Beautiful Wedding Photography 2021
The annual ARJ Photography wedding photography collection – 2021 edition
Well here we are again my friends.
I was going to write a poem to accompany this post. Then I was going to turn that poem into a cool video slideshow with me speaking my poem over the top with some music. I half wrote the poem and then I remembered my very first ever ‘wish’ for my photography, and that was that my photos should speak for themselves without flicks or tricks or fluff around the edges. So I’m letting them do just that. Kind of. I have some stuff to say first! I like words too.
I’ll let you in on a secret, I always had two main goals. The first was to be “the best wedding photographer”. If you’ve followed my work for any length of time you’ll know that over the years I’ve entered and won a good amount of awards which helped me on my way to feeling a bit like I could one day be “the best” at this. But you know what it wasn’t fun trying to achieve the subjectively impossible. Style and taste and art and all of that mean you can’t ever be the best. And my quest to be that was undermining my gratitude and enjoyment. There’s nothing wrong with awards and I’m proud of all mine, but now for me trying to be “the best” has been replaced with trusting my instincts to help me create photos that I love. And that’s what this post is celebrating.
My second overriding goal was to be a “destination wedding photographer”. I was working towards at least half of my weddings being overseas. Initially, honestly, this was because all the photographers who I thought were cool were doing it, and I wanted to be cool too. Having shot in 21 different countries across four of the world’s continents I think I achieved this goal. I found a real love for travel and experiencing cultures along the way, and the desire for more of that replaced my weird desire to be seen as cool by myself and, I guess, my industry peers.
Why am I telling you this? Well in 2021 I stopped entering (and therefore winning) awards and did a grand total of zero destination weddings for obvious reasons. And you know what? I think 2021 was one of my favourite years ever, in photography terms. I preach a bit on my podcast (The Positive Creatives) that all creatives need to strive to really love what they’re creating and for that to be enough. I’m not 100% there but I took big steps towards that this last year.
These photos sum up my year and they make me feel something, I hope they do the same for you.
My abandoned poem began: “I’m grateful… for these people, for their faces and these traces of joy…” and maybe that’s enough of a poem. Because I really am — I’m so grateful for my ability to express myself through a camera while capturing the most preciously meaningful moments for people. I love being part of their lives for a day or two. I love weddings and all their weird little quirks of tradition, moulded and warped over the years to be what we know now. I’m more grateful for it all than I’ve ever been.
Me and wedding photography are in it for the long haul. I’m not going anywhere and my renewed gratitude has only cemented that. A full diary for 2022 beckons and even includes one destination wedding! I can’t wait for all that is to come.
Thank you to everyone who features in this post. The couples who trusted me, their friends and families who made me feel so welcome and of course my wedding industry friends for your support and encouragement.
I’ll see you in 2022.
In the words of the late great Tom Petty: “Wherever you are tonight, I wish you the best of everything, in the world.”