Documentary wedding photographers : a little boy tenderly kisses his mother whilst his baby sister watches on

A group of people dining at a table during a Pynes House wedding photography shoot.Pynes House Wedding Photography

Wedding Portraits – a Documentarian’s Perspective

Wedding Location:
Pynes House, Exeter, UK
In Brief:
All-in-one beautiful country house setting for a sunny outdoor ceremony, games on the lawn and on-site accommodation and preparations.

"The reportage approach of your work stood out to me. I'm very much not into the plastic, over-indulgent (typical) wedding photo look. Hopefully, the day will be casual, warm and friendly, without being too fussy over "things being perfect". We just want to have fun with friends and family, and capture that atmosphere organically."

Recently we’ve been asked by several readers of “Is This Something?” (our documentary wedding photography book) about couple photographs, as there is no mention of newlywed photographs in our book aside from documentary ones taken in situ. They wanted to know if we take couple photographs and, if not, how we communicate that idea to our couples and our general thoughts on the subject. We thought it was an interesting question to ask and thought we would attempt to answer in this, our latest blog post.

The simple answer is that our number one priority is to make our couples happy, and so (whilst a large percentage of our couples want no portraits at all) yes, if a couple specifically ask for one or two posed shots on the day we’re more than happy to oblige and we will treat those shots with no less (or more) reverence than any other photograph we take. But to truly make our couples happy we need to be sure from the outset that we’re all on the same page and for us, on a wedding day, it is the real, perfectly imperfect, unpredictable moments of random spontaneity that we personally feel create the most special memories and the most incredible photographs. So it is those that we prioritise and it is that message that we’re eager to convey to our couples. For that reason we never share wedding portraits with anyone but the couple, no matter how proud we may be of some of the images we capture.

That’s not to say that we don’t enjoy portraits, indeed we own and run a studio entirely dedicated to capturing them (see But, as with all of our photography, when we take a portrait we want it to say something; to reveal a connection. Not just to be pretty but to tell us something about the person (or people) in the frame. That can take time; time away from the guests, time away from connecting with loved ones, time to capture something really quite separate from the wedding itself. If a couple wants a portrait we are all in – let’s get into the studio, let’s spend a day capturing two or three special, meaningful frames. But on a wedding day we know that for every second we take the couple away from their guests, there are a hundred equally powerful photographs unfolding all around us that will never be captured. For many couples that’s ok – the portraits are the way that they want to remember their day and there are so many incredible photographers who specialise in providing exactly what they need. So we want to help those couples to find the right photographer for them – one who is as excited about wedding portraits as we are about unposed moments. One of the things we love about this industry is that every wedding photographer brings to the role their own style, their own unique eye and individual passions – the photographic landscape would be far less interesting if everyone shared exactly the same approach!

By only sharing the documentary images we love we can set those expectations right at the start. With no form of posing or intervention present in our portfolio, we remove the idea that anyone needs to pose for the camera at any stage (even the wedding portraits we do occasionally take are more about placement than actual posing – we’re always looking for the couple to bring a spontaneous element to the frame). In doing so we aim to attract couples that love exactly what we love about weddings and about photography; couples like the lovely Emma and Paul. When these guys contacted us they made it immediately clear that they didn’t want to spend their day performing for the camera, they just wanted to dive in and have fun with their friends and family and live, feel and love every last second of their wedding. In our book we write about capturing “documentary portraits” – keeping a watchful eye for those moments when the couple naturally come together and then working the scene with all the care and attention of a portrait, but without any orchestration of the action. It was these natural moments together that Emma & Paul were excited to see; these frames that they would choose to hang on their walls, and that shared passion and understanding between the couple and ourselves that made this such a joyous event to capture.

Photography is all about expression; about creating photographs that excite not just your couples but also yourself. Our approach is simply to share the photographs that we truly love and believe in, and in doing so we hope to find more couples like Emma & Paul who share that passion too.

Here is a collection of our favourite photographs taken on Emma & Paul’s beautiful wedding day at the lovely Pynes House; nothing posed, nothing staged. All in the moment.

