It’s been almost 5 years since we took the above photo of Maria and Eric in the rain. In those 5-ish years, that image has become a source of pride, luck and success for us. It’s become to most popular photo that we’ve ever taken. By our best estimates, it’s been seen by anywhere between 20 and 100 million people through a bunch of social media outlets. It also was the keystone in a few different things that changed our business. At the time, we were just trying to build a business and that shot became so popular that other photographers started to know who we were. We even found that we were booking a lot of weddings where people said that the ‘umbrella shot’ convinced them to hire us. It’s been a tremendous source of pride for us.
On the other hand, that same image has been the cause of lots of stress. It’s made us see both the best and worst sides of the internet. Of the millions and millions of people that have seen it, most of them had no way of knowing who took it. Many people cropped out our watermark, re-edited the photo and usually shared it without credit. Huge companies have shared it anonymously and claimed that it was snow, some claimed that it was fake and some even claimed that they took it. It was disappointing, but unfortunately that’s the age we live in.
With that said, it’s been flattering to see how the photography community has embraced the backlit rain trend. While we’ve never claimed that we invented backlighting rain, we’re happy to have been the start of the wedding photography trend. We’ve seen some amazing photos using the technique and it’s been really fun to see what people are trying. Who would have thought that when Maria & Eric decided to take one last shot in the parking lot, it would result in a whole new photography trend.
Of all the images we’ve seen, though, I have to say that the thing I’ve always encouraged photographers to do is to make images that are authentic. People can sense authenticity. We’ve seen a lot of backlit rain photos that just seem, well, contrived. Often times it seems like people have gone out with the intention to copy something rather than to be in the moment with their clients. What I’ve always loved about Maria & Eric’s shot was how real (and random) that moment was for us.
On Saturday night, we took Danielle & Jeremy outside to take a quick shot at night. It was beautiful all day but when we stepped outside it was drizzling. “No big deal” we thought, “We’ll just take one shot real quick.” Danielle and Jeremy stayed dry under a tree, we set up a shot and then moved them into the light drizzle. Then it started raining harder, and harder, and harder. We were getting soaked and Danielle & Jeremy reacted by doing absolutely nothing. They stood there in their wedding clothes and got soaked. By the end we were all running back inside looking like we had jumped in a pool… and Danielle & Jeremy were smiling ear to ear. Those are the moments that make things authentic and those are the kind of clients that make our job so fun.