What is Documentary Wedding Photography? 

Documentary wedding photography is a modern approach to photography that’s rooted in photojournalism. This is a style of wedding photography that focuses on capturing your wedding day as it unfolds naturally, in all its unscripted, candid beauty. 

Documentary wedding photography embraces unposed and authentic moments, like the laughter shared between cousins, a tearful hug with a friend, the stillness when you hear guest’s feet crunching gravel up the driveway, and quiet glances between soulmates. It focuses on emotion and storytelling, with minimal instruction or intrusion by the photographer – almost like having a friend at the wedding (with a lot of experience and a really good camera!) taking photos.

How is documentary wedding photography different from traditional wedding photography? 

While traditional wedding photography typically involves more posed and formal shots, documentary wedding photography focuses on capturing the wedding day as it unfolds. The photographer aims to capture the emotion, atmosphere, and true feelings of the day, where traditional photographers usually focus on and prioritize planning and setting up group shots and portraits and making sure everyone knows where to be and what to do at those times.

Can you still have posed shots with a documentary photographer? 

The answer may vary between photographers, but the answer is often yes. Even though documentary wedding photography primarily focuses on candid moments and documenting the day as it unfolds, most photographers are happy to take some posed shots or offer direction as requested. Some photographers may use a blend of the two styles, and it’s important to discuss this with a potential photographer beforehand so you’re both clear around what is expected on the day of the wedding. 

What are some benefits of documentary wedding photography? 

Creating Safe Spaces Through Photography. More than just a style of photography or a trend, documentary wedding photography emphasizes the safety and freedom that your relationship embodies. It’s about being yourself, being unconditionally accepted, and creating memories that reflect the warmth of being surrounded by loved ones. Documentary wedding photography can also feel more relaxed and allows a couple to feel like they can be themselves within that safe space.

A Safe Haven of Memories. A documentary wedding photographer is not just an observer, but a storyteller that will weave together the moments of your day through beautiful photos. These candid images capture genuine emotion and moments that will be meaningful in the future, and you can create a beautiful album of prints that reflect the story & emotions of your wedding day. Documentary photography preserves not only the present but also your family’s legacy for future generations. You can feel safe knowing that your memories will be captured and preserved in the most authentic and genuine way. 

Capturing Unseen Moments. A documentary wedding photographer will likely be present throughout your day, from early preparations to the final reception dance. Documentary wedding photographers also aim to become near invisible observers, anticipating precious moments before they unfold, and capturing beautiful candid moments between guests. The results will be a collection of stories and moments you didn’t even know were happening at the time, and the couple can experience the day and be more present, knowing that these special memories are being captured by their photographer.


Documentary wedding photography has gained popularity because it allows couples to relive their special day through authentic and genuine images rather than posed and staged photographs. Your wedding day is a beautiful chapter in your lives that deserves to be experienced fully and authentically, and as a documentary wedding photographer, I document your day in the most authentic, sincere, and unobtrusive way possible. 

Together, let’s celebrate your story, your love and the moments that define you through the beauty of documentary wedding photography. Get in touch here!

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