I think in today’s wedding photography world it’s easy to lose sight of the uniqueness of each and every wedding. Too often we see photographers taking a cookie cutter approach to the day – or worse yet, turning the day into a production that steals the couple away from enjoying the time with their friends and family to the fullest.
My goal is always not just to document your day fully, but also do so in a way that frees you up and lets you experience your wedding day fully – with as minimal intrusion as possible. By planning the day’s timeline with you in advance – wedding day will come and you will not need to worry about a thing.
My approach and the result…
The kind of art that I personally believe in creating for my couples is rooted in improvisation. We plan in advance the key elements of the day and the timing…portraits, formals, details, etc…and by doing that – I also free up the time needed to be “open” to the moments that presents themselves. There is a real process and plan but there is also an element of “letting go” and being open to seeing opportunities for magic. That is how it all comes together.
I have had an interest in the visual ever since I first picked up an old Kodak Instamatic at summer camp in my pre-teen years. Some kids spent their allotted camp money on candy – mine was spent almost entirely on dozen or so 126 film cartridges. My parents were thrilled when it cam time to process – and pay for – all of those cartridges at the local Fotomat.
Years of experimenting and learning followed with a quick move into rangefinder and SLR cameras.
Then in 1989, I had the opportunity to photograph my first wedding. I jumped right into it. No apprenticing – no second shooting first. I just went for it. The real difference from what I see too many “photographers” who jump into the business these days – was I knew light. I had the equipment – even back-ups. Even flash. I even knew how to use my flash. I even had a tripod because God knows you probably needed a high speed film and slower shutter speed in that church. So I did that first wedding for $200 and a piece of cake.
Some 800+ weddings later – the business has certainly changed and evolved – but light is still the same. Granted – we now have some digital cameras that do a great job when photographing in candlelight – so I do get to leave the tripod at home these days.
My focus has evolved into looking for and celebrating unique, real moments. I embrace the spontaneous. There is nothing greater to me than finding the moments and composition that reflect the uniqueness of your day. It all has an improvisational element to it.
Today, I call the Cincinnati area home but frequently travel and photographing in a wide variety of places – especially my “homes away from home” in New Orleans and France.
When I’m not photographing weddings – I still photograph a wide variety of other “active environments” as I call them for both business, events and personal projects. You can see more of that work at DarrinBallman.com .