“But it needs to look natural…”
You would be hearing that a lot if you’re a photographer. This is one huge concern for all wedding couples that hire a photographer to shoot their wedding event. People have their own tastes and preferences, but it’s often confusing to select your style of wedding photography. Wedding shoots are decided by the wedding couple. They get to decide how they would want to remember and cherish their special day. Some people like their wedding to look like a movie trailer before the start of the big picture, whereas some prefer to have them in an artistic way as the fairy tale begins.
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Why Documentary Photography?
A documentary based wedding photography adds to the natural essence of an event. The emotions captured are raw and natural. This is where the term candid photography became powerful in the modern times. Like the times when your face turns red when the photographer asks you to do a poise? Doesn’t the nervousness show up clearly on your cheeks?
That’s what a candid or documentary based photography reveals. That’s why most couples prefer documentary based photography where you look perfectly natural. People love to see you as you are rather than having to pose fake emotions to make the shoot exemplary. Thinking on a long term basis, 10 years later, you would prefer to see those natural emotions that winds you all the way back to your special day.
How do you shoot a Wedding Documentary Photograph?
The main context behind a documentary wedding photography is to capture emotions as it is. The pictures should portray the true atmosphere and story of the wedding without cinematic effects. It shows the viewer whatever that happened at the moment rather than making it like a movie trailer.
- Get to know the each other
Only when you get to know the client, will you be able to fully understand his requirements. A trust has to be built. An assurance that makes the client say “Yes, he’s the one”. Build a relationship with the client days before the wedding. You can tell each other your viewpoints and share the ideas with one another so that his expectations are duly met on the day of the wedding.
- Be Early
You don’t want to miss out a single opportunity from clicking a great picture. Start right from the beginning where the bride and groom are getting ready. You can also capture the friends or other family members getting adorned in their best clothes.
- Plan your spots
It is necessary to check the wedding hall, house etc before the start of the event. Get in touch with the best man, or simply any of the family members to get an idea of the list of events planned for the day and also the timings. During a documentary shoot, a photographer is expected to cover all the minute details. So the camera would be running all the time. Be sure to pack yourselves 2-3 sets of extra batteries and memory cards, coz you never know what’s coming next.
- Go Incognito
Photograph like you’ve never been there. In most weddings, the photographers take the lead, where sometimes they have to push forth from the gathering to get the perfect click. But this happens at a significant cost.
Combining Documentary with Vintage Photography
You can always find innovative ways to photograph your wedding event. For example, why not combine the vintage and ethnic touch to your wedding photojournalism? Some people love to get that traditional touch where they portray their respect for the wedding culture that their family has been following for years.
This can also be teamed up with a wedding theme where all the members of the family dress up in vintage costumes. True that documentary style weddings are supposed to be candid, but it can still look natural on your facial expressions and emotions even though you have dressed up on a theme.
Challenges to a Documentary Wedding Photography
Haven’t you found yourself in a situation where people pop right in front of your camera and spoil that unique moment? In a documentary style of wedding photography, you can’t ask people to move. Isn’t that a bother when you are photographing each moment and that’s when you find someone popping up in front of the lenses? Be prepared for such situations. True that the wedding has been arranged for the family members to witness the wedding ceremony, but make sure you find a spot where you can conveniently photograph without disturbance.
- Running low on charge and space
Your battery may run out of charge, or your SD card might run out of space. Worst case, you might break your camera amidst some kids running around the wedding hall, knocking you down. I remember a time when i faced the same issue but luckily, my assistant had packed an extra camera, just in case.
- More Work
You may need to click pictures more compared to other wedding photography styles so that you do not miss out on a single wedding moment. In a documentary wedding photography, you don’t tell the family members or the couple to pose. You capture them as it is. Once they are out of the frame, you can’t ask them to come back to the dias as it would disrupt the flow of the wedding. You never know what’s coming next. Since you cannot ask them to pose for you, one must be vigilant for such rare moments.
Make Sure to Fetch an Assistant!
Photojournalism wedding photography can be really lengthy and tiresome as you are active not just during the time of the wedding, but also before and after the hours. There is a strong chance that you might get exhausted holding the heavy gadget in your hands waiting for the right moment. Check the agenda for the wedding. Know and be prepared for the cold spots where you can take a break. Talk to the best man and let him know the odds in advance so that they can arrange for small breaks in between where they can fill in other small activities that could be taken care of by the camera assistant.
A documentary wedding photographer does not photograph the wedding couple alone, They cover the entire family and friends, including the lunch, brunch dinner, after party etc. A wedding video in documentary style is usually lengthier than the other styles due to this factor.
Here are 5 Reasons to Hire a Documentary Wedding Photographer
- You don’t have to make fake poses
- More genuine expressions
- Captures the event of the entire day
- Doesn’t miss out a single moment
- Does not interrupt the eye of the guests
The Beauty of Documentary Wedding Pictures
Documentary wedding photographs may sometimes get awkward. And that exactly is the beauty of it – to capture emotions as it is. People love to remember those emotions and not remember the picture that hit most likes on Instagram or Pinterest. If you are looking for a photograph that you would want to cherish even after 30 years of marriage, this is the style that you have been looking for.
Families are important. We are all human beings and our lives are limited. Over time, we might start losing our near and loved ones within a few years into the marriage. A documentary wedding photographer captures each one of your family in a frame, so that you can cherish their presence even when they are long gone.
Bonus Point – DO NOT USE THE FLASH!
Documentary wedding photographs are all about stealth. You creep in, shoot the pictures and then sneak out to the next location. A sudden flash on the face of the wedding guests could make them conscious and this will cause nervousness on their faces, which of course would disturb the output of the photographs. You couldn’t call them candid documentaries anymore. You would want a perfectly natural moment in the picture to portray the real emotions of your wedding.
Weddings are a family treasure… The unity of two families is a bond worth remembering, a lifetime to cherish. A good documentary wedding photographer knows his spots around the wedding location, he knows what to expect. He can cover all the family members and the jovial events of the wedding in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Above all, he creates a relationship with the client, building each other’s trust. If you are looking for a wedding photographer, who displays his expertise not just in documentary photography, but also in cinematic, vintage and traditional photography, I would love it if you took a moment off to dive into my works.