Documentary wedding photography, a phrase that pops up all the time, but what is it and do I want it?

If I had to categorise myself as a wedding photographer, which, er, I actually DO sort of have to ha!!  I would use the words ‘documentary wedding photographer’

I know, it sounds a bit pretentious and whatnot but it really is a great way of describing, in a short phrase, what it is I do and what it is that you can expect from me, as your chosen photographer on your wedding day.

So without further ado…documentary wedding photography EXPLAIN…by stealing it from the internet….




  1. consisting of or based on official documents.”documentary evidence of regular payments from the company”
  2. synonyms: recorded, documented, registered, written, chronicled, archived, archive, on record, in writing, on paper;
  3. using pictures or interviews with people involved in real events to provide a factual report on a particular subject.”a documentary programme about Manchester United”

So the bit that says – using pictures or interviews with people involved in real events to provide a factual report on a particular subject…….that’s the bit that applies to me…and you!!

This is how I work when shooting your event, the word unobtrusive has been trotted out so much but that’s what I try to be, it really is the best way to describe how I, and many of my lovely peers work; taking the day in in its entirety, getting those wedding photographs and un-seen moments, that when you DO see you will be all like ‘oohhhh I had no idea uncle Rodney did THAT!!’ ‘CRIKEY don’t we look FABULOUS FROM BEHIND!!’ you get the idea.

I shoot the whole day as it happens, the only time I will do any posing (of you and your guests!) is for the group shots, and that’s a whole other blog post on it’s own, and mildly IF and when you have your couples portraits.

It IS possible to shoot the signing of the register without standing in a stiff group…I KNOW, WHO’D HAVE THUNK!! All the while not getting the ACTUAL register in the shot (that’s against the rules don’t you know!!) and an unstaged shot holds so much more meaning than a staged one, not to say this type of photograph can’t be beautiful too, they absolutely can, i just err more on the side of shooting what’s happening.


Is documentary wedding photography for me?

If you wish to have a relaxed, un-posed, and un-interrupted day then YES absolutely, documentary wedding photography is the one for you!!

Can I still have group shots if you are solely a documentary wedding photographer?

Yes of COURSE, I’m not an ogre, there is always room for ‘formal’ group photographs, what I WILL say is if you want anymore than say 8 groupings of people, this is where you may come a smidge unstuck, the whole reason you are having a documentary style photographer for your wedding is to capture all the good stuff that is going on in between, if we are taking group shots for hours, this WILL eat into your day I’m not going to lie!!


OK, we are a bit nervous in front of the camera, but our friends got married recently and have some LOVELY portraits framed around their house, do you take posed shots like this?

YES!!!  I approach this area of the wedding day in an equally relaxed way and use it as time for you to both have a moment to yourselves, your wedding day will be full of awesome scrummy people wanting wish you all the best and congratulate you, and why not!!!  But it IS nice to have some time just as newlyweds.  I shoot both from a distance and close up, I try and be as quick as I can so as A. not to keep you from your guests but also, more importantly; B. to give you a minute to just relax, breathe it all in and just be with each other quietly.


How many images can we expect from a documentary wedding photographer?  Will it be more or less what we would get from a more ‘traditional’ photographer?

Honest answer; it doesn’t affect the amount of images you receive, if you have booked me to be your wedding photographer for the whole day then you can expect to receive no less than 350 images BUT, saying that, if you have a gazillion guests and/or there is a lot going on i.e. camels serving canapés or some other such thrilling entertainment then you can expect a teeny few more as I aim to leave no stone unturned!


We have some really specific things that we need to have shot, as a documentary wedding photographer how do we know you will get all of these things?

FEAR NOT my soon to be wed lovebirds!!  I have a planning document that I send out prior to your big day, within this document there is a section on must have shots, an area for you to fill in things that are really important for me to shoot, for example; if you have some framed pictures on display of loved ones who will not be able to be at your special day, write it down and I will seek said photographs out and make sure I shoot them so that they are included in your final set, things that don’t really need to be on my list are ;

Bride walking down aisle



Table set up

You get the gist, these are things I am programmed to find and shoot so you can save the ‘must have’ section for the really important stuff!!


When I Google ‘Documentary Wedding Photographer’ a lot of the images I am finding are black and white, I like a lot of colour, I don’t want all black and white photos!!!

Documentary photography does seem to lend itself to more of a black and white feel but DON’T PANIC!!!  Your final images will be a mixture of both black and white and colour, some images just look better in black and white whilst others, if they weren’t colour, well, it would just be a crying shame, so please, don’t worry.  If, when you receive your images, you would like to see a few that I’ve edited to be black and white in colour, that’s no problem, I can do this for you up to 20 images, if there are anymore than 20 you wish to have altered this IS chargeable but A. it’s not a lot and B. although there is ALWAYS a first time for everything, this hasn’t happened….yet!!

SO, in summation; Documentary Wedding Photography – a true, emotive and respectful documentation of your day via the medium of photographs, the un-seen moments, the tears, the laughs and everything in between, if this sounds like a bit of you then we are going to get on FAMOUSLY!!!