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Wedding Photography FAQ's

Scroll down to find the answers to some of our couple's most frequently asked questions about wedding photography

What is a documentary wedding photographer?

Documentary wedding photography (sometimes referred to as candid or reportage wedding photography) is the taking of unposed, candid imagery without the photographer directing the action.

This may be the simplest definition but there’s of course rather more to it and you can simply click here to find out about our documentary wedding photography approach in much more detail.

Does a documentary photographer still do groups and/or portraits?

Traditional wedding portraits and groups are never a documentary wedding photographers primary focus and some documentary photographers will not offer them at all. However most shooting in a documentary style (ourselves included) are still happy to do a limited number of group photographs or portraits at the couples request.

But the more classic wedding posed portraits may not be a reportage style wedding photographer’s focus, portraits are actually something that we look for all the time through every stage of a wedding. Documentary portraits still encapsulate the finest traditions of photographic portraiture but are captured entirely in the moment without any direction or interference from the photographer.
Click here to read about documentary wedding portraits in much more detail!
Street photography at weddings is an artform mastered in this exploration of light, shadow, composition and layering by York Place Studios. Groom, seated centre front, smokes a cigarette with his face in bold shadow. behind a scene unfolds involving a woman in a white dress, her face also partially in shadow, and a man holding his hand to block his eyes from sun. Right at the back of the image a man in a bold blue and orange ensemble stands in a doorway holding a glass. The image is captured in the courtyard of a Tudor style house

What is Street Wedding Photography?

Whilst street wedding photography may sound as simple as photographing a wedding taking place on a street, photographically speaking it’s a little more complex than that. Street wedding photography is a term used to describe a style of photography that combines elements of documentary wedding photography with elements of street photography.

Whilst classic documentary wedding photography could typically be described as a relatively literal record of what happened on a wedding day, street wedding photography, whilst still completely unposed, introduces further elements of storytelling created from the mind of the photographer through creative composition, observation and communication and is often based around ideas of humour, symmetry, use of light and shadow and multi-layered imagery.

You can read a more in-depth article all about Wedding Street Photography here

bride and groom running through confetti

Do I need two photographers for my wedding?

Whilst many photographers shoot solo, the choice of whether a second photographer is needed generally comes down to either the photographer’s style of shooting or the practical necessity of being in more than one place at a time to capture simultaneous events (or both!).

We personally always prefer to shoot as a duo as this allows us the opportunity to explore the stories of your wedding in more depth, be fearless in our pursuit of original imagery and offer different perspectives of the day whilst still ensuring that the central storyline is always at the forefront of our minds.

Will my photographer need to use flash during my wedding ceremony?

Whilst some photographers may find the limited use of flash photography during the ceremony is necessary for their style, most photographers (but especially documentary wedding photographers) choose not to as it can distract from the ceremony itself.

For us, we believe that flash can be distracting and take you out of the moment not only in the ceremony but in any part of the day and choose to never use flash partially for this reason. More important though is our desire to capture the true feel and atmosphere of a wedding, and to us that means embracing the available light just as it is and not altering the memory of a scene with additional lighting.

Does my photographer need to visit my venue before the wedding?

Whilst some photographers find commencing a site visit or having worked in a wedding venue previously to be an advantage this is not always the case. Whilst portrait-based photographers may wish to seek potential backdrops to their photographs in advance, ultimately for non flash users it is the available light on the wedding day itself that will likely define the best areas to shoot in.

Whilst there are certainly exceptions to the rule, for most documentary wedding photographers or street wedding photographers there is often little or no advantage to having previously encountered a particular venue, as the spontaneous nature of this style of photography and the people based approach means that it is impossible (and often unhelpful) to plan specific shots ahead of time.

Videographer and photographing with a phone

Do documentary wedding photographers work well with videographers?

Professional wedding photographers and videographers should of course always be doing their utmost to work together throughout a wedding day and mostly do so without any problem. However it’s important to consider the individual styles of your wedding photographer and videographer before putting them together as, whilst in 99% of cases photographers and videographers work together seamlessly, there can occasionally be clashes of style that can inadvertently lead to some difficulties during certain parts of a wedding day. For example if booking a documentary wedding photographer it’s important to understand that to get their best imagery they will largely be working spontaneously from moment to moment, so booking a videographer with a carefully orchestrated, pre-planned structure to their shots may not always be the best fit, and vice-versa.

For our part we love working with videographers and are happy to work with anyone. If you’re looking for a videographer that shares our documentary style though we of course recommend our own York Place Films!

Click here to find out more about the similarities and differences between wedding photography and videography and how we work together as documentary photographers and videographers.

Do I need coverage of us getting ready for the wedding?

The idea of having someone photograph your preparations on the day of the wedding might sound a little strange, but on your wedding day you never know when the most powerful moments might occur …

The amount of coverage you wish to have on your wedding day should be entirely your choice (and here at York Place we offer multiple packages at different price points for different hours of coverage for precisely that reason), but photographing the “getting ready” part of the day can be more productive than it perhaps initially sounds. 

To us, the getting ready section is not about the act of getting dressed, it is about the anticipation, the connections of family and friendship that often surround this part of the day. Some photographers will see this part of the day as a solitary, almost ceremonial act, perfect for portraiture. But for documentary photographers it is the feeling of community that makes this part of the day special.

So it is absolutely not a necessity to have the preparations photographed (and many of our couples choose not to), but it can be a great opportunity to capture the relationships you share with the people you choose to include, as well as a good opportunity to get used (and gradually forgetting about) cameras being around to capture your day.


Do I need a wedding album?

In an age where we all carry around devices on our person capable of holding an infinite number of photographs, it’s natural to ask “Do I really need a wedding album?”

The logical answer of course is no. If the aim is solely to be able to view your photographs then a phone or computer screen is a great way to view them regularly and have them available at all times. And yet, in our own experience, there’s something inexplicably more powerful about a printed image than one that’s digitally reproduced. Perhaps it’s connected with permanence; that feeling of something being crafted and produced in a physical way rather than just being seen that leads to more of a connection with the photograph. Perhaps its to do with scale – certainly we notice far more details, textures and shades in a printed image than we do on a screen. Maybe it’s the lack of separation – seeing something not through a piece of glass filled with pixels but physically holding something in your hand. It’s impossible to say exactly what the cause is, but there is simply something that feels more connected, more nostalgic about a printed page than a digital one.

So to us a wedding album, whilst not technically essential, is one of the best investments you can make in your wedding, even if you wait until months or years after the event to have one. An album is not about instant impact, it’s about lasting effect. Your album is an heirloom, a book of memories that can be passed from generation to generation. A story that, certainly in the case of documentary photography, tells future generations so much not just about your wedding day, but about you; about who you are and the relationships you share. 

Weddings are not really about traditions and white dresses, they’re about memories. And to us, those memories are worth keeping safe and reliving the way that they were always meant to be seen.


We hope these quick summaries help you to understand just a little more about the documentary (and street documentary) style of wedding photography but if you’d like to find out more you can check out all of our deep-dive articles below or click the contact button to get in touch and we’ll be happy to chat all about how we personally approach the documentary wedding photography style!

Read more articles about documentary photography and videography