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Which are the photos that really matter?

reportage wedding photography staffordshire

Powerful Documentary Wedding Photography is about preserving that moment with context

I like to consider myself a Storyteller.

When I am at a wedding I spend time looking for a narrative in what is going on. But I’m also not a 100% documentary photographer, I also love to capture creative portraits and some lovely wow shots. I think it’s important to have a good balance of both in your wedding photography. Some lovely creative portraits that you can frame and make covers for albums are a great way to remember your day. But the photos that will really matter in years to come are most likely to be the ones that document truly what happened and tell a story.


Storytelling Wedding Photography

What, who, why are some of the questions I want to answer with a photograph


documentary wedding photography staffordshire

This sequence is about the final preparations, who was there, what were they doing, where were they.


Reportage wedding photography

Engagement and touch, and also humour!


The photo of your dad with a tear rolling down his cheek as he gave you away.

The one where you were hugging a distant relative you miss every day.

That shot where someone was reacting to a story you can’t believe the best man told.

Those are the real shots that have meaning for you and preserve important moment forever.


Documentary photography at a wedding

Engagement and eye contact


Documentary photography at a wedding

Humour should be prevalent throughout good doucmentary work


Candid Photography vs Storytelling

Documenting a wedding isn’t just about taking shots of the stuff thats going on all day. It’s about trying to get context and clarity in your photographs and attempting to use a sequence of photographs to help tell the narrative. When you explore wedding blogs you want to look for photographers who get that difference. A series of headshots really doesn’t tell you anything.

I’ve always been a huge fan of documentary wedding photography and some of my inspirations in my own work come from some of the worlds greatest documentary photographers. I’ve done quite a bit of training with a man named Kevin Mullins who is in my opinion one of the best there is at truly capturing photographs that matter. If I was personally getting married today I would be asking Kevin to document it for me (now don’t go off this blog trying to book Kevin to do your wedding for you over me – he’ll be booked already for sure, I’m certain of it ;-))


Reportage photography at weddings in staffordshire

Sometimes a sequence of photographs are needed to help tell a narrative


Reportage photography at weddings in staffordshire

Touch really is all about human nature


One of the things that Kevin taught me was to try and answer the following questions when you take a photograph – Who, what, when, where, why? These are the really important questions to be answering when you look at a photograph. Who is in it? Where are they? When was it? What are they doing? Why are they there? If you can answer these questions with a photograph or a series of photographs then you can begin to tell a better story.


Reportage photography at weddings in staffordshire

Eye contact and engagement are essential, along with context


Reportage photography at weddings in staffordshire

Pulling back instead of zooming in allows you to see the moment but give it a lot more context as part of the day


Emotion, Touch and Engagement

One of the things I have learnt through training and observing the work of the truly great documentary photographers of our world is to look for emotion, touch and engagement in my photographs. A little glance between two people can add a powerful element to a photograph, it gives it emotion and connection. I also try and make sure there is engagement in the photographs I take, that could be engagement with me or engagement with others.


Reportage photography at weddings in staffordshire

Here we are wondering, what are they watching?


Reportage photography at weddings in staffordshire

Now we are given the answer


Reportage photography at weddings in staffordshire

We see how important that moment is to the bride, we get the touch and the emotion


Reportage photography at weddings in staffordshire

We finish it off with a shot that shows how important that moment was to grandad.


So next time you are looking through wedding photographers blog posts, look for the story, the photos that matter. Put yourself in the position of that bride and groom. Are you just seeing some fun shots that look quirky and creative. Or are you seeing photos that tell a story, ones that will be important when the people in them are no longer with you.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog.