Perhaps I should start with what documentary wedding photography is not. It’s not posed, it’s not intrusive.
This style of photography is about telling a story using candid, unposed images. Unlike photojournalism, which is about telling a story in a single image, documentary wedding photography is about telling the story of the day in many images. The images come together, often in an album, to paint a visual picture of the events, the emotions and the laughter, as they unfolded across the day. If you’ve not watched it yet, take a look at the photofilm below to see how the story is told.
The photographs are sometimes taken from a distance to give a real fly on the wall view of the proceedings. Often though I will come in close to the subjects which can really make you feel like you’re also close to the subjects and give and illusion of really being there.
It also gives you the choice not to have formal portraits, so you can have more time with your guests and they won’t be left waiting while the photos are taken.
It’s great for people that hate having their picture taken
As there is nothing posed, you and your guests can relax and enjoy the day. In the background I’ll be capturing the events while intruding as little as possible which produces beautiful images with natural poses. The camera shy have nothing to fear!
Pictures of you as a couple or with parents and friends?
There will always be plenty of great photographs of the you together as a couple and I always make sure that I photograph the people most dear to you. The very nature of what I do means I capture images of you, your family, your friends all interacting in a much more natural way than posed images.
What about images of the dress and the table dressings?
As part of telling the story of the day I will always get images of the dress and capture the important details that you will have put hard work into creating like signs and table dressings.
Pictures of key people
I have a thorough briefing with every couple prior the the big day, out of which I will produce a list of people you really want to be photographed. Often this is elderly relatives or friends and relations that have travelled a great distance. The very nature of what I do usually means I am capturing images of these key individuals anyway as they are part of the story.
It’s more than just taking pictures
I’ve always thought that to be good at documentary photography you have to possess more than just the technical skills needed to operate a camera. It takes people skills to understand the emotions being felt by the people at the wedding and to be able to blend in and build a rapport with everyone. Being able to sympathise and empathise with people helps me to see the images that make lasting memories.
Reportage photography, documentary photography, candid photography are all terms banded around by photographers, but it is much more than just being black and white and ensuring no-one is looking at the camera.