Documentary Wedding Photographer
What does this mean?
This is a question I’m often asked so I thought I would create this page to explain how a documentary wedding photographer would approach your wedding day and how the style differs from that of a more traditional wedding photographer.
Also known as wedding photojournalism or reportage wedding photography, documentary wedding photography is the art of storytelling through photographs. Its about capturing, the joy, the laughter, the reactions the emotions & the atmosphere. Most of all its about creating a timeless record through photographs that lets the viewer re live day for generations to come.
To me the photographs should never date and as such I avoid any photoshop techniques that may be in vogue at the moment but will eventually date and become a regret when you look back at the pictures throughout the years. For me the photographs should be timeless and honest & not over processed in post production. I work on all of the images to enhance them to their best but do this in a way that never detracts from the original photograph.
I love to capture the relationships between families and friends and actively seek out images that reflect not only how the couple feel about each other but also the special bonds between other loved ones whether they are family members or friends.
I understand that weddings are a gathering of families and often some formal photography is required, I always encourage my clients to try to limit the number of formal group shots to six or less. Past experience has taught me that if the list is greater than this number then it can become a burden on the day. I also actively encourage couples to set aside 10 minutes for a very small number of naturally posed images of them both. These are done quickly and without fuss so that they can return to enjoying the day they have planned for so long and I can return to capturing the day informally.
My camera equipment and particularly my lenses are chosen specifically to allow me to work in any light conditions while avoiding the use of flash. I intentionally avoid long lenses instead opting for shorter focal lengths which allow me to appear less obtrusive to the wedding party and work closely amongst people.
The following images I feel represent wedding photojournalism perfectly & I have written a few words on each that explain the thought process involved their creation.
This photograph perfectly sums up the way I seek out images that portray special relationships on a wedding day. The bride shown here lives in Australia & it was clear to me from when we first met before the wedding day that her family are very special to her & in particular her grandfather. He is a great character and clearly loved by all that know him & to be honest I could show many images here that portray his character but I wanted something that showed the relationship with his grandaughter. I was aware when the service began that his seating position near the aisle may have brought a moment where he and the bride would interact so I positioned myself with him in my eyeline as the happy couple came back from signing the register to greet their guests and to my delight the bride went straight to her grandfather & this special moment happened. I feel it is only through prior knowledge of the couple and anticipating the day that I was able to capture this moment.
I always consider it a privilage to be allowed to respectfully document what are very important, personal family moments & the first time a father see’s his daughter as a bride for the first time is always an emotional moment. As a father myself to a daughter I see myself there one day even though my daughter is only 9 & its a long way off I can just image how proud and at the time emotional a father must feel. I have many examples of this time of the day but love this one as it also shows another thing I look for on the day & thats the moment that can happen just after that perfect photograph was taken. Here the father has seen his daughter for the firt time on her wedding day & the shots before were full of joy & hugs but by holding on after those shots were taken I was able to capture this image which I feel links them both perfectly by the way they are mirroring each others manorisms.
This is possibly one of my favourite images from a wedding and always brings a smile to my face. It has won me many awards and has been featured as picture of the month in the wedding community blog. Children always bring special moments at weddings if you know what to look for and have the patience to observe them & wait for the pictures to happen. This little boy had already brought me some great images throughout the wedding day but it was this moment after the speeches that would prove to be a favourite. The wedding was at the Celtic Manor and the couple had chosen to gather the guest around a stage near the dance floor for their speeches. He sat at the front of the stage patiently while the formal speeches were made & I was aware throughout the speeches he was keen to get up there and have a go himself. Once the formalities were over & the gusts had made their way to another room I decided to hold back and wait to see what unfolded and to my delight he snuck over and this happened. I love the fact that the microphone is just out of his reach and intentionally he’d on until he lifted his heals to stretch higher.
This is a shot where I can completely understand how the groom is feeling. Having been in this position myself I remember just how it feels and always love the opportunity to photograph this moment if the priests or registrar will allow. The groom had been telling me all morning how he was so excited about seeing his bride walk down the aisle and how knew he would remember the moment forever. I positioned myself ready keeping both him and the bride with her father in frame and waited for the positioning and the expressions to be just right. His outtake of breath the split second before turns to see his beautiful bride make for a photograph of a very special moment in his life which he will surely never forget.
Photographing the first dance is always a great opportunity for some close, romantic images of the couple. It can also however lead to some surprising images as the couple and guests really let their hair down. This shot is another example of reading the moment and timing. The couple had just finished their first dance and I had heard throughout the day that they had a surprise up their sleeve for the dance. I got myself into a position that would not only allow a great viewpoint of what was to unfold but also the guests reactions.