documentary wedding photographer

I’m Simon Atkins, a documentary wedding photographer, the key to my style is natural storytelling photographs, the essence of what I do is to capture what really happens at your wedding.

 What is documentary wedding photography?

Documentary wedding photography chronicles a wedding in a way that tells the story of what really happened at the wedding, each image tells part of the story and the photographs also work together. It isn’t simply a case of taking unposed candid photographs, instead the photographer looks for compositions that say something about the moment captured.

 My approach to photographing weddings

I started my photography career in photojournalism working for newspapers after completing the National Council for Training of Journalists (NCTJ) photojournalism diploma course in Sheffield. This background gives me a unique insight into documentary photography and lends itself to this style of wedding photography, I’ve never had any interest in posed wedding photography as I love photographs of real moments. That doesn’t mean I won’t take some portraits or group photographs but these are not the main focus of what I do.

I work with small Fuji cameras like the rangefinder style X-Pro3 which allow me to blend in and capture photographs without my presence distracting from the moment, this is very important to me, I don’t want camera aware subjects as this would result in me interfering with the real moment.

documentary wedding photographer showing the bride and groom outside a church after the ceremonyan example of work by documentary wedding photographer Simon Atkins
Is documentary wedding photography right for me?

I presume you are here because you are looking for a photographer who will capture your day without taking over, in which case you are a good fit for what I do! My style works best with couples who leave me to just get on with it, if you are looking for a lot of posed photographs or a long list of formal groups I am not going to be the best photographer for you.

documentary wedding photograph showing flower girls running through a box hedge maze.documentary wedding photograph showing the brides father at the front door while the bride gets ready upstairs.

Blending in. I dress like a wedding guest and blend in like a wedding guests.  You’ll find me in the heart of the action, mingling with the guests, with small and virtually silent mirrorless cameras.  I talk to people and fit in with the wedding – this is how I capture to sort of documentary images you will see on my website.

documentary wedding photography capturing a real moment of emotion as the groom sees the bride for the first time

 I love emotion!  I love capturing documentary moments that will make you cry when you look back on them. I don’t shy away from capturing emotion. The resulting photographs have real meaning for you and real memories attached to them. Wanted: more grooms like Jon above who became very emotional on seeing Jasmine in her dress. You might recognise Jasmine Harman from Channel 4 where she presents a place in the sun.

documentary wedding photo of the dancing

Getting down on the dance floor.  Book me for extended coverage and you’ll find me on the dance floor capturing fun images. I was recently photographing this image from an Asian wedding and decided I was close enough to the action when I felt a drum stick smack the side of my face. I love capturing all the fun moments from the dancing and this is where documentary wedding photography really shines.

Portraits. I like to spend around ten minutes with you creating some relaxed portraits, I do not rigidly pose these and instead prefer to put you both where the light is good and let you have a moment together.

Don’t like having your photograph taken?  That makes two of us! But I promise the short portrait session will be relaxed and painless.

The group photos. I’m often asked if as a documentary wedding photographer I take group/family photographs as I don’t show many of these on my website, the answer is yes.

Generally I recommend keeping your groups list short, maybe around 6 or 7 groups in total in order to keep the time taken down to about 15 minutes. Nobody likes standing around for photographs for long drawn out sessions and while I am doing this I am missing out on all the great documentary photographs of you enjoying your day!


What I do best.  My signature style is capturing story telling documentary images, I’m on the look out for these all day. I also like the photographs to sit together as part of the overall story rather than a disconnected series of candid images.



All good so far? Why not pop over and have a look through my portfolio and then get in touch to see if I’m available for your date. 



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