I loved photographing Helen and Dan …they did the “look stern and stiff” pose of the late 19th and early 20th Century so easily …well they managed it for about 30 seconds before laughing..
For vintage weddings it’s great to add in a few old fashioned (like your gran had) photographs for a real traditional feel and i’ve recently been routing through old photographs and doing some research to find out more about traditional styles of photography and why it all changed.
I found this photograph at a vintage fair – an example of a photograph from the Royal wedding of Princess Mary and Lord Lascelles in 1922 which was very stern and staged.
Apparently, unless you were a child a drunk or a labourer (who were encouraged to smile) the look and style of early photography mimicked that of classical portraiture where adults of social standing wanted to look artistic, stern and respectable.
However, this all changed in the early 1900’s when Kodak introduced its first portable and affordable camera called the Brownie and mass advertised the camera using photographs of people smiling and this led to the sea change in how people were represented photographically and we moved into the “snap shot” era. I love natural, relaxed and snap shot style photos, however, I want to work on any formal photographs to model them more on the traditions of portraiture and painting.
I have found some old photographs at home which I love … my great grandparents wedding circa 1910 with a hint of a smile and moving to my mum’s wedding in 1959 who looks lovely with my beloved Grandad (who taught me how to play cards) who was very handsome!
So although I will never ask you to say “cheese” when i photograph you- I may ask you to say “prunes” …just once or twice to achieve the stern look.