I shoot your wedding. You pay $0. A storytelling contest.

I'm sure everyone's heard someone say, "I love my job so much I'd do it for free." Well here I am, putting my money where my mouth is : -)

In 2011 I am going to photograph a wedding. For free. I should add the disclaimer that this won't affect for one bit how I photograph for my paying clients, it's just a slightly different approach. Now this offer isn't right for everyone, read on though to see if it might be right for you, or for a couple you may know.

Modern weddings are productions. There are dresses, shoes, flowers, limos, gifts...expenses...stuff. Me? I've always been a sucker for a great story. I think that this dates back to my freshman year in college or so when I'd spend hours on Pulitzer.org reading all the winning entries for feature writing (check out 1996, Rick Bragg's got mad skills.) So, with that in mind, I want to hear your stories. Tell me how you met, tell my why your wedding is going to be a great story, tell me how you fell in love, tell me your great aunt is going to do a Lady Gaga dance at your wedding...just tell me your story.

I want to slow down, step back, and really think about how I see. Focus on the people. This is something I've been thinking about for a long time. Since I read Daniel Milnor's excellent post on his return to wedding photography, and more so as Jess and I plan our own upcoming wedding (March fifth! which is basically, tomorrow).

Dan wrote, "Weddings are in interesting event. There is so much tradition and history that many people do what they think they are supposed to do, and perhaps not what they actually want to do. I need those folks that say, “You know, we just want a core group of great images and the rest falls where it may.”

Those core images. That’s what I want to make. I don’t want to try and photograph everything. I want to really slow down and photograph the things.

As someone who is sometimes too connected (iPad, blackberry, laptop, Twitter, Facebook, etc. etc.) I want to step back, take wide view of things.

For the majority of the weddings I photograph couples will receive 400-600 images from their day, with 30-50 ending up in an album. Really though, at the end of the day, it's those 30-50 images that truly tell the story of their day. Now that's not to say that there aren't hundreds of things that could be photographed, and many, many things that are important, but to me, at the end of the day, what matters are the people. Your aunt who flew 1,000 miles to be there. Your college roommates who you share dozens of inside jokes with. The neighbors you grew up with. The people who share your life with, those you will be sharing your life with, and those you share your day with.

If you think this type of photography may be right for your wedding, e-mail doug@douglaslevyphotography.com before my wedding date (March 5)  and tell me why. In a few hundred words tell me your story, and why you'd like me to share your day with you. I'll read them all and make a selection, and share the winning story (and potentially a few others) here. Bonus points for video submissions (YouTube/Vimeo etc).

To qualify:

  • The wedding must take place within 75 miles of Acton, Massachusetts in 2011.
  • I must not already be booked for your date
  • The wedding must not take place on a Saturday between May 1 and Oct. 31.
  • You must set aside 45 or more minutes for portraits on your wedding day, just the three of us.
  • You must be OK with receiving 50-100 images from your day in total. Images I hope you'll cherish as family heirlooms.

The winning couple will receive:

  • Up to 10 hours of wedding day photography coverage
  • A printed book (not an album, a book) of their images, telling the story of their day. (Big pictures. A big story deserves big images after all.)
  • A DVD with all of the selected images from both the wedding and engagement shoots, in full resolution with full printing rights.

Special thanks to Mel and Kate for their help in sorting out this idea, you guys rock.