Putting a Creative, Timeless Spin on Wedding Photography with GIFs and Cinemagraphs


Many wedding and engagement photographers want (and advertise) their photographs to be ‘timeless,’ but Detroit-based Jeffrey Lewis Bennett of JLB Weddings actually does offer a style of time-less wedding photos: the animated GIF and the cinemagraph.

It all began in 2011 when, while shooting some pictures in Burst mode, Bennett and the groom began discussing their mutual adoration of the GIF. One thing led to another, the suggestion was made, and Bennett decided to try and stitch those photos together into an animated GIF.

Three years later — and, according to his talk with Huffington Post, many terrible attempts later — the wedding GIF is now kind of his ‘thing.’

Ranging from funny to downright beautiful and timeless, the animated images he creates — and they are images, he doesn’t use video — offer his clients a different experience and a super sharable final product that has probably landed him a ton of work.

Here are a few of the GIFs and cinemagraphs he was kind enough to share with us:

Speaking with HuffPost Weddings, Bennett revealed that timelessness is, in fact, the reason he loves GIFs so much. “I believe the best GIFs communicate the feeling of the infinite,” he says. “Like how a great kiss can feel like it’s lasting a lifetime while the rest of the world spins on outside of your private moment.”

To see more GIF and normal photography from Bennett, head over to his website and Tumblr, or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

Image credits: Animated GIFs by Jeffrey Lewis Bennett/JLB Wedding and used with permission

  • Jeremy Madore

    Anyone else having difficulty getting them to play, using Chrome?

  • Guest

    best GIFs communicate the feeling of the infinite.”

    This may be true, unless you forget to set your GIFs to play infinitely.

  • Mike M

    If you’re also not seeing the animations, try the Tumblr link at the bottom, they work fine there.

  • Jeffrey Howarth

    Yes I think the gifs were broken in the transfer to petapixel..

  • Adam Cross

    they’re not on a loop here, so by the time the page loads they’re all done :’) follow links at the bottom to see them on a loop.

  • Aezreth

    Don’t bother, they all look better static anyway.

  • Michael Zhang

    Yikes, sorry guys — we’re getting that fixed ASAP.

  • Aezreth

    I can’t believe you used the words “animated GIF” and “timeless” in the same sentence.

  • Michael Zhang

    Should be fixed now :)

  • james

    Exactly. Gifs are a fad..timeless my arse!

  • Mike

    The animated GIF has been a fixture on the web since the first crude web sites in the mid-1990s. That’s 20 years.

    You can call it a fad if you like, but when it’s so old it’s legal for it join the army and drink in bars, it’s kind of myopic to call it a “fad.”

    And I’m not even defending the wedding GIFs above. They just don’t do anything for me and I can’t see myself wanting one. In fact the real problem with animated GIFs is that it is a very inefficient format for animation, but after the demise of Flash there isn’t much else that will produce this effect.

    Anyway, given that the animated GIF has been in heavy use for a fifth of a century now, there is a lot more logic behind calling it “timeless” rather than a “fad.”

  • Aezreth

    There’s a huge difference between being around for 20 years, and being timeless. Paintings, sculptures, architecture, music, ideas, even photos and movies can be timeless.. but animated GIFs, not even close. If you think our grandchildren are going to be sitting around appreciating some little choppy animated file with 256 colors and the resolution of a stamp you are kidding yourself. Heck, I’d be surprised if even the people in these wedding GIFs will bother looking at them after a couple of years.

  • Chester A. Arthur

    Animated GIFs don’t seem like something you’re into and to each their own.

    And while I think the “timeless” description is a bit overly-breathless-sounding, a lot of these GIFs show some special forethought and execution. Picking locales, situations, poses, and movement that would be ingredients in a really great animated GIF.

    I’m pretty sure that most of these couples will, in fact, be looking at these GIFs for many years to come and will enjoy each and every time they see them.

  • sELF

    If I could just but in here upon the high browed negativity. The work is great. It has an innocent joy. Which I see that some people who troll this website lack. Petapixel and all of the artists deserve a certain amount of praise for getting their work up here!

  • Fullstop

    wut? Why is he so sad and disinterested?

  • Fullstop

    I think they’re cool for the net. Not much practicality in the “real world” unless you have a digital picture frame but they’re neat-o.

  • Will Mederski

    personally i love the idea of gifs.
    with better and better compression quality, and more an more digital surfaces, they are a much more interactive media. (particularly for advertising)
    and i like the subtly of some of the above shots. the fun of hiding little easter eggs in them.

    however a lot of sites (fbook, twitter, instagram) don’t run gifs. and i doubt digital picture frames will ever work well, mostly because they have to be lit from behind, which would just be obnoxious to have a glowing image on your wall at night.

    using electronic ink kindle-style might be cool for B&W shots though!

  • Jay Patel

    I also have a few tips I would be happy to share with people if they like my work.. Such as turning video or images into gifs using photoshop (without utilising a tripod)

  • Esther Wang

    HARRY POTTER PICTURES! (are now a reality)

  • Dylan Cyr

    I feel like they are really jumpy as far as cinemagraphs go – you can easily make them 20-30 fps and make it have smooth motion.

  • Dylan Walker

    Wow, these so creative!