A Different Genre
I must have stumbled across this quote about wedding photojournalism several years ago, when I was starting to transition from being a photojournalist to a wedding photojournalist:
“The hallmark of the concept is both perspective and attitude, based on a mandate to be truly reactive rather than proactive, and a dedication to record events as historian rather than director. Content with reality, the wedding photojournalist quietly documents while anticipating action, sensitively observing details and nuance, capturing moments without subjects actively aware of the process.” – Denis Reggie, the Godfather of Wedding Photojournalism
And it took my breath away.
If you ever pursued anything without knowing that it was valid and that there would be a demand for it, you'll also know that sense of calm that washes over you when you know all will be well.
No one had so succinctly defined the kind of photography I wanted to deliver for my wedding clients. That someone had enunciated it so lucidly assured me that I was on the right path.
So began my pursuit at studying Denis Reggie‘s work. To be honest, I wasn't attracted to it because he had photographed the Kennedy's or that he comfortably commanded five figures for his services. No, it was this “hands-off” approach that captured my imagination. I'll bet you see it in my work at Amata Pictures. Take a look!
It was on Facebook that Denis Reggie and I finally connected. I must have asked him a question or responded to something he had posted about wedding photojournalism. What follows is a short interview with Denis Reggie about wedding photojournalism:
We talk about:
– Photographer as a witness, not a director on the wedding day
– How to blend in as a wedding guest to photograph weddings as a photojournalist
– Photographing people without them being aware of the camera
– Why documentary weddings are specific to a particular age group of clients
– How Denis doesn't really use Photoshop to create fantasy photographs
– The Achilles Heels for any new photographer
– Creating consistent lighting, understanding flash to create quality light
– Producing matted albums vs. flush albums for high end clients
– Knowing your client's needs and experiences and delivering on it
– How wedding photojournalists are historians with a camera
– Getting started in the business of wedding photojournalism
– How Denis literally starved for 7 years before making it in his 8th year of business
– Working with wedding planners, banquet managers
– Time, education, practice, staying current all cater to a photographer's progress
– Whether we are sitting in a wedding photography bubble or not; will prices come down?
– There is a market for excellence in wedding photography
– Creating original works of art for discerning clients
The Wedding Photojournalism Gallery
Where Do You Stand?
Are you a photojournalist looking to enter the wedding market? Would you abandon all that you know about narrating visual stories and pose people all day long or would you prefer to work with clients who will respect your work at the end of the day? As Denis Reggie said in the interview, there is no right or wrong approach to wedding photography. If your clients expect (or even demand) a certain approach, then you are in essence only delivering on that promise you are making them at the very start of your relationship.