Friday, April 18, 2014

Confessions of the Family Paparazza

April 17, 2014, the wedding date of my niece Tatiana and her husband Ryan, was a beautiful springtime day in Utah. We arrived at the Timpanogos LDS Temple just as family members were gathering outside the entrance.

I had just spotted my brother Danny across the way, and was snapping pictures as I walked to meet him; I was so excited he had flown from Virginia for our niece Tatiana's wedding.
"There she goes," I could hear Danny grumbling, as he made his way toward me on the sidewalk. "Taking pictures already."

Were these the best pictures I'd ever taken? No, but for today, they tell my story, so here they are. (And besides, I adore that you can see Danny's daughter smiling over his shoulder. He'll thank me later. Or not.) 

It seems my brother inherited our father's lack of love for having his picture taken. SOMEBODY has to do it, and luckily, in our family, my sister and I are the Happy Papparazzi! If I hadn't taken a bazillion pictures yesterday, how would all of our family in Virginia who couldn't attend the wedding festivities in Utah see the day unfold? How would Tatiana's family far away in Colombia be able to experience the day with us? I have a moral obligation to practice my craft! (And big sisters are supposed to drive their little brothers crazy, right?)

In my defense, I did not take a bazillion pictures, as some might suspect, but I did take over 500 shots during our 12 hour day. WHY would I take that many, you may wonder? 

Eric & Rowan
I'm going to let you in on a little secret that my little brother Eric says I taught him about photography: "The secret of being a good photographer is knowing what to delete." It's true; I take "tons" of pictures, and delete them by the dozens.

Even as the day progressed, I would review shots I'd taken, and delete anything remotely blurry, or poorly composed. If the lighting was off, but I loved the subject matter, I saved those to tidy up with my editing program later at home.

I am no National Geographic photographer, but I have learned that those professionals take thousands of rolls of film to find the perfect shot. My photo safaris do not take me to exotic destinations, but my pictures are no less important to me. My family and friends have gotten used to my photographic habits, even if they don't enjoy being my subjects every time the shutterbug in me whips out my camera. 

As a photographer, I get to experience the precious moments of my life twice: behind my camera, and after I have downloaded my pictures. As a writer, it is my privilege to experience moments at least three times: during the actual moment, while I'm writing about it, and when I read my writing. Yes, I have figured out how to take "living in the moment" to the next level!

So many times my shots are not perfect, but I keep them if they are the only pictures of a certain person, or a special occasion to preserve the history. On Facebook, I shared less than a fourth of the pictures I took, but 100 pictures is quite a few. I wanted our extended family to have pictures of themselves, and I was trying to capture the essence of the day for those of us who live far away.

Although there are many, many pictures from the wedding that make me happy simply because I love those people in the pictures so much, I am forcing myself to choose my favorite 12 shots. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Mr. & Mrs. Birch and Mr. and Mrs. Beidler

My nephew and niece, NOT the groom and bride.
There was some confusion when I posted this pic on Facebook!

Ryan and Tatiana with the Fernandez family

Granddaddy was with his little girl yesterday. Jackie and Natalie sent Tatiana
the charm with my dad's picture to include in her bouquet.

With two sets of Tatiana's grandparents

Our beautiful bride

Best friends since 3rd grade, Tatiana and Shanalee


  1. She has such a beautiful smile. Your pictures are great.

    1. Thank you, Stella. It was a perfect day for our beautiful girl.

  2. So many gorgeous pictures Denise! I enjoyed being a fly on the all here. Thanks, too, for your tips on how to get those great shots: delete as needed. Much enjoyed. Thanks.

    1. Thank you for visiting, Tonia! My smile is still lingering on my face from yesterday.

  3. What wonderful pictures, there is no better place to get practice than at a wedding.
    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful family event.

    1. Thank you, Amy. It was nice to hear from you.


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