Not that you asked, but I think people are just too inhibited in their lives most of the time. They want to do things the “right” way, but what is the “right” way anyway? Mostly I think this is because people are worried if they take a chance they will suffer some humiliation or make some mistake they can not recover from. We all seem to live too much of our lives with fear, or using my journalism background as a reference point, we all too often self-edit the fun out of our lives.
Weddings are a great example, most people do them only once in their lives (at least a large wedding, some people may get remarried, but that is usually a smaller event), they cost a lot of money, and people have built up expectations that their wedding will be the one time they have to get everything right. I have photographed a great many weddings, and even when things go way off the rails, they still are wonderful celebrations of the love between two people, the joining of family and friends and just a great party. Sure the music may be wrong, or the flowers are not quite the hoped for color, there may be family stress, drunk guests acting badly. But, in the end, almost all weddings I have had the joy of photographing have been amazing parties that I feel so happy to have witnessed.
I know why people get stressed over weddings, I know they are nervous about how they look, they want everyone to have great time and get along, and those are all totally reasonable expectations.
There are a lot of stresses that can come up when having a wedding. When asked I always tell couples to not worry about the small things. Their family and friends are there to love and support them, enjoy the love that brought you to this point and have a great time. It will all turn out as it should.
One nice thing for me about photographing weddings from time to time is I only have to have five jokes because the audience is new every time. And, that is one of the jokes, I tell them. I have no idea if people think I am actually funny when I am shooting weddings, maybe it is uncomfortable laughter, but more likely they are just relieved there is someone they really do know know, who is there to listen to their concerns and tell his five jokes, tell them where to stand and keep things moving along.
I will only give away one other joke, I need to keep the rest to myself, so on the off chance someone will read this and be at a wedding I am photographing, they will get the full force of my amazing stand up act I call wedding photography.
The set up. Most people think they look bad in photos, and almost all of these people want to let me know they think they look bad in photos, I think so I will not judge them for being photographed “wrong”, reminds me of this saying from somewhere, “if the student misbehaves do you slap the child or the teacher?” (that is a terrible saying, who would think of slapping a child, I can think of a few teachers I would like to slap, but that is a story for my therapist, not you, gentle reader).
Usually they say something like “I am terrible at taking photos.” I answer in an exaggerated voice “Well, that is why I am the one taking the photos.” Get it? Ok, I guess you had to be there.
I am trying to stop self-editing, sometimes it works, sometimes not. But, I do know the only way to make sure you do not get what you want is to not try.