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Thread: The Photo-journalistic Approach

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    The Photo-journalistic Approach

    Does the non intrusive photo-journalistic approach in wedding photography really work?
    I've been doing a fair bit of research, and I don't see the top photographer taking that approach and I personally can't get anything useful without getting involved.
    I understand that at the ceremony and the reception you need to step back and let things happen. But saying that, I still give them some instructions prior to the event.

    (I'm not sure if this is the right place to discuss this point. Please advice if it isn't.)

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    IMO - its a big load of crap - and I do weddings on a full time basis too. The well known photographers know how to combine diff styles together in one day, and not just rely on the PJ approach to carry out their task.

    Photo-journalist approach

    -needs no guidance and communications skills from the photographer towards the bridal party and guests
    -lacks formality and the wedding NEEDS TO KNOW YOUR PRESENCE
    -obscure, abstract shots without good composition can be passed as PJ style
    -lack of creative guidance and approach towards the bridal party and guests
    -lack of understanding of lighting, heck some ppl will argue they will only use available light only - yeah well if u knew how to use flash and continuous lighting u can combine it!
    -tend to fall back doing the same style of shots repeatedly for different weddings

    To me, from my experience working with colleagues and seeing results from other colleagues and 'professionals' - the PJ style will only get you so far before you realize oh crap, I do need to actually open my mouth and direct people on how to pose, or set up a shot instead of 'floating around' to 'capture the candid moments'.

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    Totally agree with JM

    Posed and candid and a mix is the best approach I think too. I think a documentary of the day is the way I like to see it.
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    I've been really annoyed with this hype, and I'm glad that I have found others who share my concern. Thank you = ) because I don't feel like the odd one out anymore!
    The part that annoys me most is that the general public has heard this and they see some great images that were made to look candid, and they demand the same.There has been a couple instances where I was asked to "just take random shots". This was following the ceremony. There was nothing to take. People were huddled close to each other talking and stuffing their faces. So all I would get were mostly peoples backs, and glimpses of faces with stupid expressions.
    Since then I make it perfectly clear to all the couples I meet with that my style is not photo-journalistic.

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    are we talking about photographer styles here? or fads? tilting a horizon or cutting off half of someone's head/body because you think that will make your photography photo-journalistic is a fad. taking photographs in an unintrusive, observant way may be your style/persona/character, which you bring to every shoot. is capturing the laughter or tears or those unexpected moments a load of crap? well if you think that life is a load of crap too then maybe. In my opinion, when people look back on their wedding day, they want to remember what they felt at the time, not just what they looked like, which will be outdated in 10 years anyway. a journalistic style should endeavor to document the experience, without fads though. if you can do that better by posing people and having more control, then that is your style and you should try to stick to that.

    as a wedding tog, you should know your own style well before your customers do, and this may very well be the reason they pick you over someone else, or vice versa.

    the most important thing is that you give the customer what they want.
    Successful People Make Adjustments - Evander Holyfield

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    I don't think too many people here know what photo-journalism is and it's certainly not what I see described above.
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    We are talking in the realms of wedding photography. There is a big hype about the photojournalistic approach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redgum View Post
    I don't think too many people here know what photo-journalism is and it's certainly not what I see described above.
    Care to elaborate Redgum? I am also a journalist and do PJ stuff for publications, like you do.

    but we are talking about WEDDING 'photo journalist style' here, not actual PJ work which is totally different even if it shares the same words.

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    Just to make my original point a bit clearer:
    A few years the term "Photojurnalistic Approach" appeared in the wedding photography world. This has been misunderstood by the public and new wedding photographers. They have the idea that the photographer would arrive, say hello, then disappear in the background. Eight hours later he/she would reappear to say good night, and goes home. Taking this approach, we are meant to come up with artistic and timeless photographs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redgum View Post
    I don't think too many people here know what photo-journalism is and it's certainly not what I see described above.
    a top post mate. come in, say everyones wrong, then leave. yeah, um nah

