Hire A Street Photographer For Your Wedding

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I recently photographed a friend’s wedding with a street photography approach and it was one of the most fun experiences I have had with a camera since my trip to Cuba last year. I was roaming freely and allowing my creative instincts take over to capture the moment which in short felt like a kid in a candy store.

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If you want a real feel (the emotions, the anxiety, the joy, the happiness, the stress, the chaos) of how your special day went then hire a street photographer to document your wedding. I have worked several commercial wedding gigs in the past (both video & photos), obviously in Hawaii it is a big industry with many tourist coming to the islands to get married or the very least spend their honeymoon. Comparing my experience shooting a commercial wedding to the one I just did with the street/documentary approach…all I can say it did not feel like work. It didn’t feel like another day at the office and therefore by not treating everything so robotic or as a science I was able to capture moments very organically.

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At the end of the day, a good photo is one that has a story, captures the moment. Whether it’s through a conventional wedding photographer or from a street photographer.

You can view my interview on Wayne La who is a wedding street photographer in London.

There are many key moments that takes place in a wedding event and with a good street photographer’s eye and approach the goal is to capture the moment before it fades. A good street photographer can read and react. Take the shot. Remain invisible. Find those intimate moments, candidly. And slitter their way through the crowd.

In my bias opinion, street photography is the hardest form of photography. It is also the purest form of photography. The most honest from of photography. However, I am not saying street photographer is a better option to document your wedding or event. There are many great wedding photographers that I know personally that approach it with a more traditional style and still walk away with amazing images.

Perhaps if your budget allows…hire two photographers..one for more traditional style and the other for more street style…that way you get the best of both worlds. You’ll have the regular wedding photographer for the traditional, posed, cheesy stuff…and the best memorable images that you’ll probably appreciate as time goes on with what the street photographer captures. What bugs me are the wedding photographer’s that don’t work, after the ceremony they take the group shots and done. A street photographer will work the event until its over, not missing a moment.

Yes I know, producing a wedding is crazy expensive (I just got married last year). You will be focusing and spending money on all those little details such as venue, the decor/flowers, the dress, the catering, lights and DJ….but truth is none of this will stay. A day after the wedding you will not remember most of it, it will feel like a complete blur. The only thing you get to keep from your wedding are the photos. The photos are what you will share with your friends and show your grandchildren for generations to come. The photos is what will breath for eternity.

By hiring a street photographer to cover your wedding, that person will know how to bring find those candid moments and make the ordinary, extraordinary. It is possibly the best investment you can make….This is where you should not be looking for the cheapest but for the best you can afford. Research the photographer and if you like their style contact them. So much energy is put to researching the venue and food and little on the coverage of the day. Even if the price range is out of your budget, it will be quickly forgotten once the wedding is over. Money will replenish. You only have one opportunity to document your special day.

Hear It From A Pro…

Street photographer Mason Resnick who was a student of Garry Winogrand in the 70’s had this to say;

“As a classically trained street photographer, I am always on the lookout and prepared for those unexpected moments—the casual conversations, the ebullient celebrations, and the emotionally tender interactions, that are equally treasured and perhaps even more so because this is our real life.

I have found that newlyweds love this kind of reflex-driven, high-reward form of photography at weddings since I trailblazed my unique technique in the early 1980s.

I call it Wedding Street Photography…

It was in the early 80s, while talking to another photographer friend who was about to get married, when it hit me: What if I applied Winogrand’s “attentive observer” approach to photographing weddings? I asked my friend if I could bring my camera and experiment at her Simcha, and she said yes.

After that, several more friends let me experiment as their ‘unofficial’ wedding photographer, working side-by-side with the pro. I experimented with a technique that combined an action-freezing flash with a long exposure, and the results were dynamic, energetic, and happily surprising.”

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Conclusion

If you despise cheesiness or anything done traditionally and rather love reality, humanity, and all in all heartfelt emotion to go with it, then consider hiring a street photographer to take your event and/or wedding to the next level.

