Wedding Photojournalism In Action

About Wedding Photojournalism, Blog Article, Video

I’m delighted to post this short 5 minute video of me shooting a real wedding down at Highdown Vineyard earlier this summer.  In it I discuss:

  • My approach to wedding photojournalism
  • How I approach a wedding day
  • And the kind of moments I look out for on the wedding day

Hopefully it gives you an idea of, not just my wedding photojournalism style, but also me as a person.

If you’d like to talk with me about your wedding plans, you can call me on 07920 422144 or send me a message via my contact page. I’ll be delighted to hear from you.

 

One of the best London wedding photographers shoots the bride and groom at Highdown Vineyard in West Sussex

The Perfect Photo or the Perfect Moment?

About Wedding Photojournalism, Featured Blog Post

My wedding photojournalism approach is all about documenting your unique wedding story as it unfolds and happens spontaneously. I want to capture the real moments and genuine emotions of the day – it’s a natural, candid and storytelling approach in which I’m passionate about ensuring the integrity of the moment.

Rowton Castle wedding photography of bride shedding a tear during the speeches .

However, I often get asked how I manage to capture those split second, fleeting little moments whilst ensuring my camera settings are right. After all, cameras are often very technical and complicated tools and in order to get the perfect photo you have to take into account so many factors, such as apertures, shutter speeds, white balance, ISO numbers and the like.

Well, the honest answer is I don’t worry too much about getting the perfect photo.  My focus is on capturing the perfect moment. That’s the holy grail of wedding photojournalism.  Real moments you can’t fake.  Yes, you could try and stage or pose them but they never look real, never appear the same or as natural as a genuine moment occurring.

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So imagine if you were fiddling with your camera settings all the time, trying to get the technically perfect photo…you’d spend so much time looking at the LCD screen of the camera you’d miss all those moments as they happen.  Wedding photojournalism cares more about the moment than technical settings. It’s all about the art of wedding storytelling.

That’s not to say I don’t care about the technical side at all. Experience allows me to ensure I’m in the rough ball park area of technical camera settings but I’m not going to fret about the shot being pin sharp, in focus from front to back, devoid of noise/grain, etc. In fact, I don’t personally like perfect looking photos – they often look too sterile, too clean, too bland to me. I want to capture the emotions, the mood, the atmosphere and everything else that goes into making a perfect moment. It’s like the difference between a pitch perfect modern pop star produced to the highest standards and a crackly old record of a soul singer with a distinct but technically imperfect voice.  Jackie Wilson or Jackie X Factor?

Brighton Old Ship Inn wedding photography of guest playing with the flower girk

Ultimately, how many times have you looked at a wedding photo and said you love it because it’s technically perfect.  Or do you get moved by the moments, the emotions and the expressions of a photo?  I’m guessing it’s the latter and that’s why a wedding photojournalism approach is the perfect way to document the story of your wedding day.

So I’d love to talk with you about your wedding plans and explain how my wedding photojournalism approach will capture and document the perfect moments of your wedding story. Give me a call on +44 (0)7920 422144 or send me a message via my contact page.

Details of my wedding photography services and fees can be found here.

Let’s create a memorable story together.

Ashridge House wedding photography of a bridesmaid crying as she sees the bride in her wedding dress for the first time.

The Art of Wedding Storytelling

About Wedding Photojournalism, Featured Blog Post

I’m not just a wedding photographer – I’m a wedding storyteller

As a wedding photojournalist I speak a lot about capturing your wedding story.  For me it’s the very heart of wedding photojournalism. I’m there to document and re-tell the narrative of your wedding day as it really happened.  That’s the key difference between a wedding photojournalist, such as myself, and a more traditional wedding photographer who prefers to set up, pose and stage your wedding photography.

Instead, as a wedding storyteller, I’m looking to capture and document the genuine moments and real emotions of your wedding day without dictating them.  I want you to look back, whether its in a few months, a few years or even decades away from now and remember the real story of your real wedding as it really happened – rather than remember the wedding photographer who made you and your guests do this and that to a tick list he or she uses at every wedding.

Here are 3 reasons why I think a wedding storytelling approach is the most natural for wedding photography.

