The Big Shots
Wedding photographers Tara Morris and Ben Wight are convinced they have the best jobs in the world. “At the end of every single wedding, we are bear-hugged by someone who is sweaty and laughing and having a blast,” Wight says. “What’s better than that?” The shutterbugs combined forces in 2007 after graduating from the New England School of Photography (Morris was formerly a personal trainer and cook; Wight had been a kitchen manager at Boston University). Seven years later, the duo has shot more than 150 weddings (including fetes in Puerto Rico, Fiji, Jamaica, and Portugal) and recently added two new photographers, Cyndi Stevens and Max Gordon, to the team. Ahead, they talk rainy portrait sessions, camera-shy bridesmaids, and getting emotional on the big day.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of wedding photography?
TM: I was made for this. It’s dynamic, it changes every single week, it’s lucrative, it’s extremely creative, and it’s limitless in every way—limitless in creativity, limitless in how many lives you can touch, limitless in how many people you can make feel good.
BW: Even on our worst days, it’s still awesome; we get to spend our days with amazing people. Catch us on a Wednesday after three days with our noses pressed against the computer and it may be a different story, but it’s sort of a small price to pay to have that much fun at work over the weekend.
What are the biggest challenges?
TM: Editing is a gigantic pain in the ass—there’s no doubt about that. The day of the wedding, there is a tinderbox of family, money, emotions, and booze. It’s very emotional, often tense, with a lot of family dynamics.
BW: You’re buying something before you even see it, and we’re selling something before we’ve done it. So that puts a certain amount of pressure on us, but that’s part of the job.
How would you describe your photographic style?
TM: Ben and I have very different styles. I’m much more intimate, like an in-your-face, bold, emotional kind of person, so my pictures tend to be more candid, more emotional. Ben likes editorial shots, big canvases, wide spaces, so that’s what informs him. It’s more fashion-y, more editorial.
How should a couple prepare for a first meeting with their photographer?
TM: I think they should tell their photographer all about them. We ask about how you met and how you asked her to marry you, which are some of coolest stories you’ll ever hear—the proposal stories. Some of these dudes are so romantic; the proposals are funny or they’re madcap, or they go totally wrong, or they’re simple and sweet. That’s what we talk about, then we talk about their wedding, what their friends are like, what their big day is going to be like, and then they get excited.
BW: Really, really do your research beforehand. Find photographs that you like, and then trust those people to take them. You’re going to spend eight hours with these people on your wedding day, so you better like them. If you don’t like them, it’s not going to be an enjoyable experience for anybody.
How many photos total do you take at a wedding?
BW: Three to four thousand, probably.
TM: And the final edit is between 500 and 700 photos.
How do you add spice to the traditional portraits?
TM: We don’t get that creative in family formals. We try to get a nice background and master the lighting, so it’s always lit really well and they look good. With the bridal party, though, we get modern. We’re very influenced by rock ’n’ roll photography.
Any recent unexpected moments that made for great photos?
TM: We drove up to Maine for an engagement shoot and on the way there, there was a flash-flood warning. It was a beach shoot, so that sucked, but then it cleared up the second we got there and lightning was all over the beach. Ben got a picture of lightning and the couple.
Do you tear up at weddings?
TM: I literally, literally, literally bawl my eyes out every single weekend. Every single weekend the bride gets asked if she knew the photographer.
How do you deal with camera-shy members of the bridal party?
BW: It’s about reading people; there’s not a cookie-cutter “this is going to put people at ease” solution. You find out what a person’s issue is—are they uncomfortable, are they insecure? Find the issue and try to diffuse it a little bit. Honestly, it’s just a matter of really reinforcing that they look amazing, and that you aren’t doing your job right if they don’t.
How can a bride and groom get the most out of their photographer on their wedding day?
BW: It goes back to trusting your photographers—if you have a great relationship and they come up to you and they’re like, “Hey, I need you for a few minutes,” it’s not going to be fruitless. You’re going to miss five to ten minutes of your cocktail hour, but I guarantee when you have that giant picture in your album or on your wall, you’re not going to feel like you missed out.
Does a rainy day automatically mean no outdoor portraits?
BW: The only way that rain ruins your wedding day is if you let it. More often than not, there are a couple of minutes of no rain, and what happens after rain? Rainbows. By being flexible, you can still get your outdoor pictures. If the clouds don’t part and you still really want outdoor pictures, get an umbrella, and get creative and funky with it.
Hitched Studios, 617-480-3567, hitchedstudios.com
Stunning wedding portraits are just a click away at these five venues, chosen by Tara Morris.
Misselwood at Endicott College
Sneak through the bushes and get out on the jetty over the ocean.
Boston Public Library
Anywhere inside, or outside in the courtyard. The Bates Hall reading room will make you cry.
The Barn at Gibbet Hill
Don’t miss the rundown castle at the top of the hill.
Views of the harbor, art installations, ultra-modern architecture—all you have to do is point your camera and go.