Hi! I'm Kelly Manno, a photographer based out of St. Louis Missouri. I started this blog back in 2006 to document my weekly photography adventures and before I knew it...people were actually reading it. Check back often for a peek at recent sessions or a funny story about my kids. If you would like to learn more about my photography services, visit my Kelly Manno Photography website.
I remember the exact moment I decided I was quitting wedding photography.
Before I give any of my 2016 or 2017 brides a literal heart attack I'll let you know... the thought was fleeting and I changed my mind. Breathe :)
I was in a small hotel room, with a lovely bride, sitting on a bed starting to unwrap her morning gift from the groom. (If you haven't been to a wedding in a while the Bride and Groom now exchange gifts the day of the wedding.)
As she read the letter he wrote I saw her eyes nervously shift from her letter up to one of the four professional cameras pointed directly at her. Four. Me being one of them. The other my assistant and the 2 hired videographers, the only think I could think was.... this... is... ridiculous.
She started to tug on the ribbon and looked up at all four of us, with a half smile she sort of laughed and said exactly what everyone was thinking "Well, this is awkward"...she couldn't have been more right. There was nothing personal about this moment anymore. It wasn't her fault, it wasn't our fault. It's just what wedding photography is becoming, and it's not much fun.
Somehow the most simple, personal moments are now orchestrated productions. It's not uncommon for brides to ask their photographers permission for every.single.thing. they do when getting ready.
Can I put on this braclet?
Who should do it?
Should we look at each other?
Which shoe should I put on first?
Can I use this mirror for my lipstick?
Photojournalism in the wedding industry is gasping for it's lasts breaths. Many brides are so busy trying to re-create other people's moments they found online that they forget to create their own.
When I walked into Sarahs house on her wedding day she greeted me with a big hug. Then she said this:
"Sorry the house is a mess...and it's hot as balls outside, don't mind the dog hair everywhere just do you thing Kelly, let me know if you need me"
Then she started kicking back mimosas...okay a lot of mimosas :) and started getting ready with her girls. She was having the time of her life with her friends with zero regard to what I was doing or capturing. I felt like I traveled in time to some sort Pre-Pinterest time warp??? It was amazing.
She followed all of my simple direction...
"Stand in front of this window when you put on your dress"
"Mom, try not to turn your back to me when you're zipping her dress"
"Can I get a quick group shot on the couch?"
Of course there were family photos and bridal portaits that I orchestrated later in the day, there should always be time set aside good, relaxed, posed portraits.
But for the rest of the day Sarah and Joel spent their day totally and madly in love with each other. They were too busy making their own memories instead of trying to follow a list of other peoples memories they wanted to re-create.
All my brides kick ass, and thanks to a lot of communication nearly all of them operate just like Sarah. But Sarah kicked so much ass that this was the perfect wedding to finally get this off my chest.
She and her friends, family, and husband were an absolute blast to capture all day.
I'll shut up now and let the photos. talk.
Sarah and Joel were and absolute dream to shoot and I am so fortunate that so many of my brides are exactly like this, they keep me going, they keep my batteries charged.
But I won't end without saying this. Pinterest is a pretty cool site, I have an account and idea sharing is fun. It's great for color palette's, cute ideas for table decor, and many other things that go with wedding planning. And as far as photos, I don't mind looking at my clients Pinterest pages to get a feel for some of the photos they want and make sure they match the quality and style of photos I deliver. And if you want to pick 2 or 3 favorites and try to give them whirl, sure I'll try.
But if you feel the need to hand your photographer a list of 25 photos you want them to copy from another photographer then you hired a photographer that you don't trust.
Could you imagine going to a Coldplay concert and asking them to play Maroon 5 songs? That's pretty much what it feels like.
Read this next part carefully. It's the best advice I can give for brides-to-be.
Hire a photographer you think kicks so much ass that you let THEM create images of YOUR wedding that other brides will pin...envy.... and add to their dreaded "must-take-list" for their photographer :)