#1 It’s all about the moment

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A wedding photojournalism approach is all about capturing the perfect moment, rather than the perfect picture.  It’s not about making you stand there like this, whilst I fiddle with camera settings as you or your guests get bored and irritated. It’s not about being technically perfect, instead it’s all about the emotional content – capturing the fleeting moments in-between the moments that are often the very heart of your wedding.  You can’t stage or fake genuine emotional moments, they just happen – often without warning- and you either get them or you don’t.  Because I’m not worrying about everything looking perfect or checking and rechecking my camera settings to ensure everything is technically spot on, I’m more attuned to capturing the moment – the smiles, the kisses, the tears, the expressions, the hugs, the tension.  As a wedding photojournalist – particularly one with a reportage and street photography background – I’m fine tuned to anticipating when a moment is about to happen.  Which leads me nicely into…

#2 It’s about feeling not seeing

AlexWoodyPortLow-80

I often say that if, as a wedding photographer, your are seeing the moment or the photo opportunity then you’re actually too late and have missed the core of the moment altogether.  You have to feel the moment; feel the story as it evolves around you. You often have to shoot on raw gut instinct and because a more traditional wedding photographer prefers to set things up they are nowhere near as adept as a wedding photojournalist.  But it goes beyond this.  As a photographer you have to genuinely feel the moment in your heart and soul – you’ve got to genuinely love the kind of moments that do happen on a wedding day and are totally committed to capturing them.  Without this kind of inner desire to feel pictures, rather than just seeing them, you might end up with a story, but it’s going to feel more hollow than a real heartfelt wedding story.  Which brings me onto…

#3 It’s real and it’s honest

One of the best Northamptonshire documentary wedding photographer captures wedding guests at Grendon Lakes, Northamptonshire

I’ve talked elsewhere in detail about ensuring the integrity of the moment – which is the cornerstone to wedding photojournalism.  But, in a nutshell, a wedding storyteller will give you GENUINE moments and emotions wrapped up in a series of images that are real and honest. When such moments are staged or faked, the emotional core is lost.  Ask someone to laugh for you and it both looks and sounds fakes.  Observe them really laughing at something, unaware you are looking on, and you’ll see not just warm and genuine emotion – but you’ll actually see their soul.  And that’s the difference between a traditional wedding photographer and a storytelling wedding photojournalist.  We may both produce stories, of a kind, but I’m willing to bet that the wedding story I provide resonates with heart, emotion and soul.

As a wedding photojournalist I’m passionate about not just my storytelling approach but also the getting to the heart of, and emotionally feeling the very soul of you wedding story.  This I believe, is what sets me aside and is why you choose to book me as a PERSON rather than book a wedding photographer.

Book Me

Best Northamptonshire documentary wedding photographer captures himself on a wedding guests smart phone camera at Grendon Lakes, Northamptonshire

Are you getting married and think my passion for a genuine storytelling approach to wedding photography is exactly what you are seeking?  Then I’d love to chat with you about your wedding plans.  You can either call me now on +44 (0)7920 422144 or send me a message via my contact page. 

I look forward to hearing from you.

Capturing The Soul: The beauty of b&w

About Wedding Photojournalism, Blog Article, My Style

The passion and emotion of b&w wedding photojournalism

There’s a fantastic quote by photographer Ted Grant which goes:

“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!”

That is one of the very reasons I have a passion for black and white photography – especially with my wedding reportage approach.  Now don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy and appreciate colour photography but it’s black and white photography that really excites and moves me; it resonates with me personally in a way colour photography can’t quite – and believe me I have tried.

Wedding Photojournalist Association

About Wedding Photojournalism, Blog Article

Why I’m Proud To Be An Active Member of the WPJA

Something I mention quite a lot is the fact that I am a qualifying and active member of the prestigious Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA). So I thought it would be a good idea to tell you a little more about the WPJA and why it means a lot to me to be a member.

What is the WPJA?

The Roebuck Sussex Wedding Photography-47

As the WPJA explain themselves on their website:

Since 2002 the WPJA has been helping couples capture the story of their wedding.

The Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA) is a professional organization composed of photojournalists and wedding photographers from around the world. What sets our members apart in the industry is their candid, documentary approach – a distinctly artistic vision toward wedding photography. 

The Wedding Photojournalist Association puts the world’s best wedding photography at your fingertips. We offer a new perspective on wedding photography – quietly capturing the real moments as they happen for the bride and groom. It is our goal to use photography to tell the story of your wedding day, not dictate it for you.

So the WPJA is not just any old wedding photographer’s association it is one specifically for those who pursue a photojournalistic/documentary/reportage approach to photographing weddings.  You can read more here about what wedding photojournalism is but, to quickly explain, it’s capturing the real moments and emotions of your wedding story in a candid, natural and unobtrusive way.

To read more about the WPJA’s mission and vision please click here.

