How you can help your documentary photographer on your wedding day.

You've decided that you'd like a candid documentary (photojournalistic) approach to your wedding day.   There are a few things that you need to do as a couple in order to maximise the results you get from this type of wedding photography.

In no particular order, here are some of the things you can do to ensure you have a candid and uninterrupted day, getting the images you want and love.

Research your documentary wedding photographer.

There are loads of photographers and styles out there, it's a complete minefield, but do check out your photographers website portfolio, instagram (Insta is like a mini portfolio for photographers and is a great place to check out what they've been up to) facebook and pinterest. Their work should be consistent and as daft as it sounds it should be candid if this is what you'd like..  A lot of photographers these days advertise themselves as 'documentary' because to a certain extent they are however they may place more of an emphasis on the posed shots or set things up more.  Make sure you know just how candid and documentary your day will be.  If you want complete documentary, don't book somebody with a huge portfolio full of posed couple portraits as this is probably what you are going to get.


Meet up with your photographer.

I shoot a lot of weddings where I meet the couple for the first time on their wedding day, in fact a lot of couples I only have email contact with and this works well for us, but if meeting up is important to you before hand, this is a great way to get to know your photographer better and find out if you are a good match. 

Don't give your photographer a huge list of must have photographs.

When you choose a documentary approach for your wedding photography, this is really important.  Candid photography relies heavily on the photographers ability to anticipate moments and be in the right places at the right times. It also requires 100% focus on finding these moments.  If my couples were to give me a long list of 'must have' photographs then the documentary approach you like so much goes completely out of the window because the photographer is now constantly checking the checklist and consequently missing out on the moments.  Give your photographer the freedom to shoot your wedding the way they know how to and they will give you the results you want.


Don't give your documentary photographer too many group shots to shoot.

As important as documentary photography is to me, I do realise the importance of group photos too..  Even if it's just to keep the grandparents happy, but if you hand me a list of 20 group shots, you are going to have a fair chunk of your day taken up with them.  Bearing in mind that each group takes around 3-5 minutes to set up and shoot so if you give me a list of 20, this is equates to 1 - 1.5 hours of standing around/waiting for photos away from the celebrations. If you do want this however, you can book a second photographer and I will focus on the candids.  I normally shoot between 5 and 8 groups, so this would take between 15 and 40 minutes depending on group size and the number you choose to have.

Group shots can be fun, quick and painless but not if there is a huge list of them

Group shots can be fun, quick and painless but not if there is a huge list of them

Fill your day with fun!

It may sound obvious, but I am only able to capture what is in front of me.  If everyone has gone off for a power nap, then your images will be a bit dull.  If you have a long drinks reception, or if there's a big gap between the wedding breakfast and evening reception I'd advise some form of entertainment for your guests.  There are so many possibilities - Garden games, a photo booth, a magician, a caricaturist, a casino, piñata for the kids, a bouncy castle, beer pong. The list is endless and your imagination is the limit.


Have an unplugged wedding ceremony.

Have your guests focused on you during the ceremony and ask for them not to use their phones. I've been to so many weddings where the just married couple are walking through a sea of iPad screens and mobile phones. Surely it's better to see peoples faces and have them congratulate you than have a hundred pictures taken and see no-one. Have your guests fully in the moment by asking them to put away their phones and your official photos will be better for it too.


Trust your documentary wedding photographer to do their job.

Strong Documentary Wedding Photographers work a bit differently to most traditional photographers but in order to do our job best and to give you the most amazing images we possibly can, we really need you to trust us. This is what we do, we are passionate about real honest moments, we love weddings and people and we will go above and beyond to give you the best images we can but we need to be a team.


If you're getting married in Cheshire or indeed anywhere in the UK or worldwide and would like to have a candid unposed documentary approach to your day or to check my availability for your wedding, please get in touch - I'd love to hear from you!