Documentary Wedding Photography - A Series (Part One)




Documentary-wedding-photography-2- Rhiannon_and-Josh.jpg

Do you remember the last wedding you went to?  Maybe you were a bridesmaid, an usher or perhaps part of the bridal party.  How do you remember that day?  Was it relaxed? Fun? Enjoyable?  Do you remember much about the photographer? What were they like? Bossy? Discreet? Funny? How did they make you feel? What are your overall memories from that wedding? 

The chances are, if you don't remember seeing or hearing the photographer very much, they were probably shooting in a candid documentary style.  


I want to share two stories with you, both from personal experience, both were before I became a wedding photographer, and both have massively influenced the way I approach my weddings today.

The first story is about a wedding I attended as a bridesmaid a few years back...  a fabulous wedding I might add and some very happy memories, but some of those memories are of the photographer, and this is where I will expand. 

My friends hired a really funny wedding photographer.   He was quite a character and he made jokes about everything and everyone during the bridal preparations. On reflection, I am sure this was to evoke reactions from us in his images.  I must add here that I make no judgement on him as a person whatsoever - he was a character, and a nice man but when I think back, my memories (particularly from the bridal preparations) are overshadowed by him and his bad jokes and particularly just how much he was trying to make us laugh.  At the time I remember feeling uncomfortable and wishing that he'd stop making jokes - I felt like I couldn't be myself around him.  Yes, he was funny but he was taking control of the morning and I felt that none of our reactions were really genuine.  

As well as giving you lasting images of your wedding, your photographer has a massive influence on how you remember your wedding day by how they act.

I'm not saying that he was wrong for making jokes or for taking the reins during the bridal preparations.  His approach may be just what you are looking for, he may have just been trying to get us to relax but influencing the scene so much now feels so wrong to me as a documentary photographer and his style is everything that mine isn't. It's not my job to try and get you to relax, it's my job as a candid photographer to capture - without interruption - the emotion in the room and everything that goes with it.

 When I shoot bridal prep, I want to tell an honest story without manipulating or directing the scene.  This is exactly how this happened.  Nothing was set up. 

When I shoot bridal prep, I want to tell an honest story without manipulating or directing the scene.  This is exactly how this happened.  Nothing was set up. 


Our Wedding Photographer...

Fast forward a year to when I married my husband in 2007, we decided we'd like a reportage approach to our day.  In hindsight (and hindsight is a wonderful thing) we didn't properly do our research, but we did know that we wanted a 'hands off approach' - we didn't want too many group shots and we wanted 'real' moments.  We only met with two photographers - the first was so bad (in both image quality and attitude) that when we met the second, we booked him straight away.  He brought some prints round and showed us some images on his laptop but I don't remember paying too much attention to the pictures in all honesty, I just remember thinking that he seemed like a nice person and the style he was selling us was just what we were looking for.  I look back on our images from our wedding and the majority of them are group shots, people smiling for the camera and details.  We have very little in the way of 'moments' in our pictures.  I remember our photographer was really discreet and quiet, which was great, but he didn't get the shots we had hoped for.  I'm more disappointed in myself about this rather than him as we rushed into booking him, and we gave him too many group shots to shoot.

 In the majority of our wedding photographs, we are smiling for the camera.  I wish more than anything that we had more 'real' in our images. These are nice but I wish they told a story.

In the majority of our wedding photographs, we are smiling for the camera.  I wish more than anything that we had more 'real' in our images. These are nice but I wish they told a story.

Do your research.

The moral of this, is not to book a photographer based on how you 'think' they will capture your day - ask to see full weddings and don't hand a documentary photographer a long list of group shots. We booked ours for his reportage style, which turned out not to be very reportage at all and we handed him a list of 20+ groups which meant we were standing around outside for ages away from our guests.  I learnt from our mistakes and we certainly wouldn't make them again but we can't go back and make better choices.

A hands off approach.

I choose to mingle with your guests.  I choose to allow your day to unfold naturally without any influence from myself.  I won't tell inappropriate jokes during emotional moments. I won't manipulate the scene just to get the image I want.  I will be patient. I will capture the moments that our wedding photographer missed.  I will make the group shots quick and painless (if you promise not to give me a long list) and the couple portraits will be relaxed and fun.  I am so passionate about authenticity.  I choose to document not direct. I choose to be forgotten, not remembered.  

If I can come away from a wedding and your guests question if I was even there, whilst delivering authentic images that make you smile, then I have done my job as a documentary wedding photographer.  

A hands off approach may not be for you and that's fine.  It would certainly be boring if we all thought the same, but if I am what you are looking for in a wedding photographer... if your heart does a little flip when you see how authentic your wedding pictures can be then I would absolutely love to hear from you and your plans - please contact me!







