This is one of the things that all wedding photographers want to talk about. Why? Mainly because there isn't much agreement on what constitutes true photojournalism or what is often referred to as Documentary wedding photography. The reason for the controversy is that purists like to tell you that the only way to photograph a wedding in a documentary style is to be completely unobtrusive and barely speak with the bride and groom throughout their wedding day. Then you basically just wait for moments to occur such as the one in the above image. This particular image is truly candid and was a nice moment with the groom showing affection for the bride. But what about those weddings where there are no moments to document? What should we do then? Some San Francisco city hall weddings can be like that. Beyond the ceremony, there are often no real candid moments to document. This is especially true if the couple is eloping without other guests. It may seem unlikely, but it happens. Some couples just want to get nice photos and not really invest any effort to try get more candid shots. Does this really happen one might ask? Let's explore this in more detail.
I don't know a wedding photographer who would just give the couple boring photos if nothing exciting happened at the wedding. It is the city hall wedding photographers responsibility to provide the couple with amazing shots no matter what "happens" at the wedding (or doesn't happen). For the most part, if a photojournalist is on their game, they will catch some great moments and emotion. But either way, a photographer will be rated by how much the bride and groom like the photos. Telling the couple that the wedding was boring and nothing happened is not going to fly! I always say that newlyweds tend to not remember the details of their wedding. If things went wrong that made it much more difficult to obtain photos, that is none of their concern. Certainly, attempting to remind the couple about those challenges is a big mistake. They are more concerned with seeing great photos and not listening to excuses. So this of course, is the main challenge with San Francisco city hall. So the remedy is to create some moments on our own. We have the couple walk and talk and encourage them to interact with each other. These kinds of actions usually result in some nice candid photos. Other examples is to have the emulate dance moves and playfully push each other.