Documentary wedding photography / reportage wedding photography / wedding photojournalism are all interchangeable terms to describe a style of wedding photography that is candid in nature: Unposed moments captured without intervention, without staging, without input from the photographer, whose aim is to capture the truth and realism in the actual moment.  They’re there as a witness rather than as a director. 

A candid photographer is there to document, to record, to anticipate.  They believe that people look their best when they are at their most natural, and that real moments are more valuable than anything that is orchestrated.

a documentary wedding photographer shows natural moment that are unposed.  Here's a picture of bride and groom during the toast.

The premise and execution is so simple because it could be just a mechanical and mindless process that anyone with a camera can do. What it is, is easy to define but end results couldn’t be more different:  Ask five photographers to document a wedding and you’ll get five different sets of pictures, quite likely to be drastically so. We photographers take pictures of what we’re drawn to: Some gravitate towards the showcases.  Images heavy with details shots and centrepieces; Some opt for the ethereal where blurry background are just as important as the in-focus; Some seek flattering light, and having found it, will wait for something to happen and then craft; Some will just seek – using their eyes to look for gesture, their ears for conversation, then spontaneously shoot for the moment.

Reportage wedding photography isn’t just about taking candid pictures.  It’s an ethos, an approach, a mindset where every single frame is important in telling the story. It’s a commitment that each frame has care and attention to moments and composition.

A good reportage photographer is patient.  They’re patient in seeking out light, waiting for moments, hunting for thoughtful compositions. They’re skilled in deciding when to click that shutter button, to make that confident decision of what is the nadir of the moment, and then try to get one even better.     

A wedding photojournalist is able to create order from chaos rather than re-staging.  They respect the importance of authenticity. A moment happens fleetingly and so through experience, skill and focused determination – they learn to anticipate a frame before it happens, rather than to re-stage it. 

I believe your wedding photos should be a timeless heirloom, a record of a day that becomes more valuable as time passes by and the only things that remains timeless are real, authentic moments.