Pynes House Wedding Photography captures the elegance of a statue of a deer against a picturesque blue sky.A woman is getting her makeup done in front of a window at Pynes House WeddingA bride is getting her makeup done in front of a window at Pynes House Wedding. Her bridesmaid watches on. A bride gets her make up done with her bridesmaids at Pynes House in DevonBride having her make up done before the wedding ceremony at Pynes House A boy looks out the window at Pynes House in DevonA bride has her hair done at a Pynes House weddinggroom looking in the mirror and doing up his tie at Pynes House groom looking straight at the camera but unposed at Pynes House weddingA groom is having his suit fixed by his father and at the same time a younger father is interacting with his son in the background at a Pynes House Wedding Photography guests arriving for the Pynes House wedding ceremonyA bride watches her bridesmaids in the mirror at Pynes House Pynes House wedding photography. A bride and bridesmaid hug before the weddingwedding guests outside at Pynes House in DevonA group of wedding guests at Pynes House Wedding guests outside at Pynes House A woman is holding a child in front of the beautiful Pynes House, captured through expert Wedding Photography.Bride gets her wedding dress on in the bridal suite of Pynes House Wedding guests in the Pynes House courtyard in Devonlittle boy reaches for a drink at the pre wedding reception at Pynes House in DevonA man talking on a cell phone near a statue at Pynes House.A bride getting ready in at Pynes House for her wedding, captured beautifully by the expert wedding photographers.A bride looking in the mirror at Pynes Housea boy looks through a glass surrounded by wedding guests at Pynes House wedding. Pynes House wedding PhotographyPynes House Wedding Photography captures a group of people standing around a fountain in a garden.Wedding guest takes a photo before the wedding ceremony at Pynes House Wedding guests wait for the ceremony to begin at Pynes House in DevonPynes House Wedding Photographers photograph the bridesmaids dressed in greenPynes House Wedding Photography: The bride's father sees his daughter in a beautifully adorned room.the groom waiting for the bride to arrive at Pynes Housebridesmaids dressed in green entering the ceremony at Pynes HouseThe entrance of the bride and father at Pynes Housebride and groom seeing each other for the first time before the Pynes House wedding ceremonybride looking at the groom for the first time at Pynes Housegroom looking at the bride at Pynes HousePynes House wedding ceremony Pynes House Wedding Ceremonybride and groom during the ceremony at Pynes HouseA woman in a dress holding a baby in front of Pynes House.bride and groom during the wedding ceremony at Pynes Housethe Pynes House wedding ceremony in Devonbride and groom exchanging vows at Pynes Housebride and groom wedding ceremony at Pynes HousePynes House wedding photography with bride and groombride and groom Pynes House wedding photography A bride and groom hugging in front of a large building, captured beautifully in Pynes House Wedding Photography.Pynes House Wedding Photography captures the intimate moment of a bride and groom hugging in front of a crowd on their special day.bride and groom leaving the ceremony at Pynes Housetwo couples having a moment together at Pynes Housewedding guests at Pynes Housethe guests waiting to throw the confetti at Pynes Housebride and groom running through the confetti at Pynes HouseCapturing the magical moments as a bride and groom walk down the aisle at a Pynes House wedding, with exquisite photography that beautifully preserves the essence of their special day.bride and groom greet their wedding guests shot by Pynes House wedding photographersgroom with the bride at Pynes House wedding receptionPynes House wedding reception bride with guests at Pynes Housewedding scene at Pynes House in DevonA group of people with a baby in front of a fountain captured by Pynes House Wedding guests drinking at Pynes House A group of women at a Pynes House wedding party talking to each other.Reportage wedding photography at Pynes House. Boy kicking a football with baby looking onbaby girl next to a statue at Pynes Housebride wearing sunglasses at the Pynes House wedding receptionyoung boy and sibling unposed but looking at the camera at Pynes Housebride in background and young boy holding a football in the foreground at Pynes Housestatue and boy kicking a ball on the Pynes House lawnguests chatting and laughing at a Devon wedding groom with wedding guests at Pynes HousePynes House Wedding Photography capturing a group at a wedding.Documentary wedding photographers : a little boy tenderly kisses his mother whilst his baby sister watches ona boy holds a football in front of his face with the statue behind him wedding reception in DevonPynes House Wedding Photography: A man in a hat captivated by a baby.A bride and guests surrounded by children, are captured in a heartwarming moment on a bench at Pynes House Wedding Photography.bride and groom walking into Pynes HouseA documentary wedding photographer's perspective: a boy holding a fan over his fan matches the woman's dress in the foregroundwedding guests sat at the table at Pynes Housewedding guests at Pynes Housemother of the groom playing with her grandaughter at Pynes Housethe reception entrance of the bride and groomPynes House Wedding Photography captures a timeless black and white photo of a bride and groom gracefully entering a guests clap for the bride and groom's wedding entrance at Pynes Housebride and groom smiling at family at Pynes House child holding a stick over face at Pynes House wedding receptionfather of the bride speech at Pynes Housewedding guests listening to the father of the bride speechPynes House wedding speeches bride listening to her father's speechwedding cheers at Pynes Housebride wedding speech at Pynes HouseTwo women hugging each other in front of a window during Pynes House Wedding Photography.bride reading her speech with sister crying at Pynes HousePynes House Wedding Photography - A joyful bride and bridesmaid sharing laughter in front of a window.bride and groom wedding speech at Pynes Housegroom speech at Pynes House in black and white black and white photo of the wedding guests at Pynes Housegroom speech and bride listening and laughing at Pynes Housegroom finishing his speech and everyone cheering at Pynes HousePynes House wedding photography bride clinking glasses best man speech by a window at Pynes Housebest man speech at Pynes Housebest man speech and bride and groom cheering at Pynes HouseBridesmaid in a green dress steps out of Pynes Housewedding guest outside after the speeches at Pynes House. Two next to the fountain and two in the window of Pynes Housea couple of people looking out the window at Pynes Housebride getting a hug from a wedding guest at Pynes HouseA group of people taking wedding pictures on the steps of Pynes guests next to a statue with a hat on itwedding guest holding baby at Pynes HousePynes House Wedding Photography captures a heartwarming moment of a bride and groom hugging at their wedding reception.Pynes House wedding photographer; bride and groom dancing at Pynes Houselittle baby with ear protecters at Pynes HousePynes House documentary wedding photography; groom kissing bride a couple relax on the sofa at Pynes HouseA woman in a green dress on the stairs at Pynes House, showcasing reportage wedding guests kiss on the dance floor at Pynes Housewedding guests dancing at Pynes HousePynes House evening wedding reception bride with her guests at Pynes House

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