When I was searching for a photographer for my own wedding I was certainly aware that there were different styles of photography available. Trying to get my head around each style and decide which route to take was a little bit like wading through treacle - very, very slow.
If I had stumbled upon this concise description of documentary wedding photography it would have made the whole process a lot less confusing. Over to Andrew Billington to demystify documentary style photography and share some of his photographs:
"What is Documentary Wedding Photography?"
"I really love being a wedding photographer. Wedding photography for me means that I am entrusted with the job of creating the pictorial record of one of the most important days in a couples' life. The documentary wedding photography approach means that I am telling the story of the day without any interference from me - I don't orchestrate or manipulate the day but capture it as it unfolds, in the best way possible. I never try to have an idea of what the day should look like in my head and try to make family and guest conform to that ideal but to observe and photograph the wedding as it is - that's documentary wedding photography to me."
"Documentary Wedding Photography Isn’t About Taking Photographs."
"It seems a bold statement but I really believe that wedding photography isn’t about taking photographs. It’s about observing, anticipating and reacting. Certainly the way I work it is."
"I’m going to put aside the fact that to make a photograph work I am looking for the light to be right, the composition to be strong and the background enhancing or focusing on the main subject. These are things that I’m constantly thinking about before pressing the shutter but that’s more about the ‘craft’ of photography once a photograph is to be taken rather than the reason to take the photograph in the first place."
"I don’t spend a wedding day with a camera glued to my face, photographing like mad in the hope of catching the perfect moment. Most of the day I spend observing what is happening. Looking for moments that tell us about the day itself, the people involved and what the feelings are that are being experienced at a given time."
"Emotions change throughout the day (indeed sometimes with just a single word in a Father’s speech) and I try to be aware of how the mood and emotional state of people can change very quickly - calm, nervous, relieved, ecstatic, joyous, tearful: I'm not just looking at one emotional state of ‘happy’ throughout the day as that would be untrue - never once does the phrase 'Smile' pass my lips, people will naturally smile and that's the time to capture the moment."
"Wedding days to me are not ‘fast paced’ as some people believe. There is time to be aware of everything that is happening around you and choose the best way to photograph it to tell the story of that moment. By looking around you constantly you can start to anticipate when those beautiful moments are about to happen. I try to see a Grandmother approaching outside the church after the ceremony to hug her favourite Grand-daughter as a married woman for the first time - and move to the best position to capture all the emotion of that."
"What I try to achieve with the documentary wedding photography that I present to couples is not a simple pictorial record of the day but it’s a conscious series of decisions I have made about how best to represent their day and tell their story through my photographs."
"It’s not just about taking snaps - everyone else at the wedding is already doing that - it's about making a record of the day through a series of considered photographs that tell a story and evoke an emotion." - Andrew Billington
Thank you Andrew.
I really hope this feature has helped to make your choice of wedding photographer a little easier.
Have a lovely weekend.