There are lot's of buzz words surrounding the various styles of wedding photography, including the ever misused term, wedding photojournalist.
So, what is wedding photojournalism? Wedding photojournalism is about telling the true story of the wedding day, photographic coverage is discreet and there is no interference or direction from the photographer. Wedding photojournalists won’t ask you to strike a pose nor will they take you away from your guests for several hours to take traditional, staged wedding photos.
Wedding photojournalism, contrary to what most wedding photographers will portray in their portfolios, is not photographing headshots of smiling guests from fifty yards away, nor is it only a series of moody black and white wedding pictures. Far from it. Being a good photojournalistic wedding photographer requires the artist to work close to the action. This intimacy helps him or her to understand the atmosphere of not just an event, but an individual moment or interaction. This closeness means that conversation can be understood, punchlines predicted and relationships appreciated.
Personally, I use small cameras and relatively wide-angle lenses for my wedding photojournalist work (aka reportage, documentary), this approach not only allows me to work very close to people, but I can do so discreetly. It's not just about cameras and lenses though, body language is also exceptionally important. A combination of these elements, plus years of experience photographing hundreds of weddings, means that I look and act similar to a wedding guest. As such, the real wedding guests tend to ignore me, which is ideal!
This minimalistic approach gives my photojournalist photos a particularly personal and intimate feel. My priority is always to depict the mood in a believable fashion - genuine and authentic moments, devoid of awkward, forced smiles. These natural wedding photos stand the test of time and will be an amazing record to look back on in many years to come.
Wedding photojournalistic photography is much more about clever and dedicated observation and importantly, being unobtrusive enough to not have any impact on the atmosphere of an event or occasion. Photojournal coverage must document moments authentically and within the context of the scene.
Many true, or perhaps extreme, photojournalism advocates, believe in a completely hands-off approach during the day, with some wedding photojournalists not willing to photograph any formal group photographs for fear of impacting the flow of the coverage and narrative across the final collection of pictures. I’m not an ‘extreme’ wedding photojournalist and typically produce a handful of small family photographs, as well as a few bride and groom portraits, at the majority of my weddings. It’s worth mentioning that the combined time I spend orchestrating these structured, more traditional wedding photographs is typically no more than twenty five minutes. I put a cap on the time spent so as not to impact the photojournalistic coverage, which is ultimately what I’ve been commissioned to produce.