1. Photojournalism defined
These days, it seems that many wedding photographers are wedding photojournalists. In fact, photojournalism, in relation to wedding photography, has become more of a buzz word in recent years than an actual description of a photographer’s style. But where does the term photojournalist even come from in the first place?
Photojournalism is a term that is actually used to describe a style of journalism accomplished through photography that is used for story telling in news, magazine and other publications. As a type of journalist, photojournalists were expected to observe and record events as they unfolded, without any interference or adulteration. In the late 1980s early 1990s, a group of photojournalists moved into the wedding photography industry and created a new unique style of photography called wedding photojournalism.
2. Photojournalism and Wedding Photography
When introduced to the wedding photography industry, this new style of wedding photography was a breath of fresh air. Prior to that point, wedding photography seemed to be firmly entrenched in a standardized set of perfect cliché-looking shots and effects. Every wedding portrait had the same glamour-esque look with a soft wash over the image. Wedding photography consisted of capturing, and even fabricating, the exact same image with each and every client. “Let’s do the looking out the window shot, ok, now look into your watch, ok, now tie your shoes, ok, now button your cuffs, etc.”
Wedding photojournalism took the standard approach to weddings and turned it onto its head. Instead of the wedding photographer helping guide and direct the wedding day, he now stood back and let things happen naturally. Instead of creating picture perfect scenes for every moment, the wedding photographer strove to capture the truth and realism in the actual moment. The result was photography that was no longer standardized as a canned product sold from the shelf of your grocery store. Rather, each client got customized pictures that may not have been flawless, but were perfect in capturing the actual emotion and atmosphere of the scene.
3. Wedding Photojournalism Today
Fast forward 20 years and it seems as though every single wedding photographer today appears to be a wedding photojournalist. Why? Well, because photographers are afraid of losing clients if they do not use the marketing term somewhere in their material. However, despite the usage of photojournalist, there are many photographers out there who have no experience in wedding photojournalism, or photojournalism in general. In fact, often times their portfolio doesn’t even exhibit photojournalistic style shots.
While it is not required for a wedding photographer to have worked at a newspaper agency in order to qualify him to be a wedding photojournalist, it should be expected that their training and educational background is in the field of photojournalism.