Featured: Your wedding photos your way: A Guide to Posed vs Reportage photography

There is a huge split going on in the wedding industry at the moment between those who see themselves as reportage and those very much don’t. So this week I thought I would shed a bit of light on the whole subject and hopefully make some of the more hazy aspects of this debate a bit clearer. There is also the debate as to whether really reportage wedding photography really exists and why I think that really this is all just a marketing ploy 😉 so here is…

A Guide to Posed vs Reportage photography.
Reportage photography

The act or technique of reporting news in photographic form (dictionary.com) – right ok so what does that actually mean in terms of your wedding? Basically it means that the photographer will be only shooting things that happen naturally through the course of your wedding day. They will not be driving shots and they will not be creating or recreating anything moments. In short, they will be doing no more than your guests will be at you wedding.

Classical posted wedding photography

Creating posed shots and recreating shots during the wedding day to capture the essence of you day and your love for each other.

What you will really be getting from most photographers is a mix of both of these styles there are very few photographers who will fit completely into either of these 2 categories. Even thoughts who say that they are will either be posing or directing some shots and those who make these shots their mail aim will also be taking a vast number of “reportage” shots. While equally those who say that they are reportage will be posing or at least directing some of the shots.

So let me break this down into the day so you can see where each element comes into its own.

Bridal preps.

Detail shots – classic posted. – have you ever seen a shot of someone’s shoes just sat there in their box? No probably not, the photographer of course will set them out and take shots of them in good light and with contrasting back grounds.

Shots of you getting hair and make-up done – Reportage. Most of these will be reportage Graham will be snapping away with his long lens on usually from the door way so you can’t see him. However he may ask you to re-create something for instance if you are looking in a small mirror at the back of your hair for instance and he can’t quite see you in the mirror he will more than likely ask you to move it so he can see you.

At the ceremony location

posed – in the car and of your maids on the steps – now I know a lot of people have superb relationships with their dads but still I don’t know a single person who would kiss their dad or who’s dad would just randomly kiss them while they are sat in the car waiting outside the church just in case the photographer might take a shot of them at that exact moment. Maybe squeeze a hand but not kiss in a smiley way.

Reportage – Your maids fixing your dress or your veil before you go in and ALL of the shots during your ceremony, or at least no photographer in their right mind is going to tell a minister, priest or registrar what to do during the ceremony! That’s a sure fire way never to work again!

After the ceremony.

Reportage feel – Posed shots.

I’m sorry to burst the Hollywood wedding bubble, but you know in movies when the couple come dashing out of the church while all the guests throw confetti over them? This is not how real weddings role.. You and your new Hubby will always and I mean always be leaving the Church before your guests.. know why? Coz you have just walked passed them all down the isle so unless all those confetti throwers are stranger or people you have paid to wait outside for you (little bit weird but if that floats your boat) everyone with the confetti will still be in the church behind you.

So how do you get those shots? I would say that 99% of them are in some way orchestrated by the photographer with help of the ushers & Groomsmen, Unless you have primed and practiced your confetti throwers to within an inch of their lives to all throw at exactly the same moment this DOES NOT just happen. Usually it will be the photographer who will arrange everyone around you and will give a count of 3 for everyone to throw at the same time the photographer might even give you all a practice before the real throw just to make sure there are no keeny meanys in the crowd or that you kiss for long enough to get the shot.

Bridal portraits.

ALL POSED even if they say they aren’t

This is one of the most confusing aspect I think. I don’t know about you but in my head a totally reportage photographer will not be setting up any shots yet on pretty much every website of “reportage” photographers I see bridal portraits. Bride and groom leaning against a wall looking lovingly at one another, Bride looking down at her flowers serenely , bride and groom casually walking through long grass. ALL of these key elements of this will be “posed” suggested by the photographer. I don’t know about you but it would never happen that I would just naturally stand against a wall looking at my flowers during my wedding I would be busy talking to people. I think the only time I would look down at my flowers would be if a wasp landed on them and then I can tell you I wouldn’t look serine!

A lot of brides think that posing has to be really stiff and hands on which in honestly it is more like you to stand over there look at each other, whisper something in her ear. It really isn’t forced.

Group and family shots


They have to be that’s the only way you will get photos together with the people you want. I know lots and lots of people who have been guests at weddings and said that they only managed to get 2 words with the bride outside the church so the chances of you getting a snap with the happy couple if its not planned in advance are slim to none.

Speeches, Dinner and Dancing

All Reportage

This is the time like during the service where all those “candid” shots happen all those sly looks at each other all those of people looking cheery as they get to know their table mates. None of them are orchestrated they just happen and a good wedding photographer will know how to get the best of these shots without having to pose them.

So like I said most of your wedding day will either fall into one or the other of these 2 terms but more than likely you will get a mixture of both from any photographer. You best bet is to find a photographer who you really really get on with, that way I doesn’t matter what they might ask you to do so long as you are having fun it’s no big deal.

About Graham

Graham Crichton is an award winning professional wedding & portrait photographer based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. With 10 years of experience and having photographed hundreds of weddings he has photographed weddings all over Ireland, the UK and abroad.

About Hannah

Hannah Crichton is the principal photographic assistant, blogger and studio manager (and other half of Graham Crichton Photography). Hannah and Graham recently married themselves in Ynysybwl, Wales, where Hannah is originally from. Hannah loves “everything wedding"!



PPANI - Professional Photographers Association of Northern Ireland


Qualified member of the Professional Photographers Association of Northern Ireland

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Graham Crichton Photography,
A110 Portview Trade Centre,
310 Newtownards Road,
Belfast BT4 1HE,
Northern Ireland.

 Phone: 02890 99 77 98

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I don’t think we can say how amazing Graham and Hannah are in this review! But we are so glad we found Graham! We’re not one to pose for photos. Come the wedding day, it felt like a pleasure to have Graham and Hannah at the wedding! Our guests loved them, Graham is fun and enthusiastic, but also discrete!

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