A great documentary photographer is alert, responsive, and curious...
Though most weddings follow a common "order of events" (ie: preparation, unification, and celebration), the moment-to-moment experience of couples, families, guests, and the photographer changes constantly. A wedding is like a living beast: one moment it's a docile purring kitten in your lap, the next it's a bucking bronco ready to kick any fool who crosses its path. To reduce all weddings down to banal cliches such as "the happiest day of your life" (an easy trap for photographers) is to miss out on the full emotional range that makes weddings so HUMAN.
On your wedding day, you will: solidify your bond to your favorite person, dance and sing with your friends, eat fried food and drink hard alcohol, deal with difficult family dynamics, watch your loved ones cry happy tears, and cry some happy tears yourself...all while wearing expensive clothes and uncomfortable shoes. It's a beautiful day, to be sure. But it's also a strange day. With lots of highs and lows. And no two weddings are alike.
So, what does all this have to do with the photos in this blog post?
I like to talk about my documentary approach to wedding photography (essentially, taking candid photos without intervention), but talking only explains so much. Since photography is a visual medium, I think showing prospective clients my work is the best way to clarify what I do, how I do it, and why I do it:
I was able to get two shots with very different emotion in the same scene; this is the value of a true documentary approach.
Instead of assuming I know what's about to happen (in life and in weddings, none of us do!), or hanging out in one static spot and shooting the ceremony with a long impersonal telephoto lens (as many other photogs do), I stay alert, responsive, and curious. Your wedding day is far too meaningful to conform to cookie-cutter shot-lists and canned group shots of everyone lined up wearing plastic smiles.