Posing couples | Can documentary photographers organise this part of a day?

I guess an appropriate suffix to this question could also be; why would they even want to? It’s an open debate this one, often discussed in tucked away private social media forums where the gloves are off and battle is fought between professional ‘snappers’ over wedding photographers’ interpretations of words like reportage, documentary, or photojournalism. And I use the word ‘snapper’ purposefully. If you’re coming at this blog from the viewpoint of arranging a wedding then you’ll perhaps by now be aware that differing genres of wedding photography exist. Some of the more formal or traditional photographers in wedding world relate to a natural reportage approach as snapping, which suggests no forethought, composition or character. And for balance, some of those who take this reportage so called snapshot leaning swipe back at the staged flavour of wedding photography as overly contrived, stuffy, perhaps non representative of the actual day or event. To my mind there is no right or wrong and as in all walks of life, you get those who just see the one side of a wall and will never grab a step ladder to appreciate the pointing on the other side. So why am I raising this? Well, over the last week I have been asked a few times about whether I would consider shooting some formals, or if I even do them at all? So this post, is inspired by those questions. Because the answer is yes and it’s always been so. I’ve written a page to celebrate the more posed element to a day, because if I’m asked to do so, I’ll happily set some formals and I’ll think of them as legacy pictures; photographs that show the fashion of a day and how a couple interacted during the few moments they had alone, bar of course sharing it with someone toting a camera. Follow THIS LINK if you’d like to read that page and I’d be interested to receive any comments or thoughts on the subject. But. There always has to be one doesn’t there? In championing a more natural approach to wedding photography, I have a suggestion to couples who are thinking about this part of your day. Your day is unique, special and particular to you. You choose to share this incredible occasion with the most precious people you know. You’ll likely never again see this many people congregate to celebrate just YOU. Your family, your friends, your work colleagues, they are all at your wedding because they have made some kind of contribution to your life. Spend time with them. Be with them, be present. The wedding reception or cocktail hour is a chance to mingle and spend time with guests. It’s not a photoshoot. As I often say to folk; “I’d like to just borrow you for a short while and then I want you to get back to your friends and most of all those natty little canapés.”

Various colour photographs of brides and groomsA photograph of a Notley Abbey wedding where the couple are laughing

A post script to this blog to celebrate being featured in The Wedding Secret’s photography guide. It’s always flattering to be hand picked to help fly the flag for specialised online wedding diaries and search resources, particularly so with The Wedding Secret as this family business ‘knows its onions.’ Jennie Evans launched TWS from a real nuptial base of knowledge; decades of experience organising wedding based entertainment. The link to my own featured page is here. Best of luck to the team with this venture and thrilled to be on board.

  • Jon said:

    Gorgeous photos of this beautiful event!

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