Many, many moons ago (what the…) we had the pleasure of meeting and working with the awesome photographer that is Daniel Moyer Photography. In 2013, we had the opportunity to chat with him for a bit in what we’re now calling Part I. This is Part II and it’s amazing how much someone can grow and achieve in just a year and Daniel is no exception.
On top of everything else, Daniel has become a great friend and the DPNAK team had the pleasure of coordinating his and his wife, Rachel’s wedding last June. (And it was beautiful!!) So please soak in all that he has to say because there are many bits of wisdom below from someone who I admire and respect a great deal.
Hello again, Dan. How are you?
Dan: Absolutely amazing! In 2014, I produced my best work yet, and 2015 is looking to be an excellent year as well. I’ve been blessed with truly amazing couples and even have some new business ventures underway! Woo!
So, the last we spoke, you were kicking butt doing your thing. But we all know so much can change over a year and a half. So what’s new?
Dan: Well the big news in my personal life is that I got married! (and you, DPNAK, at the helm steered our wedding day into smooth waters!) This post is chock full of my experience with that, so I’ll just move on.
I think one of the big changes in my business has come in the form of shifting my goals in the way I approach a wedding day. I LOVE creating artful portraits for my couples to hang on their walls. I think I am quite good for that but that really accounts for a small part of what a wedding day is, and what actually ends up in a wedding album. After spending time evaluating my couples’ favorite images from the past years, I noticed that they tend to value the images of real moments with their parents, siblings, and guest above all else in their collection. It became reality when we began to sort our favorite images from our wedding. I LOVE the portraits of us but a candid image of our fathers sitting and talking at our backyard rehearsal dinner, a photo of my dad wiping tears from his eyes during the ceremony, a quick glance my wife gives me during the ceremony, our parents laughing and reacting to the Best Man and Maid of Honor speeches, our crazy friends on the dance floor; those are my favorites. As a result, I’ve been taking major steps in the form of critiques, workshops and learning from world-renowned photographers to refine my approach, strengthen my ability to capture fleeting moments, and ultimately hone my craft. In a time when details rule wedding blogs, I want to be remembered for images of real intimate moments, laughter, joy and tears, and storytelling couple portraits!
What are FIVE adjectives you’d use to describe your style today?
Dan: Personal. Documentary. In-the-mix! Vibrant! Intimate. Thoughtful. Sorry, that’s 6.
Which house would you be in at Hogwarts and why?
Dan: I am pretty confident that the sorting hat would put me into Hufflepuff, who value loyalty, patience, and hard work! I know the sorting hat takes into account which house you would want to be in, and of course, Gryffindor would be awesome (courage, bravery, chivalry! That would be totally awesome!) but I would fit right in Hufflepuff (my wife, a bigger HP fan than I, agrees)!
Last year, you told us your secret recipe for a perfect wedding day, which was:
“A relationship and the commitment two people make to each other is the foundation of marriage. Your relationship is supported by all your family and friends. They are all there for you, to celebrate your marriage. Spend time with them and to celebrate with them. Laughter, joy, excitement, and tears make great photographs, not centerpieces or the other little details that can often distract couples. Take it all in then, your friends & family, then look at the person you are marrying and allow yourself to get lost in them. I guarantee that will be the perfect wedding.”
Now that you’re a married dude, do you still agree?
Dan: YES! After our wedding day, I truly understand how quickly the day goes by now, so my advice stems from that. In turn, being able to actively enjoy your wedding day will greatly affect the kind of photos you receive. Sure, couple portraits are important (and one of my favorite parts of the day) but as a photojournalist/family historian/documenter, I am interested in all parts of the day, especially the real moments that happen during your day. So without further adieu, my tips for the perfect wedding day!
1.) Forget about whatever you are looking forward to most. Maybe it’s the reception, the food, the dancing, etc. Forget it and focus on whatever is happening at that moment – your bridesmaids laughing as they sip mimosa’s, the words your readers are saying, the sound of the organ and cantor, the ring sliding on your finger. Try to make every word of your vows sound as important as they feel in your heart. Smile and genuinely appreciate every person that comes up and says congratulations – they are there for you! Listen to every song. While you’re getting your hair done, while your maid of honor and best man are speaking. Everything. Slow down. Pay attention and breathe.
