documentary wedding photography

Documentary Wedding Photography – My Approach

The Approach You Want: Documentary Wedding Photography

There are many factors to consider when hiring a wedding photographer. I believe that photographic style is the most important. It separates photographers in a way that price and gushing referrals from friends and relatives cannot. Style is innate and difficult to imitate because it is the sum total of a photographer’s experience. Style is also a state of mind: the decision on when and how to take a photograph is as much an act of conscious effort as it is of intuition. My sense of style is driven in large part by my philosophy of how wedding photography should be approached.

My style inhabits the realm of documentary wedding photography, although it is alternately known as wedding photojournalism (and it has an association); this approach to wedding photography involves capturing the events of the day as they play out. As the photographer, I make every effort to be as unobtrusive as possible, which means that my subjects are never prompted or directed to pose unless a request is made to do so. The reason for this is quite simple: I want couples to enjoy and experience their wedding day as it would naturally unfold had a wedding photographer not been present. Capturing that reality is my goal.

documentary wedding photographyUnless your wedding plans call for a multi-day extravaganza, you’re working within the limits of a single day. Factor in some sleep and wedding day preparations, and you have twelve hours to lose yourself in the festivities. Knowing this, why would you waste two, three, or even four hours of your limited time being ordered to pose in similar (but slightly different) ways by a stranger? Your time is precious and scarce, so why not treat it as such? Imagine the great conversations and memories you’ll miss out on by hiring a wedding photographer whose best work is posed work? Of course they’ll insist on spending lots of time doing staged portraits so they can capture your “essence” as a couple. I believe that a couple’s true essence is captured more authentically by a photographer who is confident in their skills to deliver quality wedding photography while staying discreet and out of the way, allowing everyone to be themselves. Claiming that a couple’s true essence is found in images of huge beaming smiles, touching foreheads, prancing through wheatfields, and floating away holding balloons is just a sales pitch. For if it were true, then the unique essence of one couple would be the essence of every other couple that plays out the same tired tropes of mainstream wedding photography.

My aim is to document authentic wedding moments as they unfold, while doing so humbly, without influence, and with the respect the occasion deserves. I discourage direction because it detracts from the truly important: evoking memories with a greater purpose than a pretty postcard or profile picture.

Are you convinced that a documentary style wedding photography is right for your Toronto wedding? Feel free to reach out.


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