Family, Informally

This year I will celebrate my fifth year in business. Over these past five years, I have been able to meet wonderful couples and their extraordinary families and friend groups. At nearly every wedding, I legitimately leave feeling a bit melancholy, as though I am leaving my own family members.

At some point I realized that I am part of the family… to an extent. I am their family historian during some of the most important moments in their lifetimes. Is the most overused line in all of photography blogs, ‘It’s such an honor to be a part of their day’? I know I’m guilty of writing it, but it’s the truth. My job is a privilege.

Northern Virginia + Italian Wedding Photographer

When I first became a wedding photographer, I was overwhelmed most by the family formals part of the wedding day. They used to be stressful affairs for me; I felt the weight of their importance.

At some point, however, I began to approach this time of the day differently. I guess you can say that I chilled out. I began to notice that this was a time of day where I could find a treasure trove of “in-between moments” if only I relaxed a bit, and let everyone simply be themselves.

In letting go, I was rewarded by capturing moments that show personality. They aren’t anyone else’s. I get a range of emotions— from touching moments like the one above between the bride and her sweet, sweet mama, to the downright silly below, with Mike and his parents. (No, I didn’t pose them in that way). I’m always delighted in the photos where families wrangle children who could care less about what’s going on.

While I do very much photograph those “serious” family formals where everyone is on their best behavior, families, informally, are always my personal favorites.