Romance and photographs have always been intertwined. In Hollywood, no epic romance is complete without someone finding an old black and white photograph in a shoebox, kicking off an adventure of discovery about a historical love story.
For most couples, their wedding photographs are the first professional photographs they will have of themselves. More recently, pre-wedding, or engagement shoots are becoming popular too, giving a couple the chance to have a professional photo shoot in a more casual setting. More often than not, it’s the engagement portraits that end up being printed and put on the walls! Given how much couples love these images of themselves - the way they look, the way the photographerhas captured them, the flattering light - it makes me a little sad that couples don’t just have a photo session, for no occasion whatsoever!
And when I say “couples photo shoot” I’m not talking a sexy boudoir setting! I mean a couple of hours spend in a professional studio, or at a favourite location, looking their best and having their photos taken. I always think it’s special to have your photographs printed too. Actually printed on paper so you can hold them in your hands. I especially love little prints that can be carried around in a wallet.
Maybe I've been watching too many movies set in the 1940's, where soldiers look longingly at a black and white print of their sweetheart, gazing into the distance. I realise the updated version of this is now a digital image stored on a phone, but it's not the same! Something about a printed photo makes it so much more real and permanent.
I think we've got so used to having a camera with us all the time, that paying a photographer seems self-indulgent. A scroll through Facebook will confirm that it's not because people are against getting glammed up, taking a photo and sharing the results! So why not just have it shot professionally? The results will usually be SO much better!
Whenever I’ve been wedding, I’ve always noticed a steady stream of wedding guest couples asking the photographer to take a nice formal photograph of them together. I’ll usually ask too! Because I know that in years to come, I’ll be looking back at that photo and rekindling memories. However good you are at selfies, they’re never going to replace a professionally shot photo of the two of you; simple, well shot images are just timeless.
What always blows me away about these old studio portraits from the 40s and 50s is how amazing everyone looks in them. The skill of the photographer to get the perfect angle, together with a professional lighting set up, makes the world of difference. I also think that seeing yourself through someone else's eyes (or lens) is always uplifting and flattering.
When you're old and grey, how wonderful would it be for future generations to find an old print of you in a shoebox and say "Wow! Grandma! Was that really you and Grandad?" To have that little bit of time, frozen and tangible in their hands, like a relic that has survived the years; not pixels on a screen.
And it doesn't matter if it was the clever make up, or the flattering light, or the perfect angle, because for that moment in time, yes, that really was you!