Documentary Wedding Photography

A bride and Groom waiting to join their guests at Fawsley Hall, Northamptonshire. 

Our approach and style

If you want unobtrusive, friendly and natural wedding photography for your wedding day, then a documentary wedding photographer will be ideal for you. Instead of lots of stiff, formal and awkward posed photos, we will give a record of the day. Who was there, what happened, who did what, and so on! We always work together as two photographers at EVERY wedding, and are with you and your guests all the way from getting ready (both of you) through to at least one hour after your first dance. 

A father of the bride sees his daughter in her wedding dress for the first time. Documentary Wedding Photography by Sam and Steve Photography


Although there is an increasing number of photographers now claiming to be Documentary Wedding Photographers, in our opinion only a few really work this way.  Over the last 5 years, and over 100 weddings, we have learnt to anticipate important moments in the day.  We mingle amongst your guests, listening to the conversations and being ready for the all important laugh or hug.  The Fuji cameras we now use are ideal for this way of working, being small, very quiet and discreet (see our blog here if you would like to know more about our cameras).  Often at our weddings the guests don't even realise there are professional photographers working at the wedding, which makes our day! 

On the day, we start with your preparation; both of you.  We arrive independently for the ceremony, capturing the formal part of the day from the front and back of the room.  We both photograph the speeches, looking for reaction from your guests as well as the actual person making the speech.  We stay for your first dance, and for at least an hour after for the partying. (It's our favourite bit of the day....).  We only stop taking photos when you eat.  When you get your photos, rather than having lots of stuffy, awkward looking formal photos, you will instead have lasting memories of your day that will make you smile and to cherish for your life ahead together.

Good documentary wedding photography should tell a story. Have a look at the two photos below; the first one is the father of the bride seeing his daugher in her dress, the second is him hugging her. See how they go together?

Father of the Bride seeing his daughter in her dress. Photography by Sam and Steve Photography
Father of the bride hugging his daughter, bride to be. By Sam and Steve Photography.

Below are some more examples of our story telling approach; don't forget to check out our featured wedding blog as well!

Some FAQ's

Do you take group photos?

Yes, of course we will take a limited number of group photos for you.  We ask for a list of the groups you would like before the wedding day, and a groomsman to help us get the people together.  Sam will set up the groups, and Steve takes the photos.  We suggest no more than 6 to 7, this was we get the photos taken in around 20 minutes.  You can then get back to enjoying being with your friends and family, and us to our documentary approach. 

will you take formal photos of the two of us?

Whilst most of the images we will take of you both will be as part of our telling the story of the day, we will of course take some (slightly) more formal pictures of the two of you.  We usually leave these until later in the day, often after the wedding breakfast.  In the summer, the light is lower and less harsh at this time, plus your guests will not miss you if we "borrow you" for 10 minutes or so.  However, we don't ask you to pose elaborately, but merely just have some quiet time together whilst we take some relaxed photos. 

How many photos do we get? Are they copyright free?

We typically take around 2000 images together at a wedding.  We select and edit these down to the best 400 (minimum) that represent the day in total.  You will receive these is a gorgeous Sim Imaging Photo Folio with a USB key in the back.  You and your guests will also be able to view photos and order prints from a secure, password protected hosting site.  With regards to copyright, whilst technically we own and retain the copyright to every image we take, we give you full print and sharing rights to the images we give you.  We do ask you not to significantly change them (say with Instagram filters) and share them however, as this then is no longer our work. 

what mix of colour and black and white photos will we get?

Its impossible to be specific on this until we edit your wedding photos.  However we do typically provide at least 30% black and white images to our couples.  Black and white works especially well where colour would distract from the emotion of the image; joy, tears, laugher.  Black and white photography is a particular favourite of Steve's from his film and dark room days, and we would be particularly interested in hearing from couples that would like all black and white images!

What happens if one of you is ill and can't attend our wedding?

Although this hasn't happened in over 5 years and over 100 weddings, of course it could happen. in the unlikely event that one of us can't photograph your wedding due to ill health, we will make every effort to bring a replacement photographer.  We have an extensive local network of professional photographers that we know and trust and we will reach out to find a stand in.  In the extremely unlikely event we can't get a stand in, we would provide one photographer and refund 30% of our fee. 

do we need to provide food for you on the day?

As we are typically photograph for between 10 and 12 hours at a wedding, we will naturally need to eat something!  We recognise however our couples have a lot of expense on their wedding day and don't expect you to feed us, although we are extremely grateful if you do.  We do though ask you to let us know before the day, in case we need to bring our own food with us. 

do you take video at our wedding?

We aren't videographers, and if you want full video coverage at your wedding you will need to contact a professional videographer (we know some good ones ).  However, our Fuji cameras can take high quality video clips, and we can provide short video footage within a photo slide show if wished. 

Can you provide a photo booth?

It's not really our style.....but if you do have one we will for sure take photos of your guests having fun around yours!

Can you recommend a venue, cake maker, dress shop, etc, etc

We have an extensive network of wedding professionals throughout the Thames Valley.  If you would like us to recommend a supplier, just get in touch through our contact page

how long will it take for you to get our photos to us?

This does depend very much on the time of year.  At the height of summer, when we are busiest, we may have 4 or 5 weddings we are editing at the same time.  Typically we get the images uploaded to the hosting site within 6 to 8 weeks.  The USB folio takes around 10 days once ordered, the albums around 4 to 6 weeks. 

have you photographed same sex weddings?

We love photographing couples in love, whether bride and groom, bride and bride or groom and groom!  We are happy to show you examples of any of our weddings. 

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