Photojournalism ethics in wedding photography? My personal thoughts about it.
In these days I have had the time to dwell on a topic very dear to me. The application of photojournalism ethics in wedding photography.
Mine was a really interesting journey. Many will be surprised to know that I spent my first years as an amateur and self-taught by studying videos of many different photographic styles. Once I made the decision to open my business, I continued studying with many photographers that I really respect very much.
Each of them hit me and taught me something. In my head I needed to discover photography at 360 degrees. It is necessary to do it to better study ourselves in researching our style, what represents us, what we like to remain faithful to. Meanwhile in a parallel way I continued to immerse myself in a collection of photography books that I love: From Mario Giacomelli, Henri-Cartier Bresson, Robert Capa and so on. I never neglected what attracted me and in weddings I was afraid to expose myself and work according to my vision.
Then I shooted a photograph which I was particularly attached that made me take courage.
Those moments that you would like to have forever, that you really shoot with your heart in your hands.
After that I have started working a lot with my approach using photojournalism ethics in wedding. I have talked more and more with clients because it is very important to be transparent about your way of working.
I was super determined in explaining what this approach is and why it is important to work in this mood. Working in silence without staging and capturing what happens around me is my way. I feel like a photojournalist invited in a wedding.
There are 3 big reasons, for me, to do it:
1) First reason: not doing certain things that are prohibited for photojournalism ethics for me is not an imposition it’s just my way, not because it can’t be done, I just enjoy it. I love to chase the moment, move, mentally create the composition and wait there for something to happen. I’m not interested in moving a bottle, asking to go to the best light etc. I just want to connect with my client and tell their story, every single emotion, not just theirs, mine too. For me, the beauty of a spontaneous moment is unmatched. I don’t have schemes in my head, I have an hourglass in my head that starts and says “hey, do your best, it’s time to have fun!”. This is my first reason, not an imposition but a fun!
2) Second reason: outside photojournalism, finding small shortcuts makes our life easier but doesn’t make us documentary photographers. In documentary photography you have to strive in a very high level of concentration, find the best angle for achieve a good light, moment, composition, clean the scene and always stay connected with your emotions and who you are photographing. By let things happens as intended you have no second chance if you didn’t have captured the moment it will be lost forever. It is an hard work that helps a lot to improve, I think it’s the best gym.
3) The third reason relates to what happens. Representing reality means faithfully reporting what surrounds us so why change it even if in a minimal way? Every photographer has his own way to represent reality, everyone feels different things and everyone is attracted by different things. Maybe other photographers show photos of a happy kid laughing or a kid that has been scolded by his mother. I think is a matter of perception of moments that , in any way, in photojournalism must not be altered by intervening in the scene.
A person I really care about told me: if the moment is strong enough, the rest is useless, you did your best.
There are some important steps to take: always study trying to get useful information, research your own style, communicate with the clients and show what we love to do and let the fun begin!
It’s certainly not easy, because this style gathers a low percentage of clients but it will undoubtedly be yours! Just a few years ago a groom very sincerely said to me: “You are so selective, and is the reason we choose you! but don’t you think that being more malleable you can have more clients?”. A question that surprised me a little, but made me realize how much I am in love with my work.
Surely it is a choice that does make it difficult for my business but attracts people who, like the spouses in question, loved this style. This is worth double to me and I know that this will be my point of strength.
We have to believe in ourselves, not be afraid of failures, they help to grow, I constantly look for criticism, I don’t listen to compliments, there is always that little part where I could do more. The most essential thing: carry on what you believe in.
In conclusion: For me not only is possible to apply photojournalism ethics in wedding but it’s also my favorite entertainment. This is my way.