Wedding Photojournalism: 5 Tips

Journalistic wedding photography—the style that offers a candid, insider’s look at the ceremony and behind the scenes—is a much different approach than posed wedding photography, and in many ways, more challenging. Pye Jirsa offers five tips on setting yourself up for success:

“A wedding day is something that happens once in a lifetime. This is a rare event—I don’t want to take pictures that just look like everyday snapshots; I want them to look unique, I want them to really show off the day, and I want them to be fantastic keepsakes for the clients.”

1. Prepare:

Have the right gear for the right moment. This style of photography requires you to constantly be on your toes, ready for a spur-of-the-moment shot that you may not necessarily be expecting. For example, Jirsa suggests having a just-in-case flash attached in case you need to snap a shot that you haven’t set up lighting for.

2. Lock In

Lock in the camera settings that you anticipate using for a certain sequence of photos before the fact, so you don’t miss any great candid shots. This also ensures that all the photos for that particular scene have a cohesive appearance.

3. Anticipate

Place your subjects in an area where the lighting, background, etc. works for your purposes…

4. Look for the “Now” Moment

…then “cue the action,” let your subjects continue doing whatever they’re doing, and wait for the right candid moment to happen.

bride and daughter wedding photo

5. Move

Once you set up the scene and the action has started, feel free to move around to capture various angles and perspectives—different elements and points of view of the story that’s unfolding.

As essential as it is for wedding photojournalism to capture naturally-occurring moments, sometimes a photo doesn’t come together in quite the way you imagined. In that case, you may need to offer a brief, non-intrusive comment here or there that builds on the already-occurring action. As Jirsa puts it,

“Sometimes these moments don’t just occur on their own. You need to coax them; you need to help them; you need to put them in the right position.”

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