Documentary Verses Traditional Photography





One thing I have noticed a lot on wedding photography websites is the term “documentary photographer”. Many photographers claim to exclusively do documentary photography. What exactly is documentary photography? Well, documentary photography is basically candid photography (non-posed). In other words, a documentary photographer does not stage any photos but simply photographs what everyone is doing as it happens. This approach captures lots of fun, laughter, emotions and excitement of the wedding day. There is no doubt that candid photography is something you expect your photographer to capture at your wedding.  Here are some great examples of candid photography.

Those images look great right? Well actually they are not technically documentary photos because for a photo to truly be documentary you should only use the available light and all the images above were taken using flash. This is important for you to think about when choosing a photographer because many documentary photographers take this point seriously. They will not use a flash at all. In those circumstances your photos will end up looking much darker, grainier and possibly black and white or even blurry. I don’t take these kinds of images so I have none to show you but just look at the portfolios of documentary photographers online and you will soon see what I mean. Documentary photographers also leave unwanted aspects in your images, for example skin blemishes and exit signs. I tend to remove exits signs and lightly air brush the skin if I think it needs it. 




Traditional wedding photography doesn’t neccesarily mean that no cadid shots are taken, it simply means that there is a focus on formal photos as well. Every photographer is going to take candid photos and there is no doubt that you want those special moments captured. They look great on your phone and perhaps in a wedding album. However, they are not the kind of photos you are going to print, frame and hang on your wall. You want nice couple photos framed and placed around your home. Your parents want nice family portraits to put on the shelf for everyone to see. Ultimately you want to have both traditional and documentary wedding photography. You shouldn’t have to decide candid verses traditional photography or photographer. You should gave both candid and traditional photos. Below are some great traditional photography examples. Book with us and you will get images like the ones above and the ones below.