Single Photos

New York Botanic Garden wedding photo by Ryan Brenizer

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I admit I never fully appreciated the set of modern or abstract art that makes you think “Is this wonderful or is it terrible?” This probably has helped with wedding photography, which has at least some objective-ish measures: broadly speaking, you are flattering someone or not, you are capturing a powerful moment or not.

But as with any art, it also is highly subjective. Sometimes we will process an image that we didn’t realize we had already processed for the preview and end up with an entirely different look, both of them valid approaches. And when I first delivered this photo I liked it but it wasn’t even my favorite one from the location. Now I just came back to it and everything about it felt electric to me.

Hopefully it hits you right away too. But if not, that’s OK … come back in six months.

Ramsey Golf Club mother-son dance by Ryan Brenizer

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When taking, choosing, and editing photos, there is usually some sort of battle between the photographer in us and the human in us … and at least in weddings the human should often in the battles.

This isn’t even the cleanest composition that we took in that one-minute period … but it’s the one that makes me tear up as I look at it, and we think that is more important.

One of the clearest surprises when we looked through our own wedding photos was that things we might have thought of as clutter when looking at someone else’s photos were extremely interesting and important when we knew all the people. To you, the people on the left are blobs — to the bride, they are some of the most important people in her life.

But it’s Mom’s expression that gets me, and speaks to another lesson in empathy we’ve had in recent years.

Parenthood? Woah.

Being a Dad is about as hard as I thought being a Mom would be. And motherhood is a physical and emotional endurance course like nothing I’ve ever seen.

Weddings are important enough to hire a photographer for not just because you dress nice and bought flowers, but because of the lifetimes of relationships they represent, before and after the day. I don’t know what it was like to raise and care and know Matthew the way a Mom would … but for a split-second I get a glimpse.

Prospect Park Boathouse wedding photo by Ryan Brenizer

A9, 85mm @ f/1.4, 1/200th, ISO 2000

A9, 85mm @ f/1.4, 1/200th, ISO 2000

When is a moment more than a moment? When it represents decades into the past and future.

Every time we photograph the little moments that might seem familiar, we keep in mind everything that has led to it. The hug of a father-daughter dance — or many similar moments — is a spark of deep emotion, but also represents all of the time these people imagined it, and all of the time they spent forming their connection.

We are already blown away by the idea that Gavin will be married one day, that we’ll be celebrating his own love story. We are living those moments in different but equally vivid ways as we will when we look back on it later, perusing the photos. Each of these perspectives can infuse so many of the smallest moments of wedding days, one of the many things that keeps them more fresh and exciting for us than ever.