Hug shots, they ain’t big and they ain’t clever. Or are they? | 365:107

A good friend of mine, Kevin, who’s also a wedding photographer recently posted a short film about emotion. He mooted this subject of the post ceremony wedding hug. He’d felt comfortable and frankly brave enough to share some of the negative feedback he receives from peers in the business about this simple, yet strikingly important style of record shot. Watch the film for the full story, but to paraphrase a mail he’d received from A.N.onymous, it had been proffered that the hug shot is somewhat bland. That brides and grooms perhaps don’t want to see this kind of shtick. They want groups and posing and, well, yes, some of them do. But they probably need the hug stuff too. It’s as Kev points out, not clever. But does it really need to be? Often it’s the simple stuff in life you experience, that has you tugging at your forelock wondering why you hadn’t thought of that idea yourself. Here’s something for the reading list; Edward de Bono’s ‘Simplicity.’ I see the hug picture as simplicity underlined. It’s powerful beyond anything you can set up, because it’s raw and best up, authentic. De Bono’s book is about promoting simplicity in your business practises, but the messages contained in the read are applicable to almost anything. In my case, I’m often proudest of images I’ve made that are simple, uncluttered and authentic, above the ones that took far more thought and involved a higher level of technical thinking. So yes, hug shots. Maybe they’re not all clever, but they’re all certainly big. A quick thought for photographers entering the business. When you photograph that ‘hugathon’ concentrate primarily on the faces of guests. It’s easy to fall into the trap of being bride facing side during an informal receiving line. You want to get behind too. Reveal the faces and joy of the guests congratulating the couple. And whilst I’m on the topic of simplicity, I think this piece of remarkable television from the weekend in this link is worth a view too. Even if you’re not particularly into BGT, this is nine minutes of your life I thoroughly recommend you immerse yourself into.

Shot data: focal length 31mm, f2.8, 1/125, ISO 160, over-exposed by a third of a stop

Colour photo of bride and groom greeting guests with a hug post ceremony

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