2.) Yes, breathe. Take a deep breathe every chance you get. A REAL deep breath at every part of your day. That whole stop and smell the roses thing – do that. Breathe in and look around. Look out at everyone from the “altar”. On the shuttle. Look at each other during your couple portraits. I’ve been telling my couples as they sit there behind their sweetheart table eating dinner, “You’re on top of the mountain. Take time to survey your land.” Take it all in. Breathe. Pay attention, and take a mental snapshot every chance you get.
Do that, and I promise it will be the perfect wedding day.
Is there any other wedding day advice that you’d like to add?
Dan: I deleted my original answer to this question. The gist of which is that trust and time are the two most important things that my couple can give me, but that idea is covered in a lot of interviews with photographers.
So instead, I’d like to stress the importance of making real, tangible prints of your digital images.
Your friends and family love to see your images pop up on Facebook. That’s a great way to share them, but after they scroll through them the first time and then continue down their newsfeed, they are long gone and forgotten about.
The same can be said for your flash drive of images. It sits there on the shelf, and maybe you put it in your computer a couple times a year to look at them, but the truth is that there is so much more information than what you are seeing on a screen. A flash drive can fail. A file may become corrupted. Or the technology changes. When I started I delivered on (multiple) CDs and dvds. Now I give my clients a single flash drive with all their images on it. But what happens when that changes to the next thing?
I think we have become something like digital hoarders. I take lots of photos with my phone and post some of them to Facebook and Instagram, but the majority of them just sit there until I transfer them off my phone onto my computer where they are going to sit some more. I can’t tell you how many times I have poured over the framed prints from my wedding this past June 2014. They hang collaged in our living room where I walk past them and look at 50 times a day. Sometimes just for a second, a glance, but sometimes I stop and feel like I am seeing them with new eyes. And that’s the best part. You can’t just push a button to advance to the next image. There’s a ROMANCE to viewing print. You have to slow down. Get close. Take it in. I once heard that the viewing distance of a print is limited to the length of the person’s nose (HA!) and I think there’s some real truth in that.
My point is that in 10, 20, or 30 years, when you want to show your kids or your grandkids. Or maybe you’ll just want to look at them again. But maybe, just maybe in 90 years when someone stumbles upon a forgotten box in an attic, your wedding photographs will be a real-life tangible record of a happy person staring right back at them. And if these photos have anything to say about you, I’ll borrow a line from the late Robin Williams movie One Hour Photo: “I was here. I existed. I was young, I was happy and someone cared enough about me in this world… to take my picture.”
Speaking of being married, what was your favorite moment(s) from your wedding day?
Dan: The moment that most stands out in my mind is where we were announced into our reception to deafening cheers, whistles and screams. The energy was so unexpected. I was so overwhelmed with every positive feeling – love, support, joy, excitement! Everyone was smiling, clapping, whistling, and supporting us. All eyes on us and this whole day was just for us. At that moment it hit me. I just took it all in, but as we made it to the middle of the dancefloor, I realized I was in that moment and didn’t want it to end! I was waving my hands gesturing towards me, beckoning and screaming more, more more! The cheers didn’t stop for what felt like 10 minutes. That was the personification of love.
There are other beautiful moments and connection that I felt with my wife, but trying to put those into words is impossible. So I will keep those feelings just for me.
If you were a hamburger, what kind of burger would you be and why?
Dan: Well as you know, I am one of those weird people who does not eat meat. So, my ideal burger is modeled after my go-to burger at Rachel and my guilty pleasure restaurant – Friendly’s. Let’s go with Amy’s California Veggie Burger on a brioche bun with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and buffalo sauce on the side…Mmmmm! Nailed it!
What’s your most favorite new gadget and why?
Dan: Oh that’s an easy one – my Switronix TorchLED! It’s a hotlight a.k.a. constant light source that has allowed me to shoot more creatively and in low light. It’s opened up new opportunities to make real moments look more natural and create really unique portraits! Low light is always the most challenging, but definitely most rewarding!
If you had to go back in time to any era, what would it be?
Dan: I am so far from a history buff, but I have an appreciation for our, meaning America’s, history. I think I’d have to choose a highly romanticized version of the 20’s-40’s. I know there was a lot of really crazy stuff going on, but there’s something about pop culture, new technology, and the arts during that time that appeals to me!
Once again, how do we connect with you?
Call me! (610.462.9392) I love to chat on the phone, but I’ll warn you, I can be pretty chatty :o)
I’ve got a really fun contact form that I put a lot of thought into and LOVE to read the responses! http://www.danielmoyerphotography.com/contact-daniel-moyer/
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