Qualifying as a Member

Documentary wedding photography at South Lodge hotel in Horsham, West Sussex

One of the key and important parts of being a member of the WPJA is that you have to apply and be accepted after a review of your wedding photography portfolio.  Unlike a number of wedding photography associations and societies you cannot simply become a member by payment of a fee.

In other words, you work has to be deemed not only as wedding photojournalism but also of a standard good enough to be associated with the WPJA.  That’s very important as it gives wedding couples the confidence to know that the photographer’s work is deemed good enough by fellow pros.

Also, it never fails to disappoint me the number of wedding photographers I see around who use the “wedding photojournalism” label to apply to themselves, yet their work is full of posed and staged imagery.  At least you know that if a wedding photographer has qualified for membership of the WPJA they most definitely are a wedding photojournalist.

As the WPJA say themselves:

The WPJA only accepts into membership gifted, honest wedding photojournalists who work tirelessly to deliver excellent photography to their clients.

Strict Code of Conduct

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Which brings me on to another important part of being a member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association…you have to abide by their strict code of conduct and professional values or risk being thrown out of he association and losing all the benefits that brings.

Once again this gives wedding couples the confidence to know they are not just hiring a talented documentary wedding photographer but they are also getting a complete professional who values not only their work but also the way they conduct themselves.  Wouldn’t it be nice if all wedding photographers had to be abide by such an undertaking?  It would certainly reduce a lot of the wedding photography horror stories you see and hear about in the news!!!

So what does the WPJA demand of all the wedding photographers that represent it?  Trust,  accuracy, guaranteed excellence, exclusivity and best business practices.

Can you say that all wedding photographers out there have to adhere to such requirements?  No. It’s one of the reasons that membership of the WPJA is so important.

Inspiration & Influence

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Another reason I love being an active member of the WPJA is the fact that so many of the world’s best wedding photojournalists belong to the association. It’s why it’s so respected throughout the wedding industry.

Being able to review and look at the work of so many talented wedding photographers cannot not fail to inspire you to even better work.  I firmly believe that the very best wedding photographers never stop learning so with so much talent around it’s a huge privilege to be included amongst them.  After all, the day I stop learning as a photographer is the day I will hang up my camera for good!

There’s also the highly competitive quarterly wedding photography competitions – and with so much international talent even just getting a placing is high praise indeed, especially when you consider that the competitions themselves are judged by award-winning photojournalists (including many Pulitzer Prize-winners) and news photo editors.  Such high standards cannot fail to drive you on in achieving the very best results from the weddings you photograph!  Again, how many wedding photographers out there are continually pushing themselves to produce work of the highest standards all the time?  It’s why belonging to a collective like the Wedding Photojournalist’s Association is so important and rewarding!

What It Means For You

Rowton Castle Wedding preparations

So as a wedding couple looking to get married and have a wedding photojournalist provide you with stunning, authentic and candid imagery from your wedding story you can be sure that I am:

  1. An authentic and genuine wedding photojournalist;
  2. My work has been deemed of a quality good enough to represent a professional and international wedding association;
  3. I will work to the highest professional standards;
  4. I am looking to always provide the highest quality work and creativity;
  5. Am continually learning, influenced and inspired by some of the wold’s best wedding photographers.

So if you are planning to get married then I would love to hear all about your unique wedding plans and discuss how my wedding photojournalism approach will provide you with the authentic, candid and stunning images from your wedding.

You can call me on +44 (0) 7920 422144 or you can send a message to me via my contact page.  I will be delighted to hear from you.

 

Wedding Photojournalism: The Integrity of the Moment

About Wedding Photojournalism, Blog Article

The Wedding Photojournalism Approach

As a wedding photojournalist I often talk about ensuring the integrity of the moment, but what do I actually mean by this?  What is the integrity of the moment?  For me, it’s the very thing that sets aside a wedding photojournalism approach from that of a more traditional wedding photography approach.  In essence, it’s the very reason you should be looking to book me as a wedding photojournalist.  But let me explain it in more detail.

The Decisive Moment

The decisive moment by Henri Cartier Bresson

Plate 1: Cartier-Bresson’s famous defining “decisive moment” photograph. Taken at Gare Saint Lazare railway station in 1932.

I’ve discussed what wedding photojournalism is elsewhere so don’t intend to go over that again, but you can follow the link if you’d like to start there first.  When talking about the integrity of the moment it might be helpful to start with another important philosophy of photojournalism and that is the decisive moment, a phrase first coined by the late, great French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson. He considered the decisive moment was that split second, that fleeting moment when everything came together to create one magical moment within the frame of the photograph. To quote the great man himself:

“To take photographs is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge in the fleeting face of reality. It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy…it is putting one’s head, one’s eye and one’s heart on the same axis.”

