One of our goals when we photograph your wedding is to blend so seamlessly into the background that you, your families and your guests forget that we are even there. The shots we want to deliver to you — the ones that you will value the most — are the ones that show the raw, unfiltered emotions that you will experience on such an important day. For that to happen, the people at your wedding cannot be “camera-aware.” That means they need to be free to be lost in the moment, instead of thinking about someone photographing them. We cannot get the pride on your father’s face, the tears in your future spouse’s eyes as they read a letter from you or the goofy exuberance of your guests letting loose on the dance floor if any of you are acutely aware of our presence.
This approach to wedding photography obviously demands a lot of concentration and focus from your destination wedding photographers, because one never knows when a beautiful moment might come and go. That is when us being husband-and-wife team comes in very handy. It allows us to get all the standard “safe” photos of the action that we need to make sure we deliver to you while also remaining alert to all the little stories playing out at the margins. One of us acts as the first shooter, focusing on the main event, and the other as the second shooter, looking for unusual angles or more emotional scenes. Because we are married to one another, the communication and coordination that this requires is all very easy for us.
This particular image was taken at a destination wedding in Lake Lure, North Carolina. It is one of the photos we are most proud of having taken in our careers. Not just because it gives us pride as photographers to have captured such unfettered emotion, but also because we were able to give the bride a permanent reminder of what was a very special moment for her.
Her husband is a former U.S. soldier who lost his legs while serving in Afghanistan. As a result, theirs was a wedding day full of emotional moments, from the bond that the groom shared with his former comrades-in-arms to his determination to stand at the altar on his prosthetic legs. Arguably the most moving moment of the day, however, came during the reception, when an elderly veteran presented two very special gifts to the groom. The first was a painting of an eagle in front of the American flag done by Gil Cornett, a former member of the U.S. Air Force, who gave it as a gift to more than 7000 of his fellow veterans in his lifetime.
The second was laden with even more significance for the groom. It was an American flag that, like the groom, had been damaged in the course of its lifetime representing its country. The retired soldier explained that even though the flag and its recipient had been injured, they still mattered in the hearts of those whom they had served.
As this scene was unfolding, one of us was standing to the side of the table the bride and groom were sitting at and capturing the older gentleman handing the gifts to the groom. We took those shots with a wider-angle lens to get everything in the frame and to make sure that we documented this moment properly. That allowed the other one of us to stand directly facing the bride so that we could better capture her unguarded reaction as it unfolded.
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