Every single wedding that I photograph, there’s always a moment that hits home and personalizes the experience for me. It’s the father-daughter dance. I’m not going to lie to you, I get a bit emotional. You see, I have a near 3 year old daughter and during the dance I can ‘t help but think about Evie’s wedding day. Where are we going to be? How tall will she be? What type of guy is she going to marry? Will we have a close relationship? How sweet will my beard look? 🙂

And yet as these powerful emotions and thoughts rush into my head, I’m still taking pictures. I’m changing exposure, changing angles, making sure that I’m making great images all the while trying to hold back the personal feelings. It’s hard to describe, but the emotions are never a distraction. I’ve never been caught with my camera down, day dreaming of the future. No, it’s more like I am MORE focused, MORE driven to get the shot. But these pictures are more for dad than they are for the bride and groom.

When I think of the bride and the groom and their families looking over the galleries after the wedding, I want dad to stop at a dancing picture and smile. I want him to feel special because I made that picture for him.

A father’s love for his daughter is indescribable, but I often think that a single image can do more than words when it comes to this. I chose the above image for a few different reasons. First, it is one of those happy accidents in photography where your initial intentions don’t work out, but you end up with an unexpected surprise. In this case, one of my flashes didn’t fire so I ended up with a little bit of motion blur and a darker image than intended. I love this photo. Secondly, the dad from this wedding told me months later that this was his favorite picture from the wedding. That meant a lot to me.  Lastly, and this is just coincidence, but this photo was taken exactly one year before our daughter was born.

So, I have a couple of decades before I have to start worrying about how much I’m going to cry during my daughters wedding. As a procrastinator I enjoy knowing I have the time. But luckily I get reminded of the opportunity to dance with my daughter at her wedding. It brings me joy, and sometimes watery eyes.

Happy Father’s Day to all the men who have made their little girl smile… even when they are not little girls anymore.