I often get asked, "So, you don't do any wedding photojournalism, do you?" I always chuckle a little at this question but I understand why people ask me. They see my photography and assume it's all posing, grand landscapes, etc. My response is always very simple, "Of course I do wedding photojournalistic photography, in fact 80% of the images from my weddings are photojournalistic."
Why? Well, it's very simple. With the way a wedding is constructed if you tried to to do anything more than 20% posing, you would interfere with the natural flow of a wedding and truly screw up the wedding for the clients, guests, etc. I find the photographers that can do BOTH a photojournalistic approach AND have the talent and ability to be able to be able to pose and create are the most sought after photographers on the market.
I have had clients request for 100% photojournalistic wedding photography, and you might be surprised that I have very happily accepted and honored those requests. They are choosing me for the style in which I shoot the photos, even though they are done in a journalistic way. I still add my creativity and own style to the wedding, the difference is that it's completely 100% unposed.
Conversely I have a lot of weddings where the client wants a lot of my posing and "signature" look where of course I'm very happy to oblige. In my opinion posing is more difficult than photojournalism because YOU as the photographer are responsible for making the shot correct, and if you don't get it right the client will indeed hold you responsible. With photojournalism the pressure is to get the shot right as it happens, because there are no "go backs." You can't say to the client, "Hey, would you mind having that incredibly emotional moment again? My camera settings were wrong and I screwed up the shot."
When I have consultations with my clients and they say they want completely photojournalistic photography I qualify their statement by asking:
- Do you want group photos?
- Do you want photos of you two looking at the camera?
- Do you want pictures in front of anything in particular?
- Do you want to make sure I get shots of you WITH anyone in particular?
99% of the time they answer, "Yes" to at least 2 of these questions at which point I explain that I will have to have some interaction at the wedding to make these things happen. In this day and age I have found that the majority of wedding couples just don't want BORING wedding photography like from the 1970's and 80's where some of the images were truly horrific. They feel they have to ask for photo-journalism wedding photography because they are scared if they don't that their pictures will turn out like their parents.
The answer is that wedding photojournalism and posing not only can co-exist, but they must co-exist. The vast majority of clients in the wedding market require it for their wedding. Having both gives the wedding clients the most comprehensive coverage they can possibly ask for, giving them something they will remember and love forever.
Camera Settings: Nikon D700, 1/320 at f/5.6, ISO 800 at 200mm. Shot at a wedding in Maui, HI, January 8, 2011 by Jason Lanier Photography.