You can view the wedding I just covered here – It’s A Nice Day For A White Wedding

Adding this donate button. Any donation will be greatly appreciated. Your monetary donation will be used for coffee and photobooks. Mahalo

Interview with Wedding Street Photographer Wayne La

Can you start off by telling us a (brief) story on your background and how you first picked up a camera?

My interest started when my first child was born and I had a sudden desire to start documenting the day to day.  The interest steadily grew into something all-consuming over a period of years.  My point and click grew into huge SLR rigs and wireless triggers.  I’m largely self-taught but did a couple of photography courses at the local college, and I also got trained by studio in Texas.

So you shoot weddings and commercial work…how are you able to add your street photography approach to weddings? Were you shooting the wedding both traditionally and with a street style or just depends on what the couples want? Did it start off with a couple/client that wanted their wedding to have that raw candid feel to it?

I spent two years shooting for a wedding studio in Texas.  They taught me a hell of a lot about the customer service side – managing expectations, managing a crowd, managing time.  From a photography standpoint, they were very traditional.  Getting the perfect posed shots were the priority, whilst providing a good experience a close second.  My training was geared towards achieving those goals.

Broadly speaking, there’s a big cultural difference between the UK and US in terms of what is classified as documentary wedding photography and the value that is placed on the candid frame.  In America, I struggled to find couples who brought in to my approach fully, whereas here in the UK, one of the first things couples tell me is how they don’t want any posed photos, bar a few group shots for the parents.

In terms of shooting weddings ‘street style’, that’s not really how I would describe what I do, or how I represent my work.  Sure, a lot of street has a certain aesthetic: wider angles, close in, dynamic and busy in composition, and I bring those influences into my wedding work.  Not because it’s edgy or different, but because it’s the truest representation of how I see the world.

I would imagine shooting an event or wedding with a street photography mindset keeps things fresh and fun. Do you foresee more couples wanting this type of documentation on their special day?

There’s a lot of education out there for couples already, most of it is industry driven, but people generally know the difference between documentary and the more traditional approach.  I’d like to think they’d know the difference between bad photography and photography but sometimes I’m not so sure.

 

What’s one photograph you never get tired of looking at?

Favourite

Changing gears to your street photos, describe your style and how you approach making photographs when wandering the streets.

I don’t know.  I walk until I see a potential of a scene, take a few shots and if it doesn’t work out, I’m gone.  The potential could be quality of light, a strong graphical element, or the possibility of characters interacting

 

Who are some of your favorite street photographers?

Alex Webb, Harry Gruyaert, Martin Parr, Eggleston, Trent Parke, Garry Winogrand to name but a few

In your opinion what makes a good photograph?

A human connection.  Winogrand was a master at it.

 

If you could have dinner with one street photographer past or present who would it be?

Joel Meyerowitz.  The man makes a great photo but the stories he can weave are even greater.

You can shoot with one street photographer for a day who would it be and why?

Joel, for the above reason.

I ask this with everyone. If you can have one street photographer shoot your wedding who would it be?

Alex Webb.

What are your short term goals (1-3 years) and what are your long term goals (5-10 years) if you have any with photography? And what are you currently doing in trying to achieve those goals? If any, what struggles are you currently facing?

To carry on evolving.  The photos I take now are different to what I took 5 years ago, and I hope they’d be different in 5 years from now.

Any personal tips or advice on wedding street photography?

Learn as many aspects of wedding photography as you can.  Posing, lighting, candid storytelling.  Good wedding photography is just good photography.

What frustrates you about photography?

Many wedding photographers are driven by trends, not by what is personal to them.  It’s also frustrating to see some of the more established street photographers shooting the same old:  Yet another staircase with a shadowy figure isn’t a signature, it’s just lazy.

What are you most proud of in terms of your work?

That I’m getting paid to take photos.

What are you doing when you aren’t making pictures?

Keeping my kids alive.

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To keep up with Wayne’s work:

Website: waynela.com

Instagram @wayne_la_photo

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/waynelaphotography