2011 isn’t quite over for me yet as far as shooting weddings goes……I’m very much looking forward to documenting my final wedding of the year on 30th December at St Audries Park, one of my favourite venues.

In the meantime though, I thought I’d take some time to reflect on a great year in which I’ve had the tremendous pleasure of photographing a huge variety of weddings, from extremely intimate family only affairs to large celebrations involving marquees and country mansions, including several that I was working at for the first time. As always it’s been an enormous privilege to be entrusted to capture such an important milestone in people’s lives.

It was a year that saw a leap forward in the evolution of my style of wedding photography, influenced in part by the experience of having my own wedding photographed. Unobtrusive, documentary coverage had always played an important part in my wedding photography, but this year really saw it come to the fore when I experienced for myself the real value of a good body of photojournalistic work. I also found it was a much more rewarding way to document a wedding.

The change in my approach provided a challenge in a number of areas though, partly in adapting to a new way of seeing things, but also in overcoming the tendency of the wedding photography industry to pigeon-hole photographers into very distinct categories. It’s not generally accepted that a wedding photojournalist should also be good at creative portraiture, and setting up detail shots definitely rules you out of defining yourself in that genre. It’s very much an all or nothing scenario, and makes it very difficult to know how to present yourself when you feel you have strengths in all areas.

I think it presents a challenge for clients too, who want their wedding covered in a non-obtrusive, documentary style but also want to make the most of the opportunity to have some beautiful portraits taken and feel it would be a shame not to get some pictures of those details they’ve spent so long choosing to make their wedding day unique. Do they choose a pure wedding photojournalist and forego the portraits and details? Or do they opt for a more creative photographer and compromise on the quality of the documentary work?

I’m very proud to be able to offer my clients strong documentary coverage, but equally proud that I can produce creative work that doesn’t rely on presets or faddy vintage effects, to produce a high quality body of work that ticks all the boxes and which will stand the test of time.

Perhaps convincing the world that they can have the best of both worlds if they want it will be my challenge for 2012.

In the meantime, I have selected some of my favourite wedding images from 2011, drawn from a total of around 7000 presented to my clients, and all individually “finished” by me to produce the high quality end product I’m committed to.

These images are not only personal favourites but are also the ones that I feel best represent the breadth of my style, encompassing pure documentary images alongside some strong portraits and detail shots. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.