Different styles of wedding photography are not usually considered or used as a basis of comparison when engaged couples are shopping for the right wedding photographer. However, they should be, so the couple gets the style of wedding photography and experience on their day that they desire. I cannot tell any couple what they should like or want, but I can definitely answer, in its correct context, What is documentary / photojournalist wedding photography? My approach is pure documentary / photojournalist for the whole entire event, except for 15-20 minutes of group portraits. That’s the only time I direct or orchestrate. When described like that, in simple terms, no matter how some try to complicate things, it comes back to this.

bridal prep


Baseline / critical moments –

I know timelines and always make sure I document the baseline moments, of course. As well as some location details. To my knowledge, any professional wedding photographer of any style would do that.

documentary wedding photographer

What about group portraits?

Everyone will work slightly differently there. I send couples a list (up to 8 combinations and 15-20 minutes) so they can tell me their desired portrait combinations. Though most of my couples don’t want want to stand and pose for two hours, getting some of those is important to most people. This presents accidentally forgetting something important.

The whole reason why a couple would hire me is because they value the magic in carefully documented candid moments, genuinely freezing human emotion in time. If a couple wants large amounts of portrait work and some candids mixed in, that would indicate they have a different preference, defeating the purpose of hiring a documentary photographer. I do it this way so I have ample creative freedom to do what I do best, and keep my style of storytelling consistent. Part of the draw is a non-intrusive experience and the couple being able to enjoy their event with minimal intrusion.

Terian Farms wedding ceremony

Besides the portrait time, I follow the event, and watch for the sweetest, most energetic moments that happen on their own. Whether it’s during a baseline moment, or open reception time, if you watch for it, there are all kinds of expressions and emotions to document. Most people are more themselves and come out of their shell when they are in their natural element. One I do not disturb. From the getting ready time, critical moments, dance floor, open bar, the entire event (except portraits), I’m blending in with the guests and working as a fly on the wall. (Unless the couple needs me for anything specific).

What is documentary / photojournalist wedding photography? It’s a simple approach that requires some going against the grain. But results are timeless and packed with emotional storytelling.