Wedding photography is a lot of things. It’s an art. It’s being part of a crazy day of excitement. It’s capturing one of the most important moments in a couples lives.
Recently I had some time to reflect on all of these things while I was working on restoring a pair of wedding photos from my own family…my Great Grand Father Andrew and Great Grand Mother Catherine. My mother asked me to digitally reproduce them so other family members could have prints made. I don’t normally do a lot of restoration type work, but the bridal portrait had a pretty bad water stain on it, and the groom had a lot of scratches that I wanted to clean up. I didn’t want to make them look new simply because they’re not, but I did want to undo some of the obvious damage time had done to them. I ended up spending quite a bit of time looking at these two photos while I was working on them, and it gave me a chance to reflect on the bigger picture (so to speak).
When the photographer snapped the shutter on these so many years ago, I’m sure the last thing on his mind was what the couple’s great grandson would make of them…and yet, here they are–a young couple staring back at me from across nearly a century. I’m sure these portraits weren’t cheap…they’re both hand-tinted, and the bridal portrait was also actually touched up with paint (that’s survived better than the photo). These were likely the only pictures they had taken to mark the occasion, and as such would have been very special.
Spending so much time with them gave me a chance to think about my own clients’ photos, and how I work to capture their day. My goal has always been to deliver images that are timeless; that will bring back treasured memories for the couple, and offer a window to their day for future generations. I want you to look at them together on your 50th anniversary and think “Wow, that was such an amazing day! And we look great!” The cake will be long gone, the flowers will have returned to earth…the things you’ll have from that day are each other, your memories, and the images from your photographer.
Working on these was also a great conversation starter… How often to we really sit down with relatives and say “So, what were your Grandparents like?” Passing old photos around like this can give you a reason to have that conversation. It’s amazing some of the things you’ll learn! I’d never really heard much about my Grandmother’s parents, and this gave me a chance gain some insight into their lives. Catherine was pretty young when they married (her late teens), and she died of Tuberculosis when she was in her early 20s. Andrew passed away when my mother was in college. Because I never had a chance to know them, it was really interesting to learn what I could about them.
Anyway, this is a very long winded post but I really wanted to share some of my thoughts on wedding photography, and family photography in general. Below you can find the wedding portraits of my Great Grandparents, in a before and after comparison just for fun.