Wedding Photography

Photography has been used for generations to capture the treasured moments of a couple’s wedding day. There have been various trends in recent years with first video photography and then drone photography and more recently, documentary wedding photography, which has become the increasingly popular way to record your wedding day. 

Documentary photography is also known as candid, journalistic and reportage wedding photography and is an innovative way to capture the atmosphere and magic of the wedding day from a very different angle – that of a guest.  

couple during their wedding in costwolds uk
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man celebrating at his wedding during documentary shoot
couple holding hands at their wedding
women hugging during a wedding documentary video in birmingham
dancing at a wedding in the uk with confetti
family feeding the groom wedding cake during documentary video
man riding a horse during wedding in a documentary video in the uk
close up shot of the bride during wedding in the uk for documentary style video.
bride and groom entering the room for their wedding
dancing during a wedding in the uk, captured for documentary
bride dancing at her wedding in a documentary video
documentary wedding photo taken in birmingham
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people putting hands together at an asian wedding in the uk
mother at a wedding in uk posing for a documentary video
couple dancing at their wedding in coventry
asian wedding photo taken of the groom
family at a wedding in the uk

Documentary Photographers

How does documentary differ from traditional photography?

Documentary photography is an exciting new style of wedding photography that captures the story of a couple’s wedding day with all the traditions, but these are portrayed in a very fresh and innovative way. In the past, weddings were usually recorded with a set of formal photographs that were presented in a wedding album. 

Today with documentary wedding photography, the couple, their family and friends are almost unaware that photographs are being taken. The documentary photographer works very quietly and unobtrusively to collect an array of photographs without staging many of them. The result is relaxed, natural photographs with no formality. The photographer will capture plenty of unexpected moments and a range of different emotions to be enjoyed and treasured for generations.  

The documentary photography definition is that it is a completely new way of capturing a wedding, because the photographer becomes the story teller and captures the story from the beginning of the day and throughout the days, as the story unfolds. The photographer’s work is an accurate and elegant record of the events of this important day and of the family members and friends who shared all the magic moments with the couple. 

Experienced photographers will capture all the beautiful elements of the day from the flowers and bridesmaids, to the name cards and wedding cake. They appreciate the time and care spent choosing them all and try and capture all the details of each in an artistic and imaginative way. 

They are also keenly watching to capture impromptu laughter, moments of forgetfulness and ones as tears fall, as these all portray the strength of feeling that everyone shares for the two very special people getting married.   

A traditional wedding photographer has a high profile throughout the day as they organise all the formal photographs of the bride, groom, bridesmaids and pageboys. There are also photograph the couple with their parents and other family groups. It is difficult and time-consuming to organise all of these photographs successfully and there are downsides because the flow of the day is regularly interrupted and many of those being photographed in these staged groups look very formal and ill at ease.

In sharp comparison, a documentary photographer is totally unobtrusive and ‘seizes the moment’ to discreetly photograph family members and friends in various groups throughout the day. The result is a selection of candid and natural portraits that perfectly capture the essence and character of the wedding day. 

Reportage Wedding Photographer

What are the advantages of documentary photography?

The documentary photographer quietly moves amongst the guests building their collection of photographs that tells the bridal couple’s story. This is a very different approach from traditional photographers and many guests will ask whether there was even a photographer present! As there is almost no requirement for any formal photographs, the flow of the day is not interrupted in any way and this enables the bridal couple and their guests to relax far more easily.

Without the requirement for endless formal photographs, the documentary photographer can also relax as they have more time to  watch out for any special impromptu and spontaneous moments that enhance the day’s story such as the special hug between the bride and their dad just before the wedding ceremony begins, the page boys playing in the dirt or one of the bridesmaids quietly touching the icing on the wedding cake. It is these special moments that enrich the storytelling as they are moments few guests will have seen and are totally unrehearsed or orchestrated.   

Documentary Wedding Photography

What is the main aim of documentary photographer?

Each wedding day is both beautiful and totally unique and the documentary photographer wants to capture the bride and groom’s story and their characters, subjectively in their own style, through their camera lens. Their portrayal of the wedding will be a detailed, honest and authentic record of the day’s event, with no direction from the photographer but with a large injection of the photographer’s individual style!  

It is said that ‘every picture is worth a thousand words’ and each of the photographs will perfectly capture an element of the day to help tell the story. Each photograph will have been carefully taken to capture an activity and in it the viewer will easily see that it is composed of several layers which include colours, emotions and facial expressions, that capture what the wedding means to the guests. The photographer gets great results because the camera is not used obtrusively in any way.     

Although the documentary photographer works discreetly on their own, The wedding couple will have shared information about special relatives and friends who will be present. If the wedding couple asks for a particular photograph of course it will be taken but carefully with minimal organisation and it will complement the style of the other photographs and portray how the wedding felt as well as looked.  

Documentary Photography Definition

What skills does a documentary photographer need?

The documentary photographer will usually start taking photographs several hours before the ceremony and probably stay till quite late into the celebrations. It is not unusual for a photographer to be covering a wedding for 8-15 hours. Weddings always provide plenty of material for documentary photographers.

The documentary photographer uses light, composition, background scenery and unusual vantage points all to their advantage. The photographer will carefully plan photographs to ensure that they capture the full story of the day. The photographer will also be looking for unusual and cute moments with younger guests and poignant moments involving elderly guests.  

The documentary wedding photographer also uses their skill to spot candid moments when guests are totally relaxed and acting naturally. They are also anticipating  the ‘out of the ordinary’ and  special moments that give special colour to the day. 

Interestingly, there are several types of  documentary wedding photography. One type that is proving popular is with black and white photography. Some photographers are using this especially for winter weddings as they feel that black and white photographs capture the character of the winter months extremely well. They also feel that a black and white 

photograph accentuates the expressions in someone’s face and is the perfect way to capture an emotional moment. 

Documentary Style Photography

The wedding day story unfolds.

The photographer usually begins the couple’s story with photographs that set the scene which can range from the family home to great granny or a classic car!  The first photographs are of the bride putting the finishing touches to her outfit and the groom all smartened up and ready to go. The photographs will start the couple’s wedding day story – nerves and all!

Working quietly, documentary photographers love to capture people’s emotions when they see the bride for the first time – especially that amazing look of love on the groom’s face. Through the ceremony, the photographer quietly captures the importance of the occasion and afterwards, the couple being warmly congratulated and hugely loved.

Onto the wedding reception and photographers have usually been there earlier in the day to capture the colourful decorations, the beautifully dressed tables and the wedding cake. As the reception progresses, everyone relaxes and the photographer is able to capture some interesting interactions between the various guests – including the children who usually fall asleep!

If you have your wedding day planned and you have been thinking about the style of photographs you would really like and the idea of relaxed, unplanned photographs that capture all the special moments of your day appeals, a wedding documentary photographer will be the perfect person to capture the excitement, colour and emotion of the most wonderful day of your life….

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