Wedding Photojournalism 101: Candid Photos Are My Heart & Soul

Groom and family getting ready in hotel room

What exactly is wedding photojournalism?  Find out how I define the term as an artist and how my style affects the images I photograph during any event in today’s blog post. 

Wedding Photojournalism: What Is It?

Groom putting ring on bride's finger for an article on what is wedding photojournalism

First and foremost, I consider myself a photojournalist.  This means that I try to attract as little attention as possible when I shoot so that I can capture natural moments as they happen.  If you’re working for a news desk, a photojournalist is not allowed to alter or influence anything being photographed.  As a wedding and portrait photographer, however, I give myself a bit more creative license while still adhering to the spirit of documentary photography.

 

What About Family Portraits at Weddings?

Bride and groom hugging in front of brick wall for an article on what is wedding photojournalism

Ninety percent of what I photograph are candids.  But for weddings, how do I approach the remaining 10% of photos?  The way I look at it is this: weddings are essentially family reunions.  As such, you want to include a set of portraits where everyone is relaxed, natural, and looking directly into the camera so you can remember everyone that attended.

It’s technically a staged event when everyone stops and smiles into the lens, but I shoot the portrait in a way that conveys the love and friendship of everyone in the photo.  Nothing forced.  No holding flowers at exact right angles.  No jumping shots.

Now, if your family wants me to capture them jumping, then I say the sky’s the limit.  But if that’s not you, then that is not the photo I am going to take.

 

What About Table Shots?

Groom talking with man during reception for an article on what is wedding photojournalism

Similarly, it’s traditional at weddings to have the photographer take table shots — a posed group portrait of everyone at the table.  The way I approach the table shot dilemma is to follow the bride and groom as they greet guests table to table, and photograph the action from a distance.

I’m a firm believer that when a photographer goes up to a guest and asks to take her/his photo, that guest can never learn to ignore the photographer.  Rather, the lesson is ‘here is the photographer, let’s all smile for the camera.’  The result is everything from forced awkwardness with guests who may be uncomfortable having their photo taken, to abject cheesiness in guests who love being surrounded by paparazzi.  Now, if anyone ever asks me to take their photo at an event, I always happily oblige.  The only time I step in is when I see a fun group already posed for someone else’s camera (or smartphone!).

 

Wedding Photojournalism – The Client Experience

Guest laughing during cocktail hour for an article on what is wedding photojournalism

The biggest (and most consistent) compliment I get from clients is that they never noticed I was there.  I want you – the client – to be able to ignore me and thoroughly enjoy your event.  When you forget the camera is present, you would be surprised how good your photos will be.  The only way to do this is to have designated portrait time.  Thirty minutes for family photos, and 20 minutes each for the bride and groom alone and the bridal party.  Everything else is all about the candid — the heart and soul of my photos.


Interested in talking more about photography at your wedding?  Drop me a line and let’s chat!

If you would like to see more images from my portfolio, then please visit my website — KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com

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