A wedding photojournalist is a person who takes photographs during a wedding using an alternative approach where images are captured spontaneously to emphasize moments and emotion. Much like photojournalists for the media, wedding photojournalists present the story of the day through their photographs. A wedding photojournalist typically shoots images quickly using available light or on-camera flash rather than using traditional, formal posing techniques and studio lights. The phrase wedding photojournalist has been in vogue for at least 10 years and has now become almost synonymous with normal wedding photography.
Publications such as Life, Sports Illustrated and The Daily Graphic began using photographic technology to enable the photographers to use photojournalism to tell a story through observation of scenes instead of staged poses and photos.
Style and Technique
Wedding photojournalists consider themselves to be photographic storytellers. Most wedding photojournalists value shooting techniques that minimize posing and scene manipulation. Their goal is to be as unobtrusive as possible while capturing the reality of the event with little interference. They focus on finding moments during a wedding that happen naturally, rather than setting up portraits.
Most wedding photojournalists still provide wedding group photos, often referred to as formal wedding portraits. The main difference here is that these are typically less rigid and make up only five to 10 percent of the entire coverage. Wedding photojournalists commonly use an on-camera flash or take the portraits outside instead of using elaborate lighting set-ups for these portraits.
The development of digital photography has evolved the photojournalistic approach to wedding photography. Evolving camera technologies have allowed photographers to take more images than ever before, however this informal style of wedding photography is much more than snapping candid photographs. The craft requires a strong sense of composition, lighting, timing and editing. Wedding photojournalist predominately use available light in order to better record the atmosphere and minimise disturbance to the couple. Wedding photojournalists typically use online photo galleries to display their edited images, or deliver the digital files to their clients as well as albums. Many times, the images are presented in chronological order to better tell the story of the day.
Because photographs were shot on the fly, exposures probably weren’t optimum. They often required post processing, and it is common for photographs to be delivered more than a week after the wedding.
The Wedding Photojournalist Association was founded in 2002 and is an international, membership-based organization dedicated to wedding photojournalism. The association is a networking organization for wedding photojournalists, as well as a search engine allowing individuals to research different wedding photojournalists. Every year there are five main contests, 4 quarters and one of Bride Magazine. They accept Trash the Dress contest category in 2008. The WPJA has an online magazine called WedPix.
- Hurter, Bill. The Best of Wedding Photojournalism (Amherst Media, 2004).
- Giselle P. Kasilag (August 27, 2001). “A different view of weddings.” ‘’Business World.’’ Retrieved 2009-10-05.