June 1, 2016

Close Your Eyes and Savor the Moment

I knew it the second that I took this photo that it was going to be one of my favorites photos from the day, and it is.

Wedding Elopement Photography by Hannah Hardaway Photography at the Wedding Tree just north of Jackson, Wyoming

Why? Because it was a beautiful moment. Ross, Julie and I were standing on top of the mountain, a light breeze was blowing, the faint smell of sagebrush hung in the air, birds were chirping excitedly after the storm clouds had passed, the Tetons were looking stunning as usual off in the distance… and I was taking more photos of the newly married couple.

Who knows what they were thinking the moments before I took this photo, it could have been something along the lines of, “Wow, she sure is taking a lot of photos of us… Didn’t we already get a photo like this?… Wow, she is getting really close to us with her camera… What should I do with my arms? Head? Hands?” Or whatever other random thoughts might cruise through one’s head as they are being photographed and trying to act like you aren’t.

Maybe not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were because I have had my own photo taken plenty and being in front of a camera can feel pretty intimidating at times–especially when you are getting your photo taken ALL DAY LONG. Furthermore, let’s face it, being out in the mountains, dressed to the nines, and being asked to be affectionate with your one-and-only while you both know you are getting photographed is not exactly the most normal or romantic of circumstances.

But you want great photos from your wedding day! You want photos that you can look at and remember how excited you felt when you saw your groom (or bride!) for the first time looking more handsome than you ever could have imagined; How your heart swelled with gratitude when you looked out at all the people that you love most in the world sitting in the audience looking back at you; How overwhelmed with joy you were when you walked back down the aisle arm-in-arm as husband and wife; How sweet it felt to have his arms wrapped around you during your first dance; How touched you were by your father’s words as he toasted you two and your new life together;  How your heart felt like it could literally burst from all the love you felt all day.

How do you make sure that your photos are going to be able to transport you back to all those precious moments?

By being present. And soaking it ALL in… every last little detail, as it is happening… And by not thinking about the photos at all (at least trying not too!)

If you are in the moment, fully experiencing whatever you are feeling, your photos will be amazing.

So why is this image so powerful? Because Julie was able to (however briefly) forget about me and my camera and just really soak it all in. I remember it clearly, I said something simple along the lines of, “Just close your eyes, and really savor the moment,” and I could see any unsureness just melt away as she softly closed her eyes and relaxed into Ross’s arms.

It looks a beautiful moment because it was one.

Hannah Hardaway Wedding Photographer