When Auntie Muriel met the documentary wedding photographer

With Benjamin Toms

I hope you’ve enjoyed the series of photography advice articles with documentary wedding photographer Benjamin Toms. They all stemmed from a conversation we had a little while ago where I learned so much about wedding photography I simply had to share it all with you… which brings me to one last little piece of advice I absolutely couldn’t miss!

Benjamin Toms Photography Kent

This one’s a little tongue in cheek, but the message is still important…

Documentary wedding photography is storytelling in pictures. It’s never a dull timeline, but more of a journey through your wedding day, captured through the eyes of your guests. You’ll see lots of wonderfully candid photos of your favourite people in the world chatting, laughing, smiling and so much more. This style of photography will capture the spirit of your day like no other.

… and then there’s Auntie Muriel.

Understanding documentary wedding photography with Benjamin Toms, Kent UK (2)

Please note, I have made Auntie Muriel up. Much as JK Rowling invented Harry Potter (but I’m sure he was loosely based on a boy with wizardy tendencies… although I digress) Auntie Muriel is not a real person.

She simply represents a generation of puzzled aunties who don’t like to be caught unawares. Auntie Muriel is your favourite auntie – behatted; floralized and with Elizabeth Taylor’s lipstick and curls, she knows wedding photos are important, she spots the photographer, and she turns towards the lens, beaming, to have her photo taken.

And then there’s a stand-off.

Because a documentary photographer isn’t there to take posed photos. He or she is looking for natural, relaxed images of your guests chatting, laughing, smiling… at each other.

So Auntie Muriel looks down the lens and waits.

And so does the photographer.

Auntie M is puzzled.

The photographer is patient.

Auntie M gives up – it’s not like her; but if he doesn’t want to take her photo… well, humph! She’d rather be sipping Pimms and cooing at her baby granddaughter anyway…

… and the photographer gets his image.

You love Auntie Muriel because she has a heart of gold. Her smile lights up rooms; her eyes make babies chuckle and grin… and this is the memory you want from your wedding photographs.

Understanding documentary wedding photography with Benjamin Toms, Kent UK (5)

Why am I telling you this? Because after talking to Ben I totally get what documentary wedding photography is all about. It’s the most amazing way to capture the atmosphere of your day – and it means your guests don’t need to pose for photos; they can carry on enjoying themselves, relaxed and happy all day long.

Understanding documentary wedding photography with Benjamin Toms, Kent UK (3)

And because I spent a happy hour listening to Ben talking about his work. I’ve no doubt that he’d win over all of our Auntie Muriels if they could spend an hour learning about documentary photography… but you’ll have to tell them instead. If you’re booking a documentary style photographer for your day, do have a quick word with Auntie M beforehand, and let her know she can happily ignore the photographer on the day!

Understanding documentary wedding photography with Benjamin Toms, Kent UK (1)

More wedding photography advice by Ben:

  1. Your wedding through the eyes of a photographer
  2. The two best moments of your wedding day?
  3. About those group shots… invisible on blogs, unmissable for your memories!
  4. Why documentary photos are the key to a unique wedding
  5. The vicar, the registrar and the wedding photographer
  6. Two short hours of your time for a lifetime of memories
  7. A wedding photographer’s tips for amazing couple shots

Understanding documentary wedding photography with Benjamin Toms, Kent UK (6)

Benjamin Toms Photography – more information and pictures!

As an English Wedding Blog sponsor, Benjamin Toms Photography has a dedicated page right here on the blog:

Benjamin Toms wedding photographer Kent (10)

If you’re a wedding supplier you can find out all about sponsorship of the English Wedding Blog by clicking the advertise link in the navigation menu or here: advertise on the English Wedding Blog

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.



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