What is a Wedding Photojournalist?

There’s going to be a brief hiatus on blogs about specific weddings, as there’s several of them that I’ve photographed, or will photograph, where the bride and groom don’t want to appear on the web in any form.

Instead, I’d thought I’d put down my thoughts on various aspects of the wedding industry, starting with my own little niche, wedding photojournalism.

It’s easy to tell you what wedding photojournalism isn’t – we’ve all been guests at weddings where the photographer has taken over, where he’s directed the scene in front of him, where he’s obviously more interested in getting ‘his’ images than the photographs that the bride and groom will treasure for years to come. We’ve all been to weddings where the bride and groom have disappeared for an hour and have missed out on all the chat, congratulations and gossip at the reception.

I was once a guest at a friend’s wedding where the minister had to demand that the photographer leave, because after the third time of asking he had continued to place himself between the couple and the minister!

None of the above applies to a good wedding photojournalist, because their aim is to unobtrusive and observational. Our goal is to tell the story of your day, as it happens, with no intervention. Like any good story, there are big dramatic moments, two main characters, small details, and any number of smaller characters and sub-plots! Of course, to keep everyone happy, there’s a need to take some formal family group photos, but these don’t get in the way of our main objective – to photograph the reality of your day, without interfering.

So, instead of posing the bride in great light, I move myself and my camera so that the right light falls on her. Instead of putting the bride into dramatic, but awkward poses I wait until she relaxes and appears beautiful and natural in her own right.

Experience counts too: I know there’s a very good chance that during the signing of the register the bride and groom will examine and admire each others rings. And I’m ready to catch the expression on the Bride’s fathers face when he sees for the first time, his daughter ready for the ceremony.

There really is no shortage of great photographs to be captured at any wedding. You just need to keep your eyes open, concentrate, and be ready for any eventuality. The result is credible photographs showing genuine expressions, emotions, joy, love tenderness, excitement and…. I could go on, because every wedding features everything I’ve ever wanted to photograph!

However, the best thing about presenting the reality of their wedding to a bride and groom is that I know that the photographs will be looked at for generations to come. They won’t go out of fashion or style and will be only dated by what people are wearing.

Below are a few photos from over the years that I hope give you some idea what a documentary photographer, or wedding photojournalist, can do – capturing the reality of your day, not creating it.

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