Photojournalism by definition is: the job or activity of using photographs to report news stories in magazines or newspapers. Recently I got an email from a bride saying that she loves my photojournalistic approach, and it got me thinking.. If photojournalism is using photographs to report news stories, what is photojournalism (or PJ as some may call it) in wedding photography? Over the last 9 years that I have been doing weddings I have noticed an explosion of wedding photographers. Maybe its because technology has made it easier for people to pick up a camera and teach themselves? Maybe its the abundance of photography workshops and literature that has come about since this technology has improved? Either way, wedding photographers (myself included) are constantly trying to find ways to set themselves apart from every one else by defining their style. Most recently, and one of the more popular choices being “Wedding Photojournalism”. I tried looking this term up in the dictionary and came across this from Wiwkipedia (Websters Dictionary didn’t have a definition): A wedding photojournalist is a person who takes photographs during a wedding using an alternative approach where images are captured spontaneously to emphasize moments and emotion.
Now, I do not have a degree in Photojournalism, in fact my area of study was Fine Art Photography. I like to think of myself as a photographer who is able to capture all sides of the wedding (candids, portraits, emotion, guest shots, details, etc..), telling a story through the day using various different styles, including a “photojournalistic approach”. But what defines this approach and how does one recognize it? To be a photojournalist you need to not only know how to compose an image correctly, put yourself in the moment and anticipate when those moments are going to happen, shoot the subject with them even knowing you are there or moving around them, but also shoot the image in an unobtrusive way. This means that if there are clothes all over the floor or the bed is not made, I should either shoot the image with the room in exactly the way I walked into it with out moving a thing, or find an angle that eliminates this from the image with out anyone knowing I am taking their picture.
To me, wedding photojournalism is not necessarily about the angle, the width of the lens I am using, or the technical composition. Its more about capturing the moments most people would not know are happening but that still tell a part of the story.
Below are some images from weddings I have done over the last few years that I would consider to be “wedding photojournalistic” style, my subjects probably had no idea I was even taking these until they saw their wedding gallery. They may not be true to the technical definition but isn’t art subjective anyway?
As I was looking through these weddings it also occurred to me that I hardly ever post these candid “PJ” moments from the wedding day, I will try to be better about that from now on 🙂