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    Let's not have this thread dissolve into a slanging match aimed at each others abilities, preferences or styles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sakhi View Post
    Does the non intrusive photo-journalistic approach in wedding photography really work?
    I've been doing a fair bit of research, and I don't see the top photographer taking that approach and I personally can't get anything useful without getting involved.
    Sakhi, from a decidedly NON EXPERT wedding photographer it seems to me that the "top photographers" are producing works that are in demand and surely that demand is what should dictate the style of shoot that a photographer does on the wedding day. A person can have their own style and ways of portraying a wedding and put it out there for the paying public to choose or discard as that which they desire for their wedding or they can offer differing styles ranging from the unobtrusive "photo journalistic" to the full on Hollywood ( or Bollywood ) lavish production. After all, wedding photography is mostly about the money so if a photographer wants dollars they must be prepared to deliver a product that meets or exceeds the punters expectations.
    I would hazard a guess that most couples don't give much thought to the sort of wedding photos that impress them until that time comes where they sit down and start choosing the photographer and the style they want for their wedding. That period can probably range from 12 months away to a last minute panic job. By looking at the work available in magazines, the 'net etc they will probably pick one based on their perception of what works and what doesn't.

    Photographers on the other hand look at and see other photographers wedding work either to gain an understanding of how they did it or to give them some inspiration and from a photographic point of view it seems to me that there are only so many ways that a wedding can be done before the event turns into something that Stanley Kubrick or Andy Warhol would be proud of and one tends to see may repetitive ( some might say clich├ęd ) shots of varying technical quality and amongst them the occasional one or two that elicit a WOW response from other photographers.

    Some photographers stick to a well proven ( to them ) style and others experiment and become more creative in their approach, we might see examples of weddings from the one photographer that all look similar but we aren't the ones putting food on his table, if the couple liked his work and paid him they probably don't care whether he did some similar shots for another couple they don't know, the shots they have are theirs and unique to them.

    If a couple approach you and say that they want a non intrusive style of photos for their wedding day are you going to turn them down and tell them that isn't your "style" ?
    If you have a fully booked year ahead of you and don't need any more work then go for it.
    If you are only managing to do 2 weddings a year and you are refusing to do things a certain way when asked to by paying clients then perhaps you need to reassess your business practices.
    Perhaps the "top photographers" have made it to the top by being able to do a great variety of styles and then have simply become celebrities because of one of those styles so therefore they work only that way?

    Yep, it is a business and businesses only survive by offering products that people want.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    Care to elaborate Redgum? I am also a journalist and do PJ stuff for publications, like you do.

    but we are talking about WEDDING 'photo journalist style' here, not actual PJ work which is totally different even if it shares the same words.
    Thanks JM, that's a step closer to the truth and needed to be said.
    Zollo, I take exception to your remark which was posted at 1.11AM in the morning. I'm not getting out of bed to answer your question which can easily be done several hours later. And I certainly didn't say everyone is wrong just that the majority don't understand what photo-journalism is. JM has clarified that for you now.
    For further clarification simply walk into a newsagent and look at every newspaper and magazine on his shelf. A tiny percentage will be oriented to wedding photography and everything else will be photo-journalism. So I guess if wedding photographers have finally discovered a photo journalistic style that's a real compliment to other photographers that have known about it for hundreds of years. The question is whether wedding photographers can do anything about it? Doesn't sound like it.

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    redgum wedding photographers haven't "just" discovered it. photographer Chris Lewis in backwards old Perth was winning awards for this style back when I was looking for a photographer for my wedding more than a decade ago. waaay back when film was still the norm.

    what i think is that a new generation of brides have "just" discovered it, and its a style they like. personally, i'm not going to take the newlyweds to a war torn country so that i can take "real" photo-journalist photos of them. you can if thats your style.

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    I think the Photojurnalistic style can be applied at certain times of a wedding. But not throughout the whole thing. At times you need to be a product photographer, then a fashion photographer, etc. And you need to get involved.
    The idea that you need to be shooting from the background all the time is impractical!

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    Sakhi have a look at this link, he's very popular and very few poses if at all http://www.josephmilton.com/

    as to whether you like it or not, different pot of stew.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    Photo-journalist approach

    -needs no guidance and communications skills from the photographer towards the bridal party and guests
    -lacks formality and the wedding NEEDS TO KNOW YOUR PRESENCE
    Whoever said photojournalists (or "wedding photojournalists") can't interact with their subjects?

