When I turned full time professional as a photographer the word in wedding photography was reportage. Or at least that was what people inside the industry were talking about, and using it to describe a style of photography that is all about unposed, unplanned recording of what actually happens at the wedding. The word has a French root, so may seem chic and sophisticated, but the problem is that the definitions of reportage are:
1 The reporting of news by the press and the broadcasting media.
2 The factual, journalistic presentation of an account in a book or other text.
They are a bit technical, and don’t really apply immediately to weddings. I often found it a little difficult to communicate exactly what reportage meant to my wedding clients. It was frequently ignored as an option on my booking form, only for the client to use another term such as ‘in the moment’ or candid.
I don’t think that I could have been alone in this as the current buzz word is documentary. To me this can come across as a bit dry, a bit serious and doesn’t really allow for the sense of fun that a wedding photographer can bring at times. I’ve also seen candid used, but I think that has undercurrents of being intrusive and possibly unwanted.
I’ve often referred to myself as a wedding storyteller and I think that storytelling is the most apt description for what we do. I know many other wedding photographers will also use this term. Maybe narrative style is also appropriate? Telling the story of a wedding allows for all the ‘as they happen’ moments, as well as the still life & details images and the formal & informal portraits.
I think it’s common for a couple to want more than a single photographic style at their wedding. Although digital photography allows much more freedom when it comes to documentary or reportage image capture other styles such as creative portraiture and formal portraiture should not be ignored.
So for me storytelling is the approach and I feel more comfortable using the term narrative photography.