best man helps groom with tie in mirror
April 10, 2013

Wedding Photographer as Observer


Have you ever been to a wedding and seen the photographer interrupting the action to pose a photo? Moving people to fit his or her idea of a wedding photo. Did that interfere with a conversation, a quiet moment or a round of shots? Yeah, that’s not us. We have tossed around the the expression fly-on-the-wall at Stark Bellamy Photography but what do we really mean by that?

We observe and photograph.

In our newspaper days we were ethically bound not to interfere with whatever it was we were photographing. That means that we quite literally would have lost our job if we told someone to pose a certain way or to “pretend” to do something. Our job was to document the person or event as they would be if we weren’t there. Many times our subject would ask us what we wanted them to do. We usually would tell them to just go about their day as if we weren’t there. The better they ignored us the better the photos were.

bride gets ready for the big day

Every time we photograph a wedding someone asks us what we want them to do. Our answer “pretend we’re not here”. If we are shooting over your shoulder or past your arm we are using it as a framing element and you are part of the composition, don’t jump out of the way. You may be part of beautiful and compelling photo of what is actually happening. Not an ideal created by magazines and Hollywood.

There is nothing wrong with that kind of wedding photography, it’s just not us. We won’t loose our job for posing you (we’re self-employed) but it goes against our years of training and experience. There is always a twinge of guilt when we pose a photo. We don’t even pose our children unless its for a portrait. We just like the beauty of natural interactions whether it is our child or a bride.

father kisses the hand of his daughter before her big moment

What’s the point? We are observers not interferers! We observe and document your wedding day. In 20 years when you are sitting with your children, looking at your photos. We don’t want you to tell them “oh the photographer did this or that”. We want you to tear up at the picture of your father giving you a kiss or giggle at the best man break dancing horribly. Those are the photos that matter and will last forever. Let us observe, document and capture them for you.






Eric Bellamy
Wedding Photojournalist at Stark Bellamy Photography
Eric Bellamy is an award-winning photojournalist whose work has appeared on the likes of ESPNHS, the New York Times, Denver Post and more. He now focuses on editorial-style wedding photography and portraiture. He lives with his wife and children, and enjoys climbing rock and ice as well as sampling good wine and food in Northern Colorado.