OK – so as a precursor to this I’ll say I think there are probably a handful of photographers who can call themselves true photojournalists, reportage or documentary in the style they adopt for wedding – most have a background in newspaper / war correspondence / newspaper staff and do truly have eyes in the back of their heads.
This is aimed at the pretenders – we have all seen there rhetoric on their websites with phrases like
non intrusive and unscripted
not to create, dictate and contrive moments
with no intervention or interruption
no direction on the day
I don’t direct
The majority of these so called specialists who make mystic claims like those above fall into one or more of the categories below
- Great craftsmen producing truly unscripted results of superb quality
- Those that claim to be reportage only and then include a selection of (usually) badly posed bride and groom portraits
- Poor craftsmen who may not direct anything but the results are no more than snap shots which are usually poorly processed with blocked shadows to hide noisy technically poor results
I look around the internet and see only a handful of the true greats doing a beautiful job of reportage / photojournalistic wedding coverage and can appreciate the work although it not being my preferred style.
Unfortunately the majority fall in to the other two categories and the work shown is of a low standard, usually with an imbalance in the number of bridal preparation shots ( as these are the easiest not to script) with no shots of the happy bride and groom on their own and if to be believed no group shots.
These last two groups put themselves on a pedestal as being somehow the people who will get you better pictures from your day than a more traditional photographer who does take a few group pictures and who does have a small time set aside for bride and groom portraits ……
Well quite frankly that is utter rubbish and I as a practitioner of the more traditional approach would say that I get nearly the same “reportage” coverage as they do whilst still ticking all the other boxes. I may miss a couple of key unscripted moments but after all I’m doing groups and portraits as well …. not just stood waiting and watching.
So as a little test as I edited my last wedding of Nikki and Alan I decided to see if I could put together a set of real unscripted and none directed images that would rival 90% of the so called specialist wedding photographers.
The results are below and yes they are all black and white but if you notice still have detail in the shadows and aren’t that dull murky look that seems to be in favour at the moment.
Could I have done better – yes of course but this was just taken from my normal coverage – a mixture of coverage to provide the bride and groom with a complete record of the day.
My couples can choose what goes in their albums and have the options of:
- Informal / Reportage
Unfortunately those couples that decide on NO direction and NO groups …. don’t have that luxury after the event.
There are those couples that in fact really do know their mind and really don’t want any intervention at all and that is great (maybe mum and dad who have footed the bill disagree) but unfortunately they believe the rhetoric on the sites of people who just don’t have the skill to deliver that coverage to a high standard … but can talk the talk.
A good colleague of mine sums up what I’m trying to say quite well
Can I simplify what I think you are saying – are you asking if we think the majority of people who describe themselves as reportage/photojournalist/etc wedding photographes do so because they havent got the skill/experience to shoot a wedding properly? If so, then I think it is probably the case a lot more often than it should be as an industry. It also suits the introvert side of people to not have to interact with people at a wedding and just hang back and photojournalist is a handy tag that sounds good.
So don’t think that choosing a more traditional photographer means that you won’t get that all important informal coverage from your big day, like anything there needs to be a balance so that the end results are as good and comprehensive set as you can get from your wedding day
So if you are wanting a good balance of photography coverage and DO place importance on the informal as well as formal – don’t think you have to believe the hype that some “professionals” would have you believe – and don’t dismiss the ones that offer a more traditional coverage