When prospective clients ask me what type of photographer I am I tell them “I photograph your wedding” – sounds a bit obvious I know but there is a danger that we wedding photographers throw out the currently popular wedding photography catchwords of “reportage”, “documentary”, “story teller”. Arguably my photography style encompasses an element of all of these but to say I am one of them would not only jump on the catchword bandwagon it would also omit a significant part of the work I do on their wedding day. In addition to this I know well and respect a number of photographers who can use such terms with a straight face because they really are reportage wedding photographers or documentary wedding photographers. For them bridal portraits, for example, is not an enjoyable part of the day. I totally respect this take on photographing weddings and I love their work and they are the few wedding photographers who can genuinely use the terms “documentary” or “reportage” together with “photographer”. The difference for me is, aside from the candid moments, I enjoy the 15 minutes I have with a couple to take some simple, relaxed and definitely not posed portraits of them. Often a part of the feedback I get from that from that 15 minutes with the couple is that it gave them some time on their own (because I am not in their faces barking instructions at them – rather I am in the distance capturing images of them reacting to each other, as they do when they have only been married for an hour or so…) to focus on each other – a rare treat on your wedding day odd as it may seem.
So – back to the point. When I tell people “I photograph your wedding” I usually then have to expand a bit after seeing the slightly bewildered look on their faces. So I explain that, for me, my role on the day is to capture images of what is happening. It’s that simple. No intervention from me. I explain that the more I am ignored by everyone the better as it means I have been “allowed in”. I work with prime lenses not only because they are the best but because they are small and allow me to mingle close to guests without bashing them over the head with my enormous camera kit. I also look. And watch. Sometimes if you just stand still for a couple of minutes things happen around you and then “I photograph the wedding”.
The image below is a good example of standing still. After a rain shower guests at this Rectory Crudwell wedding began venturing outside. As the groom was making his way out the bride’s father came up to him – I didn’t hear what was said but I think the image tells you (nearly) everything you need to know. A welcome? A warning? I’ll let you be the judge of that….