Documentary Wedding Photographers:
Explaining Our Style and Approach
What is documentary wedding photography and how does our street-inspired approach
differ from other documentary wedding photographers?
WHAT IS DOCUMENTARY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY?
Documentary wedding photography, in its simplest form is the capturing of authentic wedding imagery without the photographer posing or directly controlling the scene in front of them.
Whilst that may be the simplest definition there’s rather more to it than that. Documentary photography is a highly skilled and conceptual artform; great documentary images are not just reactive shots of something happening, they are as carefully composed and considered as any crafted portrait.
Now take a look at pretty much any wedding photographer’s website and you’ll probably see the words ‘documentary wedding photographer’ or ‘reportage wedding photographer’ on there when talking about their style (you can check out our article here to read more about the various different terms linked with documentary wedding photography). It’s true – when it comes to weddings we are all to at least some extent going to be shooting some unposed ‘documentary’ imagery. After all no-one’s going to stop you mid-way through your vows and ask you to strike a pose (or at least we hope they’re not!) and so I don’t think we could name one wedding photographer who doesn’t deliver at least some portion of reportage photographs. But to be considered a true documentary wedding photographer that desire to shoot unposed imagery shouldn’t come purely from necessity or be a bit-part to your overall portfolio. It should be born out of a true passion for the style and a creative eye for visually communicating your observations.
Documentary is of course just one of many equally valid genres of photography and it’s easy to see how the lines between styles can become blurred. We’ve already mentioned that even portrait orientated photographers will find themselves taking a certain number of candid photographs on a wedding day but it’s equally true that even the purest documentary wedding photographer (s) will often be asked to take one or two portraits and group shots. There’s always going to be some crossover between photographic genres but as a photographer it’s your overall central focus and the images that you choose to share in your portfolio that truly reveal your style. For the true documentary wedding photographer it’s the thrill of capturing a real moment purely through great timing and skilful composition and without any form of interruption to the scene in front of them that provides the excitement to capturing a wedding.
It’s the thrill of capturing a real moment purely through great timing and skilful composition and without any form of interruption to the scene in front of them...
Watch the film to find out a little more about our photographic style
One of the reasons perhaps for that blurring of the lines is that the documentary style has long been stereotyped in quite narrow terms – a very classical, traditional look nearly always captured in black & white. But whilst we ourselves would identify our style broadly under the umbrella of the documentary wedding photographer, at York Place we believe rules are made to be broken…
For a long time now we’ve been on a mission to break through any pigeonholing and stereotypes and take our documentary style in new directions. We want to explore our own ideas about documentary and resist the clichés that this style has, over the years, amassed. We want to bring colour and depth and a raw ‘feeling’ to our imagery to create our own style of ‘wedding photography without posing’ rather than what has now become accepted as ‘traditional’ documentary wedding photography. We want to examine the subtle and unusual relationship between the photographer and the unposed subject and we seek to inject personality into every frame and capture life, colour and character through candid composition.
So what is it that sets our style apart from other photography and even from the ‘classic’ documentary wedding photographer?
Click the button below to read more about our unique take on Documentary Wedding Photography