Documentary wedding photography refers to a style of photography that’s unobtrusive, candid, and discreet. This style is also known as reportage wedding photography or photojournalistic wedding photography. This is the kind of photography style that’s very suitable for couples who want their emotions, feelings, as well as the whole atmosphere in their wedding day being captured naturally. Basically, the documentary wedding photographer will capture the moments of the day as it unfolds without too much intervention. So the real challenge for the photographer is to be in the right place at the right time as much as possible. A good reportage wedding photographer knows how to blend in to the crowd and not to draw attention to themselves. That way he can capture the moments where everyone acts naturally without made up smiles or anything awkward.
The hardest part of the job for documentary wedding photographers is probably to capture small, intimate details that usually happen unnoticed, such as warm, short glances between the groom and the bride, or young bridesmaids holding hands and smiling at each other. These are priceless moments that are showing the love and atmosphere of a wedding. You cannot make them up and they might only happen once so you really cannot miss them. This is why it’s very important for the reportage wedding photographer to keep his eyes open at all times during the ceremony and reception.
Usually most people even though they hire a photographer for documentary style wedding photography, they still want some traditional shots to be taken. This is quite normal, a few group shots are always necessary in a wedding, and this is fine if we can possibly keep it to a minimum. If your photographer has a list of 50 group shots, he could potentially be missing the special, natural moments you booked your documentary wedding photographer to capture. Usually, 5 or 6 group photos is enough to cover most bases and to ensure the bride and groom have enough time to enjoy the cocktail out with their guests too.
A great thing about documentary wedding photography is that the whole event can proceed naturally, everyone can enjoy the happy day without making effort to give the best pose for the camera every now and then. The bride, groom, family, relatives and other guests can just having fun and ignore the camera. A few weeks later, they will receive an album full of the most beautiful and natural imagery.
A photojournalistic wedding photography is all about telling story. The photos taken should be able to tell the story about the wedding, how the day went by, what everyone was feeling, as well as all the joy and happiness which occurred during the whole event. By looking at the pictures, people who did not attend the wedding will have a feeling of how the day transpired, as if they were there, as the pictures will tell the story, not simply implying that it took place.