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What is Editorial Photography vs. Documentary Photography and WHY is this important for me to know?

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

Let’s start with a definition of what Editorial Photography is.

Flip through any fashion magazine with professional models and designer gowns…

These images were intended for fashion magazines accompanied by an article written by an Editor. It is laid out in an informative way rather than a “hard sell”…hence the story accompanied by the editorial images.

Simply put editorial has a high fashion look, the setting can be more controlled through staging, it has that “magazine spread” look, focuses on showcasing fashion, and always with professional models.

the WHY

This is such a hot topic for me right now because amateur photographers are flocking into the industry.

I have seen their photography style which I have coined the term “Instagram Photographers”.

Some have embraced the “old film grainy” look or the “high key on camera flash“ photography look. For me personally I just see inexperience or a lack of understand of light.

I‘m all for filters when used properly along with a variety of stunning images that I strive to create for my clients.

what is DOCUMENTENTARY style

Documentary wedding photography is strictly “tell the story” do not pose, just document…

For me it’s important to capture emotions, moments, and really grasp what the bride and groom are missing so they can have this documented after their wedding day. I’m capturing their day (mostly right by their side) but I am the “aware” one… they are just living the moment.

What is my style of photography?

For me documentary is really my go to for throughout the day and “in between” any posed photography that is planned like the Family Formals Portrait Session”. I also love the “editorial look” just as long as it fits the vibe of my couple… moving right into posed images as needed for the family formals… so it’s a great combination of techniques that make my wedding images unique.

Here is where you (as the consumer) can go wrong: Do not hire a documentary or photojournalist wedding photographer that does not have the additional skills of posing and lighting, unless of course that is not important to you. So do your homework and ask them to see their posed images, or just a full wedding so you can see the overall quality of the images and that they are consistent.

Having a balanced wedding photographer is really important to capture everything as the day unfolds… they need to be able to transition with their lighting, posing, or not posing… whatever is called for at the time.

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