A lot of wedding photographers say they have a photojournalist style these days, but what exactly does that mean? Are they just picking up some catch phrase and using it? Do they have a background in photojournalism? Are they trying to stage photographs they see in news magazines or papers? Who knows… Maybe all of the above…

What I’m getting at is that you should ask your photographer what his/her style means to them and how their style will capture your wedding day. If you’re a posed picture kind of couple, then, a photojournalistic or art house approach isn’t a match. Conversely, if you want a lot of candid, non-posed, capture-the-emotion-as-it-happens-the-first-time kind of couple, you will be in for a shock if you choose a studio photographer.

And let’s face it, and I don’t say this in a negative way (pardon the photo pun), but some people have an eye for photography and some don’t. Some people can just cook, while I could mess up a grilled cheese sandwich. My wife says it’s a God given talent to truly find what you are meant to do in life and I believe her. Just like Willy Wonka was meant to be a candyman (I’m referring to the Gene Wilder version).

Style is everything, especially when it’s your wedding album and it’s your day. When meeting with clients, I am very specific on defining my style both through viewing my portfolios (I show both my journalism and wedding portfolios) so as to not have any client misunderstandings. I want to be a “fit? to their photographic needs.

Now, I have not covered war, but just about everything else I’ve touched on in some form or another and I won’t lie by saying it was all teddy bears and barns… Some assignments were just plain painful, whether it be from lack of subject matter to gruesome overabundance, but one thing is for sure, I did my best to learn something from every single assignment I went on. Some have stories (as I’ve written about before), some I would rather not talk about, but I carry and play upon those experiences with every new assignment and wedding I photograph.

Emotion is one of the first things I think about when I hear the word “photojournalism.? A good photograph will capture or evoke that in a way that differs among the viewing audience, but it will usually entail a reaction of some kind. Wedding days are great for this as there are a emotions running amuck from let’s just say, the people witnessing the wedding ceremony. There’s the bride and groom of course, and then parents of both (or variations along those lines and then sometimes not at all), relatives, friends (or family) in the wedding party (usually closer), friends, co-workers, and friends of family, and active participants such as the minister/priest, photographer, organist, soloist, other musician, church employees (or location managers), wedding coordinator, etc… And they are all busy remembering or concentrating on different things at the same time.

For example, the bride is thinking about the first time she saw her soon to be husband, the groom is thinking how beautiful the bride is and it trying not to get nervous about the upcoming exchange of vows while the bride’s mother is teary over how gorgeous her little girl looks all grown up and in her dress as the groom’s father prides his son’s choice in such a wonderful woman. A photographer ponders on lighting and composition while splitting his attention between the wedding couple and the parents in the front row for reactions and ceremonial procedures. A friend of the couple thinks about when their wedding will be and wonders if it will be this beautiful, while the organist contemplates keyboard fingering and that tricky page turn in a few measures as the best man constantly checks his pocket for the ring and a bridesmaid keeps herself in check from having childhood memories of her and the bride overtake her composure, etc…

There are a ton of different photographs at any one time and the job of the photographer is to capture those moments so they can be re-lived over and over. It’s the photographer’s job to be in the head of those they are photographing, thinking of possibilities, previsualizing a certain photograph and going to get it (if the time and situation allows). Your photographer’s capacity for this will show in the edit session after your wedding day and ultimately in your album, so make sure we as photographers know what you want and what lengths we’re allowed to go to get those images.

Photojournalists, true photojournalists, are there at your wedding to find a story, and document that in images as a story, one with cohesion, one with emotion, one with reaction. That’s what we do, tell stories with pictures and I love it! The old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and those words are different for everyone.