I shoot in a very photo-journalistic fashion, staying in the background as much as possible; I prefer to document a couple's day, rather than simply manufacture it. My portfolio reflects this — while I do enjoy shooting portraits, I'm really not for the posey-pose set. I'm for the couple that wants a great moment, not just yet another photo of them looking at the camera with a guest.
I also try very hard to find the inherent moments of unique-ness, hilarity, and absurdity that occur when this many (inevitably drunken) people gather together to celebrate an occasion. Which has lead to capturing some surprising wedding moments…
A guest carries his elementary-school aged son to the bar under his arm, and has him order a vodka tonic? Another guest empties the flowers from his table's three-foot-tall glass centerpiece and fills it with beer? I'MMA BE THERE. (I've never seen that centerpiece/beer combo again, by the way, but I thought it was just wonderfully inspired.)
[Editor's note: I'm sure some of our readers will be happy to try that trick!]
How about this one… at the same wedding, the groom's uncle was running around with a Swiss Army knife, cutting off the ends of guest's ties. It was apparently a family tradition — the bigger the pile of ties he could collect, the more luck would result for the bride, groom, and the marriage going forward.
It was amazing… he was covered completely in sweat, going around the reception hall with a knife and cutting ties in half. The groom's father ended up announcing to the guests what was going on — some people were a bit weirded out at first by this sweaty man appearing in front of them with a knife and insisting that he needed to cut their tie off.
From a personal perspective, while I take what I do very seriously, I'm very laid back. I am not shy about joking around with my couples, often about inappropriate things. It's lead to lengthy conversations with couples about Star Wars, robots, video games, '90s boy bands, etc.
For example, I'm shooting a wedding in May, and just did the couples' engagement session. The groom works with robotics, and I talked with him for quite a while about how he's bringing about robot sentience, and hence, the end of humanity. Being able to joke with a groom that he's going to kill us all is just fabulous.
Pro-tip: He assured me we have nothing to worry about (at least as of yet). The robots' current batteries only power them for short periods of time — less than half an hour. So the apocalypse would only last for about 20 minutes or so, which is probably not enough time for all of humanity to fall.
Offbeat Bride Lauren had non-traditional bridal party, quirky venue, etc. Here is the bridal party that I posed among statues, and what she had to say about the experience…
“We wanted someone who could capture the real emotions and moments from our wedding without making it feel like a big production. We weren't interested in spending loads of time posing for portraits or having anyone jump up into the air en masse for the perfect shot of our wedding party. Matt has a ninja-like ability to grab perfectly timed candid pictures and an eye for spotting unique shots.
Because Matt takes a lighthearted approach to his work, it's easy to kick back while having full confidence in his final results. He made us laugh and feel completely comfortable in front of the camera.”
At the end of the day, the couples I've booked through Offbeat Bride are inevitably great matches, personality-wise, and I find that we always click very well. I've shot half a dozen or so Offbeat Bride weddings, and have wanted to stay friends with every single couple afterward.
Of course it's not all statue-partying and robot apocolypses with Matthew Bender… it's also romantic first dances and sweet intimate moments that get captured as well. 2015 wedding couples, share your own hilarious, absurd, and sweet wedding moments with Matthew Bender and let him tell the HELL out of your wedding story.