documentary wedding photography in London

No Forced Smiles. Natural And Relaxed Photographs, As It Happens

documentary wedding photography in London

No Forced Smiles. Natural And Relaxed Photographs, As It Happens

How do you feel about having your picture taken?

A. 😖 Toe curling agony. 

B. 🙄 If I must. 

C. 🤩 My face just loves the camera!

If you’re A or B we should talk. I’m the photographer for people who hate having their picture taken. I get it. You still want nice photos on your wedding day, you just don’t want to stand there for half an hour pouting like teenage influencers. 

If you’re looking for a friendly wedding photographer to capture those candid, natural moments with a few relaxed portraits, I’d love to be your guy! My work has been exhibited worldwide, shortlisted for the International Photography Awards, published in the New York Times and I was lucky enough to win the Hitched Wedding Awards 2024. 

This is not for influencers. I won’t be spending an hour posing you to look like the latest Hollywood couple. I love to capture those unscripted, surprising, natural moments just as they happen. The kind of photos that you’ll look back on and say “yeah… that’s exactly what our wedding felt like”. Do I do group family shots? Of course! But I make sure that part is quick, fun and painless. How about some shots of the happy couple! Absolutely, buy I also know a lot of people don’t feel relaxed in front of the camera. Don't worry - I've got you. I make the portraits quick, fun and relaxed so you two can get back to your guests and enjoy your day.

So, no forced poses, no awkward moments and I won’t ask you to say “cheese”. I just want you two to enjoy the day to the max - and I’ll be there to photograph it.

What is documentary WEDDING photography?

Documentary wedding photography is taking pictures of the wedding just as it happens. No forced poses, no faked scenes and I won't tell anyone to "say cheese". I am there to observe and capture the natural laughter, the heartfelt hugs and the eye-rolls during the Best Man's speech.

Who Are You?

I'm Gary Williams, a documentary wedding photography based in north London. My work has been displayed in galleries across the world, published in books, the New York Times, displayed on billboards and (my favourite) printed on tea-towels!

Is candid wedding photography the same as documentary photography?

Yes. candid, documentary, reportage - they all mean pretty much the same thing. Wikipedia defines it like this: "Candid photography is photography captured without creating a posed appearance." So it's about capturing those natural, unposed, real moments.

gay wedding couple laughing
gay wedding couple enjoying confetti

"We couldn't have picked a better guy for the job. His enthusiasm and professionalism throughout the day were impeccable and brought joy and laughter to the day. We wanted photos that were natural and not forced and Gary managed to capture that in every single shot. I could not recommend Gary more."

—Daryl and Tom

Okay, but will you do group shots of the family?

Of course! Although my emphasis is on taking candid shots, I'm happy to do family portraits. It's rare these days to have the family and friends together in the same place so why not take advantage and photograph the occasion? The trick is to be efficient so everyone can get back to enjoying the day, just the way you intended.

"It was amazing to see the photos. Myself and Roger were very emotional. We both cried watching the slideshow again and again. We really like how you capture the memories of our day."

—Cecile and Roger

wedding party group stands outside a church

What about a quick photoshoot with the newlyweds?

Absolutely. my background is in studio portraiture so you're in safe hands. I'll make sure you feel comfortable and relaxed so we can get some great shots of you and your new spouse. We'll work quickly so you can get back to enjoying your day with your guests.

gay wedding couple posing outside Islington Town Hall

"Gary has gone above and beyond on our special day, arriving early to find the best places for beautiful pictures, looking after our small wedding party, capturing natural moments without getting in the way, and making sure everyone was comfortable while posing. The photos came out absolutely beautiful, and the slide show with a song he picked got a few of us tearing up with emotions."

—Jurgita and Michael

wedding couple at old Marylebone town hall


In the journey towards your wedding day, there exists a delightful interlude that often goes unnoticed in the whirlwind of preparations: the pre-wedding photo shoot. Comprising engagement shoots and short couple sessions, it's more than just a prelude to the main event; it's a magical experience in itself. Click here to learn more.

wedding couple walking through field at beauvale abbey


—N & F


"Gary, these are amazing! We are crying! We honestly can't thank you enough, not only for the fantastic photos but for how comfortable you made us feel. We aren't naturals in front of the camera but wow you have done an amazing job."

