Wedding Photojournalism | Wedding Photography at its Best


Adam smokes a cigarette just before he gets dressed before his wedding ceremony at Freeland Hall on Whidbey Island.

Wedding Photojournalism also known as Documentary Wedding Photography is here to stay. Many of the bridal magazines circulating today have conflicting information which only complicates a search for the right wedding photographer.

Often times when a bride looking to sort out the confusion over the term photojournalism needs only read a newspaper and see the storytelling photographs they publish. “Wedding Photojournalism” was coined by professional newspaper and magazine photojournalists to describe the kind of photography they practiced when they accepted commissions to photograph weddings. They were anxious to make sure people would distinguish the difference between the kind of photography they practiced in contrast to the traditional studio wedding photographers whose only work was almost entirely posed and highly styled wedding and portrait photography. Wedding Photojournalist’s work is best described as a documentary approach to wedding photography focusing on real moments, instead of staged moments. Instead of stopping action to get their staged posed shot, they stayed in the background and looked for real interactions and emotions that told the story of the day.

Wedding magazines soon picked up on the new trend and made it the “hot” fashion for wedding photography. This forced traditional wedding photographers to hop on the photojournalism bandwagon as well, including those without the real skills to do photojournalism. What they did was fake the “look” of photojournalism’s real moments by staging faked real moments that almost look like they are are real. the problem is the wedding couple still know every time they see the photo that was faked. Also adding to the confusion, several other styles developed during the same period – elements of fashion photography, beauty photography, and fine art photography were all being used in wedding photography.

Hiring a wedding photojournalist does not mean having to give up on having posed portraits at your wedding. Newspaper photographers have always been assigned to make been portraits of various subjects from movie stars to Presidents and the people next door since the first newspaper photographs were published. Most wedding photojournalists focus on relaxed portraiture – a directed image where the subject may or may not be looking at the camera. While such images may give the impression of being candid, a wedding photojournalist would never try to pass off the picture as a real moment. Wedding photographers to be successful today must dabble in several approaches in addition to newspaper photojournalism, for example mixing in some of the editorial fashion look and not just focusing on only one style in particular.

Some traditional photographers insisted photojournalism was merely a fad or a “buzzword.” But the buzz has persisted and many of the country’s top wedding photographers use a photojournalistic documentary approach. We are now past the point of calling photojournalism a fad. It’s simply what many brides want. With many newspapers across the country laying off their staff photographers due to the rise of the internet, many of the top wedding photojournalists nowadays come directly from the newspaper industry, where they were leaders in the photojournalism field and most of the experienced wedding photojournalists have a great understanding of their digital camera and computer equipment. Today’s discerning brides and grooms will pick the photographer that is right for them based on style and budget. For most of them, true to life real wedding photojournalism by a real photojournalist is the right choice for telling the story of their day.

Photographs by Seattle wedding photographer Daniel Sheehan at A Beautiful Day Photography. His Seattle wedding photography is created in an artistic, editorial fashion with classic photojournalistic style. He photographs weddings using a subtle, unobtrusive, story-telling approach and creates artistic documentary wedding photojournalism. Visit www.danielsheehan,com for other photographs by Seattle Photographer and photojournalist Daniel Sheehan. In addition to weddings, Daniel specializes in portraits, jazz photography and photojournalism for publications and corporations.

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