What is a Documentary Photographer?
A documentary wedding photographer, is best described as a story teller through pictures.
I believe an image has to have context and tell a story to the viewer. Documentary wedding photography is all about capturing those natural, spontaneous moments between you and your guests, moments you may never have noticed happening during your wedding day.
Unlike a traditional wedding photographer, who will perhaps only take a series of posed images, at set points throughout the wedding day, a documentary wedding photographer will take a series of natural images, and when viewed as a whole, will provide a true visual diary of your special day.
Most of my wedding couples are not very comfortable with having their pictures taken. However, they do realise the importance of having their wedding celebrations photographed. After all, once the cake has been eaten and the dress put away, the photographs are all they have left to remind them of those special moments, for years to come.
They choose me, because they appreciate my unobtrusive way, and love those natural moments I capture between them and their guests. I offer a modern, relaxed documentary service, with myself, as principle photographer, accompanied by Andy, my second shooter. Our priority, is to capture as much as possible, those special candid moments of you and your guests enjoying your wedding celebrations.
However, as you will probably have noticed, on my wedding galleries, there are some set up shots. As much as I prefer to take natural unposed shots throughout your day, I will be happy to arrange a few small gently directed family group photographs, and if the couple should wish, naturally posed bride and groom portraits.
This image for me, represents what I most love to capture while documenting a wedding; those natural expressions exchanged, those intimate moments between family and friends. Here we have the bride being helped into her dress by her doting mother and best friends. They are clearly very excited. I love the way the bride scrunches up her nose, in response to a cheeky comment made by her friend, her smiling eyes, a lovely intimate moment for them to treasure. The image was taken in a tight space in the front room. I wanted a little more depth to the composition, and a different perspective, but I did not want to miss any opportunities changing my lens or position. After a quick look around, I spotted the mirror behind me, allowing me to capture this lovely shared moment.
This next image shows the bride walking into the family kitchen to see her father, before leaving for the church. See her smiling face, as she locks eyes with her father. Notice how she anxiously grasps her hands together, while her mother, in the background, throws her hands to her face, as she is overwhelmed with emotion.
Documentary wedding photography is about capturing those special moments.
The image on the left was taken just as the bride and groom had walked down the aisle, and were just stepping outside the church to greet their family and friends. I love the way they hold onto each other, while looking into each other’s faces, with the young pageboy eager to get outside and play. While the image on the right, shows the bride who has just arrived at the church, just getting out of her car, about to enter the church. I love the shear joy in the bride’s face, once she spots her young niece waiting for her outside the church entrance.
The beauty in covering a wedding with two photographers, is the ability to capture different perspectives, at the same moment. Here my second shooter Andy, takes a lovely shot from outside of the church; the young bridesmaid and pageboy are about to follow the bride into the church. Whilst from my perspective inside the church, seconds later you can see the pageboy bending down to retrieve the rings he has just dropped. You can actually see one of the rings still spinning on the floor, just below the bridesmaid’s feet.
Documenting a wedding, I use my experience to anticipate potential events, and place myself in a position to be able to react to them, capturing those special moments that can never be reenacted.
The next couple of images shows a young pageboy not wanting to follow the script. He decides he would prefer to be anywhere, rather than walk down the aisle with the bridesmaids. Here you can see the hands of the bridesmaids gently trying to coax the young boy down the aisle with them, but he has other ideas. He ends up watching the ceremony halfway down the aisle, with his cuddle toy in hand.
Andy and I love to document weddings, following our instinct, capturing those natural moments, whenever possible.
The next series of images were taken from a very emotionally charge wedding. Here you can clearly see the tension, and anticipation in the faces of the groom and bestman, whilst they were waiting for the bride, who had just arrived, at the church entrance.
To get this shot, requires me to set up position at the front of the church (if allowed), awaiting the brides imminent arrival. During the ceremony, I will always try to stand discreetly off to one side, at the front of the ceremony, while Andy will always stand discreetly towards the back. We do not move around, and whenever possible, we do not use flash during the ceremony. If we do need to use flash, it will only be used if we are allowed, and kept to key moments, always remaining respectful of the ceremony.
The next image shows the same groom straining to keep composure, seconds before he actually lays eyes on his bride. His bestman can be seen to take a deep breath, while the bride looks at her husband to be, as she walks down the aisle, holding onto her proud father’s arm.
The third and final image from the same wedding, shows the groom totally overcome with emotion during the exchange of the vows. He could only speak a few choked words each time, while fighting back his tears. His bestman looks on with amusement, at the groom’s show of emotion, while the bride breaks out into a beaming smile, her sister can be seen between the bride and groom. also crying.
Documenting Your Wedding
Andy and I love to photograph weddings, and it would be our privilege to be involved in your special day. We would photograph your wedding in an unobtrusive documentary style. Our aim is to take images that provide a positive loving reminder of the emotions shared on your wedding day.
Should you wish to book my services, or receive a quote, please feel free to fill out your details on my contact form page and I will get back to you, as soon as possible. You are also most welcome to give me a call, I would be very happy to have a chat with you about your wedding plans.
For your comfort I recommend viewing more examples of my documentary weddings on my blog posts, and also, on my main website Samantha Cook Photography.