Documentary Wedding Photography 101

I’ve got to start somewhere

My sister got in touch the other day. She was looking for a present for a friend who was starting out in wedding photography and wanted something that covered the reportage / documentary style. Now, I’m someone who reads a lot of photography books (my favourite practical one, for the record is Picture Perfect Practice by Roberto Valenzuela), but I thought about it and I could recommend nothing. There wasn’t a book out there that covered the reportage style very well at all.

My own knowledge is patched together from countless books, online workshops, physical workshops & shadowing and working with other photographers. Also from a passion for street photography and the wider documentary photography world.  But I do remember when I started out there were several blogs that were full of interesting and useful information. Looking around today, they seem to have disappeared into the ether.

Anyway, this is all my sisters fault.

So I’m starting here

For starters, if you’re here I’m going to assume you know how to use your camera. That you can set it in manual and know what the shutter speed, ISO and aperture do. That you know how to use the metering and make a pleasing photo. I’m assuming you’re heading into the world of wedding photography and have an interest in the reportage way of doing things.
I should also add that nothing here should be taken as Gospel. I have a particular way of doing things. It’s not right, and it’s not wrong. It’s just a way. I may do them differently at the next wedding I photograph. I reserve the right to change my mind at any time on any matter – and so should you.

A little bit about me

I’ve been shooting weddings since 2011 and always wanted to shoot in a documentary style – discovering it through the work of Jeff Ascough when we were searching for a photographer for our own wedding. I’ve learnt a lot from fellow photographers, but haven’t always found them supportive of the reportage style (my first mentor tried to dissuade me from it completely). I think it’s a wonderful way to work and produces beautiful images that really get inside the feel of the day. No two weddings are the same, and to try to tell each story in a fresh way rather than relying on a predetermined set of poses and situations keeps the work exciting and challenging.


Below is a list of topics I intend to cover. Bear with me as I’m doing this between editing & shooting weddings,  I will colour them in as I get completed.  In the meantime, if you have any questions or topics you want covered Please drop me a line:

Why documentary photography?

Camera Equipment

The three elements of photography



Flash / Artificial light

Capturing the Moment

(Anticipating the moment  / Working and reworking the moment – perseverance and trust in yourself)

Colour / B&W

Raw files

Being a ninja

Body language


Access and trust
They want posed pictures – what do I do?

Presenting your work


Whilst I’m at it I should also stipulate things I’m not going to cover due to having very little expertise, or not enough to do them any justice whatsoever.

These are; Sales and Marketing (at which I truly suck), Off Camera Flash (which I try to avoid using at every point possible) and Photoshop (ditto)


Next – Why Documentary Wedding Photography >>>

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