Documentary Wedding Photographer | David Stubbs


Are you looking for someone to photograph your wedding in a documentary style?

This is information all about being a documentary wedding photographer, in the UK and beyond. But why am I posting about this? Because this is exactly how I shoot. Documentary or candid photography is a mindset that I have adopted to allow me to take much better photos. No stopping, no posing, just real moments captured during your celebration. This post will explain it all. Getting married? If a documenting approach is exactly what you wanting for your wedding?

100 of the best wedding photographs taken with a documentary style

Throughout this gallery are all my favourite documentary photos I have taken over the years. Which are your favourite? Do you prefer black or white? There is a good mix among these images below.

If you are getting married, please GET IN TOUCH to see if I am free for your wedding.

Available For Couples Who LOVE Photography, But HATE To be Posed

documentary wedding photographer

What does it mean to photograph a wedding in a documentary style?

Every photographer has a different idea to what shooting documentary actually means. All I can explain is how I work at a wedding day. Documentary photography is about capturing real moments of real events of what actually happened. If something is posed then it can look great – perfect light and composition. But the most important factor in any capture is MOMENT! Moment is what wins every time and only an observant mindset can get this. So instead of waiting to conjure something up that would later, after your day, mean nothing to you; why not just forget about them? Just forgetting you have a camera supplier around will mean something to you. A wedding photographer who shoots documentary will work hard for you to capture memories for you.

‘A moment is fleeting and quickly forgotten, have it captured forever’

photography in a documentary style

Award winning photographer at weddings

I have been very lucky to have won many awards for my documentary wedding photography. Fearless is arguable one of the most highly acclaimed awards anywhere in the world and I have been delighted to win many accolades from them. I can’t post every photo I have won an award for taken with a document approach, but below is a gallery of just a handful for you to take a look through. My inspiration comes from the greatest documentary photographers there have ever been. You can see some of the most iconic photographers.

award winning documentary photo
award winning Manchester wedding photographer
cat wedding photo

The importance of storytelling by documenting

Life is one big story. The story of what you do, who you meet and what happened. Storytelling is at the very heart of the documentary approach. It isn’t just the big and obvious story that is happening – that is the wedding. Bride/groom preparations – the ceremony – the celebration – food – speeches – dancing. Most weddings follow this format and you would have to be a poor photographer to miss any of these obvious parts. The documentary photographer looks for much more than this and captures the micro-stories that are happening too. Documenting little stories such as the kids playing wild, the grandparent who is falling asleep, the half drunk father of the bride, the dynamics of all the import guests you have invited. Story telling is integral to wedding photography, and only the style of documentary captures it so well.

documentary style wedding photograph

For couples who LOVE photography, but HATE to be posed

This is my motto and everything I stand for. I offer a very high-standard of photography that wedding couples want, but I do not pose – EVER. I understand how uncomfortable it is to have a camera in your face. Do you just want to be left alone to enjoy your day? Spend as much time as possible with you loved ones? Have the best wedding ever? Then I am the photographer for you. Please check I am available.

bride an groom new years eve kiss

Great wedding photographs shouldn’t need to be posed

In fact the great photos are never posed. If you sourced all the best and most memorable images every taken on this planet, you will find they were taken candidly. Photo-journalists, press, news, and now weddings – documentary is the only way. This is a specific genre of gallery that describes what happened. It is a record for future generations to re-live. It is used to chronicle events that happened to teach us historical events with the camera. It is my passion and what I love. This is how weddings should be photographed – in a truly documentary way.

Documentary wedding photos to provide special memories

I became an unobtrusive photographer because my wife and I got married ourselves this is exactly what we wanted. We just wanted a documentary photographer to take images on our day that would provide us with special memories. We struggled to find a good one, so I became one instead. Having those treasured moments captured and to keep forever is so important. Whether you are framing the prints, or hanging a canvas on the wall or just keeping the images digitally to view on computers. These documented photos will be with you forever. Investing in a natural and timeless photographer for your wedding is a must and I strongly recommend it.

award winning documentary photography

Is it all black and white photography?

Not always, but sometimes it is essential. Colour can be very districting. Instead of looking at the emotion moment between the bride and bridesmaid, you see the flowers because the colour is so striking. The flowers are important photo to be taken, but at this time. This recorded moment is about an emotion moment that needs to be recorded. For this reason, changing the image to black and white helps the viewer to enjoy what the photos is actually about. However, colour plays such an important role in most weddings. Therefore I try to put as may photos in colour as I can, even if taken in a documentary style. Usually it works out about 1/3 black and white, 2/3 colour.