Documentary Wedding Photography - A series.


by Louise Jacob Photography.


Hello I'm Lou and I am the founder/photographer at Louise Jacob Photography and I've been capturing authenticity at weddings for the past 4 years. I am excited by documenting weddings without any direction from myself as your photographer. I am passionate about delivering images that are un orchestrated and real.  My style is unposed candid documentary, you may also know my style as wedding photojournalism or reportage.  My belief, is that without this realness portrayed in your images, do your photographs have meaning?  And if you don't have any meaning in your pictures then what are you left with?     


Every Wednesday, I'll be talking about my unposed documentary style and how I capture the wedding day for my couples... I'll be sharing my favourite images, my techniques, what gear I use, Q&A's, what it's like being a Fearless award-winning Wedding Photographer and what this means for my couples, why I love being a wedding photographer, why I love black and white images and why colour is hugely important too, my editing style, my spin on shooting wedding photojournalism and why realism makes my heart dance!

"Realism in the arts is the attempt to represent subject matter truthfully, without artificiality"

- Wikipedia



  1. Choosing a hands off wedding photographer - is this style for you?
  2. The Meaning of Meaningful.
  3. What's in my camera bag.
  4. How I approach your wedding day - The experience of having an unposed wedding
  5. The Decisive Moment.
  6. Colour or black and white? Does it matter?
  7. My favourite images and why I love them.
  8. Being a Fearless Award Winning Photographer and what this means for my couples.
  9. The Edit - My signature style.
  10. Seeing the beauty in the ordinary.
  11. What my couples say about me.
  12. Additional Photographers
  13. Future Proofing your images
  14. A passion so fierce.
  15. Q&A

I'm really looking forward to sharing this documentary blog series with you.  Join me next Wednesday for Part 1 "Choosing a hands off Wedding Photographer - is this style for you?"

And in the meantime - have a great week!

L xx



(of a photograph of a person) taken informally, especially without the subject's knowledge. "It is better to let the photographer mingle among the guests and take candid shots"

A great description of Candid on Google.  And how I shoot weddings to a T.



If you have any questions about Documentary Wedding Photography or if you are looking to book a candid unposed photographer to capture your day.

The Family Shoot

The Family Shoot and what to expect!

Have you ever wondered what it's like to have a family photo shoot with me? 

"What do you wear? What will I shoot? Where will we shoot? What if the kids throw a wobbler! Will you have to tidy up? Will I make you look thinner? Will you have to pose? Will it be fun? etc etc..

You have absolutely nothing to worry about!  I'm about as friendly as they come and my aim is to give you the best experience possible. I'll leave you at the end of your shoot all happy-exhausted, probably wondering if a shoot even took place!  We're just going to hang out and that's all there is to it. You will of course have so many pictures to remember it by and they will be beautifully authentic, honest and real!

"What do I wear?"

Absolutely anything you want (but please (grown-ups) let there be clothes!)

I'm here to document your life as it is right now and if that means you want to wear your pyjamas then wear them!  If the little people want to be superheroes or ballerinas - please let them! I'm a huge fan of letting the kids dress themselves. With me there are no rules! There's no need to colour match your outfits, nor do you have to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe. Nobody has to wear matching white tops. I am going to document a bit of (or all of) an ordinary day in your life - so be comfortable but most of all be you.

What will you photograph?

Everything! And I mean everything - unless of course you don't want me to (then just tell me!) I'll take pictures of moments (lots of them!). Details too - I love details! I'll get in really close and sometimes I'll shoot from afar. I'll be like a cat in the room and sometimes I'll play games with the kids! I'll document the laughs, the tears, the arguments the tantrums and the everything in betweens!  


The whole time I'm shooting your session I'm constantly looking out for moments. These can be anything from a hug, a kiss, a touch of hands, a laugh a knowing look anything small or big that makes an interesting picture and tells a story!

 In this picture, I love the connection Sienna has with the viewer. 


"Why do you capture the details? They're so... insignificant!  The details (however unimportant they seem right now) are woven around the moments to make up the story of your day.  Little hands and feet soon won't be so little, the endless cups of coffee you never got round to finishing will soon be a memory. When you display your pictures the detail shots complete your story. Maybe right now they seem insignificant, but one day (and trust me on this) - they'll mean a lot more!


I'm always looking to make good creative compositions. I love lines in a picture and I love reflections too! You might sometimes catch me pointing the wrong way and think 'should I tell her we're over here?!' but I'm probably shooting through a mirror! I like compositions that break the rules too and I love shooting through stuff - anything really but prisms are a favourite.


If your home is bright and airy, try and turn off the lights for your shoot and let the natural light come in.  If it's dark, artificial light doesn't bother me but if theres a heavy mix of tungsten and daylight I might convert the image to black & white. Whatever the light though, I love being creative with it and making the most of it to produce a varied selection of images.


