Documentary Wedding Photography. / by Dawn Webb

What exactly is "Documentary Style" Wedding Photography?...it's something I am often asked, a term or phrase that has become the buzz word over the last decade.
Wedding photography as a whole is nothing new, but the styles and needs of the clients have changed and evolved over the years.

Back when I was shooting film you were very limited to the number of images you would shoot for a wedding - 35mm format you were governed with your roll of 36 exposures.  Your shot selection had to be very deliberate, couples were wanting more posed or staged images.  With the advent of digital media the stakes are higher, its not unheard of for me to shoot in excess of 1500 frames at a very busy wedding.  Its not that I am shooting for shooting's sake, after all it's me that has to sit down and post edit!!!  But digital is easy, frame counts don't matter and after your initial expenses are covered digital is FREE ( Kind of).

So What is Documentary photography?

It's a more natural and unobtrusive style of photography, allowing the photographer the freedom of movement omnidirectionally. I always like to get the "posed" shots in the bag for security purposes and for good page fillers in the album.
I can then concentrate more on documentary style work - varying my lens selection, viewpoint, stronger compositional angles, playing more with shadows and light form than I may have done 15 years ago.
I guess some would call it "candid" - guess it could also be used to tell and record the "story" of the wedding from beginning to end.

I am asked at least 8 times out of 10 to shoot like this nowadays, and for this is the reason I have opted to switch to the Fuji X system - its the perfect tool for the job.

Here are few examples of my documentary style work both during the service and preparations.