There is a big trend at the moment in wedding photography towards storytelling. This has superseded the traditional, posed wedding photographs of generations past, which is now seen as dreadfully old fashioned and terminally uncool.
Today it is all about the story of the day. Instead of stiff, formal photographs taken with artificial lighting and the camera on a tripod, photographers use smaller cameras to stay mobile and capture candid, more authentic photographs that better portray the whole of the wedding day.
At least that is the idea.
I always had this nagging doubt about storytelling wedding photography and I couldn't quite articulate my issues with it, or propose an alternative.
One obvious issue with storytelling wedding photography is whose story is being told? A good photographer will truly reflect how the day unfolded, but the structure of the wedding day can allow some photographers to shoot to a formula that they know works.
I've heard it said that the most dangerous period for a wedding photographer is five years into their career. In the early days it is all new and exciting, and you are pushed creatively. However, once you have a workflow in place you can stop pushing yourself and start coasting. You start telling the story of a generic wedding, with your stock poses, using the same lenses, just swapping out the bride and groom. You end up not telling the unique story of each couple's wedding.
The other issue is that by going into a wedding with the intention of fitting it into a story, it could affect the photographs you take, and the photographs you supply after the wedding. The danger is that you discard some opportunities for photographs because they don't fit the narrative you have in your head, and therefore you don't tell the authentic story of the day.
Imagine that the story you try to convey is one of upbeat happy love. You might discard photographs where the bride looks nervous, angry or sad. You might not show the photographs of the flower girl crying, or the dog photo bombing the group shots.
My belief is that love, and a wedding, is a wondrous and multi-faceted thing that contains a myriad of moods and emotions. To filter out a big chunk of potential photographs on the basis of your own storytelling bias feels wrong or somehow dishonest. Of course, you don't want to show anyone in a bad light, but I think that it more authentic to show a wider range of emotions in your photographs rather than a narrower narrative. It's better to go into a wedding being utterly open.
Life doesn't unfold in a series of ordered, rational entirely understandable events. Neither does a wedding.
My own photography is therefore not storytelling, but trying to convey mood and a range of emotions, and the sheer strangeness and craziness of any given wedding.
If you are looking for honest, authentic and fresh wedding photography for your own wedding get in touch with me here.