Lauren and Gregg are two of the most amazing people I’ve had the pleasure to work with as a Denver wedding photojournalist. I had flown out to Washington DC to do a corporate shoot and was just packing up my equipment in the building lobby when they approached me and asked if I could make some portraits for their company website. They had been watching me work and thought I would be a good fit. When I sent them the pictures, they called me and asked me to shoot their wedding. They’ve been quite successful navigating the complexities of federal and state government real estate, but when it comes to major decisions they tend to follow their instincts.
It used to be that photographers would check off a few critical boxes for the reception – first dance, toasts, cake cutting, etc. – and call it a night. They put together a book of must-have key moments, real or manufactured, and put out a Proven Product. They said what they’d photograph and did so reliably.
I’ve found that some of the best pictures are unexpected, however, and there’s no substitute for simply being there, being present and being ready. Sometimes that means waiting for something that never happens, not a personal first choice when you’ve been carrying cameras and on your feet for ten hours. Receptions can seem repetitive at times, with the third and fourth hours of dancing being remarkably similar. But things change at the end. Most of the guests have said goodbye, the music has ended, and the lights have come up, the caterer’s desperate plea for everyone to go home. The wedding has gone from being a public event back to a private one, the couple and their die hard crew, family and friends that might as well be. There is pivot from celebration back to intimacy, a last chance to share feelings that rarely find expression.
So I pack up my lights, but I leave my cameras out. Still watching, lingering, wandering about as the band has left and the tables and chairs are back in the truck. I’m almost certain there’s nothing left, but I keep that one camera and lens in hand, waiting just a little longer. Because you never know.