French native and California-based wedding photographer Anne-Claire Brun sees it this way: Wedding photography isn't supposed to be pretty. "It can," she says, "and it’s nice when it is, but that's not what it’s about. It certainly is not supposed to be perfect. It’s supposed to be the day two people come in front of those they love and claim how they love each other. It’s about a choice they’re making. And then it’s about love, family, friends and celebration."
While this is her philosophy, her photographic delivery—especially with this Oregon backyard wedding between Caitlin and Max—is certainly a looker.
"The first email I received from Caitlin and Max struck me as odd because the groom wrote it," the photographer explains, "and I have to say, I usually get emails from brides! They found me online and said that my work greatly resonated with them. They wanted a small wedding on the coast of Oregon in Caitlin's parents' house."
When Brun asked about the type of atmosphere they were going for, the bride responded with this:
We are envisioning a small backyard ceremony/reception in Manzanita, OR. As for the vibe, we want elegant with personality and lots of fun. We love good food and are thinking of having a Portland food truck at the wedding instead of catering/a formal sit down dinner. I don't believe we are going to have a traditional wedding party and may opt to just have a sibling or two standing up with us for the ceremony. Our main goals for the wedding are to celebrate Max and I (we have an amazing relationship) and to bring family closer together (bringing my family closer, Max's family closer, and joining our two families). We would love our photos to tell this story. We would also like to showcase the natural beauty of the Oregon coast.
"So, of course," Brun exclaims, "I really wanted to be a part of it!"
The couple exchanged vows on the backyard lawn of the bride's parents' place, overlooking the beautiful ocean. "During the ceremony," Brun adds, "they had the guests passing around the rings in order to put their wishes into them."
One thing she noticed about the couple was just how genuine they were. "Some people feel fake," she says. "You meet them and they are either too perfect or it's just a feeling that you get that prevents you from connecting with them. With Caitlin and Max, it was the exact opposite. I felt like I knew them, like we were old friends. I wanted to capture the sweetness of their relationship and the beauty of their hearts through the one of nature."
"It was truly wonderful to witness their love but also the ones of their guests," Brun says. "It felt like everyone was shining, and I remember when it was time to leave, I didn't want to, even though I had to drive a bit. I just kept taking photos and talking with Caitlin, Max and some of their family members. Weddings you don't want to leave—yeah, those definitely are the best!"
GEAR FOR THE DAY
Cameras: Canon 5D Mark III (x2)
Lenses: Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L, Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L, Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L and Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II
Lighting: two Canon Speedlite flashes 580 EXII and 600 EX-RT.