I’m a Documentary wedding photographer
But what does that term really mean and how will I approach capturing your big day?
For me at least, it simply means telling the story of your wedding through a series of beautiful images that capture all the excitement, happiness, laughter and love that will play out throughout the day. The way I see it, I am your eyes for the day. The wedding goes by in such in such a flash and you will be busy having an amazing time, hugging people, being in love and of course getting married! It’s my job to quietly capture all the action and emotions in a series of beautiful taken photos that captures the essence of your day. And there are so many stories to tell - the excitement of the bridesmaids who go rogue in the church, the nerves before the ceremony, the first moment the groom sees his bride, the joy of your guests as you tie the knot, the hugging at the reception, the first time you dance together as man and wife. As a documentary photographer this gives me so many golden opportunities throughout the day to tell your story.
Part of my job as a documentary photographer at a wedding is to be unobtrusive. Most of my clients are drawn towards my photography because they want natural, unposed images of what their day was really like. Some photographers will make guests pose for “the perfect shot” throughout the day. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with this, it is a million miles away from my style. My clients want to get on with having a wonderful day without ever noticing the photographer. In fact one I am always delighted when the bride and groom ask how on earth I managed to capture so many intimate, special moments without them ever noticing I was there.
I don’t really like having my photo taken - the irony that I’m a photographer is never lost on me! Like me, many of my clients aren’t big fans of this either so the prospect of a wedding photographer who just leaves them to it really appeals to them. They want a beautiful set of images that take them right back to their day, they just don’t want to pose all day in order to get it!
Before I tell you about some other key aspects of my approach to wedding photography, here are a few images from the last year that illustrate what my style is all about.
Using natural light
I am almost exclusively a natural light photographer. This means that whilst I will always bring along a flash to weddings, I will barely ever use it. There are a couple of different reasons for this. I have always loved the depth and drama natural light brings to a photo. I love the intimacy of a candlelit room or a church with sunlight streaming in through the windows. Using my experience as a wedding photographer over the last ten years, I’m always looking for how to use the natural light in any space to make the most impactful photos I can. I have cameras and lenses that can pretty much see in the dark, so what concerns me is the quality not the quantity of light. I am as happy shooting in starlight as I am on a blazingly sunny day.
Quietly blending into the background is a really important part of how I shoot. Not using a flash really helps me not draw attention to myself. I’ve been a guest at weddings myself where we’ve all felt like the paparazzi have descended with their big flash units going off every two minutes around the room. It’s not something I ever want my clients to feel!
Here are some photos that illustrate why I am such a big fan of natural light.
In my view, a photo is never finished until it has been polished up on my computer. It has to be a really good image in the first place, but it becomes a great photo when it has been made to look it’s very best by processing it. I never “batch process” images on my computer. I consider it to be a huge honour to be able to capture such an important day in my clients’ lives that each and every photo always gets processed individually before I deliver to them.
Black & White photography
The collection of photos that I take will always take you right back to your day, showing you moments you may have even completely missed in the excitement and flurry of the occasion. Delivering the finished, processed images is such a privilege for me knowing that they will help you to remember the most important day of your lives so far. As you can probably tell from the images on my site, I love black & white photography. I think it works so well for wedding photography, making moments look absolutely timeless - they could have been taken yesterday, last year or 30 years ago. Sometimes if you strip away the colour, there is nothing to distract from the story that has been frozen in time. The eye goes straight to the moment, whether it’s funny, emotional or full of love.
Although all my images are taken in colour, I decide at the processing stage whether or not an image would work better in black & white. For me, it’s always really obvious. Now, that is not to stay that I don’t love colour photography too - I really do. The colours of a reception held on a lawn at the height of summer or a wedding breakfast surrounded by beautifully coloured fairy lights will always play a big part in my coverage of your day.
Once the set of photos has been to my clients, they are always welcome to ask for any images to be turned from colour to black and white or visa versa. Up to 20 individual images are included in the price of all wedding options.
Here are a few of my favourite black & white images from the last few years.
My Photography Heroes
My passion for documentary photography began at quite a young age. My mum noticed that I had an interest in it and started taking me to exhibitions during the school holidays. I think the fact I’m a photographer now is really down to her so thanks mum! The pictures I was drawn to were the ones that were both beautiful in terms of their use of natural light and composition, but also that told a story. All of my favourite photographers (like Cartier Bresson, Brassai, Don McCullin or Elliot Erwitt) all knew how to bring together all these elements time and time again creating images that were funny, moving, thought provoking or illuminating.
That is how I want my clients to feel when they are looking through my photos and re-living their wedding day. My photography heroes inspire me every time I pick up my camera for my clients. I want to to take you right back to the most important day of your lives - all the tiny little moments that together tell the very special story of a couple celebrating their love with the most treasured people in their lives.
As I said before, it’s one of the best jobs in the word!