Wedding photojournalism is not done properly.

People can say the same thing but they don’t always do the same thing. Many photographers/videographers can say they do wedding photojournalism and capture the moments, but some of them do the opposite. Why do we even bring this up? Because it is important to you. You could end up with things you don’t like if your photographers/videographers do the opposite.

We know many people will agree with us and many will hate us for writing this. But it is okay. This is our subjective opinion from working with many different photographers and videographers. We want you, the couples, to be well informed. If you disagree with us, leave us a comment and we will discuss it.

wedding photojournalism photographers at Nella Terra Cellars
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First: what is wedding photojournalism really about?

In our detailed post about wedding photojournalism, this is the key point to remember: wedding photojournalism focuses on the real moments, natural reactions. That’s simple!

Many couples love photojournalism because it will never go out-of-date, and it is the best way to capture how your wedding day naturally happens. Because things are captured in the most genuine way, when you look at your photos (50 years from now), you will remember everything that happened on that date. People love it, people are looking for it, and it becomes a trend.

Not surprisingly, as a result, many photographers/videographers claim their style to be photojournalism. It is easier for them to get more clients, who don’t know much or only little about it. Thus, many couples hoped they are getting real photojournalism just to receive a different product. And let it NOT be you!

bride preparation at Kennolyn Hilltop Hacienda wedding
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How to know who is doing the true wedding photojournalism?

Think about this for a second. If moments and reactions are naturally captured, there must be no or little interruption from an outsider, right? The outsider here is us: photographers & videographers. What if we constantly give you directions and tell you what to do? We are interrupting and changing things. Thus, it is not the true photojournalism.

We’ve seen photographers/videographers ask the groom to hug the groomsmen after he put the boutonniere on for them, and the bride to hug her mother after she put the veil on the bride. Why do they even ask that? If you want to hug, you will hug without anyone telling you to. Those directions are completely unnecessary. That is not wedding photojournalism and that is just one of many examples of bad photojournalism.

So, if they say they do photojournalism and they also tell you to not worry because they will give you a lot of directions, that is a big contradiction right there.


Why do they constantly direct you?

In theory, photojournalism might sound simple but in reality, it is not easy at all. It requires speed, skills, predictions, and lots of experiences. If the photographers/videographers are not fast enough, cannot predict when the moments will happen to get to the right position, how can they capture? Thus, they have to constantly control you (even to the smallest things) to control what moments are going to happen. That’s the only way to get decent shots if they don’t have those requirements above.

There is a side effect that couples suffer from getting too much direction that we’ve noticed from time after time. As soon as they excessively give directions, you will hesitate to do what you normally do because you are afraid it is not good for photo/video. You become dependent on their command. You are no longer yourselves. I don’t know how you feel about having excessive direction like that, but it is what we will never do to our clients: make them afraid to be themselves.

the bridges golf club wedding sparkler send off moments
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So what do we do?

Do we give direction? Yes, we do.
Do we always tell them what to do? No, we don’t.

There is a small gray area between pure photojournalism (no direction whatsoever) and bad photojournalism (constantly giving unnecessary directions). We call this area good wedding photojournalism. That area is where most couples are hoping for and also where a lot of photographers/videographers fail to do.

Working with our couples, we give directions only at the appropriate moments. We will let you be yourselves and do what you want to do. Only when we see that you are lost and don’t know what to do next, we will step in, give just enough direction to get you back on track, and then we will step back. Sometimes, we will tell you where to stand to get the best lighting and still let you do your own things. Or if we see a chance for a really cool and creative photo, we will direct you and get that shot done. Sometimes, if we see you look so tense, we have some tricks to get you to smile naturally without saying “smile”. Without direction and guidance, you will feel so much pressure on the most important day. We all want everything to flow smoothly and your day to end beautifully. So yes, we give direction but we will NOT become the director of your wedding. That is the gray area you should aim for.



We don’t want to make this post longer than it needs to be. We hope that by now, you have the knowledge to distinguish good wedding photojournalism from a bad one. Just ask your photographers/videographers about the way they direct you, specifically in detail, and make the right judgment.

If you have any comment or feedback, leave it in the comment section below.


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