A picture perfect wedding

“With weddings, it gives me a chance to still practice my craft — capturing moments, and making people happy with those moments,” said Morse. 

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Morse, who covered the Bush White House for seven years, discovered he enjoyed shooting weddings after some of the young White House staffers who liked his style asked him to be their photographer.

After his career at the White House ended, the president and first lady asked him to cover their daughter Jenna’s wedding. “I was really, really honored to be asked by the president and first lady to do it,” he said.

“I think other photographers may have been overwhelmed, but I was totally relaxed and really honored that I could be there for something so personal in their lives, and to be able to see all of their emotions as just a family.

“You know, they are the first family, but they were just a family that evening. There was a lot of love, a lot of celebration, and I was really honored to be a part of that.”

Ruben Gamarra has been shooting weddings for 16 years, and says the key to great wedding pictures is “to expect the unexpected.”

Gamarra, who covers the Senate on assignment for ESE, a Spanish news agency, has also photographed Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama. Additionally, he was the official photographer for the embassies of Peru and Colombia. He is a political photographer Monday through Friday, but shoots weddings on weekends. He says he enjoys covering weddings far more than politics.

“When you’re shooting politics, you’re one of many photographers,” he said. “Unless you get that one great shot, all of your pictures are going to be similar to everyone else’s. But by doing weddings, I’m the only photographer and I can have more of a personal impact.

“Shooting politics is very restricted,” he said. “With weddings, I have greater artistic control and can be more creative. Plus, weddings pay much, much better.” 

For Kurstin Roe, a career as a wedding photographer was not a path he ever initially considered.

That career began at the age of 24, when he covered George W. Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004. After working on the campaign trail, he continued his career as a political photographer for two more years. “It was really cool for a while. I got to go to these really amazing places, and had the opportunity to take some unbelievable photographs,” he said.

“But it turned into a lot of work. I realized I was becoming married to my job,” he explained. After feeling “burned out,” he was skeptical about covering weddings. 

“At first I thought, ‘Why would I want to shoot weddings? I have this great access to these amazing people. Why would I want to give this up to shoot weddings?’ ” he recalled. “But within one wedding, I decided right then and there that I was going to leave [political photography] to shoot weddings. I got hooked on shooting weddings just after that one wedding.”

For Roe, the artistic freedom and personal impact of his work are what make covering weddings far more fulfilling than covering politics. While shooting weddings, Roe finds more candid moments to capture than he ever did on the campaign trail. “I focus on the little interactions between people. It’s the way that the groom sees the bride for the first time. Or when she finally puts on her dress and all of the bridesmaids are standing there looking at her, and everybody’s about to cry,” he said. “The little interactions that make people human, that are really beautiful, are what I really love to capture.” 

Although Roe has covered over 200 weddings, he says that each of the 25 he shoots each year is always special. He interviews all of his clients to see if he has a personal connection — if not, he will refer them to another photographer.

As a result of his selectivity, he says, his work is more personal. “I bring a level of energy to every single wedding that most people would never find in another wedding photographer,” he said.