It's important to anticipate as a photojournalist, this makes sure you are in the right place at the right time. - Bartholomew Barn West Sussex
"Documentary wedding photography? It wasn't like that when I got married! We all had to line up and grin until our faces hurt. But you know, my favourite photograph of my husband was from our son's wedding... He's smiling, really beaming, at our son. And it's because he didn't realise that the photographer was even there!"
That's just one of the many anecdotes I've heard from people about photojournalistic wedding photography, also known as documentary photography and reportage. It's definitely a style of photography I am passionate about. As a photojournalistic wedding photographer in Hampshire, I've had the pleasure of capturing some incredible moments at the most important day in a couple's life together. And I'd like to share with you 5 reasons why you should consider this style of photography if you're getting hitched!
Jade having that moment when it all finally hits you!
1) It's all about the MEMORIES!
Everyone has that one photo that they look at and they're instantly transported back to that time and place, they remember the people they were with and the way it made them FEEL.
It's the one where you tell your friends, 'I LOVE this photo of us...' . And THAT is exactly what documentary wedding photography aims to do. It invokes great emotion when the viewer looks back at that photograph. Why? Because it captures the authenticity and raw emotion of the moment. No one is telling you what to do. You, as the subject are just being you, and when it's on a wedding day, capturing those memories is even more important; It's probably the only time you will ever have the most important people in your life gathered together in one place.
You're going to want to have a whole host of images that help you relive the day, and there's no better way of doing that than having photographs that make you remember how you felt.
Sam and Hannah having their moment just after the ceremony, this time is perfect for me as the couple are so into themselves that all I have to do have great light and take pictures. - Great Hall at the Collicola Palace Visual Art Gallery - Spoleto, Italy
2) You don't like being told what to do or having your photo taken? Well, photojournalism is unobtrusive!
Let's face it, the majority of us are not naturals in front of a camera. Have you ever had training on how to pose, what faces to pull to flatter your features, to basically be a model? Probably not, so people worry and try too hard. They get a little tense and it shows in the photos. Not only that, but the majority of us don't like being told what to do either! Especially when you're being asked to do something that doesn't come naturally to you. Expectations can be shattered when you, the couple, realise that the smiles are fake, because the photographer was being a bit bossy, and that made you feel uncomfortable.
But, there is good news! Photojournalistic photographers aim to capture what is happening as the day unfolds; they are not directors, they will not ask you to re-enact a moment so that they can 'get it'. I promise you, they'll get it first time round! Of course, you can still do some stylised shots if YOU want to, but I'm sure you also want to get that photo of the person you love, looking their best and smiling in the way you see in everyday life, because they didn't notice the photographer was taking the shot. Do you want them to not worry about feeling self conscious in front of the camera? Well, photojournalistic wedding photography is the one for you. One of the biggest compliments I get from couples is about how they didn't even realise I was there, like this ones: "We have so many photos that were taken of us where we don't even remember him being there and I really mean that in a positive way! Wedding photos are something that should be cherished forever and ours certainly will be."
Moments after Sam and Hannah's first dance, you can see how close I am yet they are so relax when having me around that I am invisible to them; photo-ninja! - Villa campo verde - Eggi, Italy
3) There's 'a fly on the wall', capturing all the moments you missed!
It's a truth universally acknowledged (amongst wedding photographers) that as long as you stay focused and keep that camera close to your eye, you will inevitably capture something HILARIOUS at any given wedding. They're breeding grounds for joy, laughter and great aunt Meredith taking a topple on the dance floor after one too many. BUT YOU MISSED IT because, the couple, were off chatting to Sophie from HR at work, thanking her for the toaster...
But it's ok, because the photojournalistic wedding photographer absolutely nailed the shot and you get to relive that moment (and break out the album to remind Meredith when she pops over) again and again! And the same goes for those heart-wrenchingly emotional moments too. Like the knowing look of pride between the mother and father of the bride when they first see her in her dress... Priceless!
Jade's Mother simply watching her Daughter get married, these moments are priceless. - Rownhams Castle, Hampshire.
4) Your wedding photos will be one-off-originals!
I don't know if you would agree, but if you check out my Real Weddings page on my website, you'll find that no two weddings are the same. That's because they're all unique in their own special way and I've captured what was going on as it happened. Documentary photography is about capturing YOUR special day, so inevitably, your photos are going to be unique and unlike any other! Your very own works of art.
Going back to point 2, if you have a photographer that 'composes' the shot, well, your photos are going to look like everyone else's. But if you're just being you for the day, in a way, they're going to be capturing who you really are, and believe me, no one can replicate that! It's authenticity at it's finest. Not only that, but it will be exciting! Would you rather have photos of people smiling directly at the camera? Or, imagine seeing your guests reacting, throwing their heads back with laughter, to all those embarrassing stories from the best man's speech? I know which of those would thrill me more!
Sam and Hannah's wedding in Italy - I have no idea what's going on here but I am in the right place at the right time! Each of them will be transported to the moment when seeing this photo.
5) You get to ENJOY your wedding day, and relive it again and again with the images!
It never fails to surprise me that, even after sometimes working 12 hours straight, I still manage to look back at the end of a wedding and think, wow, that went by so fast! So imagine how YOU will be feeling at the end of it too - so much time, effort and planning will have gone into making your big day exactly how you envisioned it. So you won't want to spend that time having to worry about anything, especially not the photographer!
With a documentary photographer, you can be confident that your day is being recorded in a way that will capture the vibe and atmosphere accurately, so you can relax and enjoy yourself. Because THAT'S when the best photos are shot!
This photo has won me a couple of awards and is one of my favourite shots of 2107 - quite simply because you can see how much fun these two girls are having. And just a small point to finish on, YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL! And what I mean by that is, if you DO want set shots, group shots or posed shots etc. you name it and there's no reason that a documentary photographer shouldn't be able to accommodate your requests. The difference is, there will be a healthy balance between the different types of shots - you won't be taken away from the fun of the party for hours, instead, it will be more like 10 minutes or so here and there! Photojournalistic wedding photographers can provide the best of both worlds - capturing the day as it happens as well as shooting stunning portraits! There are plenty of examples on my 'wedding stories' page, so why not take a look and I hope you'll agree that documentary wedding photography or reportage style wedding photography is the most dynamic and unique way of capturing your big day!
Hannah and Sam's final shot of the evening from their unforgettable wedding in Italy - No awkward posing just 'Stand there and be yourselves'
Thank you for taking the time to read my post. If you would like to chat more about my photojournalistic approach for your wedding pop me a message via my contact page.