Traditional and Reportage Wedding Photography in Cornwall

I am a wedding photographer based in Cornwall. I take a pride in and am passionate about wedding photography. I will endeavour to explain my interpretation of the differences between the two genres and how both influence capturing a couple's special day.

Reportage Wedding Photography

Reportage Wedding Photography ExampleI believe this style offers the most freedom to both photographer and newly married couple. It is about telling the story of their day without interruption or intervention. Capturing people as they interact in their natural environment at that moment. This style can be the most demanding for the photographer who makes a number of decisions in a split second. In that moment people can display their innermost emotions and it is a skill of the photographer to recognise when that is about to occur, prepare the camera and self, then take the image. How many times have we all tried to take an image but have missed it as it has passed in the time we actually took to take it. These moments are fleeting glimpses into the personality and emotions of the subject.

The beauty of this style is that the most run of the mill situations can be captured to show the dynamics of that split second in time to reveal the most intimate feelings and make a spectacular image. The skill fo the photographer is to show something we take for granted and present it in such a way as to reveal its true beauty, in a way new to the viewer.

We as humans read non verbal communication which is captured in reportage style photography. The make up of the image portrays emotion which we read and connect with. It is this association which we find attractive and thus we like the image, especially when it contains those we love.

As a photographer there is more to consider than just recognising the image for what it is and preparation is key to obtaining that image others will love. Wedding ceremonies are predictable to a degree and thus assists the photographer to obtain those images.

Reportage tells a story and encompasses other genres such as candid and casual photography.

The Challenge

Reportage Wedding Photography ExampleFor the photographer, the challenge is to maintain self control and that of the camera, ensuring the differences in light are compensated for. Also that the images tell a story. Often, there are sub plots within the main theme such as when the bride, who is getting ready, receives flowers from the groom or when parents see the bride in her dress for the first time. Sometimes a single image tells a story in itself. These moments must be accounted for as they go to make up the whole story. Therefore the photographer must be ready to capture those critical moments.

Simultaneously the photographer must account for composition and lighting.

Another key factor is that the photographer does not influence events taking place, such as telling the subjects how to pose as that natural emotion will be lost.

The Image and Photographer

Reportage Wedding Photography ExampleFor the photographer there is a tremendous amount going on at any moment in time so they must know how to get the best out of their equipment. Those present must act naturally and as such must be at ease with the photographer, so that his actions are practically unnoticed. The subjects should be very comfortable within the environment they find themselves.

I always endeavour to meet the couple before the day to discuss the planning and also to help build a rapport with them. This helps them to become more used to me being around them.

I do not interfere with dynamics or processes between individuals as to do so can meet with disastrous consequences. I will not act out of place or turn.

Equipment used influences the picture created and part of my skill is determining which lens or other equipment I can use in the given circumstances to achieve the image I am after.

A lot of photographers will be able to take great images. The key to true mastery is not to achieve this by chance. I know most of the time what image I am trying to achieve.

Subjects should be very comfortable in the environment with the photographer so that they are not influenced. Actions of the photographer should become invisible.

I also have respect for the circumstances and ceremony taking place before me.

The Story

Reportage Wedding Photography ExampleAny story should have a narrative structure and taking wedding images is no exception. The structure should also have a story teller who knows their role. It is no good just blindly taking lots of images. This is, of course, greatly influenced by the wishes of the couple. This is discussed at length in meetings be they personal or via email or telephone. I will endeavour to take the images so that they tell a story as I see it and the couple will know this. Having picked me they should like my style of how I take images. This is also important in any album I produce so it tells the story of the day. This narrative binds the images together and keeps the viewer interested. Each image is an integral member of a family of images that make up the couples' unique and special day.

My Style

The main difference between reportage and traditional photography is that of shooting images for the narrative and not taking images blindly, just for the sake of the content of that image. The narrative helps the viewer recollect their memories of that day and which provokes interest and promotes discussion. An album is a communal item best viewed in company, but can also be enjoyed alone, in private. It helps the viewer resurrect their emotion so they relive those moments.

My style of photography caters for this and I endeavour to attain three approaches for the days shoot; building rapport, gaining familiarity and finally being ignored.


Reportage Wedding Photography ExampleThis happens in the initial stages when I first meet the intended couple. I explain how I conduct myself as a wedding photographer. A prospective bride and groom must like their photographer. After all, this person will spend more time with them than any other on their big day.

I will show images and explain how they were attained. This gives an understanding which promotes rapport.

I always strive to remain friendly, courteous and respectful. The relationship is always a professional one, although many of my past clients are now friends. I will assist whenever I can and often with things other than photographic, about weddings, etiquette and procedure. I have tied many ties in my career as a photographer. I will do what I can to make the day successful.


Reportage Wedding Photography ExampleOn the day in question I will take many shots initially from a distance but gradually getting closer so as to build up a tolerance for the subjects, who get so used to me that they often forget I am there.

If a bride or groom is self conscious I will discuss this with them and offer an 'engagement shoot' which quashes any fears they have about having their photograph taken on the day.

On the day I will interact with guests, talking and laughing with them as well as photographing them. This puts them at ease and allows for more natural photographic opportunities.

Being Ignored

Reportage Wedding Photography ExampleAs a professional wedding photographer it is my intention people will ignore me and not know I am around or forget my presence. This facilitates great natural images. I am assisted by the circumstance and ceremony of the day, along with the emotion that people feel.

I will quickly disappear in the minds of the guests and this enables me to take wonderfully natural images of people. People have commented that they forgot I was even there, which is exactly my intention.

Traditional Wedding Photography

These are images which I will stage and provides a setting which shows the content of the image. Individuals or groups, this is intrusive in that the participants do not act naturally, usually. This style requires a different approach from being passive, to being active and intrusive, instructing people how and where to stand, how to pose etc. I am happy to take charge in these situations and courteously instruct people so as to achieve the best image. This is a staged shoot.

I will look for details and ensure that collars, ties, dresses corsages and flowers along with a host of other variables, are satisfactory for the image.

Traditional Wedding Photography ExampleMost couples want at least some of these and I am happy to provide them. I am used to shepherding large numbers of people and persuading them to do as I ask. Often I hear of photographers who bark orders at people. It must be remembered this is a wedding day not a drill square and people can take offence, which will be the only thing they remember you for in the long run.

I will endeavour to ensure everyone can be seen so that viewers can pick out individuals long after the day.

I will ask, before the day, for details of formal shots they require so that I can have a list and ask that ushers or responsible family members can be provided with that list, to enable them to assist with gathering the next image's individuals for the next shot. This saves valuable time. I usually limit these shots to about 15 as they often take a couple of minutes each to sort. This can therefore take up to half an hour, a long time for the guests. This is another topic discussed at the planning stage.


It is my experience that a successful wedding, no matter what size, requires planning. I have often believed failing to plan is planning to fail. When the day is over the only remaining tangible items, apart from the participants, are the dress and the photographs.

A visual reminder of the day contains the magic of the day itself encapsulated within and therefore the photographer has a tremendous responsibility to capture it the way the couple intend.

A wedding is about a couples relationship with each other and a wedding day depends on their relationship with their photographer.

All relationships thrive on communication and as such I place emphasis on this so that everyone knows what to expect. I strongly recommend couples take care and time over who they have to take their images and how those images are taken.

Digital Photography

Digital format photos are provided as standard with all my wedding packages at no additional cost.

Your wedding DVD is presented with the complete selection of photographs to remember your special day.

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