1. You actually get to enjoy your wedding day!

One of the biggest regrets couples have about their wedding day is that they didn’t spend enough time with those people in their lives that mean the most to them! Taking photos can be a HUGE time commitment on your wedding day. Bridal party photos, individual bridesmaids photos with the bride, individual groomsmen photos with the groom, family photos, extended family photos, bride portraits, groom portraits, and couple’s portraits. Whew! That’s A LOT of time. And to get all this done requires you to miss a lot of your wedding day – mainly cocktail hour! 

Not the case when you work with a documentary-style photographer. Why? Because we photograph your day as it unfolds with (little to) no interface from us at all. We won’t pull you away from your guests for hours to take portraits. We won’t torture you with endless family photos. We won’t have your bridal party jumping in the air or holding you in their arms like the Pinterest boards suggest. Nope. None of that. 

You can be present for your entire wedding day, you can say hello to all your guests, you can catch up with your BFFs, you can have a moment or two with your family … you can even enjoy your cocktail hour! 

All while we are documenting your day as it happens. 

There are so many things that could distract you and pull you away from your guests on your wedding day. We don’t want photography to be one of them! When you hire a documentary wedding photographer, you can just relax and enjoy your day knowing that your photographer is there capturing all your most endearing and sentimental moments. 

And, yes, we can work together and decide to do a few relaxed portraits (if you want) or group shots (again, if you want). Rest assured, we won’t be taking you away from your guests for hours, like some traditional photographers do. It’s your wedding day, not a photoshoot! We want you to have the time of your life and not worry about your photos. That’s our job! 

2. Remembering what your day felt like, rather than what you had been told to do by a photographer.

This is huge. When you look at your wedding photographs, you can be transported back to the moment. That may sound a little cheesy, but it’s true! After all, that’s the power of good photography – the power to relive moments from the past. When you are flipping through your album, you’ll be transported back to the moment when your mom saw you in your dress for the first time, to the moment when your dad got all choked up during your Father of the Bride dance, to the moment when your little niece was sprinkling the church floor with flowers as she made her way down the aisle, to the moment when your fiance first held your hand as a married couple. 

And that’s all because your photographer captured the moment naturally, without any direction.

On the other hand, if your photographer had told you to stand in a certain place, or strike a certain pose, or asked you to repeat the action of applying your make-up then when you looked at those images, you’d just remember being told to do something by your photographer. Surely not the memories that you want from your wedding day.

3. We tell your whole story, not just your story.

Documentary-style photographers don’t just focus on the bride and groom. We believe in documenting the whole story, not just your story. Your life is filled with people who have loved you, who have helped you, and who have supported you along your journey. There’s a reason why you’ve invited all these people to be at your wedding. Your wedding day is, first and foremost, a celebration of you, the couple, but it’s also a celebration and a ‘thank you’ to all your cheerleaders, your BFFs, your buddies, and, of course, your family.

Good storytellers know this. We know that a photograph with your grandmother on your wedding day will mean the world to you (and to her). We know that your mom and dad will melt when they see themselves get a teary-eyed during their parent dances with you. We know how important that group of college buddies you’re mingling with at cocktail hour are to you. We are fully aware that your little niece and nephew won’t be so little in a few years and you’ll be able to show them just how tiny they were on your wedding day. 

4. We are the perfect cure for camera-shy-itis!

If I had a nickel for every time a couple said “Uh, we’re not so comfortable in front of the camera”. Everybody feels a little nervous about being photographed. We’re just not used to it. We freeze up. We worry about our ‘good side’. We worry about our hands, etc. etc.  

The key to natural, candid, flattering photographs is to make your subject (you) feel right at home in front of the camera. We aren’t going to make you pose to fit some preconceived vision we have of you or to build our portfolio or to submit to a magazine or anything. 

That’s not our style. Not even close. Our ultimate goal is for you to look at your photographs and say “Oh my god, that is SO us!” As storytellers, we want to tell your story authentically. We want YOU to shine, not us.

5. We capture the raw emotions.

Your wedding day is a roller coaster of emotions. The nervous anticipation during your getting ready prep, the joy and exuberance when you see each for the first time, the welling up of your eyes during your vows, the “jump for joy feeling” when you’ve been pronounced man and wife, the heartfelt sentiments of your best man/maid of honor speeches, and the uninhibited gleam in your eye when you bustin’ a move on the dancefloor til the wee hours. 

