what is a real wedding photojournalist?

Photojournalists are news photographers. That means they work for media outlets like newspapers, magazines or wire services, covering everything from community events to presidential elections. They also regularly cover sports, fashion and sometimes even war. They document scenes and record reality with a priority on truth and storytelling.

Many wedding photographers call themselves wedding photojournalists in an effort to describe their emphasis on candid or unposed photography. I think this can be misleading. The truth is, very few of these photographers have an actual background in real photojournalism.

I spent the first six years of my career working for daily newspapers as a staff photojournalist. So when I call myself a wedding photojournalist, it’s not an empty term to describe my ‘style.’ It’s part of my DNA. It’s such a part of my philosophy and brand that I only hire second photographers who have the same approach.

I believe nothing better prepared me to be an award-winning wedding photographer than my years of experience as a photojournalist. When you hire an authentic wedding photojournalist you’re getting a photographer that knows how to be in the right place at the right time, using the right lens. Here are seven more reasons I believe we are the most qualified to document all the moments of your day – like when Kelly’s shoe flew off during her first dance with Elliott.

we’re storytellers – trained to anticipate and document moments

Our goal is simple – to tell the story of your wedding day. When covering assignments, often the most interesting, compelling and storytelling photos happen before or after the main event. “Get there early, and stay late” is one of the first rules of photojournalism.

As a wedding photojournalist, that means I start shooting in the morning during hair and makeup and we stay well into the dance party. It’s also the reason my pricing isn’t based on hourly packages.

Nothing makes me happier than delivering a beautiful collection of photos that tell a story. I loved seeing a long-term project published over several pages in a newspaper. That feeling is only amplified when I get to create beautiful, coffee table books for my couples.

no seriously, we’re moment junkies 

Wedding days are filled with moments. Some are big and expected, but the most storytelling moments are often the most subtle. I live for finding the in-between and behind-the-scenes kinds of moments.

For example, when I covered football games it was obviously important to capture the player scoring a touchdown – the action. But most of the time, photos from the moments immediately afterward – the celebration, the reaction – have more impact. They’re the most storytelling.

On a wedding day, we make sure to document both the action and the reaction. Because it’s the combination of you walking down the aisle AND the look on your partner’s face that tell the complete story.

we put people at ease and blend in

During my first newspaper internship, the photo editor explained to me the most important skill for being a successful photojournalist: “If you can make people feel comfortable in a short amount of time, you won’t have to worry about moments – they’ll happen.”

He was completely right. Earning a subject’s trust is the only way to do true documentary work. That relationship doesn’t just happen. I work to communicate with my couples and be a resource throughout the planning process.

I love getting to know couples during an engagement session and I will often attend rehearsals or walk-throughs when possible. That way I’m a familiar face by the time I arrive at your hotel suite on the wedding day while you’re getting ready. I’m able to become part of the background a little easier and capture more authentic moments.

“Travis was everywhere and nowhere (in the best way possible) on our wedding day and he captured everything we wanted.”


we get the camera where it needs to be

We’re always thinking about the best way to tell a story visually. Photojournalists are used to approaching and photographing strangers. Pioneering photojournalist, Robert Capa, said it best, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” We’re never afraid to get close and to put the camera in the best spot to make the most interesting picture.

Sometimes it means putting a remote camera in the balcony where photographers aren’t allowed to be during a ceremony. Sometimes it means laying completely on the ground to get an interesting reflection. And sometimes it means putting myself in the middle of the hora to get the perfect angle while you’re lifted into the air.

we are problem solvers, prepared for anything

As photojournalists, we cover all kinds of events in every type of scenario – while under the pressure of competition and deadline. We have the experience and the equipment to be able to make exceptional pictures in any situation. Photo editors like to say “newspapers can’t publish excuses.” Coming back from an assignment without a publishable photo just isn’t an option.

No matter what wedding day curveballs come our way, we’ll make the most of it. If it’s raining, we’ve always got a few places we know we can go. We can, and have made portfolio pictures in the covered entrance of a hotel (see the featured image at the top of this page). You can feel confident in our absolute ability to handle the unique challenges of any venue or location, even if we haven’t shot there before.

we focus on your people, not just your stuff

I’ve had couples tell me that my work stood out because I didn’t have a portfolio full of jewelry and perfectly arranged invitation suites. To be clear, I do shoot those pictures during your wedding day because detail photos can be storytelling too.

But our real passion is for moments. I love documenting all the emotions of the day – the joy, the laughter and even the tears. At the end of the day, we think a photo of your bridesmaids reacting to seeing you in your dress is going to be more cherished than a picture of it on a hanger.

we don’t rely on photoshop tricks or filters

Photojournalists are bound by strict ethical standards. News organizations can’t publish manipulated photos, because they aren’t truthful. In Photojournalism, use of Photoshop is limited to basic color correction and cropping. The reality of a scene is paramount. We learned to compose photos correctly in the camera, because you can’t just erase or clone out a distracting element later. 

While I do have a little more flexibility with my wedding work, I still strive to maintain that authenticity. You might notice our colors are bold and vibrant, but they’re real. We don’t use filters to make every scene “light and airy,” or uniformly orange. When the sky is blue in real life, it’s blue in our photos.