It seems to me that the documentary approach to wedding photography is ideal for couples who don’t particularly relish being in front of the camera, at least not in any conscious way. Wedding photography often looks very generic. There are family line ups, ceremonies and first dances and endless examples of shots of couples walking through the long grass or a forest or some similarly ‘romantic’ setting. All very generic and staged, posed. But what if you’re the sort of person who wants your wedding photography without posing? What if you don’t actually like that posed, set up look? What if you just don’t like wedding photography as we see it all around us in the wedding media? Well I think that’s where a documentary approach comes in.
The way I approach a wedding is all about the people. I want to make pictures that reflect who the people are, and while I don’t believe in talk of capturing the essence of a person in a photograph I believe firmly that pictures can reflect the people in them. They can tell a story about a couple or about a day and that’s exactly what I set out to do and what I’m talking about when I refer to wedding photography without posing and without staging.
It’s not unusual at all for me to meet or talk to couples who tell me that they don’t like posing, or that they’re not comfortable in front of the camera. I’ve had more than one couple tell me that they had planned to not bother at all with a hiring a wedding photographer until they found my site and saw that with the right approach the pictures could be different. Because of the way I approach a wedding I can guarantee my couples that they won’t be made to spend hours away from their guests being made to assume poses and do things that they wouldn’t do in every day life. I certainly won’t make them waste time ‘frolicking around in fields like twats’ (in the words of one bride to be I spoke to recently). I want to give them pictures in which they look at ease, and as if they’re having the time of their lives which of course they are on their wedding day.
I’m perfectly confident that its possible to do this without posing them and without making people uncomfortable just by being present and trusted and by taking a sympathetic approach to people. I can make portraits of people or group shots, action shots or emotive shots all without interfering all because they feel comfortable with me regardless of how much they said that they didn’t feel comfortable in front of the camera previously.
A portrait for example typically means an image of a person who is aware of the camera, they don’t have to be posing, they can be going about their business or they could be simply paused in their space enjoying the world around them. This last is often the case at weddings. The pictures on this page are all what I would call portraits and not one of them posed. They’re all just taken from the flow of the wedding day as I go about my business looking for images which show people as they are – as human beings at a wedding celebration.
Despite all of the people in these pictures knowing that I was there, with a camera, none of them were uncomfortable with my presence or with what I was doing and consequently I like to think I manage to make some great portraits of them without stopping them to move them to better light, without asking them to look this way or that or pose like ‘this’. Just by being observant and ready to dip into the flow of the day and lift out that particular moment.
If you’re getting married and feeling anxious about the photography, whether that’s because you don’t like wedding photography as you see it around you or because you don’t feel comfortable posing for pictures then it may be that it would be worthwhile considering a documentary approach to the photography. If you think that this sort of approach might suit you then I’d love to have a chat with you about your plans. Why not drop me a line using the form on my contact page.