When you look back on your wedding photographs in ten years time, which photographs will be important?
For the sort of couples who ‘get’ my photography the answer is likely to be the storytelling wedding photography that is my signature style, images of your loved ones, special moments between the two of you, your dad wiping away a tear during the ceremony, the look on your face as you say I do. That’s what I love about this style of documentary wedding photography, it captures precious moments that can never be recreated.
I look at a lot of photography and have a huge collection of photography books, my favourites books are from photographers who capture genuine moments in time as I feel a connection with the image, the photographs stir an emotion. I’ve always been fascinated with storytelling photography and made a career as a newspaper photojournalist before I photographed weddings.
Storytelling or posed photography?
Take the above photograph as an example. The father of the bride had just walked into the room and it is the first time he has seen his daughter in her wedding dress, the image captures the feeling and emotion of the moment. I anticipated the moment and composed the image to include the reflection of the bride so I could show action and reaction together. If I wasn’t a documentary photographer I might have set up an image showing dad smiling at the bride in her dress, but this photograph would not have any real emotions associated with it and the bride wouldn’t feel a connection with that emotion when she looked at the image years later. I took just one frame of this, I didn’t want to intrude on the moment or allow my presence to influence the scene. This is the art of storytelling photography.
There is a difference between storytelling wedding photography and candid/unposed photography, with storytelling images the photographer is looking to capture a photograph that tells the viewer what is going on, it should require no caption or explanation. Each image also fits together as part of the bigger story of the day. It is not about a random set of images that have been captured candidly. This leads on to how your present your photographs too, in my opinion photographs work best in a wedding album where photographs can be grouped together on a page, this goes against the general trend at the moment for wedding photographs being supplied as digital files only.
One thing all these images have in common is they are real moments, nothing has been staged or posed, in most cases they are not even aware of the photographer. Each image has real memories attached to it for the people involved.
I’ll leave you with this one image that I think sums up this style of wedding photography.