After I made the decision to go into the wedding photography business, I began researching what types of pictures were normally shot at a wedding. Every blog I looked at all featured photographs of the dress hanging in front of a window, or off of a tree. They also included pictures of the flowers, the cake, the reception decorations, invitations and all other types of wedding paraphernalia. And shoes. The bride’s shoes. I hate to say this, but I became fixated on the “why” of shooting the bride’s shoes. So I asked the people who I thought might know the answer; wedding photographers and brides.
The wedding photographers gave me a pretty sophisticated answer. The first reason was that the bride requested it. Makes sense since we work for the bride. The second part was business related. The photographers usually posted the shoe photos on their blogs and listed the name of the shoe supplier with a link to that supplier’s site. Free advertisement for the shoe company with the shoe company giving out positive recommends for the photographer.
The brides’ answer was simple: girls dig shoes!
After pondering this for some time, I came to the following hypothesis; when it comes to weddings there are things “girly” and there are things of “beauty” And I don’t use the word girly in a derogatory way. I use it in a complimentary manner in the sense that if the subject of the photograph is girly, the female photographer “gets” it. For example, when Diana Elizabeth, Melissa Jill or Jasmine Star post photographs of the brides shoes, those pictures look special. That is because, in my humble opinion, the women are in tune with the whole shoe scene. They appreciate what the bride went through to pick out the perfect shoe for the day. They might even want a pair just like them, only not in the same color. The ladies understand. And this understanding and love of shoes goes into all the technical and artistic intricacies and embeds itself into that photograph of the bride’s shoes.
But one might ask, “don’t the shoes exhibit beauty?” Yes they do, absolutely. My point is that I may see the beauty of the shoes, but I will never appreciate the beauty of the shoes the way a female photographer does. I believe that appreciation gives her the opportunity to capture that image in personal way that I am not able to do.
The beauty that I am referring to is the universal beauty that can be appreciated and understood by both male and female photographers. We all can see the beauty of the bride, understanding the hours, days and maybe years that she spent planning on looking as beautiful as she does on her important day. We see her beauty reflected in the face of the groom as he turns and sees her at the “first look”, or as he catches that first glimpse of his lady-love as she proceeds down the aisle. And capturing that beauty is what drives us as photographers. We look through that viewfinder and use the lenses, the settings, our technical and artistic skills to reach out and bring that beauty into the camera to be preserved for bride and groom so they may spark the memories and the stories of that one special day.
As a wedding photographer, I work for the bride. If she wants pictures of her shoes, I will take them and do the best I can technically and creatively to capture the best photograph possible. It is her wedding and it is up to me to photograph the memories she wants. But let me say that I felt extremely fortunate when my last bride politely declined to have me photograph her shoes. It did not hurt my feelings.
Now if someone would explain to me this whole “trash the dress” thing.