For me, that last part of putting one’s head, one’s eye and one’s heart on the same axis is the most perfect and most beautifully poetic description of photography ever made.  It’s what makes the difference between the eye of a talented wedding photojournalist and just anyone clicking away with a camera without much thought or appreciation for the craft.

Anyhow, back to the decisive moment, it can be the moment a couple embrace for the first time; it can be an expression that passes between two people in the fraction of a second or, in Cartier-Bresson’s most famous image that came to define the decisive moment itself, it is the instance a man leapt across a puddle behind a station in pre-war Paris (see Plate 1 above).

The Truth & Honesty of Wedding Photojournalism

Le Baiser de l'Hotel de Ville photograph of a couple kissing in Paris

Plate 2: This famous photo by Robert Doisneau, of a couple kissing in Paris, is sometimes questioned as to whether it is a genuine decisive moment.

Sometimes though, photographers will attempt to fake a decisive moment. In other words, they try and stage or pose a decisive moment.  After all, there’s a famous photograph by another French photographer, Robert Doisneau, of a couple kissing amongst the crowds of Parisian promenade (see Plate 2 above).  Some have suggested this isn’t a true decisive moment as it was “set up” and staged by Doisneau himself.  This is debatable, but it is an argument that has raged on for years – but if nothing else, it demonstrates how precious some photographers can be about true decisive moments.

So, for me at least, this is where the integrity of the moment comes in.  If the decisive moment can be faked, or at least have the whiff of suspicion about it, then it’s important to strive for the integrity of the moment – ensuring it is truthful, honest and naturally occurring. Of course, you may be wondering what’s wrong with faking or staging key moments of your wedding photography?  In truth, there’s nothing wrong with this more traditional wedding photography approach if that’s what you want.  After all, different people want different things – that’s the beauty of having choice. But it’s important to be educated about the choices you do have.

3 Reasons for Ensuring the Integrity of the Moment

Meon Valley Marriott Hotel wedding photography of the Groom's parents laughing during the wedding speeches

So when it comes to deciding on you wedding photography and whether to opt for a wedding photojournalism approach, like mine, or not, let me give you 3 good reasons why ensuring the integrity of the moment is infinitely much better than staging it with a traditional wedding photography approach.

  1. Firstly, it’s what really happened.  It’s a genuine part of YOUR wedding story. When you look back at your wedding photos, whether it be 5, 10 or even 50 years in the future, do you want to be looking at genuine moments that occurred naturally on your wedding day or do you want to be looking at something that you’ll just simply remember as the wedding photographer creating for you? Wedding photojournalism or, at the very least, my personal and puristic approach to it ensures you get a real wedding story that is about you and your wedding day rather than my rather fake interpretation of what it should be like.
  2. People just look better when things are happening naturally. They look happier, look more relaxed and look more genuine. An experienced or talented wedding photojournalist, such as myself, will work in an unobtrusive way which means people will forget or won’t even realise I am there.  That doesn’t just happen, it comes from years of photojournalistic experience as well as, in my case, years of shooting candid street photography. Getting in, getting the shot and remaining invisible is a real skill and part of the reason you want a wedding photojournalism approach to you wedding story.  If there is a common thing a lot of wedding couples say to me when they get the images from their wedding day is they simply don’t remember me being there to get the photos. Which leads me on nicely, to the third reason…
  3. Which is, you and your wedding guests ultimately remember the wedding photography and not necessarily the wedding photographer.  When the photographer is setting up faked and staged moments they become a director, having to step into the centre of things and, in the worst case scenario, become bossy and ordering people about.  With a wedding photojournalism approach to ensuring the integrity of the moment I work discretely, unobtrusively and quickly in getting those real moments that tell the real story of your wedding.  That doesn’t mean I don’t get in amongst things, I most definitely do (but maybe that’s a blog post for another day!) but I do that thoughtfully, sensitively and discretely.

So hopefully now you understand a little more about why I will constantly talk about ensuring the integrity of the moment in terms of your wedding photography.  It really is central to all that I do and is the driving force of my philosophy towards wedding photojournalism.

Want a Wedding Photojournalism Approach to Your Wedding Photography?

Rowton Castle wedding photography of first kiss

So if you are getting married and feel a natural, candid and unobtrusive wedding photojournalism approach is exactly how you want your real wedding story being documented then I’d be delighted to talk about your wedding plans in more detail.  You can call me now on 07920 422144 or simply send me an email via my contact page here and I’ll get straight back to you.  For my current prices and packages please go here.

