Couples Come First! – By Chris Ling
My studio participates in the annual BOWS event, and this year is no exception. This year, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the sincerity shown by all the couples we met. It had been a fulfilling 25 years.
I am touched to see that the principle I held on to that formed the foundation of my studio 25 years ago is still widely accepted by the current generation. The concepts and ideas I had were upheld even in a market where trends come and go faster then my shutter speed! And that principle is: Couples first.
What set my team apart from the rest is that we understand couples are not professional models. I had started out in the fashion industry, and even I encountered models that required directing. Imagine how everyday couples feel when they have to face the camera. I train my team to go beyond the stage of polishing technical skills. Acquiring technical expertise is the beginning step for most wedding photographers. The most important, and difficult, skill to master is communication. I teach them how to effectively guide and direct couples.
Currently, we are able to see many wedding photography portfolios with magnificent backgrounds and landscapes. These are definitely a wow factor. Unfortunately, a whole album of dramatic scenery with a static couple in the foreground makes for a documentary of the locations, and not a wedding album. The photos sell the background, but ignores the couple. What is lacking is “feel”, the goose bumps you get when you manage to capture and image of two people in love.
With modern technology, it is easier to photograph backgrounds. With the connectivity of the Internet, it is easier to search for photographers. Therefore, couples that are not art-trained would be attracted to the money shot of beautiful landscapes that capture their eye. They would care less about the people in the images, because they do not know who those people are. In other words, they will be attracted to unique locations and colours, and not think about how they themselves may appear in the photograph.
In my studio, we focus on the people. My concepts are not only to create beautiful backgrounds, but also beautiful moments. The team works hard, and understands that for every shoot the couple is the most important. We know being in front of the camera may be awkward, and we how to give proper directions so that you would not be lost. Thus, we capture images with “feel”.
I can’t thank everyone enough for the support my studio has received over the years. The faith our couples give us motivates me and it affirms that my studio is headed in the right direction. My team and I will continue to work hard championing our values: Couples first!