What is documentary wedding photography (and what it is not)... and why I choose to photograph weddings in this particular style.
Documentary wedding photography is often referred to as ‘reportage’ or wedding photojournalism however essentially, they all refer to the same thing - an observational style of wedding photography.
Documentary wedding photographs record very real moments occurring throughout a wedding day. What's more, if the documentary style has been truly mastered, photography collections and individual images will convey subject and scene honestly and with authenticity. For me, the aforementioned values far outweigh any qualities that, perhaps, a pretty but relatively meaningless portrait could...
Subjects, where possible, should be in context and images should convey the story and atmosphere. Images should be able to tell the viewer what is happening in the moment or scene without the need for any further explanation.
Weddings are an absolute gold mine for discerning, documentary style wedding photographers. The variety of emotion over the course of the day makes a wedding day really quite unique - the pre wedding ceremony nerves and then the joy of being married, this is often followed by a touch of sadness when, perhaps during the speeches, absent family and friends are reflected upon, then wrapping things up with the high energy and elation of dancing and entertainment.
It’s very real and I often find myself feeling immensely proud to have been hired to document such personal moments, often when I'm experiencing the moment, or moments, in question. This isn’t just photography of a wedding, or at least as most people know it, this is photography of life - powerful, emotive documenting photography of those little things that often go unnoticed, those subtle emotions and nuances unique to each wedding, to each family and to every couple.
It’s touching to know so many people place this responsibility in my hands, it’s a very real and genuine honour to earn my living making highly personal collections of documentary wedding photography, collections that I know will become family heirlooms.
Photography should always evoke a reaction. The authenticity, or more ‘believability’, that I look to produce across my wedding day coverage is worth so much more than just a pretty picture or regimented formal family photograph.
Here are just a few of my very favourites from Caroline and David's beautiful wedding in Surrey.