I defy you not to smile when you look at this photo from Charlene & David’s wedding in Luton. In fact, let me correct that, it’s not a photo…it’s a moment. A wedding guest not just lost in the music of the evening reception. Now this is a wedding guest utterly lost in the moment of the wedding day.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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
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.
- 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.
- 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…
- 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?
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.