Documentary Wedding Photography

The real moments of your wedding, artistically captured.  

You've planned out every detail of your wedding for months but the day itself can fly by in a flash.  

You've been to weddings where the photographer was in everyone's faces and ruined the mood.  You want your wedding photographer to be inconspicuous but you want to real moments captured.  You want to see the first hugs, the big laughs and the drunken dances.  

groom excited about his wedding day

Wedding Photography is important to you, and you know that you want a documentary photographer to capture the moments that truly couldn't be recreated.  But you also want those images to feel beautiful and to have that extra "something".  

bride and groom on the last dance of the night

My approach to Documentary Wedding Photography

When I first started photographing weddings over ten years ago, I was really focused on getting featured in the biggest wedding magazines and blogs.  These focus heavily on the "details" of a wedding and tend to be very style based.  They want to inspire your decisions such as what your cake might look like or what flowers are trendy right now.  

As time moved on, I found that the images I was the proudest of were the ones that really captured a moment in time and create an image that showed someone's personality and their emotions.  These weren't the images that the wedding blogs were interested in featuring, but they were the ones that my clients loved cherished the most.  And while I do still love beautiful detail shot, my documentary images are the ones that give me the most professional pride.  

A big part of documentary wedding photography for me is about my mindset on the day and how I interact with your friends and family.  I'll happily chat away with your uncle while I'm shooting, or give a helping hand when needed. 

It should feel more like there's a friend taking your photos than a stranger hiding out in the corner of the room.  And while your guests know that I'm the official photographer on the day, I also need to earn their trust for them to relax and naturally let their guard down, so I can capture those more candid and unguarded moments.   

the ring exchange during a ceremony

Most of my weddings are "single photographer coverage, which means it's just me working on my own.  This works best for weddings that are around 100 guests or less.  While it seems counter-intuitive, less can be more when it comes to photography coverage.  With fewer photographers running around the room, the atmosphere in the room can feel a bit more laid-back and relaxed.  Your wedding day should feel like a celebration, not like a photo shoot.   

I've also heavily invested in "silent shooting" technology.  This allows me to shoot your wedding day without having the constant sound of "clicking" everywhere.  This has become especially instrumental in how I capture wedding ceremonies.  There won't be any of those camera noises that take you out of the moment.  

But most of all, I've found the more weddings that I've shot, the more I become familiar with predicting what was about to happen and the better I became at documentary wedding photography.  From the reactions to the hugs, it became easier for me to plan out the spots I need to capture the moment.  My cameras feel like an extension of my hands and this experience allows me to react to a moment with lighting quick speed.  

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How to have moment driven images at your wedding

Vet your wedding photographer beforehand 

If you can, take the time to have an in-person client meeting with the photographers that you've shortlisted.  You want to feel comfortable with them as they'll be around you for most of your wedding day.  If you're comfortable around the person who is taking your photos, then you'll look more natural in the photos themselves.  

See how they approach weddings and how they create documentary-style photos at a wedding like yours.  Ask about particular photos that you love in their portfolio and find out how they captured it, it'll give you an insight into how they work on the day.   

Look at a full gallery

Viewing a full gallery from a wedding day that is similar to what you're planning. It's the best way to get a feel for the balance between documentary images, the formal photos and the detail shots.  Every photographer always shows what they consider their very best work on their portfolio, but a full wedding gallery will give you a better idea of what your final product will look like.  

Invest in your wedding photography

It can be hard to balance your wedding budget when there so much to plan for and as you're planning you will notice a whole range of wedding photography price ranges, and it can be hard to make sense of why that is. 

Full time, experienced photographers will charge more than someone who may be just starting out in their journey.  From owning expensive gear, plus backup gear, full insurance cover and paying taxes, the expenditures of running a business properly add up quickly.   

So if you want to make sure that you are getting the best possible experience and images from your photographer, and you value having quality images that you will look back on for the rest of your life, consider making photography an important part of your budget.  

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Get in Touch

Complete the form below and tell me about you and your wedding!  You can also email me directly at kari@karibellamy.com.  

If you prefer the phone, you can reach me on +44 78100 16098.

Until I figure out how to clone myself, I can only book a limited number of weddings each year. I also receive many enquiries about the same wedding dates.  If you'd like to get the ball rolling and get your date nailed down, get in touch!