Documentary Wedding Photography – Tips for Beginners

documentary wedding photographyIf there’s one trend that keeps popping up in wedding photography, it’s the candid, caught-in-the-moment stills that really tends to pull on the heart. There’s a certain sense of personality and vulnerability that comes with photos that aren’t choreographed. It’s like just letting the events unfold and the photographer is but a skilled craftsman who is left as a spectator and his solemn role is to just document the moments and catch those fragments in time through the magic of his lens. This trend comes by with a lot of terms but the most common ones would be reportage or documentary wedding photography.

Looking into this particular type of wedding photography style does not come with a few challenges. Luckily, they’re fairly doable and with a little bit of practice and research, you should be a pro in no time. Also, we’ve compiled a few tips for you to look into to help you get started.

6 Tips for Beginners

First and foremost, you have to be the spectator. This is harder than it sounds like especially if you’re someone who’s used to choreographing picture perfect stills. The key in pulling this off is for you to make sure that you keep your participation in the process strictly to controlling the camera. Let the moments happen and just be there to document it. Give the bride, groom, and the entourage some space and let the event unfold like a movie… and you as the skillful spectator who immortalizes the moments in your images.

Second, at least acquaint yourself to the bride and groom on a more intimate level. Get to know them a little bit. Find out the things they like and the things that they may not be so fond about. Believe it or not, this is something that even the professional photographers leave out. It’s just a teensy weensy detail but it will make a world of difference for as far as satisfaction is concerned because you at least get a grasp of what their expectations are when you go through the effort of at least knowing them a little bit.

Third, be slightly anticipative and pre-empt when the moments are about to happen. You have to have your senses on edge and be able to watch out for the moments as they happen. It’s mind over matter, really. Bring you’re A-game on and make sure you have laser focus because the perfect moment can come any second. It may be the way the groom’s eyes light up the moment the bride enters the room, or the way the bride’s veil flutters in the wind, or even that single drop of tear that shyly slides down a father’s cheek as he sees his little girl finally leave him for someone else; whatever the moment is, be on alert because it means a whole world of difference both for your photos and for your clients.

Fourth, always keep in mind that your pictures should be smaller fragments of a bigger story. Try to find the theme that works for the event and meld your photos into it, making sure it tells a story. You don’t have to take pictures of all the moments happening, mind you. Just stick to those moments that actually matter and you should be just fine.

Fifth, be inventive and fearless in trying out new things. Don’t be intimidated to try out new angles or new settings. Remember, the greatest pictures are sometimes taken at really funny angles. The output always justifies the means for as far as photography is concerned so looking silly can’t be too bad at times.

And lastly, continuously work on and aim for progress. Be it in your lighting, your techniques, or even your gear. Truth is, there’s always room for improvement and as a photographer, you owe it to your craft to always be evolving and changing for the better!