Wedding photographers run the gamut from beautiful airy posed portraiture that looks like it was pulled straight from a magazine to gritty, raw, unfiltered imagery of a candid-only reportage photographer with a truly streetworthy style. And I’m not judging ANY of that, because just like there’s true love out there for everyone, there’s also a perfect photographer for everyone! Variety is the spice of life, you know. But I will tell you, I think being a documentary wedding photographer is the bees knees. It’s the best of both worlds – a bit of beautiful lightly posed imagery coupled with lots of artistic candid coverage!

When I look back on my own wedding albums and family wedding albums, the images that spark joy in my heart are the ones the show the realness of the day. Some are snapshots capture by friends, images on yellowed polaroids of my mother and her mother together in the tiny church nursery with paneling lining the walls. Shots of my future husband pacing nervously while he waits for guests to arrive. The playfulness of the children in attendance, and the laughter shared between bridesmaids. These are the things that slip from memory so easily, and should be documented and treasured.

I’m so drawn to this imagery, that I’ve made it my mission to document these small moments during the weddings I am blessed enough to photograph. On the candidness continuum, my work is fairly unposed in nature. I try to blend into the background as much as possible during the wedding day, observing and photographing all the little things that occur. Do I take posed portraits? Yes, they are important – first of all, parents love them. But more importantly, after extended family members leave this earth, the images we make documenting their presence at such an important life event will be treasured.  But for the most part? I love me some candids.

Intimate wedding at Morgan Samuels Bed and Breakfast Canandaigua Wedding Photographer

How can you know if documentary photography is right for you?

Do you want to be published in a bridal magazine? If you do, I’m probably NOT going to be the best choice for your wedding day. I believe in PEOPLE > THINGS.  That applies to my approach to detail photos. Do I take them? yup, if there’s time. But when you are looking to be published, the publisher doesn’t care as much about the interactions between a group of cousins who grew up together, or the emotions of a father of the bride who is just so proud of his little girl. I care deeply about that stuff.

Getting ready photos, Documentary Wedding Photographer, Cincinnati OH

Do you want to spend hours on a Pinterest worthy photo shoot with your wedding party? Well I can if you want, I mean I’m fun to hang with and I’ve got some solid posing ideas. But I prefer to work quickly capturing these portraits, so we can get back to the reception. Nearly all of my posed portrait work involves an action based prompt or a thought provoking question that will get your mind off saying cheese.

Are you allergic to taking posed pictures?  Like I said before, I think the posed pictures have an important place in a wedding day, and I’d encourage you to take some posed pictures, especially with immediate family and your new spouse. But if you *really* don’t want any posed pictures, we’ll talk and I can definitely accommodate that request.

Wedding Party overlooking the Seneca Lake, Logan Ridge Estates Wedding, Finger Lakes Photographer

Are you drawn to a realistic and colorful editing style? Look at lots of photographers, you’ll notice that most professionals have a distinctive look to their photos. Many these days have what’s known as the “light and airy” or the “film-like” look where everything has a pastel look. Others will edit “moody” or “earthy” style that tends to be darker and desaturate greens. I’m not any of those. My work is processed to have a realistic look that is a bit on the colorful side. I also like to add a bit of drama in my editing from time to time.

Do you want me to capture EVERYTHING? I’m perfect. Like that’s my jam, man. All the little nuances of a wedding day are what I specialize in. It starts with my collections – I offer unlimited hours with my wedding collections, because I believe in showing up early and staying late. I don’t want to miss a thing.

Oktoberfest Wedding, Cincinnati Wedding Photographer, Biergarten Themed wedding with Oompah Band

Do you think that emotions are important? Laughter, joy, love, nervousness and yes even sorrow and grief? Yup, hire me now. I mean, that’s the meat and potatoes of what I’m all about. I’m practically a Pixar movie up in here, because you can’t fully experience joy without sadness. ALL THE FEELS.

Do you want to display your wedding in an album that truly tells your love story? While this is not a requirement, it is something I offer all couples! These fully designed albums take you through the whole wedding day, from getting ready to the final dance.

Do you like to dance? So do I. You’ve been warned.

Want to see more? Some of my favorite wedding stories can be found below.