Psychology of Wedding Photography

Joe Buissink may not be a household name but for his celebrity Hollywood clients he’s a photographer that captures some pretty special moments during their weddings.

As part of their Professional Series Lexar have put together an interview of Joe talking about how he sees a wedding and his approach to covering them for his clients.

This interview is well worth watching if you are a budding wedding photographer or are considering setting up a wedding photography business.

Take a look at Joe’s work at his website below and enjoy the interview.



My forte is weddings in general, and luckily for me I do have a celebrity clientele that likes what I do.

I’m kind of old school, I still shoot film from time-to-time, but that said they love seeing my digital files being converted to black and white and printed on double weight fibre paper, so it’s about the moment for them – and it is for me as well.

I never attempted to be better than anyone else. I don’t like the whole competitive edge – you know, “I’ve got to be better, he’s better, she’s better” and compare myself. My outlook has always been how can I be different? What will set me apart from everybody else?

One of the things I notice whenever I’m in a venue and there’s another wedding going on, or another two weddings going on, I often watch the shooters when they have that formal shot that they take in the garden with the bride and groom, they’ve just gotten married, and it’s funny because what I watch them do is say – here’s the photographer – “Hey Jim, could you hold your wife’s face in your hands? Jim, do me a favour, dip her for a second? Now look at her, make love into her eyes.” I know what they’re trying to do, they’re trying to elicit an emotion, and frankly it’s an emotion they’re instilling – in their mind’s eye they see that’s how [the bride and groom] should be behaving.

For me, it’s the other way around – if I ask them a question, they’ll tell me honestly how they feel. So my take on it is usually after the ceremony I say: “So guys, you’re married now! How do you feel?” And when you ask them to tap into their hearts as to how they’re feeling, it comes out automatically. She may shyly look down and smile, he may reach across and touch her face, click, click, click, you’re done! It’s literally seconds. It’s no longer my idea of how they should look by me imposing my will or thought process or my vision of how they should feel, rather it’s how they feel. Realistically, how they feel in that moment – the essence of them.

I don’t think photographers really realise how much psychology plays into the role of what we do. After all, it’s a gig that we do that’s built on relationships – or one should at least think about that, as opposed to being just a job.

Psychology is absolutely one of the most integral parts of what I do when I go to a wedding. It’s the relating to others; it’s the understanding of others; it’s being able to place yourself in their shoes; it’s letting them know that you absolutely feel blessed and honoured to be there, because it is the most important day – next to births – in a couple’s life. To be present – and not just because you’re being paid, but to be asked to come there as a paid vendor – is an honour and a blessing.

When I go to a wedding, believe it or not I bring two 5D Mark II Canons and two Canon EOS-1V Camera Bodies, which are the film cameras. I do on occasion, when Spielberg’s on occasion asked me to shoot film, I will shoot some film.

It’s shifted quite a bit now, it used to be 70% film and 30% digital; it’s now I would think the other way around, about 70% digital and 30% film. And then memory cards, I swear by Lexar’s 16 GB [cards] right now, I’m very comfy there. I’m starting to think about 32 GB so I don’t have to change card at all. I typically go through one card per body at a wedding, which gives me in small raw roughly 1,000 images, 900 each, and I have never had an issue with Lexar cards at all. I’ve tried some of the others and there were a couple of times when I had corrupted files, not once have I had that with the Lexar card, so I swear by Lexar. Everything I have – my card readers, my cards – are all Lexar.

Christian Keenan
When not blogging for MyMemory Christian Keenan is a professional photographer.

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1 Comment

  1. This is brilliant. One of the best interviews I’ve ever seen. Everyone now and then I get a piece of information that really changes the way I shoot.

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