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Reportage Wedding Photography: Telling the story...

A wedding photographer’s work may appear to be very straightforward, even boring. Don’t you take the same shots every wedding? There is some truth in that; there are pictures which you take time and time again. And THE picture – the over-the-mantlepiece print – will almost certainly be a classical double portrait of the bride and groom.

But it’s the other moments, the unique moments, that set each wedding apart. For me it is very often the pictures that tell a story that stand out. Reportage creates pictures that capture a moment which supplies its own context … or pictures that ask questions that demand a context!

Sometimes the “story” is simply catching the sharing of a joke

Images of the bride and groom themselves will often have something going on which isn’t a standard posed or unposed portrait

Ultimately, wedding photography, unless it is simply the traditional, formal, “Bride and Groom plus Groups” is all about people watching. I love observing, anticipating and catching the laughter and joy of your big day. If you want to capture sometyhing of the atmosphere, as well as simply the formal shots, then you need a wedding photographer who knows how to mix, to be warm and sociable, and yet also how to be invisible, a bit of a fly on the wall.

To contact me to enquire about my wedding photography with this informal, reportage, element, use my Contact Form or just text (07983 787889) or email me at

Bridal Preparations

Photos of the bride herself during preparations are often (though by no means always) not her best on the day, as nervousness and tension is visible in her face. But there is still much story-telling to do. Often the nerves which may not help in photographing the bride actually make for great shots of other people.

Objects that get arranged during bridal preparations often tell a story in themselves

Mirror shots (focussed either on the mirror image or (as here) the back of the subject capture the nervous joy of preparations

The bathroom is often not ideal as a photo location, and the open toilet here is jarring or amusing, but the light is great and the shot cried out to be taken

Children may seem least susceptible to nervous tension – but look at the set of those arms! Helping children – and brides and bridesmaids – feel at ease with your presence and camera at the start of the day is one of the joys of shooting the wedding preparations

Back to the mirror – this time focussed on the mirror image, with bridesmaids showing more nerves as they get their friend ready

The concentration of getting dressed up!

Dad often seems to be the most relaxed – or most inclined to hide his nerves by larking around

Almost Ready

One of my favourite story-telling pictures – taken by my colleague Tim at a Romford wedding we shot together 

Waiting for the Bentley

All is ready, and there is an incredible quiet in the house with mum and bridesmaids now all gone. 

In the Ceremony

The wedding ceremony is a serious moment which photographers need to respect and not disturb – but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be moments that a wedding photographer needs to capture, beyond the set-pieces of vows and rings and kiss.

Watching for the bride and groom’s reactions to the sermon…

… and the reaction as the couple turn to face the gathering as they sit to sign the certificates in the register office.

Through the day

Through the groups and on into the reception, it is the little unplanned moments that will add the spice and drama to the formal, classic shots. This is what reportage is all about.

Other people will want to take pictures – a good wedding photographer will give space for that, but can make their picture taking part of the story too

Be sure to watch for any final touches being done to the cake

So that’s what a Scotsman wears under his kilt!

Tired feet plus new and formal shoes…

It rains more rarely than people think. When it does, reportage photography will capture the weather creatively

… including this shot of the unprotected photographer at work (Tim Harman’s shot of me at a Caterham wedding)

The moment will always arrive…

… where everyone is just gasping for a break and a nice cup of tea

It isn’t good form to photograph adults eating, but reportage of how children are “kept going” through a long day is part of the fun.

When adults are eating, there may still be details to capture – love those nails!

Just occasionally, what’s in the mouth is part of the shot

Covid brought cancellations, restrictions, and was also part of the story of so many weddings…

… and that fact needs recording – the couple can then choose whether to use or avoid the shots with masks

Capturing bubbles on tables can be a challenge – here I uised slow-rear flash to make sure I kept life and movement in the shot

Cameras on tables also create great moments for a reportage photographer

Watch out for the story that will mean something to the family – if you hear that the bride’s little brother is soon to marry his American girlfriend, then make sure you get a good shot of them dancing

And keep an eye on reactions to speeches. In this case it was the groom’s brother who was best man… and he pushed the boundaries enough to get the biggest reaction from his own parents!

Perhaps my favourite ever reportage shot. Again, one that Tim captured at a Sussex wedding we did together, in a marquee beside a stately home that just happened to have free range pigs…

Waiting for the taxi
Still telling the story at the very end of the day

Photos © copyright Andrew King Photography, except for those marked as being by Timothy Harman Photography – Tim holds the copyright

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