Documentary wedding photographer

What to expect on your wedding day

I describe myself as a ‘documentary wedding photographer’ all the time but not everyone knows exactly what that means, so I have put this blog together to help couples understand how I work and what to expect on their wedding day.

The simple description is I ‘document’ your wedding day and capture the real moments, events and emotions without being interrupted for any posed photos. This is what most people would expect from a documentary wedding photographer but there is so much more to it and the more a couple know about what to expect the more relaxed they are about having their photo taken.

As a documentary wedding photographer my main focus is to blend in and capture the events that are unfolding on the day. It’s so important for me to be aware of what is going on, who is talking to who and where the best reactions are going to come from, so I don’t miss the momentary laughter, smiles and tears that can disappear within seconds.

I have learnt a lot over the past 5 years from anticipating peoples reactions and timing important shots, to getting the right angle for the best results and capturing the unseen reactions. For example how the mother of the bride looks at her daughter when she is saying her vows or how the couple touch and hold hands when they spend a few quiet moments together as a newly married couple.

Capturing these beautiful moments is just one part of my job, the best way to get these shots is to blend in with the crowd, which is easier said than done. Every wedding has that one (or 10) guests that don’t like having their photo taken and no matter how hard I try their eyes will follow me around all day. Most of the time guests are great but I have a few tricks to help keep a low profile if there are any tricky individuals. I’m often found hiding behind bushes or standing in plain sight using my trusty zoom lens to help keep some distance.

I have spoken to lots of couples in the past who say they are a bit worried about being centre of attention and having their photo taken and I always tell them that on their wedding day they will be so excited and distracted they will have forgotten all about the camera. Honestly it is true, you will have so many loved ones who want to talk to you, take selfies with you and buy you a drink you will be smiling from ear to ear without a second thought about the camera.

There are only two points throughout the whole day where I work a little differently and there are good reasons why.

The group shots

I like to get natural reactions and expressions with every photo but there has to be some organisation when it comes to the group shots. For couples who wish to have group photos I get everyone together and take a few shots before giving any direction, while everyone is still talking (or more often laughing) and then I get the desired group shots. I love asking the group to look across at each other too which always creates a great reaction.

The couple shots

Most importantly I give direction for the couple shots. I have found that couples can feel a bit lost or have a lack of confidence if they aren’t given any direction. They can sometimes look uncomfortable and feel the need to check they are doing the right thing.

To help couples relax and be themselves I like to create a situation or activity that can develop into something natural. Simple instruction like walking together, looking at their new wedding rings and whispering in to each other’s ears so I can’t hear all create beautiful moments.

While you are getting ready, walking down the aisle, saying your vows, enjoying your meal and taking your first dance together you won’t hear a word from me. It is your day and documenting what that means to you and your guests is the most important thing. The best photos are the most natural ones so let me capture the moments that matter for you.

If you are looking for a documentary wedding photographer then please get in touch for more information, I would love to hear about your wedding plans.