I'm constantly changing my perspective when shooting families.  A good tip when photographing your own children is to get down low. There's much more of a connection when you're at the childrens eye level! I like to mix it up too by offering different perspectives  - high, low, wide, close.  Anything to keep it varied!




Hello! Merry Christmas!! Hope it was a good one!  

I've not blogged for a while so I thought I would put together a few facts about how I shoot weddings in a candid documentary style.

If you are looking for a wedding photographer who is a little different from the rest and you think we'd be a good match please get in touch and tell me all your plans! I'd love to hear from you!

But for now... a few fun facts...

1. No cheese...

Unless it’s being munched on! The only cheese at my weddings is the cheeseboard or the block that’s being eaten on the dance floor! Hilarious!  And my kind of fun!  Seriously though, I really hate the thought of my couples and their guests standing around for hours posing for pictures. "Say Cheese" "Smile for the Camera" and such like are words you will never hear at my weddings and you will not be expected to pose. Phew! Any group shots we do will be fun and relaxed and your couple pictures will be super chilled out too.  And to top it off, depending on how many groups you have (I shoot a maximum of 8) I won't keep you away from your guests for more than 30 minutes.  Less Groups = more time with your nearest & dearest!


2. I will not dictate your day.

Far too often I’ve been at weddings where there is a loud and directing photographer. Maybe that's up your street? Not me. I’ll shoot your wedding exactly as it happens. Quietly. No repeats, no awkwardness and definitely no shouting!


3. I have eagle eyes.

Definition of eagle-eyed. : having an unusually good ability to see or notice things.

You, my friends are quite frankly going to be far too busy having a bloody brilliant day to think about taking pictures and do you really trust your uncle Bob with his camera to do the job? That’s where I come in. I’m a Jedi hawk when it comes to low-profile inconspicuous-ness and I’m like a coiled spring from the morning preparations right through to the dance floor action!


4. I’ll stay till you kick your shoes off on the dance floor!

To keep things simple, I have just one wedding photography package and it’ll see you right through to the dancing... definitely one of the best bits of the day! I’ll be right in there on the dance floor with you to capture the action. This is where I’ll blast off a bit of flash too, I love getting creative with light and shadows, off camera flash, light trails and reflections! Around 9pm I’ll head home to back up your images from the day (twice because I can be sensible when I need to be!)


5. I’m sensitive. And very loyal!

Us creative types usually are! When you book me for your wedding think of it as gaining a new friend! I’ll live and breathe your wedding with you, I’ll get giddy and excited with you, I'll cry and laugh and I will pour my heart and soul into giving you the most incredible images I can.  I am insanely passionate about what I do! 


6. I shoot one destination wedding a year!

I love travelling but having a small family I can't travel too often so I limit myself to one destination wedding a year! Last year it was Crete and this year it's Tuscany! If you are planning an overseas wedding and if it's somewhere epic I've not been before, please get in touch and tell me about it and I'll let you know if I'm free!



If you'd like to find out more about having a wedding that is photojournalistic in style, full of authenticity passion and fun then please get in touch - I'd love to hear from you and I can't wait to hear about your plans!



Before I close for a few days over Christmas to eat my body weight in mince pies , I just want to share a few images from my current wedding edit....  The fabulous Annmarie and James tied the knot at one of my favourite venues - Belmount Hall in the Lake District last weekend.  It was an intimate day surrounded by their close family and friends and it was a total honour and privilege to capture their day for them. A full blog post will be coming soon but for now, here are their wedding highlights!

Merry Christmas Everyone! Hope it's magical for you all! 

L xxx



Hugs are everywhere at weddings and they're one of my favourite things to capture!  They make me happy and they make you happy and well, hugs are just ace! !

Here are some of my favourite hugs! And I don't mean the set-up posey ones, I mean the off the cuff out of the blue, un posed authentic kind of hugs that are so much better!



Lizzie and Billy married at The Red Lion and Manor in Burnsall in the Yorkshire Dales in October and it was a beautiful day (actually it was rather windy but it was a beautiful day despite the weather) and they spent it with their favourite people.

When Lizzie booked me to document their wedding she was adamant that they didn't want to pose!  They wanted the freedom to spend the day with their guests and enjoy themselves but at the same time they wanted everything captured. They wanted a candid photographer to tell the story of their day authentically with little interruption.  They wanted a photographer to document not direct.  

They had the most fantastic autumnal wedding, with rustic themes, in a superb relaxed atmosphere.  The Red Lion is perfect for relaxed weddings and Burnsall is just stunning, nestled in the heart of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales! 

All in all it was the most amazing day.  Congratulations Mr & Mrs Moffatt and thank you for asking me along for the ride!