“We’re not for everybody,” says Tyler Wirken of his Kansas City, Missouri, studio. His clients, he explains, are usually more interested in images of other people at their wedding than of themselves. They’re “not center-of-attention people,” he says. You could say the same of Wirken himself. Having started out as a photojournalist, he takes an unobtrusive approach to capturing the wedding day through candid shots of shared moments. “Outside of portraits, I don’t direct anything,” he says. “If I talk to them a lot, then I end up affecting the integrity of the moment.”
Wirken even removes himself from the scene, at times shooting with remote cameras in churches and reception halls. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a personal connection with his clients. “I spend a lot of time with my couples before the wedding,” he explains, “so by the time I get there, I’ve got their trust.”
Establishing that personal relationship resonates with his family-oriented clientele. “I think my style really fits in here,” he says. “Most of my clients still live in the town they grew up in. That strong family bond really makes a difference.”
Illuminating long-standing bonds is his ultimate goal, which is why he stays until the very end. “If I can dig deeper and show more of who people are, aside from it being a wedding day, then I feel I’ve succeeded,” Wirken says. “Usually at the end of the night, that comes out. The party’s over, and they one hundred percent become themselves.”
See the rest of our Best Wedding Photographers of 2013 list here.