There are a few words that spring to mind when I list the best things about documentary wedding photography, emotion, reality, moments, candid, and unposed. When I look at photographs with real moments it’s a true slice of time that has been captured forever. The photographs can contain a certain look from one person to another, a proud parent watching an important part of their child’s life, or people laughing so hard it actually hurts.
Documentary photography contains the key elements that enable us to be immersed into the photograph and remind us what it felt like at that particular moment. I honestly don’t believe that will be the case with formal or traditional wedding photography; Being posed, being told to smile for the camera, and kissing on demand doesn’t sound like a recipe for a photograph with any meaning.
When I look through my collection of photo books that give me the most enjoyment and inspiration it’s those which are focused on documentary photographs, the story behind the image, and all that you can see going on in just one frame; That sounds pretty awesome!
If we look at this documentary photograph below, we can see a young boy being helped by his Dad to get ready for their friend’s (Henry) wedding. The little boy (Ano) has his hand on his Dad’s shoulder for support as Dad organises his new wedding outfit. On the left hand-side and helping frame the image is the Groom. So, when little Ano grows up and looks back on this photograph from a wedding he probably won’t remember, he will see the love shared between him and his Dad and how he was cared for. To me, that makes documentary wedding photography pretty special!
The wedding day
I guarantee that your wedding day will go by in a flash! Before you know it, the day will be over and you will be saying goodbye to your guests. That might sound a bit harsh and glass is half empty, but it’s also true. You will remember many things from your wedding day, but you will also need a few reminders for some memories to flood back; plus you will miss a good selection of the things your guests are doing. This is where the documentary photographs excel and enable you to re-live your wedding day over and over again.
We all enjoy different things, and that’s cool because if we all liked the same things, life would be quite boring. Personally, I think the best way to enjoy your wedding day is to be present, mindful, and to make some memories! Don’t go off for an hour to have portraits, don’t drag your friends and family over to have group or formal photographs. Guests don’t like group photographs because they’re not fun! I find that couples have felt obliged to have formal photographs because they think they’re supposed to, or because their Parents want them to. So why not enjoy your wedding day, spend it with friends, family, and your new husband or wife.