When our awesome photographer Genevieve isn’t snapping portraits of C-suite execs or taking physician headshots before rounds start at dawn, she’s photographing weddings. That sounded too simple. She doesn’t just photograph weddings. She literally joins a family as a surrogate member to help a couple begin a new journey together. We’ll explain…
Wedding photography is HARD. Most professional photographers try it out for at least a little bit but don’t stick with it because it’s such a draining job physically, emotionally, and it turns out that humans can’t survive if they only work on weekends. (There’s probably a Harvard research study on it somewhere but let’s just assume that the results are that humans working on consecutive weekends without a break turn into piles of amorphous purple goo, because that sounds about right.)
“I’m really lucky that, at this point, I don’t depend on weddings as my main income, so I can just do them because I want to and enjoy them,” Genevieve says, “I get to work with couples who I really enjoy as people, and who are really in love and are getting married because it’s the right thing for them and because they want to share a life.”
According to Genevieve, there’s nothing like stepping into the middle of someone’s story on one of the most exciting days of their life. There’s so much adrenaline that comes along with having to be on your toes for 8 hours straight – problem solving, pulling all sorts of skills out, constantly reevaluating and adjusting based on the needs of the moment.
For example, she’s had to put down her camera at a wedding to whip out a needle and thread and mend a bride’s veil, and re-attach a groomsman’s button; or grab a multitool out of her camera bag to tighten a screw on a Chuppa. Weddings also incorporate all of the mental health support skills she’s learned over the years, because… well… a wedding day can bring out some heightened inter-personal dynamics.
“I’ve dealt with some drama between family members,” Genevieve says, “divorced parents, family members who don’t like each other, estranged moms and dads who try to force themselves into the middle of things, and, honestly, a really hard one for me is when parents try to impose what they want on me, rather than understanding that I’m there for the couple and will always prioritize what they want and need.”
“I once had an estranged mom grab the microphone during the reception and make a speech about how awful her daughter, THE BRIDE, was! I literally ran across the room, flagged down the DJ, and made him cut the mic!”
“I think that our society has set up extremely high expectations for a wedding day,” she continues, “we’re raised with the idea that we need to look perfect, have all the details be immaculate, be the happiest we’ve ever been, and nothing can go wrong. Honestly, I think that those are toxic expectations. The truth is, there will be amazing, beautiful, and joyful parts of your wedding day, but there will also be parts that aren’t quite ideal – and that’s okay. The nice thing is that, no matter how perfect things are, you get to be married at the end of it all. I love that I get to support couples through any ups and downs, and ultimately celebrate and capture their love and the beginning of their new journey. It’s such a joy.”
When we asked Genevieve about why she joined Organic Headshots years ago, she said, “when the studio approached me about potentially working with them, I was hesitant because I didn’t know if I’d like studio work. I was worried that it would feel too sterile and I’d feel boxed in by it, since the portraits I like to take are more in the moment and less posed. However, after observing the way that the photographers here approach studio portraits and how natural they make them feel, it was a no-brainer.”
“I love that the Organic Headshots style of studio work gives us photographers the opportunity to get to know our clients and really understand what they want and need. I’ve had folks come in who have ‘never had a photo of themselves that they like’ – it’s one of the best things ever when they say ‘wait, I actually like that one!’ Another of my favorite things is when a client and I both see one of their photos and go ‘Yesss!’ I love when we reach that common goal.”
There’s also a lot of correlation between how Genevieve helps couples on their wedding day relieve the pressure for a perfect Pinterest wedding where no one gets drunk and says something mean to an uncle, and the coaching that our studio does for headshots. There are lots of loaded expectations for headshot day as well, and Genevieve does an amazing job talking clients through not just how to get a great portrait, but how to enjoy the experience or at least feel a helluva lot less stressed about it.
What most people don’t realize is that the wedding photographer is the person who spends the most time with the couple on their big day, and way more time than any of the guests. Being a frontline person in one of the most important days of someone’s life is a huge, huge honor that she does not take lightly. And being trusted with the job of taking someone’s photo, whether on their wedding day or in the studio, is what gets Genevieve through the 8 to 12 hour days on her feet.
As she says, “the joy of helping someone get their first good headshot or helping a couple remember all the details of their wedding day is why I do it.” ❤️ Check out Genevieve’s wedding work on her website.