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Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Reality


Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Reality


Class Description

There is a magic and beauty to wedding days that doesn’t have to be posed or fabricated. You can take photographs that are authentic and dynamic by drawing on classic documentary photography techniques. Join Tyler Wirken for a class exploring the practice of documentary-style wedding photography.

This course will teach you how to take unique, distinctive images that break away from standard styled shoots and set-up poses. Tyler will encourage you to think deeply about why we take wedding photos and then help you use those insights to create an actionable roadmap for getting the real moments during weddings. You’ll learn how to get up close and capture the more intimate moments of a couple’s wedding day without feeling like you’re intruding or disrupting. From being more present in the moment to getting through family photographs in twenty minutes to developing your one-of-a-kind perspective as a photographer, you’ll build strategies for ensuring the moments you capture are beautiful and real.

If you want stand out in the sea of wedding photographers and take photographs that more meaningful than meticulously-posed, then this course is for you!


a Creativelive Student

Tyler calls 'em like he sees'em. He gets it: capture the emotion, the expression, the feelings of a wedding without preoccupation with perfect posing, perfect lighting, perfect camera settings. An image of a father's expression seeing is daughter in her dress for the first time is far more important than trying to get it framed just right. Anticipate. Watch. Don't interrupt a moment. This is a great series to refocus on the true meaning of why we shoot weddings.

a Creativelive Student

Recommend but with one big caveat. This class is useful in terms of his approach and mindset. I found it really inspiring in that respect. It's worth watching if you want to broaden your mind and make your wedding photography more interesting. Don't bother with this class if you are looking to improve technically, Tyler isn't a great technician and most of the info he provides in that respect is garbage and outdated. He also comes across as very arrogant at times and he's not a great instructor.


Tyler Wirken clearly has a lot to say, a point of view worth hearing, and a photographic talent worthy of our admiration. He is not a classroom instructor. His whole three day presentation could have been done in a day, maybe a day and a half, with spectacular results by a talented instructor . In a course about visual results he uses mostly redundant words, missing repeated opportunities to get his good points across by visual example. His video showing him shooting the couple and family in a reconfirmation ceremony was excellent and the points well reinforced by an interview with the couple while reviewing their pictures. The three sessions in which he was joined by Ben Chrisman to critique submitted photos was also informative and valuable as Chrisman added a crispness to the presentation that Wirken most often lacks. Even in these thirty minutes sessions, they could have included more photos. It may well have helped, if they'd prepared rather than ad-libbed those sections. Prior to the joint sessions, Wirken critiques the work of selected members of the live CL audience in 30 minute segments. His comments while valid, instructive and worthwhile became too harsh and even a bit petty as he spent too much time on a very small sample of the work. That section would have been more valuable had he been more selective in his critique so we students would walk away with one or maybe two memorable items from each photo. As a CL fan and owner of many of their courses, I have to say this is one of the more poorly presented. To the interested student, watch the free example and what you see is what you will get for three days. Yes, the subject is a valuable one and the results of the photojournalistic approach are wonderful, but you'll fast forward the last day and miss all the salient points.