomin' amazing. You did a brilliant job that day, and this blog entry so eloquently captures the day and the emotions around it. Well done, Mike!

    • robthebrew
    • April 30, 2014
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    A beautiful sentiment from the bride, which obviously moved everyone. You do however, run the risk - by your heavy "sell" of the wedding photographer - of attracting critique of your photography that you may not have wanted.

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