Photo-Journalistic Style VS Interactive Style Photography


The talent of many photographers in the world has made us believe that truly beautiful, picture-perfect moments happen completely on their own. And to be fair, sometimes they absolutely do.

This train of thought influences a lot of couples into thinking that a documentary or photojournalistic style photographer is exactly what they want before they explore other options. A documentary or photojournalistic style photographer, for those of you who may not recognize that term, refers to a shooter that intentionally refrain from influencing much of what they’re capturing in an effort to keep the scene authentic and true to how it happened. The degree to which they withhold will vary from vendor to vendor so it’s important to ask.

On the other hand, there are shooters who are much more interactive in their approach to photography. Using what the bride and groom have created as raw materials, this type of photographer creates an image with intentional direction in order to capture the best aspect of a particular situation.

As with all things in life, there are sometimes risks in both options. Documentary style photographers can skirt the line of being too uninvolved and not giving the couple enough direction. Instead of allowing beautiful moments to happen naturally, they can feel awkward because the couple can’t stop thinking “I don’t know what to do”. On the other hand, a photographer that is too involved can easily go overboard with stiff and unnatural photographs which detract from the day.

What style of photographer you’d want to hire largely depends on what you want your final photos to look like and how you feel when having your photo taken. If you’re confident on camera and want your photos to be captured with as little influence as possible, it sounds like a photojournalistic photographer is the one for you. But if you’re a little nervous on camera and want to be shown what looks best, an interactive style shooter is probably your best bet.

An interactive style shooter will intervene more and make small adjustments like fixing your bowtie or brushing a piece of hair out of your eyes. A documentary style shooter often lets those little things go because they believe that interacting in this way cheapens the photograph. Whether you think that straightening of the bowtie effects the authenticity of the moment is entirely up to you.

Only you can know which side of the spectrum you fall on. But be sure to ask your photographer how they’ll treat you when posing and directing if you want to get an idea of whether they’ll tell you what looks great, or if you need to be the one responsible for coming up with creative poses in your photographs.

Questions to ask yourself:

1. Am I confident on camera to not require assistance, or do I want my photographer to help me figure out what looks best?

2. Do I think it compromises a photo’s integrity to have a photographer interact with us to make a scene perfect?

3. Of all the photos (around the internet) I wish my wedding to look like, are these photos posed or natural (or a combination)? What style of photographer do I think created them?

You The Best Photography’s approach:

As far as we know, we’re the definition of photo-journalistic with an eye for detail. We occasionally break the natural flow of events & intentionally put our couples into situations where everything is perfect and we just need them to act natural (which is much easier than it sounds). We get them to walk through a series of actions and that’s where we get the genuine interactions and love bursting through. This photo becomes perfect because we’d planned enough of what we needed to do, but still left room for the couple to be themselves.

We don’t think it’s very responsible for a photographer to be 100% completely hands-off during a portrait session (most documentary style photographers wouldn’t be, but how much they would is hard to say). As the photographer, it’s our role to capture beautiful moments. You pay for the keen eye of a professional photographer who will occasionally direct the shoot and call the shots. We can tell what looks good on camera. It doesn’t make sense for us not to interact with you if we can make a small adjustment to make the photo incredible.

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