Contemporary v. Reportage Wedding Photography

Contemporary v. Reportage Wedding Photography

Contemporary v. Reportage Wedding Photography:

I have decided to write a brief article reflecting my personal views about Reportage and Contemporary Wedding Photography.

First of all, lets take a simplistic look at their definitions:

Reportage is a term usually applied for an eye-witness genre of journalism; it can reflect an individual journalistic reporting of news and events.

Contemporary on the other hand is basically something Modern.

It has recently become fashionable for photographers to market themselves as being from the Reportage stable. But for reportage photography to work, it requires minimal intervention. The photographer should stand back, observe and record events. That is fine and many of my clients place ‘candid’ shots as being high on their wish list. In fact I enjoy reportage and it definitely forms a part of every wedding shoot.

It is reportage style photography when I stand back and shoot wedding photographs from the fringes, often working with a 70 -200 mm image stabilised lens. Another good example might be during the evening session when maybe their is a disco or live entertainment; then I like to put on a 50 mm f1.4 lens and get in close to capture the action and focus on peoples expressions. both would qualify as examples of a reportage style.

Do I therefore consider myself a Reportage photographer, well actually no……. mainly because a lot of my best wedding pictures don’t simply happen. They are planned and often set up. Having the artistic flair to visualise something and then make it happen is a skill not to be underestimated. Many photographers are technically competent, but give them a slightly nervous couple and ask them to get them relaxed and into a flattering pose, that takes your photography to another level and requires good people skills.

I therefore feel in my own case that I lean towards being a Contemporary Wedding Photographer who also uses a Reportage Style throughout the day. I even think there is a sprinkling of Traditional wedding photography blended in, that is especially true when arranging family group shots, which are still used as an important record of who was there on the day.

Lets round off this post by talking about the above photograph. In this example I was photographing the groom, best man and groomsmen at Canonteign House, Canonteign Falls in Devon. This is an example of Contemporary Wedding Photography where I relaxed the group and asked all except the groom to look in different directions. I then asked the groom to look at me and this photograph was the result. I personally like it and one person said it reminded them of an album cover.

At the end of the day there is no right or wrong. There is a blend of styles out there and each is open to artistic interpretation. What matters most is that the client understands the difference and is happy with the end product.

To see more examples of my work, please visit White Petal Wedding Photography © 2013

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