Reportage wedding photography is, at its core, telling the story of your wedding day. That story is told by letting the day unfold without interference. It is about capturing all the emotions so that you can look back and relive your incredible day. That’s it in a nutshell but, of course, there’s more to it than that.
Reportage photography, candid, documentary style, or photojournalism: they all mean the same thing. It means that the photo of you getting your wedding makeup done is when you actually did your makeup. Not a staged pose afterwards for the camera. That photo of you and your mum where you’re laughing; you’re actually laughing not pretending for the camera. The smiles are real, the laughter is real, the tears are real. That means that when you look back on your wedding photographs you are reminded of all the incredible moments that made up your special day. There will even be photographs of things that you didn’t spot at the time! This is important because after the cake’s been eaten, the suits have been returned, and the best man has finally gotten over his hangover; the memories are what’s left.
Is It All Black & White Photography?
A great deal of reportage wedding photography is in black and white, but it’s not a prerequisite. A lot of photographers like black and white photography because the strong contrasts can help to amplify emotion and drama. It’s a timeless, classic, and forgiving medium but black and white does not a candid image make. The essence of reportage is the subject and how it’s captured, not the medium used.
What Do You Mean By ‘The Story Of Your Wedding Day’?
There’s a narrative to every wedding, it’s a story – your story – and I think that’s a precious and beautiful thing. All the little moments come together to make up your one special day. Your wedding will see your favourite people come together under one roof to celebrate the love you have for each other. That’s pretty amazing.
Wedding photography should reflect the day as a whole. That includes everything from all the little details like your dress, and place settings, to your guests, speeches, and first dance. The most invaluable parts of your day are not going to be the ones where you lined up and said ‘cheese’. Your fondest wedding memories will be when you shared a joke with your father, or looked into your partner’s eyes as they said their vows. Each of those images should say something individually too. Each image should be able to stand alone but together your wedding photographs should tell the amazing story of your wedding day.
Is It Just People Not Looking At The Camera?
A photograph can be candid and still have someone looking to camera. The distinction is whether the person/people in question are just doing what they’re doing, or if they’ve been directed to stand in a certain place etc. That would otherwise make it ‘traditional wedding photography’. Similarly, you can create a traditional image by posing someone and having them look away from the lens.
Most couples still want a small collection of traditional group photos, and that’s fine by me. However, in my experience any more than about 20 minutes of lining up with that weird smile – you know the one, you only ever use it for photos – everyone gets a bit restless. So if posing for ages is not your cup of tea, then perhaps a reportage photographer is what you’re looking for. You need to do your research and ask your questions because some photographers – like myself – will still include a small number of posed pics where requested (but with limitations), but others simply won’t. Other photographers may bill themselves as a photojournalist but only deliver a small number of un-posed images. So you need to know what it is that you want from your wedding photographer and from your wedding photographs.
The Last Word On Reportage Wedding Photography
Reportage photography should capture you as a couple, but also your guests and all the little things that happen. Weddings are over in a flash and you can’t be everywhere at once. Your photographer should be able to capture your wedding from more angles than you yourself see on the day. The images should show your day in all its glory and bring back memories and emotions.
A photograph reminds us of what was happening when the picture was taken. We have emotional connections to photographs. Personally, I would rather be reminded of laughing at my bridesmaids’ dance floor routine than how awkward I felt posing. I’d rather have a picture of my guests being drunk and having fun, than a photo of myself with every individual guest. That’s me, and if that sounds like you too then a reportage photographer is the way to go.