Michael and I spent two weeks in Hawaii in March. We attended the HI on Life Photography Conference for 3 days in Honolulu and decided to make a whole vacation out of it! During the conference, the amazing team set up a gorgeous styled shoot with several models that were just lovely. Their light colored dresses stood out against the dark lava rock. The water was turquoise blue and the sand was soft. Eternity Beach is an easy hike into a secluded cove. It truly felt magical.
The conference inspired us in so many ways. It was a very introspective time and we learned a lot about ourselves. We were surrounded and coached by some of the most talented documentary-style wedding photographers in the world. We were pushed to move past our fears and lean into things that are uncomfortable to capture genuine, raw images. Not a single speaker spoke about marketing, hustling, social media posts… it was all about heart. The true meaning behind wedding photography. We have the unbelievable honor of capturing history and reflecting our client’s story back to them. Two of my favorite quotes from some of the speakers:
“We are paid for our awareness as much as our artistry.” – Abby + Dave
“Are you using their wedding to showcase your photography, or using your photography to tell their story? Beneath the surface is the heart and soul of wedding photography. Shoot that.” – Two Mann Studios
“We are photographing an extraordinary day in ordinary people’s lives. It is sacred. It is history.” – Theilen Photography
This encourages us to look past the “checklist” mentality of shooting a wedding. Checking off portraits, a picture of the shoes, a picture of the first kiss, then move on to the next thing. This inspires us to find the REAL story on a wedding day and shoot through the transitions – the subtle interactions that make weddings so meaningful. The stories. The people. We can serve our clients much better by capturing the soft caress of her grandmother’s hand on her arm, instead of just several photos of her shoes. There is so much more depth to be found.
Michael and I have been on a journey for years to find more depth in our work, which we realized requires finding more depth in ourselves. To be able to tell other people’s stories, we need to know ours. This shoot was fun for us not because it was real and raw like weddings, but because we were hanging out with other photographers. There were times when we didn’t have anyone but the models in our frame, but most of the time we were working around almost 30 other people just like us, plus some of the speakers, and we wanted to capture that because it was real. And that was the story of this styled shoot… not just the models and the pretty flowers, but all of the like-minded creatives who were so excited to be shooting in such a gorgeous location!