In all styles of weddings, most brides will say “Oh, I LOVE black and white wedding pictures!” There is just something organic and raw about black and white images. We are drawn to them and the emotions that they make us feel. When done correctly, black and white wedding pictures can make us laugh or tear up or force us to put our hands over our mouths with widened eyes and gaze in awe. These compelling images are often referred to as documentary wedding photography or to use a newer and more accurate term, reportage wedding photography. But the problem is that most wedding photographers often just convert their typical posed color images into black and white and consider that to be documentary photography.
Reportage wedding photography is much different because it requires the photographer to step back and photograph things as they happen from afar and let things flow naturally. The wedding pictures become much more story telling in nature and far less Pinterest style. As a former newspaper photographer, I am passionate about reportage, especially because I see it fitting in so perfectly with the telling of a couple’s wedding day through pictures. I believe for years to come, couples and their families will visually relive their wedding when they look at their reportage wedding images. Videos and footage can obviously accomplish this too, but they do not effectively freeze moments or expressions the way a black and white wedding photograph can.
Here are my top reasons why you will want and need a reportage wedding photographer at you wedding.
While traditional wedding photographers (and I’m guilty here too!) have a checklist of shots that they have pre-planned with you, reportage wedding photographers allow you and your guests to be free from thinking about the pictures that need to be taken. You can actually show up and be in the moment at your wedding. You can talk to as many of your guests for as long as you want or dance with your husband and others for as long as you want. Your photographer will be there in the background capturing it all and you won’t even know it. You can enjoy being spontaneous without feeling pressured to go off for pictures and miss all the action. With a skilled reportage photographer nearby, you won’t miss a single thing. And you’ll have lots of amazing photographs that captured it all too!
More often than not, there are those that hate to have their picture taken. If you’re one of them, or your partner and other family members are, that can spell trouble if you hire a photographer who wants to pose you like crazy. A reportage photographer has to be skilled in being that fly on the wall and being able to put you at ease. Of course, this comes from pre-wedding relationship building and trust, but when people forget that there is a photographer in the room, amazing things happen. You will be more relaxed as you are getting ready and can go through your wedding day and reception without the hassle of being asked to pose for pictures.
The bottomline is when you feel at ease, you will appear more beautiful. On the reverse side, stress on someone’s face or in their whole demeanor is hard to disguise. What you’re left with are forced smiles and eyes that look worried. It is much more real and candid to allow your reportage photographer to photograph you when you are genuinely filled with excitement to walk down the aisle to get married and to then capture your sheer joy after your ceremony and onto your reception.
Remember that fly on the wall? Well, a reportage wedding photographer can be in places where you can’t. And won’t you just love to find out what everyone was up to while you were getting ready? These are where a lot of the fun candids really can piece together the story of your whole wedding day. You wouldn’t want to miss out on having these unforgettable moments.
Spontaneous moments occur later at the reception when most wedding photographers are rapping things up thinking they got all their shots, but having a reportage photographer ready and positioned in the right place at the right time means more captured memories for you and your family.
There is a creative license with reportage wedding photography in that the photographer can use different angles to convey the mood of what’s going on. In the shot below, a slightly unbalanced angle is used to highlight the bride’s face and show how she is interacting with her guests on the dance floor.
There can be room for some staged pictures at your wedding and you can communicate with your photographer on the specific ones you would like. But when you free up most of your time to let things flow naturally, you will end up with the perfect combination of color posed AND authentic moments documented reportage wedding style. A powerful mix and the best of both worlds. If reportage wedding photography intrigues you and you’d like to learn more about it, contact me.