Documentary wedding photography or is it Reportage or Candid....
Well it's basically all the same.
Time was (before my time!) when wedding photography was all about "posing" for group and family photos. Back in the days of film photography photographers were limited in the number of shots they could take - film was expensive and costly to develop. They made sure that every shot was going to have a good chance of making it into the couples wedding album. There was little opportunity to capture "moments" like the one above - cameras were slow and unlikely to get a decent photo in the moment like this.
Then enter digital cameras - by around 2012 most wedding photographers had switched to digital cameras. There was zero cost to rattling off thousands of photos - the photographer could later select which to edit and give to the couple.
This opened the door to expanding the type of photos taken at a typical wedding.
We went from posed to candid, from looking at the camera to very natural photos that captured a moment or an emotion.
Yet this new style of photographing weddings gave new problems.
The photographer no longer knew what was coming next - they didn't know which lens would be best, what camera settings would be needed or even where to be standing!
Contemporary documentary wedding photography now requires the photographer to "ready" to shoot a photo at a moments notice, to be able to anticipate where would be the best place to stand to get the people, but also the best lighting. Should they use flash, what lens will best capture what "might be" happening in a few moments and what should they set the camera's shutter speed, aperture, and ISO to.
These are the skills that top class wedding photographers have and allow them to capture many "moments" during a wedding that define the story of the couples' day.
When combined with more traditional "staged" photos of groups and family the modern gallery of wedding photos is SO MUCH better that 20 years ago.
However - there is a downside to this type of photography - dull weddings!
Whereas 20 years ago a couple might get 50 photos from their wedding photographer nowadays it's probably more like 250. The majority, probably around 200, will be documentary photos that capture a moment or an emotion.
I've been to weddings where there was simply very little to photograph - ok we get the 50 traditional staged group and family photos but if all the guests head off to the bar at every oppportunity and stand there talking it doesn't make great documentary photos! If there's no characters at the wedding, if guests simply collect in groups and chat, if the bride has very conservative bridesmaids and the groomsmen just want to get their next vape then the photographer can't photograph what doesn't happen.
It's rare for things get this bad but do remember that your wedding photos are about your wedding - so make it interesting! Have games, a magician, a live band, a singing waiter - actually this last one is my most recommended! At every wedding I've been to (which is over 200) that had a singing waiter as a surprise it transformed the wedding into a huge photo opportunity and lifted the spirts of all the guests. Well worth the cost!
Thanks for reading and as one of Suffolks' leading documentary wedding photographers I'd love to hear from you and talk about your wedding plans. Email me at Allen@CreativePixelPhotos.com text/call 07425 169341