Wedding Photography Styles: Photojournalism or Documentary

Jun 13

Photojournalistic or Documentary Photography

Which Photography Style is Right for Me?

I’m sure your eyes have scanned over those mystery phrases on photographer websites, like “natural light documentary photographer”, or “modern contemporary” and in the end, you just want somebody to give you amazing wedding images that YOU want. Well, the wedding photography industry is SATURATED with thousands of photographers who would love to shoot your wedding! The photographer search process can give you a headache, so make sure your glass of Merlot is handy and turn up your favorite music to drown out any awful website music!

Because there are so many more photographers than ever before, you need to decide if you want to hire an amateur or hobbyist, a hobbyist turning into a business, or a real professional photographer. I wrote an article to help you gauge where a photographer is at in these three different levels…somebody has to start somewhere, right?

Love this shot of this flower girl embracing mom and dad right after doing some portraits at the edge of the field, at the Golden Lamb Buttery.  Love this shot of this flower girl embracing mom and dad right after doing some portraits at the edge of the field, at the Golden Lamb Buttery.

Photojournalistic or Documentary style

To me, those words mean the same thing. A lot of wedding photographers call themselves “photojournalistic”. Most of today’s photographers incorporate this into their work on a wedding day, but those who focus more on documenting your day will spend less time asking people to pose for the camera throughout the day. Because photojournalism wedding photography originated from photographers who worked for newspapers, capturing the wedding day’s happenings from start to finish is the key.

Phil's surprise serenade at the end of the night to his bride was unforgettable! The song was Phil’s surprise serenade at the end of the night to his bride was unforgettable! The song was “To Be With You” by Mr. Big and they did such an awesome job. Everyone was blown away!

What is a Photojournalistic Wedding Photographer like?

Other than posed family formal photos, you might forget that your photojournalistic wedding photographer is even there at the wedding. They’re like a fly on the wall. They won’t ask you to pose for the camera in the middle of the reception. Their movement should be like a gentle breeze flowing around the ceremony and reception. You shouldn’t notice their movement much. They should take some photos of details, but that’s not what they necessarily want to be hired for. They might not want to do any set up for shots. They don’t want to spend a lot of time doing stiff traditional poses either, because they value authentic moments and people interacting. They’re scouting for tear-jerking moments and action!

What I think about the “Photojournalistic” style

I think photojournalistic wedding photography is awesome, but any real professional photographer should be trained and fairly confident in posing people when the time arises. A handful of some photojournalistic wedding photographers out there insist on spending zero time doing formal photos, but I feel that it’s still important to have those formal family photos with your parents, siblings, and grandparents. As a documentary photographer myself, I love photographing families talk and laugh with each other in between those formal posed moments!

Telling a Story of your Wedding Day in an Album

What good is it if your images just stay in a computer or on Facebook? I love photographing weddings to tell a story that will tangibly live in a book. My clients love their wedding albums. They’re gorgeous, and they love showing the pictures in the album to friends and family. Because there are stories and memories connected to these moments, you can’t resist sharing these pictures that bring back joy and laughter. There are so many awesome photo books or albums that I offer, but you can learn about one of my favorite albums at this blog article.

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  1. Jen

    July 12th, 2017 at 6:06 PM

    Love the Photojournalistic style that you bring to all the shoots you do!

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