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Wedding Styles: Candid vs Documentary

Wedding Styles: Candid vs Documentary

BY GUEST BLOGGER MIKE GUIBAULT, MPF

The term ‘candid’, when referring to photography, is generally accepted to mean a photograph created that is un-posed or spontaneous. While this style of photography is quite popular, one has to be careful when choosing a wedding photographer in that what you’re asking for is really what you want, and actually what you end up with.

With wedding photography, the photographer is there to capture the essense of the day’s event in order to recreate the day for the couple. Quite often, couples will see the photographs afterwards and comment that they didn’t remember ‘that’ happening, or, “I’m so glad you captured that!” Both of these are reasons enough for hiring a professional. But when it comes to the fun photos of the day, couples these days are asking for this ‘candid’ style of photography.

The thing to keep in mind however, is that candid photography and documentary photography (or photo-journalistic photography) are two very different apples.

An album of candid photographs will end up looking very much like a scrap book, with no real sense of story or consistency of look to them. Documentary photography, on the other hand, will follow the story line and enhance or add to the story of the wedding as it unfolds throughout the day. Each image reinforces the previous one, and leads to the next.

With the advent of digital photography, it is quite easy to pick up a camera and ‘get’ a good picture. The technical aspect of photography has been all but tamed and available for anyone’s use. But, what makes a good, or excellent photograph is not necessarily the exposure, the shutter speed or other ‘technical’ aspect, but the artistic rendering of the moment. Shooting hundreds or thousands of photographs increase the chances of capturing those moments, but a professional knows when to pick and choose those moments and also has the technical skills to do so. Would you rather have a thousand photos that are so-so, or a hundred photos that are meaningful?

There are many new and upcoming photographers in the marketplace these days, more than ever before. Some of these have what it takes to become excellent photographers. Just beware of someone that portrays themselves as a Candid Wedding Photographer, and look at their work. Does it tell a story or add to the story? Are the photographs from different weddings (that they show you), or are they from one wedding and show a consistency of story? You don’t want to take a chance on your wedding day with a photographer that can only produce one or two decent pictures at a wedding. You want one that will be consisently good throughout the event.

If you’re looking for that documentary or photo-journalistic style of wedding photography, ask your photographer what they mean by candid photography. If they say they “don’t do posed pictures”, inquire further and ask to see samples. Be sure you’re satisfied with the answer and not just taken in by some misconception of what wedding photography is all about.


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Guilbault, MPF, AIAP, has been a professional photographer for over 25 years, arriving there from the corporate and retail world. His father was an avid photographer and operated a part time studio in Kingston, Ontario (early 60’s) while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. Mike’s first exposure to photography was helping his father develop and print the portraits in their make-shift bathroom-darkroom.

Click more to learn more about Mike and his company, Mike Guilbault Fine Portraiture