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  • Writer's pictureGiovanni Rusconi

The wedding reportage style

The wedding reportage style just after the ceremony

The bride and groom address the world after the ceremony as a married couple for the first time. The guests are close and this is the first time they share the joy of the newlyweds, welcome their wishes and celebrate the new union. If the photographer were to intrude at this point to take posed photographs, the ambiance and sense of the occasion would be instantly destroyed. Instead, this is the best opportunity all day to use the wedding reportage style to take photos.

Photojournalism, or reportage style wedding photography

Photojournalism, or reportage style wedding, has many similarities to journalistic photography focusing on human subjects. It's about recording events as they happen, with zero or limited interaction between the photographer and the subjects. The photographer's skill lies in anticipating the movements of a situation as it is unfolding to find himself in the best angle to capture the sequence.

Reportage photography should have a natural but professional touch, reflecting expressions, joys and emotions. Without these elements the images would be lifeless and affected. A very considered approach, whereby all images have some value, will be much more fruitful than a machine gun style and will significantly reduce the time spent choosing and reworking images.

Anticipating the movements and interactions between people is the secret in the wedding reportage style

Although wedding photography is focused on the "decisive moment", as Henri Cartier-Bresson called it, anticipating the sequence of events clearly increases the possibility of success. However special or avant-garde the couple may think they are in their wedding plan, there is necessarily a subtle, unchanged adherence to a certain standard format.

By communicating diligently with the couple before the wedding and finding out as much as possible about them and their guests, we can ensure that we will be best prepared for any opportunities that may arise in the moment.

Considerations on the reportage

After the ceremony, there is a brief window of open emotion central to the story of the wedding day. It's time to work quickly, watching and anticipating the next move or expressions from our subjects and ready to click at the decisive moment.

One camera mounts an objective lens with 70-200 mm lenses, on a tripod, if necessary, for use at a distance. The other has a 28-70mm zoom for mingling with guests at close range. Both have a maximum aperture of f/2.8, which is important as the shallow depth of field helps separate the subject from the background particularly with a narrow crop on the head and shoulders.

Wedding photography - photo of bride hugging with son

Expressions are captured without the subjects' awareness. The point is not to try to blame people or make them look stupid, but to reflect the essence of the wedding day. There is the joy and happiness that lights up the faces of the brides when she identifies an old school friend, the jokes of the bridesmaids, the happy lightness of the couple, because the tiring part is over and the celebrations have just begun. Again, it's about telling the story of the day.

And also to look for the truly special moments of the day, which make wonderful independent images for the album, such as the bride embracing a groom. Needless to say, it is always good to keep the camera ready on interacting subjects.

A short sequence of shots works well in a group, such as when the bride and groom kiss.

The common mistake of the amateur photographer: the camera is not a machine gun

You cannot use your camera like a machine gun just outside the ceremony. If you are an amateur, try to control your camera and be selective with the photographs you take. Taking 50 shots hoping that one of them comes out well, regardless of not being a professional practice, is not even a guarantee of certainty of success, not even a single good image. If you have a camera glued to your face all the time, you won't be aware of what's happening around you. Use your peripheral vision, and try to maintain the spontaneity of the moments.

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