What happens on the big day?
What is Storytelling Wedding Photography? Most commonly known as documentary wedding photography or reportage wedding photography.
As a reportage or documentary wedding photographer, I’m looking to tell the story of the day through pictures that capture, the moments and emotions. A typical day for me runs from the bridal preparations right through until the first dance and beyond.
The bridal preparations
I love to photograph the bridal preparations as I think it’s a crucial part of any storytelling wedding photography. Capturing these moments are also a great opportunity for the groom to see the photos after the wedding. After all, it is not something he would have been privy to.
Preparations vary at every wedding. Sometimes they can be a hive of almost chaotic activity, with bridesmaids coming and going and kids rushing around. Perhaps Mum over fussing and Dad, not quite sure what to do with himself. On other occasions, there may be a more serene atmosphere with the bride sitting quietly contemplating as she has her done or makeup applied.
Needless to say, these are all photo opportunities and some of the best shots I’ve captured have been at the preparations.
At this wedding in Gloucestershire at Hilles House, bridesmaids are all sharing the same mirror for their make up application.
Bride in deep contemplation as she has her hairspray applied
Bride gives Dad one last emotional hug just prior to leaving for the Church
I tend to arrive at the Church or ceremony area at least thirty minutes prior to the event. At this point, I capture the interaction between the groom and his best man and ushers. Shots of the groom greeting wedding guests arriving. it’s all-important that I remain discreet and capture images without the guests noticing. It’s not a skill that every wedding photographer has, but it’s essential in order to get the kind of images my clients are looking for.
Once in the Church or in some ceremony rooms, it can be quite dark. However thanks to the advances in the top of the line professional camera equipment, I am able to shoot in very low light conditions. I prefer to shoot with natural light anyway. Flash photography can be quite distracting in these situations and besides it tends to take away the atmosphere in a picture.
These little girls get really excited as the bride enters the Church just prior to the wedding ceremony at North Cadbury Court in Somerset
Where ever possible I’m always looking out for humour. I love this shot of the bride getting her wedding ring stuck on her finger during the ceremony at Whitney Court
Of course, where would a wedding be without confetti? I love black and white but this is usually a shot that works better in colour such as this wedding at Upper Court in Gloucestershire
Speeches and the wedding reception
Back at the reception people really start to relax and let their hair down, once they’ve knocked back a few glasses of bubbly and scoffed a few canapes. Wedding guests tend to form little conversation groups and of course, the kids are unleashed on the lawn.
The Wedding speeches are a perfect opportunity to capture some cracking guest reactions. The funnier the speeches the better the reactions.
This is one of my favourite images taken at a wedding reception. It’s quite a simple image of two Grandad’s sat on a bench in conversation.
Wedding guests at reception fooling around with silly masks and taking selfies.
This image was taken at a wedding in Dorset. It’s a beautiful summers evening. There’s a bit of drama in the sky and the guests are queuing to get into the marquee for dinner.
Wedding guests are so focused on the speakers that they don’t even notice me. This allows me to get really close to the action and get some lovely shots of guest reactions. This shot was taken at a Wedding at Dewsall Court in Herefordshire
Bride and Groom portraits
Strictly speaking, there is nothing Storytelling about Bride and Groom portraits. However, try to maintain a natural feel as possible to these shots. I’m certainly not one for over posed, cheesy shots. I don’t want to take my bride and groom away from their guests forever and a day, so I keep it as brief as possible. This normally takes just 15 to minutes, some clients prefer to skip these photos altogether, equally, some might want to take some extra time. Either way, it’s fine with me as long as the couple is happy.
In addition, I also take a few family shots and the like, that is if my clients request it.
This is about as set up as I go. Here we can see a silhouette effect of the bride and groom kissing just after sunset at a wedding in Cheshire
Obviously, I’ve set the couple up for this shot. I can’t remember what I said or did but it seems to have cracked them up laughing, giving the photo a natural feel.
Here’s another shot where the bride and groom are relaxed and laughing at a Winter wedding in Lancashire
I won an international award with the WPJA for this photo. This is the second time around for this much older couple but you can see the pure joy and love in their expressions.
The first dance and party time!
Last but by no means least is the first dance and the party for the evening guests. At this stage, we have new guests arriving and by now the guests that have been there all day, have well and truly got into the swing of things. Some perhaps just a bit too much 🙂 but that’s ok with me as I love a good party!
Bride and groom just giving it all at their first dance at a wedding at Clearwell Castle in Gloucestershire
Teenage kids giving it some air guitar at a wedding in Herefordshire
Some wedding guests with attitude, wearing their retro sunglasses, getting into the full swing of the party
Oh, dear! This bride has had just a bit too much fun and booze and takes a dive on the dance floor
Check out my availability for your wedding
I hope you have enjoyed my post about Storytelling wedding photography. If you want to relax on your wedding day and you don’t want any photographs that are stiff and overly posed. If you want your wedding images to tell a story and I mean the real story of your day, then I may just be the photographer for you.
I get hundreds of enquiries every year and I tend to get booked up very quickly, so please check my availability and if I’m free. Let’s talk