Documentary wedding photographer:
An in-depth view into my style and approach
What is Documentary wedding photography?
A documentary wedding photographer will capture real and authentic photos on your wedding day, without the need to pose, or directly control the scene in front of them. There are no awkward pauses during the day, and you will definitely not hear me shouting, or directing the guests in anyway.
Of course there are many more complex layers to this style. For example what makes a good documentary photo? and how do we define what is a good moment?
Storytelling plays a big role in this art form, and for me, documentary wedding photography is the ability to make you stop, and feel something whilst looking at the photo. An image absolutely has to have context in order to tell a story to the viewer. Rather than showing you a series of snap shots, every image is carefully composed to describe the feeling and story from the scene. Where it’s a subtle attempt at humour, or a an interesting composition, I want you to be able to look at your wedding photos, and be taken back to that moment, a bit like time travel!
"By letting the day flow naturally, you are free to be yourselves on your wedding day.
Just turn up, bring the energy, and let your personalities shine"
I like to divide the day into what I call the expected moments, and the unexpected moments. Whilst browsing the interesting world of the internet, I’m sure you would have come across many documentary wedding photographers, and it’s true – when it comes to your wedding day we are all going to be capturing some natural, or less posed photos at some point during the day. Even portrait driven photographers will find themselves taking a series of ‘natural’ or ‘unposed’ wedding photos. Let’s face it I don’t think any photographer will be stopping the proceedings to ask you to look directly at the camera! But who knows what’s out there!
However what separates a documentary photographer from a more classical/traditional approach is the ability to remain unobtrusive during the day. It is someone who is always observing the day, and anticipating moments, all to provide you a gallery with photographs that truly represent your wedding day.
How do I apply a documentary approach and stay creative throughout your wedding day?
Wedding days can be very long and demanding on not just fitness but also on creativity. So how do I stay creative and keep producing wedding photos sets of street-inspired reportage style wedding photos from morning to the late night? Below I have taken the time to break down the wedding day into all its phases/sections, and have included photos that I believe best describe my documentary ethos.
Read on to find out more….
Step by step guide: Documenting your wedding day in a reportage style
1.The morning of the wedding… Nerves are usually running high during the morning of your wedding day. The last thing you want is a camera in face documenting your make-up application. Morning prep photos don’t need to be about your hair and make-up, that’s so boring! There is so much more going on around the house/hotel that you will not be aware off. Your dad finding a quiet corner to practice is speech or finding a moment to have a cheeky beverage to calm his nerves. Your mum doing some last-minute prep to the flower/boutique. By applying my layering technique, I am able to capture multiple stories withing one frame, keeping your eye wandering and taking in all the little stories happening around the room.
Documentary wedding photography has and always will be about people and reacting to moments as they unfold in front me. You will not find me hanging up your dress in the hallway, or layout out your accessories across the floor for close ups. I don’t want your wedding photos to look like every other wedding photo. I want them to be unique to you! If you decide you want to start the day with some morning photos, I recommend for me to arrive around 30min before you need to go off and get dressed for the wedding. This allows me plenty time to float around and capture the last-minute preparations. Please take a look at the following examples.