A bride laughing at Waltham Abbey in Essex

What is wedding photojournalism?

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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.

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