There is nothing quite like a wedding when it comes to witnessing a myriad of emotions. It’s one of the reasons why so many photographers are drawn to weddings in the first place because capturing emotion is both so thrilling and incredibly rewarding.

And, do you know what? These moments of raw emotion can’t be staged. They can’t be recreated. They can’t be set up. That’s just not the way emotion works. It’s a spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment thing. So, if you want all the feels of your wedding day to be captured, you need to hire someone with the documentary skills to get them. 

6. There’s no shouty/bossy photographer around

This just may be the best reason on the list! I’ve talked to A LOT of couples over the years and one of their biggest concerns is that they don’t want a bossy photographer around who is going to put a damper on their day.

A documentary-style photographer won’t be barking orders or telling people what to do all day long. Just the opposite actually. We blend right in with your friends and family as if we were just one of your guests. We do this because it allows everyone to have their guards down. And that’s just what we want because we want to photograph people at their most relaxed and natural. Afterall, that’s when people look their best. Speaking of …

7. People look their best.

As soon as people know they’re being photographed, they change – they freeze up, or get all stiff, or some even get a little goofy. The irony is that as soon as they do that, they look, well, stiff! Or they don’t look like their true selves. 

On the other hand, when people are photographed and they don’t know they’re being photographed – they look their best. Because they don’t have the pressure of the camera, they don’t feel the need to pose or stiffen up or even throw up the ‘deuce fingers’ and make that oh so popular ‘duck face’ like you see on Snapchat.

We want people to look their very best. We’ve made remaining unobtrusive in a crowd of people an art-form. And we do this so we don’t draw attention to ourselves so people are blissfully unaware of our presence and, therefore, at their most natural.

8. Your photographs are unique – not cookie cutter.

Your wedding will be unlike any other – totally unique. So why would you want your wedding photos to look like everyone else’s? Shouldn’t they be just as unique as you and your wedding? That’s what separates documentary wedding photography from traditional wedding photography. We capture moments as they happen on your wedding day. We tell your unique story authentically. Nothing staged. Nothing forced.

On the other hand, traditional photographers follow a script that they’ve used to photograph all their other weddings. They use the same poses, they ask you to recreate the same ‘putting on some make-up’ shot, they have you stand in the same light for the exact same bridal portrait they’ve done a hundred times before. In the end, the photographs aren’t about you or your wedding, but instead are about the photographer and their poses, their method, their script.

9. You get the best of both worlds.

Yep, you can have your candids AND your portraits too! While the rules of documentary photography do not allow for ANY interference or direction at all, we here at Jeff Lundstrom Photography believe that tradition still has its place.

We believe in the beauty and timelessness of portraits. We also believe in the importance of family. As such, we are more than happy to capture some portraits of you both (if you want), and do the formal family group photographs, too (again, if you want). And don’t worry – we’ll make you feel right at home during your portraits and we’ll make the family photo experience painless and efficient so you can get on with the rest of your day.

So, you can still have 99% of your day captured candidly in a documentary style and all the amazing benefits that come with it while also having some lovely photographs of just the two of you as well as some family photos to make Mom smile.

10. Bonus – Same goes for your engagement session too!

I strongly recommend that couples do an engagement session with me before their wedding day. You don’t want your wedding day to be the first time that I point a camera at you. An engagement session helps you get comfortable with me and the camera and that helps you feel that much more relaxed and comfortable on wedding day. 

Believe it or not, documentary-style photography can also be used in photographing your engagement session. “But I thought that documentary photography was all about photographing events with lots of people?” And that is true, but you can also have your engagement session done in this style too. 

How? Simple. I just make sure that you are unaware of the camera. Done. 

Candid photos are candid photos. Doesn’t matter if it’s a photograph of two people in a crowd of 30-40 people or with no crowd at all. Now, there are different techniques I need to use because it’s just the two of you in front of my lens.

Rest assured, I have a whole treasure chest of tricks that I use to get you to relax, be yourself, and be totally oblivious to my camera. All while pulling out real emotion from both of you. Yes, BOTH of you! You’d be surprised at how easily the guys let their guards down and totally fall into the moment during an engagement session.

Another great idea that I’ve seen more and more couples do for their engagement sessions that helps to minimize the pressure of the camera is to do an activity together. I’ve had couples do a picnic, I’ve had couples take their boat out on the water, I’ve had couples cook a meal together, I’ve even had couple take their dogs to the beach. When you are doing something you enjoy doing, you completely forget about the camera.