I have been working so much these last 8 weeks, and have looked through 20,000 photographs from recent weddings and portrait sessions. Besides a perfect portrait, the images that stand out most for me are the documentary captures that I position and wait for. Capturing an evocative and timeless moment that isn’t staged is very rewarding. No words necessary to describe what the person is thinking at that very moment. It says it all.
This moment was one that I anticipated, and having spent some time with both the bride and maid of honor before the ceremony, I was certain to capture it. The maid of honor and best man were positioned opposite the bride and groom on the alter, which was a cool setup because they did not have to turn around to see each other. They caught eye contact during the ceremony just as they were about to begin exchanging vows and there it was.
There are many important things to pay attention to during a wedding ceremony, some of which does not even occur on the main stage. There are many guests and everyone at the ceremony is in some way important to the couple getting married.
My job is to tell a story with my images and that does not mean keep the camera pointed at the couple. I need to keep an eye on the people in the first couple of rows…such as Mom & Dad. Very proud and emotional beyond control, mom could not stop herself from crying tears of joy as her daughter is starting a new journey in her life. Dad, trying to keep it together as best he can, and checking in on Mom as he knows how she is feeling. This image helps tell the story because you can almost feel the emotion pouring out of this still photograph.
When I am asked how I would label my general style of wedding and event photography, the answer is definitely documentary. Documentary photography is what most people know as called photojournalistic. Although the technique may resemble a photojournalistic style, I do not consider myself a photojournalist. When I am hired to photograph a wedding, my job is to visually document not just the motions, but the emotions.
It used to seem easy to me when I looked at great candid images on some website and I would say, I can take that picture. That’s easy, there is no complicated lighting or planning involved. Not it’s not! I don’t care what equipment you are using; if you see a moment that is already happening, by the time you bring your camera to your eye to compose, get in position for a good vantage point, focus in the low light and press the shutter, the moment is long gone.
The most important tool I use when documenting any event is anticipation. I have to keep my eyes wide open and anticipate everything about to happen so I am ready when it does.
I just launched a gallery dedicated to documentary images on my website here. This gallery will be completely overhauled by the end of this years busy wedding season along with the rest of my portfolio.
I hope you like!
I met with a client recently and they were blown away with the amount of photojournalistic pictures that were made at the wedding reception. These moments are as natural as it gets. It appears that I am right in front of the subject when these images are taken, but that is not the case. I do not want the subject aware of my presence when I am shooting these images. If they were aware, the emotions would not look natural. When I approached the bride and groom at the end of the reception to say goodbye and one last congratulations, she looked at me in surprise and said “I honestly thought you left”.
That’s the way it should be. I’m going to post some different photojournalistic images over the next couple of weeks as I update my portfolio with some of my more recent images.