documentary wedding photographer

Why Choose a Documentary Wedding Photographer?

You may have done your research and know exactly how you want a photographer to capture your day. Maybe you’re overwhelmed by all the styles of photography and the sheer number of photographers out there. Perhaps you need a little clarity on what sets a Documentary Wedding Photographer apart from any other type of photographer. I’ve been a London wedding photographer for over 14 years and, in this time, have honed my style and way of working and won numerous awards along the way.

documentary wedding photographer
documentary wedding photography

What is a documentary wedding photographer?

You might hear documentary wedding photography referred to as reportage wedding photography, wedding photojournalism, or candid wedding photography. There are subtle differences between all of these terms, but broadly they amount to the same thing; a photographer who focuses on capturing your wedding day without any intervention, direction, or influence. Imagine that your photographer is a fly on the wall, and focuses on genuine moments. The interactions between your guests and the tiny gestures as well as the big moments. This is all done without interrupting the natural flow of the day. If this sounds like how you want your day to be captured, documentary wedding photography might be right for you. Below I’ll talk more about documentary wedding photography in general, but also my style and way of working.

young wedding guest hiding in a curtain at the Mandarin Oriental in London
documentary wedding photographer

I like to show humour in my work. I look for the unexpected moments and a different perspective on the familiar traditions. The story I want to tell of a couple’s day is the honest one, uncontrived and unpretentious.

If you haven’t done so already, take a look at my “Best of” posts. For the past 10 years, I’ve created an end-of-year round-up to show my favourite images from the year. These will give you an idea of how and what I photograph at weddings. I’m not interested in creating an artificial narrative to your wedding or creating the illusion of fake perfection. I deal in real moments, often raw emotion (the happy & the sad), and always honest and authentic imagery. You can read thousands of wordy posts on what being a documentary wedding photographer entails, but words alone shouldn’t influence your choice. You should connect with the images and think, “yes, I want our story to be told like this”.

documentary wedding photographer
bride in the wedding car with her father

Capturing moments, big & small

I will capture the big moments but not in a formulaic or contrived way. An example of this might be “the wedding car shot”. Traditionally the couple would stand in front of the car and the photographer would take a posed picture. Whilst this might be the ideal photograph for the car hire company to advertise their wares on their website it doesn’t tell your story. When you look back on that photo in years to come, the chances are your memories from that moment will be the photographer directing you and creating the moment. A documentary wedding photographer will photograph your wedding car, but with context and as part of the narrative to your day.

Documentary wedding photography gives a narrative structure to your images

It’s not all about you. I mean this is the nicest possible way! It’s your day and you should – quite rightly – be the centre of attention. However, you are just two characters in the story of your wedding day, and you have a supporting cast! Your friends and family; the people who love you and are there to celebrate with you. A good documentary wedding photographer will tell not only your story but a thousand little stories. Stories with your friends and family at the heart of them. Capturing the quirks and character traits of your loved ones, so that when you look back at your photos, you’ll say, “that’s SO him!”

documentary wedding photographer
documentary wedding photographer

A documentary style that captures the moments that you might have missed

This goes hand in hand with what I wrote above. Try as you might, you can’t be everywhere on your wedding day; there will be moments you miss. Maybe there’s an animated conversation between your wildest friend from uni and your reserved Auntie Sue, your nephew licking the wedding cake when he thinks nobody is watching, or your dad busting out some moves to The Rolling Stones on the dancefloor. (I have this one stored in my memory bank from my sister’s wedding back in 2003). As a documentary wedding photographer, I will hunt down these candid moments and capture them in a beautifully framed, skilfully timed photograph. Usually, the subjects of the photo aren’t even aware they’re being photographed, and the image will be cherished by them as much as by you.

wedding photojournalism
emotive wedding photography
documentary wedding photographer
documentary wedding photographer reviews
documentray wedding photographer

Expect the unexpected

The best thing about weddings for me is that each one is a blank canvas.  I love watching social interactions and find people endlessly fascinating. I am so passionate about being a documentary wedding photographer and I’ve been ranked as the Top Wedding Photojournalist in the UK twice by the WPJA. This gives my couples confidence that they are entrusting their memories to a skilled moment catcher! I always put human interaction at the forefront of every image, so it’s difficult to repeat myself, or create clichés because I never know what people are going to do. As a bride of mine, Alice, recently said to me, “we absolutely love the humorous style of your photography and we’re so excited to see what you end up finding on the day!”

documentary wedding photographer
reportage wedding photographer
groom getting ready on his wedding day photographed in a Seletti lipstick mirror
couple have the first dance with confetti canon

reportage wedding photographer

A Documentary Wedding Photographer Tells the Full Story of Your Day

I shoot with Canon cameras and lenses, and always have, right since the days when I shot on film. Canon has interviewed me twice, once for this article on My Top Wedding Photography Tips and once for their magazine.  Reading them might give you a more detailed understanding of how I work, my wedding photojournalist style, and what I look for as a documentary wedding photographer.

article in Canon magazine about Lyndsey Goddard
Lyndsey Goddard photography
documentary wedding photographer
documentary wedding photographer

Documenting weddings without direction or prompting. Real moments, true emotions, and an authenticity that can’t be staged.

Admiral's House Wedding
wedding photojournalist

Lyndsey has a truly special talent for wedding photography. Her pictures completely immerse you in the emotion of the event and are bursting with the personality of the people. There is a seemingly impossible balance of humanity, reality, art and beauty. It is clear to see this in her portfolio and is what drew us to her in the first place – but it only really hit home how impactful and important this was when we received our own photos. They are such a beautiful connection to our wedding day, so much more so than I thought would be possible from photos, and we really can’t thank you enough Lyndsey for that gift!

Lyndsey is a consummate professional in every respect. From the moment we made contact everything was seamless and we quickly felt 100% confident we were in the very best hands. It was clear she cared about the photography of our wedding as much as we did. She gave us advice and made a huge effort to get to know us and all of that is clear in the way she captured the day. She was a total pleasure to have at the wedding (if she hadn’t been taking photos I think we’d have have invited her anyway!). Without hesitation I couldn’t recommend Lyndsey more highly.

Katie & Matt, married November 2021 at Lime Wood, New Forest

Want to see some more pictures, find out more about how I work, or get an idea of my fees for wedding photography? Hit the links below.


Do you like my style of documentary wedding photography? If you’d like to have a chat about your wedding, get in touch!