What is a documentary style wedding photographer?

Before you got engaged and started looking for your wedding photographer, you probably didn’t realise that there are so many styles of wedding photography to choose from. The style of wedding photography you choose will come down to your tastes and preferences, your personality as a couple, and the kind of wedding you’re going to have.

I’m a wedding photographer in Chester and North Wales, and I specialise in natural, relaxed wedding photography. I would describe my style as ‘documentary style’ wedding photography: you may have heard this phrase, but what exactly does it mean?

Documentary style wedding photographer in Cheshire and North Wales

Documentary style wedding photography is also sometimes referred to as ‘reportage’- basically, ‘reporting’ on your wedding day through images. What this means as a wedding photographer is that I capture the genuine events and emotions of your wedding day as they play out.

Confetti at Wedding
Wedding Photographer North Wales Chester

The bride looking in the mirror while her flower girl gets dressed
Documentary style wedding photographers are experts at blending into the background. We know that we will capture the most real and emotional moments when the subject of the image doesn’t know they’re being photographed. We are adept at making people feel at ease, and very often people pretty much forget that we’re even there!

Of course, I am always more than happy to help create group shots and posed photos too. The couples who hire me for their weddings tend to like a mixture of relaxed, natural photos, plus some posed shots where I work with the couple to create beautiful photographs for them to treasure. This really suits my style as I love to spend time with the couples I work with and create unique posed photographs just as much as I like to capture documentary-style photographs. In fact, I recently won Creative Wedding Photographer of the Year The Welsh Wedding Awards 2022 thanks to some of the unique posed shots I’ve created for brides and grooms. A wedding album that contains some natural, documentary style shots alongside stunning posed photos really does give couples the best of both worlds: a true reminder of their day, and some outstanding shots they can look back on and enjoy for years to come.

Wedding Photography Chester

Wedding Photography Wales

Wedding Photographer North Wales
Why am I a documentary style wedding photographer?

My background is as a press photographer, which gave me years of experience in photographing events as they happened, and being ready in the moment to capture unique, emotive, and one-off images. I bring these skills and experiences to my wedding photography.

Very often, the brides and grooms who hire me to be their wedding photographer want a relaxed feel to their day- they don’t want photography that’s too staged, and they don’t want to feel as if they or their guests are being bossed about or herded around for photos! For this reason, I think it helps that I’m a relaxed and friendly person: my personality works with my style of photography, and I always ensure that I put the couple and their guests at ease on the day.

Wedding Photographer North Wales Chester
I am also a people person, and I love getting to know the couples I work with to come up with ideas for beautiful photographs that I know will genuinely suit their style, personality, and the theme of their wedding.

Fireworks at Nunsmere Hall for a gay wedding

Flower girls peeking out from behind the large church door

What I love about being a documentary style wedding photographer

I love that documentary style photography tells the true story of what happened on your wedding day. My wedding albums are a lasting record of how events unfolded on the day, and capture how you felt in every moment. I always aim to create photographs that my couples will look back on in the future and be transported right back to that moment in time.

Throughout my career as a wedding photographer, something I’ve learned is that unexpected, impromptu moments can sometimes result in the most humorous, unique, and stand-out wedding photographs. Being a documentary style photographer is all about being there in the right place at the right time and capturing the moment. One such moment was the time I snapped the split-second that a ring-bearing owl swooped down on a terrified best man after it flew down the altar towards the groom. This was a totally one-off image that could never be recreated again even if I tried a million times! It was a hilarious shot which even made international news! It’s these moments that you just can’t buy and being a documentary style wedding photographer means I get to be there to capture them first hand.

Wedding Photographer North Wales Chester

Is documentary style wedding photography right for you?

Choosing your wedding photographer really does come down to personal taste. Some couples like formal group shots, others love very glamorous, dream-like images. Then there are couples who prefer photos of those little hidden moments that they maybe didn’t even see themselves on their wedding day: a father’s reaction when he first sees his daughter, or a guest quietly shedding a tear during the ceremony. If you fall into the latter camp, then documentary style wedding photography may well be the style for you. Remember too that even if you do choose a documentary style wedding photographer, some of us are also experts in creating imaginative and unique posed shots too: we can chat about your ideas and ensure your wedding photography is everything you dreamed of and more.

Bride and groom playing on the swing at Soughton Hall

Bride and groom in front of a stained glass window at Tower wedding venue

If you have any questions at all about documentary style photography, or think it might be for you, I would be delighted to answer any questions you might have. I am based in Cheshire and North Wales, but have also covered weddings all over the UK and would be happy to chat about your plans – please drop me a line