What is documentary wedding photography / reportage photography?
Documentary wedding photography, also known as reportage photography, stems from the journalistic tradition of storytelling.
Instead of a series of static images snapped throughout the day, documentary wedding photography aims to replicate the story of the wedding day through pictures. Where a traditional wedding shoot is a bit like an old photo album, my shoots act more like a flipbook.
One is full of great pictures, but with little link between them, beyond perhaps chronological order. The other ensures that each photo is brimming with character, while creating a more animated portrait of your wedding and all its unique qualities.
By observing the order of events, getting to know the guests and becoming an unassuming participant in all the joys and occasional mishaps of your big day, a skilled wedding photographer can preserve a copy of your wedding in time.
Rather than disjointed snapshots, you get a kind of photo essay that’s natural, relatable and memorable down to the last detail.
Why I chose to be a documentary wedding photographer
My love of photography developed from my surroundings in rural Kent, photographing the luscious greenery and stunning scenery. I learned pretty quickly that you can’t line up a couple of starlings, or ask a badger to flash you a grin. You work with the environment as it is and find the beauty in it. The same principles apply with weddings, and the beauty is equally abundant.
The skills and eye I developed back then have been extended to my current work. The arrival of my baby daughter turned that passion for photography into a unique quest: to share in the same kind of wonder and joy we’d felt so keenly, and preserve it for everyone. The drive to capture a more human kind of landscape is what ultimately directed me towards wedding photography.
The trouble is that wedding photography can be an impersonal business. Perhaps it’s to be expected. After all, you’re intruding on an extremely intimate celebration, and asking people you don’t know to divert themselves from the fun.
My approach is that it doesn’t need to be this way. Wedding photographers are often guilty of trying to manufacture memories, dispatching the happy couple to frolic among some trees while everyone wonders where the cake’s got to. As a documentary wedding photographer, I don’t want to be ordering people about like a film director, enforcing rictus grins and demanding reshoots.
I want people to be at ease and enjoying themselves on the biggest day of your life. You probably do too.
So take the stress out of shooting wedding photos. Come with a plan, but let me do the legwork. There are so many wonderful, spontaneous moments at every wedding that will be unique to you.
They all play a part in your story, a story that’s just beginning. They deserve to be captured.
No two weddings are alike, and it’s not because of the effort people put into planning them. It’s the parents, the best man, the bawdy aunt, the karaoke king. At the heart of all the dancing, drinking, singing and snogging, it’s people that make the magic moments you’ll want to remember forever. It’s those people and their personalities that I aim to photograph.