Relaxed and natural wedding portraits

Any documentary photographer will spend most of the day just as an observer and will not stop and pose anything at all. However, for maybe the parents at least, some formal posed portraits are required. So if you would like some relaxed but posed group photos, even though these are not considered documentary, this is no problem at all. When it comes to couples portraits, if you want them that is, these can still be taken in a documentary approach. All I ask you to do is go spend some time together. Maybe have a walk around the ceremony location, or the reception drinks area of your venue, or even a trip down to the pond. Enjoy your time together on your wedding day without the fuss of frantic guests.

relaxed couples photography

What I can expect if I hired you to photograph my wedding with a documentary approach?

You can expect hundreds of photos you will love forever. Documenting in this way will mean each and every one of them will be meaningful and special to you. You will not be left to feel awkward during your celebration. Your guests will be allowed to have the bets day possible. The atmosphere on your day will be even better than you can imagine. Documentary wedding photography is a way of life for me. It would be a pleasure to capture your day.

real moment at a wedding captured
documentary wedding photography

What photography equipment to use when photographing with a documentary mindset?

Of course, any photography equipment can be used, from an iPhone to professional camera. But having the very best gear certainly makes it easier to press the shutter just at the right moment. I use Sony camera bodies and lenses, with 35mm being my favourite focal length. You will not see me with a telephoto lens zooming in and out, this just makes you lazy. Most of the documentary photos displayed on this page were using the 35mm, with the occasional one with 85mm. Other than the dance floor I never use flash either as this can be so intrusive to bride and grooms, and all guests. Documentary is a mindset about capturing everything for real, I want to do that for you.

award winning wedding photo somerset

Below is the full gallery of  captures, making 100 in total of the best taken by a wedding photographer that captures documentary moments.

celebrating after the chuppah Israeli dancing thrown in air wedding

Getting Married?

Are you getting married and looking for a photographer who captures moments as they happen, telling the story of your day? A reportage or documentary approach is exactly what you need for you wedding. Photography that is both natural and real is so important in recording those events you want to treasure forever. Please have a look through the documentary wedding photography images presented here. Have a feel if they speak out to you and you can imagine yourself as a bride and groom in these pictures. If the answer is a resounding yes! Then please get in touch to find out if I am free for your wedding date, and what I can offer you. You can see more of my portfolio if you wish.

looking for different angles

Why you should hire a documentary wedding photographer?

Hiring a wedding photographer with a documentary style is crucial for capturing authentic and candid moments that tell the unique story of your day. Unlike traditional posed photography, documentary photographers focus on capturing genuine emotions, spontaneous interactions, and the natural flow of events without much interference. This approach results in a wedding collection that feels organic, emotive, and truly reflective of the atmosphere and personalities involved. Documentary wedding photographers are skilled in capturing fleeting memories that might otherwise go unnoticed: a tearful embrace between the bride and her father, a spontaneous burst of laughter among friends, or a quiet, intimate exchange of vows. These moments not only convey the depth of emotions but also add a richness and narrative to your wedding photos.

Moreover, a documentary style photographer brings a storytelling element to their work. They are adept at capturing the essence of the venue, the ambiance of the day, and the interactions between guests. Every image becomes a piece of a larger narrative, documenting not just what happened, but also how it felt to be there. This style of working also allows couples to be more present and enjoy their celebration without constantly posing for photos. The photographer works discreetly, blending into the background to capture genuine moments as they unfold naturally. This results in a more relaxed and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

When hiring a wedding photographer with a documentary style, you are investing in more than just images; you are investing in memories that capture the true spirit and emotions of your wedding. These photographs become cherished mementos that transport you back to those special times, allowing you to relive the joy and love shared on your wedding day for years to come.

Get In Touch

The above natural photos represent how I work at weddings. Shooting in a documentary way is what I love the most. Whether you are a bride, or a groom looking to have the most special and memorable day, when you walk down the isle, carrying your bouquet of flowers and wearing the most beautiful gown, this is the best photography for you. Please get in touch to see if I am free for your day.

Looking for a photographer, I capture weddings anywhere in the UK, and abroad, in a true documentary style? 


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Manchester Wedding Photographer | David Stubbs 2024