What is wedding photojournalism and why is it so important?

During my career as a wedding photojournalist, I’ve documented wedding days from Saint Tropez to Liverpool. But the one thing I’m constantly celebrated for is capturing meaningful moments couples would have otherwise forgotten. These moments are when they’re gazing into one another’s eyes, laughing with loved ones, or indulging in their first slice of wedding cake– moments when they’re entirely present in their day.

Whether you’re saying I do in England, France, or somewhere further afield, the art of wedding photojournalism is unparalleled. In this post, I’m sharing why photojournalism is the only wedding photography style you should consider for your upcoming wedding.

What is wedding photojournalism?

Photojournalism combines ‘photography’ with ‘journalism’.

Photography (according to The Cambridge English dictionary): The activity or job of taking photographs or filming.

Journalism (according to The Cambridge English dictionary): the work of collecting, writing, and publishing news stories and articles.

Wedding photojournalism tells the story of your wedding through the medium of photography. 

Photojournalistic wedding photography focuses on capturing real events as they unfold in contrast to creating poses and setting up shots. 

The result of working with a wedding photojournalist is that your wedding photos tell the true, authentic story of your wedding, with real feelings, emotions, and events. Because photojournalism is rooted in reality, it makes returning to your wedding day easier and will inspire the authentic emotions you felt that day.

Wedding Photojournalist versus photographer

The main difference between wedding photojournalists and photographers/fine art photographers is the method. 

A wedding photojournalist blends into the background of your day, documenting true events, whereas a fine art photographer will likely take a more frontal position. Fine art photographers usually work by creating poses and setups to photograph, while a photojournalist will work with the natural events and ongoings of a scene.

What’s better, a wedding photojournalist or photographer?

The most important thing to remember when choosing your wedding photojournalist/photographer is that high-quality work and professionalism is your biggest priority. Ensure the photographers you speak with are reputable, friendly, and knowledgeable about their craft.

Next consider what kind of photography you desire. Some will be one-hundred-per cent set on having a wedding photojournalist. Other couples will want a more editorial style of wedding photography. And some people (maybe you) are still asking themselves ‘why photojournalism?’ / ‘Why fine art?’

Firstly, breathe. You will make a decision, find an amazing wedding vendor, and cherish your wedding photographs forever. And I’m here to help you decide which style of wedding photography suits you best.

Shall we start with a traditional pros and cons list? 

Just one final thing. Remember, every couple, wedding, and relationship is different. Just because your cousin had an amazing fine art wedding photographer whose work is lighting up their Instagram feed, that doesn’t mean you have to. Your wedding day is personal to you, and so are the choices you make. 

Pros & Cons of hiring a wedding photojournalist

The biggest benefit of working with a wedding photojournalist is accuracy; the photographs your photojournalist captures are the next best thing to hopping in a time machine and travelling back in time to your wedding day.

However, if you’re someone who enjoys photoshoots, has specific shots in mind, or wants a well-curated set of images, photojournalism isn’t the right choice for you. 

I always work with my couples to ensure we have all the photographs they desire (this means you won’t miss those all-important couple shots), but we don’t designate hours of your wedding day taking photos. Instead, I’ll be working behind the scenes and will interject with natural, verbal prompts if I envision a shot that I need your assistance with. 

You can learn more about my techniques and your wedding photojournalism here.

Another reason couples love collaborating with wedding photojournalists as opposed to fine art photographs is ease and comfort. Instead of standing and awkwardly posing in front of a camera (trust me, I know what it’s like to not love being in front of the camera), you can enjoy your wedding day in the moment.

Photojournalistic wedding photography is ideal for the camera-adverse couple who don’t want to sacrifice breathtaking, emotional photographs just because they don’t love posing.

Pros & cons of hiring a fine art wedding photographer

Wedding photojournalism isn’t for everyone. Couples who enjoy being photographed and have a vision they want to materialise are better suited to the orchestrated nature of fine art photography.

Fine art photography gives you complete control over the result of your photographs. The poses, props, and location are all decided before shooting, and your photographer will take time directing and shooting you and your wedding party.

However, fine art photography means not capturing the true essence of your wedding day and dedicating substantial time to wedding photographs. You’ll be sacrificing time talking with loved ones to pose for your photographer. And, if you have a large wedding party, you need to be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to these photographs (which can be boring if you don’t love posing!) When you look back on these photographs, you’ll see the details of your day, but the emotions and atmosphere won’t be true-to-life and will remind you of the photo shoot and not the joyous moments.

Why does photojournalism matter?

Photojournalism matters to couples seeking authentic wedding photographs that reflect the reality of their day. Unlike fine art photography, photojournalism captures true events as they unfold and these photographs come together to tell the story of your wedding day from beginning to end.

Should I hire a wedding photojournalist?

Wedding photojournalism is perfect for couples who don’t love posing, want to live in the moment and care about experiencing their wedding day through the art of photography. However, those who prioritise editorial images and want set photographs of their wedding day are better suited to fine art wedding photographers.

Ultimately, it’s your choice which style of photography you choose for your wedding. I advise sitting down as a couple and expressing your photograph expectations and desires. Use this blog post as a guide to decide which style of photography better suits your needs. 

If you decide wedding photojournalism is the right choice for you, you can learn more about the Lawrence Banahan European wedding photojournalism experience here and contact me here.

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