What is documentary wedding photography?

When you’re starting out on the process of planning your wedding it can get really confusing. So many things to do. To think about. When it comes to the photography it can get even worse.

Documentary. Photo-journalistic. Reportage. Contemporary. Fine Art. Available light. Natural. Vintage. Formal. The list goes on. Buzz words everywhere.

I’ll be doing a small series of posts about different styles over the next few weeks. But first ……

What is documentary wedding photography?

Wikipedia (that font of all knowledge – well, it’s not too bad) describes documentary photography as follows:

“Documentary photography usually refers to a popular form of photography used to chronicle both significant and relevant to history and historical events and everyday life. It is typically covered in professional photojournalism, or real life reportage, but it may also be an amateur, artistic, or academic pursuit.”

OK, that doesn’t really help a lot does it? But if we look at the term photojournalism that’ll give us a clue.

To me, documentary photography is about capturing the event without directing it. A photojournalist records events as they happen. They have input into how things will flow. They document what they see through their lens. Documentary photography.

What is documentary wedding photography

Documentary wedding photography is when your photographer records the events and the emotions of the day without interfering. There’s so much happening on your wedding day that you don’t see. Tears. Laughter. This is where the documentary wedding photographer comes into their own. Capturing those moments that you’d otherwise be unaware of.

Some photographers will work close in to their subjects. Working with wide angle lenses. Personally I prefer to be a bit more distant. I’d rather not intrude in people’s conversations in order to get the shot. I prefer to observe and record discreetly.

My aim is for my clients to hardly know I’m there. Of course they know I’m shooting their wedding. But most of the time they’re unaware that they’re the subject of my attention.

I believe that my photography should capture those emotions and those events which make up the wedding day. Some call it documentary. Some call it photojournalism. Some call it reportage. To me, it’s what wedding photography should be all about.

If you’d like to see images that I feel reflect documentary wedding photography, then check out the video below. It’s a few frames from Amelia and Sam’s wedding last year in Bournemouth. I hope you like it.

Documentary wedding photography from ianH photography on Vimeo.

Please feel free to share this post on your Social media. I’ve also got a Facebook business page where you can catch up on the latest news.

Documentary wedding photography

If you’re like the idea of having documentary wedding photography for your special day then please get in touch. I’m delighted to be a recommended photographer for a number of leading Dorset wedding venues and would love to hear about the plans for your special day. Get in touch with me now for a no-obligation chat.

Contact Ian Now

About Ian

About ianH photography

Ian is one of Dorset’s leading wedding photographers. Based in Bournemouth and with over 20 years of experience photographing weddings across Dorset and Hampshire, Ian’s the perfect choice for couples who want unobtrusive, discreet wedding photography that captures the emotions of their special day. Read more about his own personal style of documentary wedding photography on this website.

Proud to be a recommended photographer for a number of leading Dorset wedding venues. 

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