Documentary wedding photography is a powerful style that uses an unobtrusive approach to telling a couple’s story through the lens of their photographer. The photographer allows everyone in a wedding to react the way they would if they didn’t have a professional photographer in the room. The photographs that result from this type of wedding photography will be permanent reminders of what really happened so couples can relive their wedding time and time again.
Here are some pictures and the stories behind them:
Thinking of the man Stacey was about to marry made her cry because she was overcome with joy that she was going to spend the rest of her life with her best friend. That moment might have come and gone without a trace if it were not for the photograph I shot while she cried that will forever remind her of what she was feeling before her wedding.
A documentary wedding photographer can anticipate moments and be that fly on the wall to perfectly frame them, letting things unfold without intervention. Take a surprise package arriving from Alec, the groom, to his future bride Madison at the suite where she and her bridesmaids were getting ready. Madison excitedly opened up the box and found several meaningful things placed inside, one being a cellphone. Everyone started to gather around in the tight space to listen to the recorded message he had left for her on the phone telling her much he loved her. As she took the gifts out one by one, her grandmother stood close by. You can see her smiling as she watched her granddaughter hold up a frame that read, “You got this” because I composed my shot to include her reflection the mirror. Neither of them were aware that I was taking that picture and now that photograph will hold so much meaning for Madison well after her grandmother is no longer around.
Documentary wedding photography is about finding natural interactions between family members and being ready to catch them. At Madison and Alec’s wedding moments later, when Madison’s sister held up a hand mirror to show her how her hair looked from behind, I was there to capture them together using only the dim light of the dressing area. The joy on her sister’s face tells the story of how she was feeling at that moment.
When couples are saying their vows to one another, a documentary wedding photographer gets more than just the entire scene. I zoomed in close to get this shot of my niece Chelsea as she started to cry saying her vows. It is the weaving together of all the emotional moments like this that tell the complete story from a ceremony.
Later at my Chelsea’s reception, I grabbed this shot of their first dance carefully composing my shot to include her bridesmaids, my mother-in-law (her grandmother)with her precious hands folded by her face, and other guests watching them. My mother-in-law Shirley passed away last year, but her memory lives on in this photograph.
Documentary pictures can get lively at the reception. This is when the documentary wedding photographer must be in the background, waiting and watching for anything and everything to happen, and again being at the right place at the right time.
Reception toasts by family members require a documentary photographer to show what was said by capturing the reactions of everyone else. In this photograph, you don’t have to hear Madison’s father to feel the emotion of his words when you see her reaction.
Authentic moments often happen even during the time when formal portraits are made. In this portrait, the Abbie was adjusting Hunter’s tie and I felt it was such a tender moment and very telling of how she was already looking after the man she loves.