Why Documentary Photography?

June 24, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Why Documentary Photography?

 

Wedding Photography Edinburgh

 

The truth is we all want amazing photos from our wedding day. After all they have to last forever and we want to look the best we can in every image. So why would I as a photographer, despite having spent years learning how to pose, very often choose to reject posing and choose to tell stories with what is happening on your wedding day? The truth is its just plain difficult for me and gets amazing stories, characters and images for you.

 

 

Anyone can point a camera and say "look at me" or "smile", or worse "pretend to smile" and get nice images. But a real seasoned photographer moved past nice images a long time ago and is now trying to capture one thing at a wedding; the love of the people for each other and their friends and guests. A documentary photographer tires to look beyond the obvious, what everyone else sees, and tries to capture many different layers and levels to what is going on.
Regardless of what happens on a day, everyday has stories to tell and the characters are just hilarious at times. That's why it is a joy and a craft to document a wedding; you are capturing characters, moments, stories and much more in a single shot and you have a fraction of a second to predict the image, get ready and capture it.

 

 

I often see couples astounded not only at the beautiful picture, not only the layers of depth to the image that keep your attention, but that they missed all of it on their day. They are concentrating on their wedding and many of the running and timings of things and on the fact they have just committed their lives to one another. So you have to rely on your photographer; you are literally trusting them to capture all the moments of the day. 

 

 

I have spent years training my eye, practicing and focussing on people in their context so that I can predict or rapidly respond to a moment when it is, or about to happen. This is much more challenging for me and much, much more exciting as those moments will never happen again and when I get it perfect it is a tremendous joy for both me and the couple when they see the images later.

 

So what about posing couples?

 

So do I pose for couple shots? Yes I can and at times I do, but again couples are amazed how quickly we work together and it doesn't ever feel rushed as I want to quickly get to the heart of the matter; the love the couple have for each other. Once you do this, and get them to think about this, everything falls into place for me as a photographer. It is crucial to be able to pose people and I have done this for a long time for families, children, portraits and bridal fashion, but it is far, far more difficult to get images that are natural, have truth and depth to them and that will last.

The truth is that a 'wow image' will wow you for a while and then after time will wow you less. Even an amazing image or portrait will make you go "wow" and eventually you will become accustomed to it. But a 'wow image' that has beauty and a story and honesty behind it will simply last for eternity, regardless of who is looking at it or not.

 

 

So as a photographer, the way I see is in stories, characters and context. If you are anxious about not looking your best I can pose you if required, but as I have mentioned above; if I focus on you and your wedding and all that is going on you will get those once-in-a-lifetime images that last for a lifetime. This is an incredibly positive thing and is me being genuine to what I do. If I'm honest, I think most photographers who do pose actually over pose and spend too much time thinking and engineering images which would just naturally happen by themselves. Think about it; you've just got married, those months you've spent planning you're wedding have come to this point and you're holding the hand of your new lifetime husband or wife. If you're thinking about that you certainly don't me to tell you what to do, or how to stand. You will do everything by yourself. That is my philosophy and my artistic choice.

That's why I get so excited before a wedding I never settle the night before as I anticipate the next day is going to be amazing; every wedding, every time.

 

FInally I want to show you an image I took in Romania. The photographer was a photojournalist from America and we had mere minutes to capture the couple together. The extent of my interference was to ask them to look up for a brief second and this was the result. If I were to have posed I would have managed to get one or two images in the time we had, but they wouldn't have been as natural as this.

I hope you enjoyed the article. 

 


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