The First Photo

Back in 1998 I was just starting out in wedding photography, still not quite sure if weddings were exactly the photography field I wanted to work in. My main concern was the style of wedding photography at the time. From what I could tell, you were expected to take photos that looked just like that of the other guys, mostly all posed with a few “candids” here and there. Creativity seemed to be all focused on overly posed photographs which took up a good portion of the day. The feeling I had was that wedding photography at the time was pretty much cookie cutter photography. You take this photo, then that photo, then this one, then that one etc etc etc… That didn’t appeal to me.

Then a couple of friends of mine were getting married and I was able to experiment a bit and try to capture photographs in a truly candid way. They hired a traditional photographer for the event and I told them I would on and off, while enjoying the party myself, take some shots for them in Black and White so that she could have something different later on. It was still the film days and I was shooting with an old reliable Canon AE1 35mm camera. Strange to think back and remember that you had to wait days before seeing the results!

As the party went on I would grab my camera and take some shots here and there. At one point I noticed the bride dancing with some friends so I headed to the dance floor and positioned myself low on one of the ends. Suddenly she gets twirled and comes spinning right at me … quickly I take the shot.

Later after having developed the film and printed the image I really came to love the photo. I loved how she smiled naturally as she danced. I loved the way the dress moved with her spinning. I love the fold in the front of the dress also due to the spinning. I loved that it was a real shot of a real moment and not just another posed photograph. I wondered, “Is this even allowed in wedding photography!?”. Were fun and relaxed photographs acceptable? How about rolls of film full of these type of moments?!

When I showed the bride the photographs which were all B&Ws (and all candids) she loved them and basically proved to me that Yes, wedding photography doesn’t have to be the same ole same ole. She repeatedly told me that she loved these photos so much more than what she got from the traditional style photographer she had hired (She still tells me this today!).

It was from that moment on that I knew that weddings could indeed be fun and that they could be artistically rewarding. From that point on I was all in and haven’t looked back since!

Louis Schroder is a full time Award Winning New Jersey Wedding Photographer since the year 2000.