The Ferry House wedding
documentary wedding photography Cornwall

So, what is documentary wedding photography?

Jude Photography

I love my job. It is something that I still have to pinch myself to remind me that I do what I do. But the situation could have been so very different. I can honestly admit that if documentary wedding photography did not exist, I doubt very much I would be doing this.

The love and passion I have for wedding photography would not be the same if I was posing people. Luckily, documentary wedding photography does exist and to me, nothing compares to this natural, candid style. It also has helped me create this page titled what is documentary wedding photography?

This question is very popular and I feel it is important to explain not just the main question but the other factors of it.

So, I have listed below the most popular questions in my client consultations when asked what is documentary wedding photography. Hopefully, it helps but please do not hesitate to contact me if I have missed anything.

Q1. What is documentary wedding photography?

Jude Photography

A. Documentary wedding photography is an art in wedding photography that captures people showing their real personality. No posing, nothing scripted. As a result, we can capture real emotion.

A documentary wedding photographer will tell your story with no directing but letting the story flow in a natural way. Photos will be taken in a candid way so you can look back and see things you might have missed. For example, the reaction of your best friend during the all important first kiss.

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Documentary wedding photographer uk
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Q2. Will you pose us as we both hate our photo being taken?

Jude Photography

A. This is such a popular question that I get asked and gents, I feel your pain. First of all, I always tell people that if it is something that I would feel unconformable doing, then why would I do it to you? Especially on your wedding day. I don’t pose you at all, trust me. Being posed is not my thing so please trust me when I say I do not pose you.

My love for natural looking images came from cinematic films. Remember that scene in Titanic when Jack is holding Rose? You know, “I’m flying Jack”! Before you hit back, I am joking of course. Please believe me I will not be making you perform cheesy, cringe-worthy poses like this.

The couple photos is just a time you can both get away from the madness and enjoy some time to chat. All I will ask is not to stand 6ft apart as this would look a bit strange of course. Use this time to chat and catch up on everything that has happened so far. I will then document the natural, unposed shots in a creative way. My love for cinematic films comes in to this part which, as a result, creates beautiful photos for you.

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What is documentary wedding photography

Q3. Will you capture our guests only from group shots?

Jude Photography

A. Group shots (or formal shots) I still recommend to my couples but you don’t have to do them. 10-15 minutes is all you need so your Mum, Dad and Grandparents can get their living room photo ticked off. You really do not want 60-90 minutes of group shots like some photographers opt to do. This takes up so much important time to capture natural, candid photos of your wedding guests.

I can’t stress enough how important photos are of your guests. You are the main attraction of course, but your family and best friends are still so important. A story could not be told without them so they are so valuable. So yes, I love capturing guests in action whilesticking to my unobtrusive approach.

What is documentary wedding photography
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Q4. Do you approach the whole day like this?

Jude Photography

A. Yes. I know some photographers would state that a documentary wedding photographer would not take group shots or couple photos. But like I stated above, the couple photos I do not pose you and strongly believe you need some time away on your own. Formal shots, after a quick roundup, is 10 minutes coverage and it’s very laid back. At this time, we can capture your loved ones as you pictured.

For instance, I don’t ask people how to stand or ask you to not have your hand in your pocket. For example, I will not ask a Bride to stand near a window for nice light OR ask guests to fake a laugh. I shoot in a candid approach all day which as a result, leads to more natural photos.

Q5. How long does a documentary wedding photographer stay for?

Jude Photography

A. Short answer, I stay until the very end of the night. From a selfish point of view, I love music and a party so why would I leave?

On a serious note though, this is when the real fun begins and I would be a fool to pack my gear up after your first dance. Why would I want to miss the endless possibilities of people dancing like crazy? I want to document all of this for you so I am staying!

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Q6. Does a documentary wedding photographer talk to us and our guests?

Jude Photography

A. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. A lot of photographers will stay quiet and look for natural moments whilst shooting in a candid way. Where some other photographers will talk a lot more. Both traits will shoot in the same candid approach but this is purely down to the photographer’s personality. I would say I am a bit of both so for this reason, I will explain a little bit more.

On occasions, I will be a bit more quiet and observing looking for that next fun, emotional moment. Then other times, I will be chatting to you and your guests and you would think I was one of your friends. It all comes down to the environment to be honest.

Be polite & respectful

I think it is so important to always be polite (to me, that’s just a basic human quality) this will make people feel more comfortable anyway. I also think it is so important to dress smart. Respect should always be made to the Bride and Groom so dressing smart is a must for me. It also helps me blend in with your guests so you do not even realise I am your wedding photographer.

This is always a big complement when people state how smartly dressed your wedding photographer was and they didn’t even know I was the photographer. This helps me capture even more candid shots.

What is documentary wedding photography

Hopefully, this has answered some of your important questions. There are so many words that people use like candid, photojournalism, documentary and natural. They all are the same thing to be honest, but some words trend higher than others. I always feel the most important thing after you realise what style of photographer you want, is to research and get to know the wedding photographer. There are so many amazing wedding photographers who will shoot in the same natural, unposed approach. The most important thing is to then think “Would I get along with this person for 14 hours?” “Would I invite this person as my wedding guest?”

Creating a strong bond with your wedding photographer is so important. Get to know each other over a coffee and chat about your love for films, sport, music etc. Once you are comfortable with each other (and this applies for both parties) you will then know your decision is made.


Documentary & Creative Wedding Photography by Gary Jude

Gardeners Cottage, Belhus Park, South Ockendon, Essex, RM15 4QE


What is documentary wedding photography by Jude photography. I am an Essex documentary wedding photographer that covers the UK and destination weddings. I specialise in creative, natural, documentary wedding photography. Photojournalism wedding photography that focuses on the people, emotions, laughter and love. The real moments of a wedding day.