When it comes to wedding photography, one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is what style of photography you want – documentary style wedding photography, editorial photography, traditional?
Before you pick which one is best for you and your partner, it’s important to know the difference between the different types. Over the years as an NYC wedding photographer, I have seen and photographed in so many different styles, and understand how important a photography style is to telling your story.
So, as you start to plan out your dreams for your big day, let’s take a look at what documentary-style wedding photography is and what the benefits of getting it are!
What is Documentary Style Wedding Photography?
First, let’s talk about what exactly documentary style wedding photography is. Just as it suggests, this is a style that really focuses on documenting your day as it comes. It really focuses on the natural moments, not the posed ones.
You can think of documentary photography as photojournalistic. These are the photos that tell a story, show real emotion, and feel like they capture those natural moments that happen throughout the day.
You’ll often find that with documentary style wedding photography, that the little moments become some of the most important. Your photographer will almost seem as if they are a fly on the wall, capturing these moments without ever being noticed.
What are the Benefits of Documentary Style Photography?
Now that we know what documentary style photography is, the big question is, does this style fit what you and your partner are looking for with your wedding photos? To help you make your decision, here are a few of the benefits of this style of photography!
The focus will be on you enjoying the day with your loved ones
One of the biggest draws to this style of photography is that it really relies on capturing you and your partner as you are throughout the entire day. Some of the best moments that are captured with this style are when you are actually enjoying your wedding day with the people you love.
This means that instead of getting pulled away a bunch of different times to get portraits or posed photos, you’ll actually be spending more time at your wedding with all of your guests.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you and your partner aren’t going to get portraits. You can absolutely still get those intimate and private portraits taken during your wedding day. However, these moments won’t take over your day, and the main focus of your photos will be capturing the reality of the day as it unfolds.
I also love documentary style photography because it lets the more emotional and intimate moments with the people closest to you happen naturally without any outside influence or interruptions.
For example, if you and your wedding party just can’t keep a straight face in your pictures together and keep laughing, instead of trying to get that “perfect” group picture, you’ll get a ton of amazing photos of you all celebrating and embracing the joy of the day.
You’ll get more candid moments to look back on
Speaking of those moments where you just can’t keep a straight face, this style will also give you a gallery full of candid moments. Some of the most memorable and meaningful images you can get are ones that show the true joy, emotion, and excitement that everyone is experiencing.
Not only will this happen because your photographer will almost blend in (and it won’t feel like someone is always just hovering there), but also because it won’t feel like you are being constantly posed.
For most people, your wedding day may be one of the first times you are in front of a camera. Sometimes, feeling like you constantly need to be posed or look perfect can make you feel a bit stiff.
With this style of photography, it is not so much about getting the perfect shot as it is getting the authentic one. This means fewer photos of you being posed and more of you soaking in this incredible day.
The day will feel more natural and relaxed
One of the most common things you will hear people say about their wedding day is that they feel like it flew by and they didn’t really get to enjoy it as much as they wanted to. There are so many things that happen throughout the day, and sometimes it can feel like you are just going from place to place without actually stopping to take a breath.
One of the best things about documentary style wedding photography is that it really leans into capturing the moments as they come without having to plan each minute of the day out.
While you will definitely still need to have a bit of a schedule for your wedding (I mean, you don’t want to be late walking down the aisle), having your wedding photographed in this style means that there won’t be as many structured photography moments throughout the day.
It can even mean that instead of doing formal portraits with everyone where you feel like you’re just standing there smiling and not actually interacting with each other, you instead just spend extra time getting ready together or relaxing before your ceremony actually starts.
Leaning into this will help make your wedding day feel more relaxed and make the flow feel much more natural for you. You get the best of both worlds because you will still get incredible photos of all of the moments that you want to cherish while also feeling less stressed!
Your photos will feel like they tell the whole story of your wedding
When you look at wedding photos, they are always going to tell some part of your story. Regardless of the photography style, for instance, you are always going to get the story of the ceremony: walking down the aisle, saying your vows, your first kiss.
However, you may not always get the full story. If you think about traditional wedding photography, you may find that you get a lot of beautiful photos, but there may be a lot of posed photos.
Now, these are beautiful and make for amazing memories, but spending so much time taking posed photos means you may be missing out on part of your wedding.
With documentary style wedding photography, you’ll get real, candid moments of each and every part of your wedding, from getting ready with your wedding party to your first look to I do, your cocktail hour, and more!
Because this style leans heavily into the natural and raw moments of your wedding, your photos will almost feel like a book; each image is like the next page in the chapter, chronicling even the smallest of moments.
Gives you a gallery full of timeless memories
Finally, documentary photography will give you an entire wedding gallery filled with timeless photos. Every year, there are going to be so many trends that come in and go out of style.
But the one thing that is never going to go out of style is authenticity. Documentary photos capture these authentic moments just as they are, without any added flair or trends that overshadow the true purpose of the photos.
You will be able to look back at these photos 5, 10, and 20 years down the road and feel like you are right back in that moment feeling everything you were feeling on your wedding day. That is always going to be more meaningful than having a trendy or perfectly posed photo.
Final Thoughts on Documentary Style Photos for Your Wedding
Hopefully, you’ve learned a bit more about documentary style wedding photography and all of the amazing benefits that you get with it. At the end of the day, the most important thing is capturing those true, authentic moments that will last a lifetime. Documentary photography does just this in the most pure way possible.
If this sounds like exactly what you and your partner are looking for for your wedding day, I’d love to help make that vision a reality! You can click here to learn more about all of my wedding photography services, or you can reach out to me directly with any questions or if you want to chat about your wedding day.
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