Video has been part of the wedding photography scene for decades, but it entered in a supporting role. Couples slowly began to request wedding videography to supplement the tried-and-true nuptial album full of stills.
Wedding Videography Energized
Smartphones combined with social media, which voraciously hungers for more and more content, are disrupters. Moreover, members of the selfie generation who capture video with a smartphone at the drop of a cat whisker are empowered by the natural laws of American culture to record everything they experience.
These conclusions were reinforced after we visited at length with Charles Maring. Along with wife and partner, Jennifer, Maring operates a very popular and successful high-end wedding and event photography business in Connecticut. Maring Visuals is 75 miles as the crow flies northeast of Manhattan.
Maring is what one might call a “triple threat.” In football, a triple threat is a player who can run, pass and kick. In his case, Maring’s an artist who excels at still photography; an accomplished filmmaker/videographer; and also a remarkable singer/songwriter. If that’s not enough, he’s also a curated painter and the leader of a rock band called Outside Reality. What’s more, he designed a line of apparel labeled Charlee Fine Art Fashions.
In addition, Maring is a member of Panasonic’s Lumix ambassador team. This select group of professional photographers and content creators have chosen Panasonic Lumix cameras and lenses as their tools of choice. Primarily, Charles and Jennifer use an equipment kit that is comprised of Panasonic Lumix DC-S1 and DC-S1R full-frame mirrorless cameras; Lumix DC-GH5 and DC-GH5s mirrorless ILCs; and an assortment of Lumix lenses. They include the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12–60mm f/2.8–4 Asph and the Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 Asph. However, his favorite “go-to” lens is the Panasonic Lumix S Pro 50mm f/1.4.
When we first met Charles Maring a few years back, he boldly told us, “We’re at the most exciting times in the history of creativity.” On our visit in early 2020 we asked if he still felt the same way.
“Yes,” he answered without hesitation. “We are right in the thick of evolving. It’s amazing; so much of what we do is still evolving. And we’re still storytelling with images and animating with video clips.”
Today about 40% to 50% of the wedding and events Charles and Jennifer cover include video. Couples do not always have the budget for both. The attitude of the couples who opt for video-only can be summarized as follows: “Live in the moment and capture things, no posing, no lighting control,” Charles says. That’s part of the changing trends in wedding photography.
“What we’re seeing some of today,” he said, “mainly in wedding photography competitions, but also in actual wedding shoots, is that the work is not as realistic as it once was. Clouds are dropped into a clear day, for example. Rain and storm clouds are edited out. I’m not condemning it. It’s two different mindsets, and there’s nothing wrong with either. But it’s creating the moment instead of capturing it. So, in a way, it’s recording false memories.”
The Instagram Effect
The Instagram experience seems to have changed the public perception of what a photo should be. It’s okay to add cat ears to a subject with an Instagram filter, therefore…
“Some photographers are creating hyperreality-styled images by dropping in fake skies, etc., to make things better than real life. Others, myself included, are going the opposite direction by creating abstract works. These kinds of works we usually print large scale on metal with frames.
“What’s more, these days we’re often asked to edit down 30-second or one-minute highlights of a wedding video for Instagram. Imagine it—the essence of a wedding compressed into half a minute. And for some celebrities, they want a live feed to their Instagram account. People want to share. Immediately.”
In addition, to some extent, the revenue model has changed, too. Maring tells us that couples still buy albums filled with paper photos like in the past; however, their wedding studio may not be a true indicator of the norm, since they only accept assignments that include printed work.
“We value our work,” he told us. “We’re happy to provide clients with their digital files but insist on delivering our best effort—and that includes traditional prints.”