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Picture Perfect


  In a digital era of heavy social documentation, when reception videos are uploaded to YouTube and bridal images are tweeted before the cake is gone, the wedding photographer's role has shifted. "People know they will get a lot of fun snapshots from their friends, so they want the professional photographer to really deliver something creative and evocative," says photographer Scott Myers. "Something that has a real sense of a work of art."

  Through wedding photography, brides can project visions of themselves and their weddings that are creative, unique and capture the emotion of the moment. Whether that means a fashion-forward engagement photo or a photojournalistic approach, there's a photographic style to suit every couple's vision.

  Michael Caswell, a Slidell-based photographer, shoots weddings in one of today's most popular styles, the photojournalistic style. Photojournalistic photographers take fewer staged shots of the bride and wedding party and instead capture the action in a more candid way.

  "I don't run around to people and tell them to look at me and smile. It's fake," Caswell says. "There's no life to a picture like that. The pictures I love are of people interacting with each other, not aware of me taking their picture."

  This style of photography sidesteps long photo sessions that keep the couple away from their guests. But for Caswell, its real virtue lies in the emotional resonance found in unstaged shots.

  "It brings back those emotions of the actual day, rather than the more bland, camera-aware photography," he says.

  Other photographers have dreamed up highly orchestrated, artistic approaches. Photographer Darren Trentacosta proposes shifting the photo session to a different day than the wedding entirely, creating the opportunity for a set of wedding photos influenced by the world of high fashion.

  "(Bridal clients asked) if we would be willing to treat them as a model for the day," Trentacosta says. "Kind of like a day in the life of a celebrity, but for wedding photos." He describes wedding photos that look more like fashion editorials, incorporating behind-the-scenes footage of hair and makeup preparation, wardrobe and makeup stylists, and on-location shooting at an atypical venue.

  The pampering effects of the fashion-style shoot both soothe and flatter the bride and groom. Photos from the actual ceremony lack the benefit of staging, lighting and design that accompany this style of wedding photography.

  "It takes so much work leading up to the shot. The actual shooting is the fastest part," Trentacosta says. "(Previously at weddings) I was expected to capture a moment and make it flawless, when it doesn't work like that."

  These kinds of artistic, fashion-forward bridal portraits are consistent with what Myers calls "a more creative way to think about documenting an event." This modern philosophy can be seen in the rise of supplements to wedding photos, such as engagement photos. Taken either before or after the wedding, engagement photos feature the bride and groom exclusively in a romantic location.

  "It's you celebrating the love you have and the giddiness and anticipation before the wedding. It really captures that emotion and that twinkle in your eye," says Mandeville photographer Abby Sands-Miller, who suggests engagement photos as a way around wedding-day chaos. To cut down on wedding-day responsibilities, some couples may choose to forego professional wedding photos and enjoy their engagement portraits exclusively.

  An experienced wedding day photographer can be a valuable asset in making sure things run smoothly (and photogenically). "Make sure you don't schedule things too tightly, as (photographers) need a few minutes to set up and break down when changing location. Make a list of the group photos you want to take, and have a family member help out who knows everyone's names and is bossy in a friendly way," Myers says.

  When selecting a photographer, consider not only those with the experience necessary to capture your special day, but also those whose work resonates with you emotionally. "Look at several full weddings the photographer has shot, not just the best of the best that makes it to the website," Myers says.

  If the couple chooses wisely and plans ahead, wedding photographs can become both cherished mementos and works of art. Fortunately, today's wedding photography trends reflect this need for low stress, flexibility and above all, personal expression.

  "[Weddings today] are about breaking rules, mixing high and low culture, and mixing and matching," Trentacosta says. "It's not your mother's wedding any more."


Photographer Information

Michael Caswell, 453-8029;

Abby Sands-Miller, (985) 951-8868;

Scott Myers, 444-8193;

Darren Trentacosta, (917) 968-4300;

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