I look forward to hearing from you.

A bride laughing at Waltham Abbey in Essex

What is wedding photojournalism?

About Wedding Photojournalism, Featured Blog Post, Home Page Feature

The Integrity of the Moment

So you’ve heard of wedding photojournalism but aren’t exactly sure what that means?  Well, fear not, I’m here to explain all.  So let’s begin by explaining that wedding photojournalism can also be known as, or referred to, as documentary wedding photography, wedding reportage photography, storytelling wedding photography, natural wedding photography, candid wedding photography or unposed wedding photography. Yes, that’s a right old plethora of terms but essentially all theses mean the same thing.

What sets aside wedding photojournalism is that it documents your wedding day in a candid, natural and discreet manner, with the aim of capturing genuine moments, real emotions and unfolding events of YOUR wedding story.  There’s no awkward posing, barking instructions or setting up contrived moments.

Harlestone Village Institute wedding photography of the bride smile and chatting with a young guest during the wedding reception

Wedding Photojournalism Is Truth

A wedding photojournalist generally shoots a wedding from the inside out ensuring the truth and integrity of the moment.  After all, when you look back at your wedding photography in years to come you’ll want to remember all those special moments that happened naturally, rather than a fake and clichéd story created by your photographer.  Besides, you can never fake true emotions or make clichéd moments look natural.  Wedding photojournalism is truth and your wedding photography is more emotive and beautiful as a result. It’s essentially the art of wedding storytelling.

Wedding photojournalism of guests taking photos at the end of the LGBT wedding ceremony, inside Kingston Registry Office. Taken by one the best Kingston wedding photographers, Darren Lehane

Photojournalistic Values

Wedding photojournalism has obviously grown out of the grand tradition of news and reportage photography. One British documentary wedding photographer once described how a couple approached him looking for a “war photographer who shot weddings.” Of course, a wedding can’t ever be compared to a war – but a wedding photojournalist will keep to the honesty and integrity of unbiased news reporting, in the context of your wedding day.  As a qualifying member, myself, of the Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA) I have to adhere to their strict professional code of conduct and photojournalistic values.

You can watch me in action demonstrating my wedding photojournalism approach here at a real wedding.

Waltham Abbey Wedding Photography Essex

Street Photography Wedding Photographer

As well as impartial reportage coverage, wedding photojournalism also has a foot in the spontaneous world of candid street photography – a genre itself that goes back to the start of photography itself and made famous by the likes of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Garry Winogrand and Robert Frank.  Coming from a background of street photography, I certainly approach weddings like I would street shooting – looking for unusual or amusing juxtapositions, decisive moments or those split seconds that transcend the ordinary.

That’s not just something you can learn and pick-up. It takes years of pounding the streets, observing and reacting. It calls for a passion in the genre and a full understanding of its history.  An eye for a candid moment takes years, even decades, of practice and shooting. So with a wedding photojournalist you get a photographer with a keen and well honed eye.

Affordable Northants wedding photographer documents the wedding ceremony at St Gregory's church in Abington, Northampton.

Black & White Documentary Wedding Photography

Another thing about wedding photojournalism, or rather us wedding photojournalists, is that we do have a thing for black and white photography. Maybe that’s to do with the romance of photojournalism’s heyday or that there feels a certain truth to B&W images…I’m not entirely sure.  Of course, wedding photojournalists also shoot colour images too. Personally, my preference is for the wedding photography I shoot to be somewhere in the region of 55-60% black and white.

West Sussex Wedding Photography Highdown Vineyard Crystal and Do

Capturing The Moment

In many ways, wedding photojournalism is about capturing the perfect moment rather than the perfect photo. It’s about documenting the human experience instead of fiddling around with camera settings. It lives in the reality of the here now rather than elaborate lighting set-ups.

I often equate wedding photojournalism to being like an old crackly soul record rather than over-produced, over polished modern pop music MP3.  It’s its raw imperfections that give it its mood, atmosphere and emotion. Yes, it’s more Billie Holliday than Miley Cyrus.

So wedding photojournalism is all about documenting the real and unfolding story of your wedding day in a natural and candid way.  After all, you want to remember your photos, not the way the photographer dictates them!

The Barns at Hunsbury Wedding Photography Northamptonshire

Contact Me

If think that wedding photojournalism would be a good fit for your wedding day, then I’d love to chat with you about your wedding plans.  You can call me on 07920 422144 or fill out the form on my contact page.  I’ll be delighted to hear from you. You can check my current wedding fees and services by clicking here.