A good friend of mine recently got engaged and has asked me to be in her wedding (yay!). After a bridal party happy hour last week, we jaunted over to The Luxe Bridal Event at The Tiffany Center in Downtown Portland. In retrospect, we really should have skipped happy hour. Yummy food and cocktail samples were aplenty.
In addition to caterers who were on a mission to make us forgo our diets, there were also photographers showing off dynamic wedding videos, elegant photo albums and poster-sized prints of happy brides and grooms. Every photo we saw was striking. So striking, in fact, that it made me a little jealous. Back in 2008 when Andy and I got married, I ended up a little underwhelmed with my own wedding photos. All in all, the photos were fine –I have no wedding horror story to share about no-show photographers or lost film. But still, the day was a celebration of Andy and I being deliriously happy and in love and when it was all said and done, the photos fell short of capturing that joy.
Travel photos can be the same way. You can spend a lot of time and money planning a trip, but when it comes down to documenting it on film (or, more likely, a memory card) – stuff can go wrong. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the end product doesn’t live up to the mood or the memory of the day. Amazing, never-going-to-forget days can inexplicably result in ho-hum photos. Adventurous activities or outlandish weather can require unflattering gear which can lead to unflattering photos. Or sometimes, for no reason, you realize you were making a funny face the entire time you were in Rome.
Maybe you took 200 pictures and didn’t end up with 200 perfect shots and you’re bummed because you bought 200 frames and you were planning on filling your walls up with all 200 pictures. But that’s just crazy. Sure, in a perfect world where no one’s hair is out of place on a blustery day and people take perfectly clear photos even after they’ve had three glasses of sangria, this could happen. But I live in the real world, and in the real world, I couldn’t handle that kind of perfection because my walls simply aren’t that big.
Regardless of the size of your house, you’ll find a way to go on living even if you don’t wind up with all those perfect photos. I’ve found that you actually can get by with just one. Just one photo to put up as your Facebook profile pic for a few months, just one photo to slip into a frame in your hallway and just one photo to be on your holiday greeting card.
I assure you, you’ll still enjoy the other less-than-perfect shots whenever you decide to look back at your photos. Chances are, over time, you’ll even forget what made them less-than-perfect to begin with. You’ll forget that you once thought a certain photo made your nose look big or you won’t even notice that your husband’s face looked wonky in another one. You’ll laugh and say, “Wow, look how young and cute we were! Remember? That was the day we ate all that fresh seafood and threw up all night!” Ah, memories! You may see the pictures through rose-colored glasses, but some things, even time won’t erase.
So despite getting a little green with envy (which is better than getting green with food poisoning) at the bridal event last week, overall, I’m not too bothered by the fact that I don’t have hundreds of frame-worthy shots from our wedding. If plastering your walls with 200 photos from your travels sounds like overkill, doing so with 200 photos from your wedding is just insane. Perfect photos are wonderful and I sincerely hope everyone who reads this finds many to cherish throughout their life, but if you fall short, remember, all you really need is one. Just one photo that so perfectly captures a trip to Greece, a trip to Guatemala or a trip down the aisle. In the end, the day I walked down the aisle, I did end up with one perfect shot (which wasn’t even snapped by the professional photographer, but rather by a guest). And it turns out, with weddings, like a trip, just one can be enough.
Also, to my dear friend who is getting hitched: I hope you find a photographer who delivers to you hundreds of flawless photos, but if not, I hope you end up with at least one photo that makes you as happy to look at as this one makes me. Happy wedding planning Naomi!