    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    -obscure, abstract shots without good composition can be passed as PJ style
    -lack of creative guidance and approach towards the bridal party and guests
    Obscure, over-styled, irrelevant shots with poor composition and horrid processing can be passed off as 'fashion style' or an 'artistic, creative approach'.

    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    -lack of understanding of lighting, heck some ppl will argue they will only use available light only - yeah well if u knew how to use flash and continuous lighting u can combine it!
    Heck, if you knew how to use available light, you wouldn't need your LED panels.

    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    -tend to fall back doing the same style of shots repeatedly for different weddings
    Very true of the common 'fashion' wedding photographer from what I've seen. Same poses, trying to make people who aren't models, into models. Repeatedly using the same 'cool lighting trick' they learnt / stole off YouTube. Creating the same scene at every wedding, which has nothing to do with the couple, or their day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sakhi View Post
    ...
    The part that annoys me most is that the general public has heard this and they see some great images that were made to look candid, and they demand the same.
    Maybe they were candid?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sakhi View Post
    There has been a couple instances where I was asked to "just take random shots". This was following the ceremony. There was nothing to take. People were huddled close to each other talking and stuffing their faces. So all I would get were mostly peoples backs, and glimpses of faces with stupid expressions.
    Since then I make it perfectly clear to all the couples I meet with that my style is not photo-journalistic.
    Exactly, it's not your style. You may not be any good at it, but others are.

    (Some points may have been over-simplified to make a point )
    Last edited by James T; 10-07-2011 at 11:38am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zollo View Post
    Sakhi have a look at this link, he's very popular and very few poses if at all http://www.josephmilton.com/

    as to whether you like it or not, different pot of stew.
    Thanks for that
    There are some brilliant shots in there, but I'm sure you'll agree that there are a fair bit of sub standard shots.
    I work from the bases that a wedding is a celebration of the couple's love for each other, and that I need to capture that. That's why I'm not too keen on such approach.
    This is my site: www.sakhi.com.au, just to give you an idea of my style, which I'm still refining.
    Please note that im in no way saying that I'm better than others. I just think that the style you showed me misses the fundamental point of a wedding.

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    Let's get back to fundamentals: What is a wedding?
    To me, it is the celebration of a couple's love for each other.
    What's your definition?

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    What is a wedding? A religious event that is celebrated by different people in many different ways. Certainly nothing to do with photography. And I guess that the wedding photography market, as often quoted here, has shrunk by nearly 70% in a decade reinforces that significance. In reality it doesn't matter what you call your style, like anything commercial, its success will depend on your appeal to the market. If you can't cope with variety then you have little chance of success.

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    Quote Originally Posted by James T View Post
    Whoever said photojournalists (or "wedding photojournalists") can't interact with their subjects?



    Obscure, over-styled, irrelevant shots with poor composition and horrid processing can be passed off as 'fashion style' or an 'artistic, creative approach'.



    Heck, if you knew how to use available light, you wouldn't need your LED panels.



    Very true of the common 'fashion' wedding photographer from what I've seen. Same poses, trying to make people who aren't models, into models. Repeatedly using the same 'cool lighting trick' they learnt / stole off YouTube. Creating the same scene at every wedding, which has nothing to do with the couple, or their day.



    Maybe they were candid?



    Exactly, it's not your style. You may not be any good at it, but others are.

    (Some points may have been over-simplified to make a point )
    LOL, are u serious with that LED panel comment?

    I use it as it adds to a different sort of light and feel and bring light - to where it wasnt possible before with flash, or natural ambient lighting.

    Try doing a couple or group shot at F1.2 somewhere really dark?

    Whoever said photojournalists (or "wedding photojournalists") can't interact with their subjects?

    I said. Read the previous posts. Work with a lot of people. Realize that a lot of new photographers entering the market thinks that PJ style is all about anonymity and fading into the background. If you interact with your subjects, good for you - you will do better than those that dont.

    Spot the ones that are candid/PJ style, to formal shots, to my beloved LED panel usage shots below

    http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...s-and-more-%29

    http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...-Fashion-genre

    Do a lot of weddings and fashion James?
    Last edited by JM Tran; 10-07-2011 at 3:18pm.

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