What is Documentary Photography?

Documentary Photography and Why You Need It

I have always believed that good photography tells what really matters. Documentary photography preserves the moments we wish we could go back to, and it’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly.

There will always be a time when we wish we had “one more” moment. One more moment with your young kids before they grew up too fast. One more moment dancing with your parents at your wedding. One more moment with your college friend, turned business partner, before your big idea took off.

Documentary photography doesn’t just capture what’s happening now, it houses a legacy. It tells a story.

Why do you need documentary photography for your family?

family photography and family photojournalism in kansas city. Real, unscripted families.

Documenting your family as they are now in real moments is an irreplaceable gift. Photographing your family on a normal day when the kids are disgusting and you have a simple day at home. These are the days you’ll look back on and miss.

Within these normal days are the memories your kids will hold onto after your gone. While photographing your family ”in the now” is amazing for today, the emotional value of those images will grow with every day that passes.

Why do you need documentary photography for your wedding?

Grandma excited at her granddaughters wedding. Wedding photojournalism by documentary photographer, Tyler Wirken of Wirken Photo.

While weddings, as a whole, are a planned out and composed event, the emotions and moments you have with your loved ones are very real and genuine.

Weddings are the start of a new legacy. The start of a new chapter in your lifelong story. I will always and forever believe that a wedding day isn’t about the photos. A wedding is about a marriage about two families coming together. It’s about your parents watching you grow up. It’s about your grandparents crossing a wedding dance with you off of their bucket list. Good wedding photography shows this without interrupting the integrity of your moments.

Over the past 16 years in this business I have come to realize what my purpose as a wedding photographer truly is and it drives my decisions every wedding I document. I believe, to my core, that wedding photos are not ultimately for the bride and groom but rather for people that don’t exist yet.

Weddings are a once in a lifetime event. Never will you have that many family and friends in one room together at that capacity again, so it makes total sense to me that we should be focusing on those people, those relationships. That is what is going to matter 30 years down the road.

Why do you need documentary photography for your business?

Commercial Photographer Tyler Wirken of Wirken Photo documents Integrity Homecare in Kansas City

We live in content-heavy times. Be it through blogs, social media platforms, podcasts, etc., we are constantly submerged in a sea of content.

But what is the oldest form of communication and connection? Storytelling.

In today’s world, to stand out, you have to tell your story. It’s been said that consumers don’t buy products or services, they buy “your why”.

Every successful organization started with some elbow grease. It’s important to not only tell people where you came from, but show them. Using real, unscripted, unposed photos to tell your story will connect you and humanizes your work.

With documentary photography I get to keep it simple and make images that matter in more ways than one. Whether it’s showing the power behind your nonprofit organization or showing the beauty behind your ordinary family. These are the images that will hold the most weight.

If you’d like to visit more about documenting your family, wedding, or organization, send us a message via our contact page (click here). It’s time to tell your story.



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