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Documentary wedding photography, what is it and what to expect with me

photograph of a bride getting ready on her wedding day in black and white documentary

I often find myself describing my style of wedding photography as “documentary based” or “documentary focused. In the photography world, the word “documentary” tends to describe real life moments being captured with no intervention by the photographer. However, for anyone who has attended a wedding I’ve photographed, you’ll know that while I do stand back and let those natural moments happen. I also help with posing and suggestions in the right moments (and tell

Give it a quick Google. The term “documentary photography” comes up with plenty of newspaper images of people, moments and places (and a whole lot of black and white images). While the definitions are pretty vague, the idea of documentary photography is that it captures real events, and a factual record. To me, and in my wedding photography world, I would say that documentary style involves capturing the day as it unfolds, realistically and honestly, with a focus on capturing the real moments. It doesn’t mean I never intervene, and when you need a helping hand, or we’re setting up the perfect shot. I’ll give guidance – but always with a focus on capturing your true personalities and emotions.

I work to capture the story of your day as I see it unfolding, as honestly and genuinely as I can. Looking for the details and capturing all those elements that have created the day. I capture the big moments as they happen. But also slip into the background to capture those candid moments of your guests laughing, dancing and celebrating. I’ll also be there ready to go and provide direction in the moments that need a little bit more structure. 

The time of the day that tends to require the most hands-on direction from me is the family photos (admittedly, sometimes it can be a wee bit like herding cats). During the family shots, I’ll be there to direct people. Helping to navigate through your list of family photos, all to keep things speedy, efficient and fun. I usually try to keep the number of groups under ten. You’ll find plenty of your guests will want to wander off to find a drink and a bite to eat, so the faster we can power through the better!

Whether it’s an hour long shoot, a 30 minute shoot, or 3-4 mini-shoots throughout the day. I always recommend setting aside some time for these creative shots. Typically, most couples opt for a longer shoot while their guests are having drinks and nibbles. We’ll set off with the bridal party and the two of you, have some laughs, capture some photos – and I’ll help with posing here and there to make sure you all look your best in front of the camera!

Overall, a wedding day shoot with me is about 70% documentary style, real moments, and 30% me providing direction. Take a wee look through a selection of my documentary focused imagery from last summer below (and if you like what you see, get in touch!).

 As always find out more about my wedding photography here and follow what I’ve been up to on Facebook here.