Before I even get into this post I know what you're already thinking. "Aren't you a photographer? Where's my Picture?". You're right! I am a photographer and you deserve photos. The problem is that this is coming to you from the waiting room of the auto dealership and my resources are limited. I have coffee, so I’ll survive, but otherwise it’s bare bones. I promised you last week a post about Around the Door Sessions and an explanation as to what exactly they are. I’ll go into greater detail in a minute but at their most basic an Around the Door Session is a photo session with a bride and groom before the ceremony where they can’t see each other. They may or may not be able to interact but their view of each other is obstructed. Before I get into the details of how this works let’s talk about tradition for a minute. The birth of the Around the Door session was as a solution to the problem of maintaining the tradition of not seeing each other before the ceremony but still getting in some portrait time. If we’re being honest not seeing each other before the wedding ceremony is a portrait time killer. So where does the tradition of not seeing each other come from? It comes from the days of arranged marriages. In those days marriages were arranged as business transactions. A groom, or father of the groom, would take a bride or agree for his son to marry a girl based on her dowry, or the amount of money her father could pay to the groom’s family. The family of the bride would provide a dowry as a way to ensure that their daughter was married into a reputable family. The groom wasn’t allowed to see his bride before the ceremony so that he couldn’t change his mind. The fear was that he would call off the wedding if she wasn’t to his liking. Not very romantic is it?
So why do we still do it? A lot of brides these days want the big reveal. They want those church doors to open and their groom lose it. They want all of their friends and family to witness this display of their love for each other. Don’t get me wrong, some brides just like tradition, and keeping traditions for traditions sake, and that’s totally okay but most of the brides I talk to want "The Moment".
So if you’re not going to see each other before the ceremony, but you still want to get that picture time in before the ceremony, what do you do? An Around the Door Session is really your best option. Okay so I’ve droned on with my wedding history research paper long enough. Now it’s time to tell you what you actually want to know. How it works! Before shooting the “getting ready” photos I will scope out the perfect location. Like a First Look, privacy is key. It needs to be somewhere secluded but also somewhere with good lighting and something to block the view. This view blocker could be a door, a corner, a wall, or a blindfold. Really the more creative the better.
Just for the sake of explanation let’s get a scenario going. Once the groom (let’s call him Bob) is ready he’ll meet me at a convenient spot and well walk to the shoot location. In this case let’s say it’s the bridal suite. Ok, so with Bob standing in the hallway where he can’t see into the room we open the door to about a 45 degrees. Once the door is open I have Bob stand right up next to the door. Once Bob is in place it’s the brides turn. Let’s call her Courtney. Okay, so now I’m going to have Courtney come right up to the other side of the door that Bob is already leaning against. At this point they can either talk to each other through the door or not. It’s up to them. I take my spot a few feet from the end of the door; standing where I can clearly see both Bob and Courtney. Although they are only inches from each other their view is totally blocked by the door. We start shooting a few warm up shots and then I start having Bob and Courtney interact. It might be Courtney putting her cheek to the door while Bob kisses the door in the same spot on the opposite side. Or it might be that Bob leans his chest against the door while Courtney presses her ear to the door as though she can hear his heartbeat through the door. If they’re open to the idea I will have them hold hands around the door at some point. All of this is designed to convey a romantic portrait but still maintain the tradition.
There really is something special about these sessions. There is an obvious tension created from being so close but still so far away from each other. Around the Door sessions are still fairly new so if you’re looking for portraits that are a little different than the millions that you’ve seen your friends posting on social media this could be a good option. Don't get caught up thinking that it's an either or situation. You can totally have an Around the Door Session and a First Look! It’s your wedding day. There’s no reason you shouldn’t have it all when it comes to your photos.