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Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Reality

with Tyler Wirken

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  •   Trailer

  •   10 Moment Killers

    16:46

Class duration: 15h 14m

See all 36 lessons
  • 15K students

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  • 94% recommended

    21 student reviews

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About The Class

Focus on real life.


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!

Topics Covered


Lesson Plan

  1. 01

    Introduction and Background

    08:25
  2. 02

    My Path to My Why

    33:00
  3. 03

    Finding My Why

    09:31
  4. 04

    Getting the Proper Clients

    34:46
  5. 05

    Exude Confidence

    12:58
  6. 06

    The Beauty of Being Pure

    28:47
  7. 07

    Think Beyond the Wedding

    29:40
  8. 08

    Favorite Photo - The Client's Perspective

    31:45
  9. 09

    Moments are Fragile

    21:47
  10. 10

    Moment Killers

    16:46
  11. 11

    Tell it Like it is

    19:21
  12. 12

    Make it Feel Like it Felt

    11:40
  13. 13

    Skype Interview with Bride and Q&A

    38:07
  14. 14

    Be Fearless with Your Gear Part 1

    32:59
  15. 15

    Be Fearless with Your Gear Part 2

    15:57
  16. 16

    How I Shoot Manual

    31:08
  17. 17

    Back Button Focus

    28:48
  18. 18

    Setting and Using Back Button Focus

    15:58
  19. 19

    Gaining Trust

    22:26
  20. 20

    Trusting Yourself

    12:59
  21. 21

    Wedding Day Start to Finish Part 1

    32:01
  22. 22

    Wedding Day Start to Finish Part 2

    46:37
  23. 23

    Vow Renewal Shoot

    27:56
  24. 24

    Vow Renewal Interview and Q&A

    38:04
  25. 25

    Building A Photo: Composition

    25:45
  26. 26

    Building A Photo: Lighting

    23:34
  27. 27

    Building A Photo: Backgrounds

    15:12
  28. 28

    Building A Photo: Hard Work

    16:45
  29. 29

    Student Single Wedding Critique: David

    34:58
  30. 30

    Student Single Wedding Critique: Diwas

    28:21
  31. 31

    Internet Critique With Ben Chrisman Part 1

    29:17
  32. 32

    Internet Critique With Ben Chrisman Part 2

    27:55
  33. 33

    Internet Critique With Ben Chrisman Part 3

    30:25
  34. 34

    Post Wedding Workflow: Culling

    33:21
  35. 35

    Post Wedding Workflow: The Edit

    23:21
  36. 36

    Post Wedding Workflow: The Album

    24:01

Meet Your Expert

Tyler Wirken

Tyler doesn’t consider himself a wedding photographer. He’s simply a family historian who documents weddings. Starting out as a newspaper photographer, he discovered a passion for documentary photography early in his career and never looked back. After almost ten years ... read more

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94% of students recommend this class.
See what some of them have to say.

  • Creativelive Student

    November 2014

    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.

  • CardinalGary

    CardinalGary

    April 2015

    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.

  • Jivefree

    December 2014

    For anyone interested in shooting a wedding from a true documentary style approach, this class is for you. Tyler's style may not be for everyone, but I seriously loved this class so much and found it so inspiring. I've attended many in person wedding workshops that were heavily focused on shooting editorial style and capturing the details more so than real moments, because thats what seems to get you published in the wedding industry these days, but I find so much of that lacking heart. Tyler's approach on the other hand is all about capturing the real moments that unfold during the day. His images are so full of heart, emotional and tell a beautiful story.

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