What does Documentary Wedding Photography look like.

Documentary wedding photography seems to have become fashionable recently. At last I can say that for once in my life I’m ‘on trend’. Every day I see wedding photographers claiming the title ‘documentary wedding photographer’ and then when you look at their portfolio you don’t actually see any documentary wedding photography at all, what you do see is lots of posing, lots of soppy gazes and walks through the long grass, smoke grenades, pictures that might reflect what a magazine or blog says a wedding is supposed to look like but which don’t actually look like your wedding. One photographer I know told me that he thinks there are only 28 ‘real’ documentary wedding photographers in the UK; another told me that if you throw a tennis ball out of a window you’ll hit a wedding photographer.  While I think that number (28) is a bit of an exaggeration (but there probably isn’t more than 100) the second statement is pretty accurate.

So what is documentary wedding photography and what does it look like? Put simply it’s candid photography at a wedding. Unposed and unstaged moments photographed without the photographer’s intervention in order to document the the day. It’s carried out with sensitivity and discretion and with respect for the integrity of the wedding.  Weddings all have a certain flow to them. Similar things happen every time. People get ready, there’s a ceremony and then there’s a great big celebration, but these things all uniquely reflect the couple who plan them and the pictures should show that. Documentary wedding photography isn’t about creating cookie cutter, instagram wedding pictures where all weddings look the same, because they’re not.

I don’t approach a wedding with any preconceptions as to what I’m going to find, or any thoughts as to what the pictures will look like at the end of the day because, despite sharing an ebb and flow of the day as I say, all weddings are reflections of the people who plan them and so all weddings, like those people, are different.

I’d like to show you in pictures what a documentary wedding photographer does and what documentary wedding photography can look like. Different documentary photographers will have different styles and will look different. This is how I do it.  I hope you can see that although the timeline of the day will be repeated at weddings up and down the country every Saturday – the people and the celebrations are all unique and that this approach to wedding photography enables me to document exactly that. If this approach to wedding photography sounds like something that you might like why not get in touch and have a chat with me about your plans. hello@michaelrileyphotography.com