I am definetely still a junior here in the wedding arena in Indonesia. A lot of amazing people had come before me, and I literally respect them. Having said that, I have been shooting weddings for almost ten years and I see that a lot of things have changed, and unfortunately, not for the better.
There’s something wrong about the way we shoot weddings here in Indonesia. I have been realizing this fact a long time ago, and that is one of the reasons that Edward Suhadi Productions did The New Directions initiative last year. It was a statement of vision, a rewriting of clients relation book, and a new course charted for this ship.
The biggest problem that I realized here in Indonesia weddings is that we are shooting to make great pictures, NOT to preserve authentic moments.
Wedding photojournalism (and video) was started as a beautiful, beautiful, original, authentic style of art. But before you know it, more than ten years have passed and everybody is shooting the same thing.
I did not need to describe it to you folks, but when I say ‘wedding pictures’ – you all know the cliches. Maybe even better than me :D
With, or without they are realizing it, photographers and videographers are going to work with a list of shots and production notes in their head.
I think this is a very, very, VERY, bad thing.
Documenting a bride wearing a shoe on her wedding day IS VERY DIFFERENT than getting a shot of a bride wearing a shoe.
One is capturing a candid moment, the other is getting a file safely on the card for the client.
It may end up the same on the camera, but the process is totally different.
Okay imagine you’re a war photographer.
You cannot just like, “Okay, guys, guys, stop firing the guns. I have this shot in my head that I’ve seen before that win the World Press Photo last year and I want to bring my editor back home a nice, similiar frame. Okay. Woops. Hold on sir, yes you, stand over here, okay, facing that way, okay good. Now you stand here. There’s a nice background here. Yes! That’s it. Okay. Now, when I say ‘Go!’, you guys just continue the shooting. Okay. Ready? Hold on. Okay. Hold on. Lemme get this. Okay, GO!”
It’s a hilarious picture, but unfortunately thats what happen in Indonesian weddings.
I often said to my boys and girls that a lot of times it does not look like the photographers and videographers are hired to document the wedding, but it does look like the photographers and videographers are paying the bride and the groom to act in this movie and photo production.
That’s why when someone did not get the picture of the bridesmaids putting on the shoes, it’s like they’re going to have a heart attack, and they are like “I MUST GET THE PICTURES OF BRIDESMAIDS PUTTING ON THE SHOES! I NEED IT FOR MY ALBUM!” *fainted, fall on the floor*
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So, who’s to blame? Who’s responsible for getting us to this state?
All of us are to blame.
The vendors: the photographers, the videographers, AND the wedding organizers. Out of laziness, out of our fear of failing because we tried something new, out of the safety of doing something that worked yesterday, out of forgetting what we are hired to do, out of our lack of desire and effort to achieve something remarkable.
The clients: Remember boys and girls, this is your wedding. Not a movie production. You’re not getting married to get nice pretty albums and scripted movie like wedding videos. When you tell your photographer or videographer that I want a shot like this, this, this and this, and don’t forget this, you’re scaring them. You’re making them forget what their true job is. You are depriving them of their chance to amaze and surprise you.
You are getting married. Starting a new journey with the awesome person. Families and friends that care about you are going to be there. You need someone to document this. You want to look back.
You want to remember that day.
We often forget, don’t we?
Just take a moment out of the craziness of looking the most bombashelic, extravaganzmo, phsycadelic wedding photo and video. Just close your eyes.
Besides all and all of that features and albums and boxes and album designs and cool photographers/videographers, ask yourself, what is the essence of you hiring a documentation team?
Because you want to remember.
You want to remember how that day unfolded, how the actions were genuine and authentic, how you understand every gestures and ceremonies you made that day, how you are loved and how you loved the people who came.
That’s why you need the pictures.
Because you want to remember.
Yes we need retouching, we need enhancements, boxes, album designs, and all that jazz, but most of all: Do not forget why you ask someone to come with a camera.
We in Edward Suhadi Productions realize this more than ever. And with a vision to dedicate this company to set the course straight, we made The Picture To Remember Manifesto.
What is it?
It is a statement of values that will guide us throughout our coming years in shooting weddings. To make us remember why we pack up a camera and leave our home at 5am in the morning. We love photography. We adore Henri Cartier-Bresson, and we love being a part of such an important day. Done right with the right people with the right reasons, we love our job and we want to do this for a very long time.
It is a brochure for those interested in our work. If you want to know what is our approach in shooting weddings from here on: have a brochure.
It is an invitation for photographers, videographers, and also a very important part of the day: the wedding organizers. Let us change how ridiculous we are in directing our couples. We are there to help them unfold their day, not just telling them where to stand. Help them feel and undestrand why they do what they do. For those who agree on what is written here, yes we can make a change.
It is a reminder for the brides and grooms to be. Don’t forget why you want your wedding pictures. Don’t sacrifice your emotions and authenticity for a list of shots you’ve seen before out of someone else’s wedding. Remember, your actual wedding comes first, pictures second. You can be a start of a new breed of wedding couples :)
And lastly, it is a movement for a change that we can all contribute to. Let’s spread the gospel on the social media with the tag #PicturesToRemember. Get the manifesto here and post it on your wall. Share this post to as many couples and wedding workers you know, and I believe we can make our dent in Indonesian wedding world for the better.
To close this: Soak in everything I have shared here and watch this 2 minute video.