What is a Documentary Wedding Photographer?

What does it mean to be a documentary wedding photographer? There are a few different views on how wedding photography works, and all photographers have their own unique look/spin on things.

When you’re looking for a wedding photographer, it’s good to know what their particular style is so you know what to expect at the end result. 

Some people don't even realize that there can be different styles and takes from one wedding to another. From what equipment they use, to how they work on the day all the way back to the editing too, It's not just about how you edit, the camera and settings, have fact as well as do they use flash, or just natural light or even a mixture of the 2?

Documentary Style Wedding Photography

Documentary wedding photographers like myself use a photojournalistic style approach to a wedding day. Like a news reporter, I try to blend into the background and document the story of the wedding, as it naturally happens. I always try to capture the whole day as it unfolds so when you look back in years to come it's like reliving the day, your beautiful story. Documentary wedding photography takes into account all of these and more:

  1. Where did it take place?
  2. How did it begin?
  3. Who was there?
  4. The theme of the day and the colors?
  5. The little, things you spent time thinking of and putting together.
  6. What was the weather like?
  7. What was the energy like?
  8. What were some of the important moments?
  9. How did it end?

Wedding photographer's main differences!

Traditional wedding photographers rely heavily on posed portraits and staged photographs from the start to finish. The wedding day is approached with a shot-list mentality, basically a checklist, I try to let the day unfold naturally but I'm always happy to help and guide if required and do some of the obvious like capturing your rings and flowers in a natural way.

Documentary wedding photography gives you real, natural, honest photographs of your wedding day in a storytelling format. Documentary wedding photography is much more relaxed and more about the moment, and what’s all around not just what is in front of the lens. I love swinging around and catching a great moment between family and friends, that real belly laugh, and smiles as it is happening.

The Benefits To You, The Wedding Couple

Documentary styled is why you can relax and enjoy your wedding day. So when you look back at your photos you can re-live all those amazing memories again and again as if it was only yesterday!

Why You Might Choose A Traddintanl Wedding Photographer?

Documentary wedding photography isn’t for everyone. And that’s OK! People have different tastes, and what’s important to one couple won’t be important to another. Everyone deserves to have wedding photos they love!

A documentary wedding photographer might not be right for you if:

  • You may love posing for the camera and being in the spotlight.
  • You’re looking forward to all the smiling, looking at the camera portraits with your family and friends.
  • There are a bunch of wedding photos you’ve seen online that you’d like to re-create.
  • Having beautifully set up photos of your dress, rings, invitation suite, and other accessories is more important to you than having photos of what’s actually going on at your wedding.

I recommend asking a potential wedding photographer for examples of the real wedding galleries they’ve delivered, you can find mine on my website. This way you can get a feel for what to expect when you receive your own photos.

My Fusion Approach

Some die-hard documentary wedding photographers insist on not influencing things. They won’t do ANY portraits or staged photos, at all. They don’t touch or move anything. This is not me and I like to take a more relaxed approach and find being more adaptable is best.

Most of the time, I approach weddings with a documentary style,

however, I do take some opportunities to create some magical photos. I say it's more of a guide and a suggestion for example I might ask someone getting ready to turn a certain way if I can see the light is going to be way better (I love window light) and therefore, make them look way better in the photo. When I’m taking photos of just the couple, I will provide direction, so couples don't feel lost and feel what do we do now!

Photos of The Family "The Formal List Shot"?

I think it’s important to have family photos and some portraits of the people there on your wedding day. Before your wedding, I email all my wedding couples, requesting this list so we don't miss any one-off on the day and I recommend a list of 4-8(each combination can take 3/5 to set up), otherwise it can take over the wedding day and easily become the opposite of what we want which is a more documentary style. The best time to do your formal list is straight after the ceremony and after the confetti shot while everyone is together and before your family starts to mingle with friends and family they haven't seen for such a long time. 

Nick Georgiou Photography is a documentary-style wedding photographer based in County Durham, Who am I? I'm a man with 3 children, a beautiful wife and a man's best friend my dog! I love the great outdoors, and my passion is to capture everything in the moment, where possible. I have been lucky to say I have traveled all around the world but I spend most of my time in Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Scotland, and the amazing, and one of my favorite places The Lake District for weddings.