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What is documentary wedding photography?

Updated: Mar 11, 2022

Documentary wedding photography has many different names, such as wedding photojournalism, candid wedding photography and reportage wedding photography. They’re all the same, and essentially describe natural, story-telling photography.

What do Documentary Wedding Photographers do?

Documentary wedding photographers do one thing – they document your wedding, as it happens. They do so in order to tell a true story of the day, mostly without anyone knowing what you’re photographing! They’re discreet, blending into the background. They’re unobtrusive. The phrase ‘fly on the wall’ describes our presence perfectly.

Will Documentary Wedding Photographers do Group Shots?

Contrary to some reports, we do photograph details and groups. Why not – they’re part of the story of your day! Personally, I think any wedding dress looks better with a bride wearing it so I don’t tend to take those shots of it hanging in a window or against a wardrobe. But the rings, the bouquet, the table settings and the venue itself are all part of your story.

I always take time to photograph groups, but try and stick to the immediate family in order to take less time and to allow the bride and groom more time to greet their guests. And I always try and photograph a large group photo of everyone, so nobody feels missed out.

I also take a short time to photograph the Bride and Groom alone. I don’t pose them, instead I’ll ask the to stand in a location (a great backdrop) I’ve chosen beforehand and ask them to have a hug or a cuddle. I’ll be standing 30 feet away. I very rarely put a camera in your face! Unobtrusive is my second name.

What don't Documentary Wedding Photographers do?

What I and other documentary photographers won’t do is ask you to smile. I won’t ask you to pose spread eagled against a rose covered wall, and I will always photograph the bride and groom as a couple (how many times have you seen a lovely photograph of the bride, with the groom standing ten feet back, and out of focus?)

I will photograph the reality of your wedding day, and show all the happiness and love that goes with it.


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