I can't believe it's been about two years since Melly Lee Photography approached me to answer a few questions for a blog post featuring a few wedding photographers. She talked about how although yes, she's a photographer, she's not a wedding photographer.
And yes, I'm also a photographer, and I am no conceptual editorial photographer. Come up with an incredibly creative, conceptual, and unique portrait? I'd rather not interfere! :)
I was rereading my answers to a few questions she had for me and I thought I'd like to share again, because these words still ring very, very true.
ML: Out of all the photographic subjects what drew you to weddings?
AH: My favorite kind of photography is where I can observe and shoot without interfering with a scene or moment. Weddings draw me in because I get to document one of the happiest days of a person’s life as they share it with their friends and family, and I can do so without drawing attention to myself because the day is already all about them.
ML: Unlike traditional wedding photographers you have a specific documentary approach. Can you describe what it’s like anticipating and waiting for the right moment?
AH: There tends to be a natural flow of events that are typical of weddings (getting ready, ceremony, toasts, dances, etc). At every point in time, I’m looking for good light, interesting compositions, and people’s interactions. I’ll observe a group of people through my lens and wait for the right expressions and movement. I get really excited when I’ve captured a moment with the light just right, a strong composition, and storytelling layers throughout the frame. If nothing interesting happens, I’ll just move on. I also have to move on quickly when someone notices me and gives me a thumbs up or something.
ML: What are some of your favorite moments to capture?
AH: Toasts have always been one of my favorite parts of a wedding. People get incredibly emotional and are overwhelmed by laughter and tears, and nobody is focused on the photographer at this time.
ML: You have a unique style of alternating between b/w and color photography. What started this style? Can you elaborate on what elements determine whether the photo will be processed as black and white or color?
AH: I’ve always loved how classic and timeless black and white photographs look. There’s a quote by Elliott Erwitt that goes something like- “Color is descriptive; black and white is interpretive.” When I take a photograph, I usually already know whether it’s going to end up in color or black and white. I love black and white images because when color is stripped away, what’s left is the content, the composition, the light, and the heart of the image upfront. When there’s a really emotional and/or decisive moment I’ve captured, I process the photo as black and white so that the color isn’t distracting the viewer from seeing how the light and shapes are working together. Color needs to have a meaningful role in a photograph.
ML: If you could name one thing a wedding photographer should have what would it be?
AH: I’d like to say passion, but it’s also really important to have good business and marketing sense.
Thanks again for the thoughtful interview, Melly!