—Leanne and Dave

Why wedding photography really matters (to me, a least!)

There’s a bit of stigma amongst photographers that wedding photography is trivial, boring and repetitive. I completely reject that. 

I know it sounds like a line from a sales brochure, but for me it really is a huge privilege to be entrusted by a couple to photograph their wedding day.

Wedding photography might not be as “cool” as fashion photography but it’s way more important. It’s about real life and making memories with the people you love. It matters. It lasts. 

"Gary was absolutely amazing, we cannot recommend him enough to photograph your special moments and events. He not only captured our wedding day perfectly but helped make it even more special."

—Lisa and Martyn

bride twirls in a white wedding dress

"I am so glad my partner found Gary for our wedding photos. As someone who isn't necessarily comfy in front of a camera, I know first hand that it can come across in the pictures. Gary's relaxed nature was infectious and I was instantly at ease with him. His efficiency and experience came across to everyone in our wedding party, with compliments from all who attended. The pictures are something out of a fairy tale."

—Philipa and Caimin

Making Memories

Beautiful moments to enjoy for years to come

As a documentary wedding photographer my work has been displayed in galleries from New York to Italy, published in the New York Times and shortlisted for the International Photography Awards. I love capturing special moments and weddings are certainly full of those. Bringing families and friends together for this most important day brings with it drama, romance, fun, tears and laughter and I'll be there to capture every moment.

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groom and friends play tug o war on wedding day
bride wedding dress dirty and muddy on the grass
Bride and her wedding party and guests playing tug of war outside on the grass

"Wow! The photos are absolutely amazing, even better than we could have hoped for! We’ve just watched the photo-film on our honeymoon having a drink and it’s made it even more perfect."

—Amy and Richard

Explore these recent weddings:

"Gary arrived promptly, he had a wonderful personality putting everyone at their ease, even taking pictures of my daughter who hates being photographed. His timings and suggestions were impeccable; we couldn't recommend him enough. An excellent photographer."

—Anne and Nigel

Father of the bride giving a speech at the wedding reception in a floral decorated tent outdoors surrounded by trees

"Gary was friendly and professional, putting everyone at their ease - we barely noticed him most of the time so he got some great natural shots of the family relaxing together. We couldn't be more pleased with the results - the photographs are a wonderful reminder of a lovely day."

—Kath Coar

Close up on a female wedding guest in a white jumper and dress placing a slice of red velvet cake on her white plate


How much do you charge?

A.My pricing is very straightforward. I charge £400 for a 2 hour wedding day shoot then £125 per hour after that.

So, if you have a micro wedding in Central London (that is less than 2 hours of time) then it's just £400.

You can decide if you want me there to just photograph the ceremony, the pre-wedding preparations all the way through to the last dance or anything in between. It's up to you.

You’ll get all the images beautifully edited in an online gallery where you’ll be able to order photo books and prints if you want them.

Where are you based?

A.I have lived in Islington, London for almost 20 years.

Do you travel?

A.Yes! I have worked in over 60 countries and I love to travel. Whether it's throughout the UK or worldwide, let's do it!

How many photos will we get?

A.For a full day wedding I usually take about 6000 photos and delivery around 1500. For a simple ceremony I might take 200-300 and delivery 100-200.

I know a lot of photographers use the number of photos they deliver as a sales point. Some clients will feel they are getting more value for money they more photos they get. But personally, I think this is the wrong way to look at your wedding photographs.

The issue isn't how many photos but how good the photos are. It's easy to take 1000s of photos but what you're paying a good photographer for is take great shots, be discerning and look for special moments. We have a phrase for the other type of photography: spray and pray. You can imagine what that means!

Ask yourself if you really want to sit through 1000s of photos of your wedding trying to decide if this one is slightly better than that one. That's what you're paying me for. I will be discerning in the photos I take and then take the time to choose the best ones for you. On average it takes about the same amount of time to edit and sort the photos as it does to shoot.

Don't worry, you'll get lots of great photos and besides, years from now you'll probably only be enjoying maybe 50-100 of them in an album.

So, don't worry about quantity - it's a red herring. Look at your photographer's work and choose them based on their style.

How will you deliver our photos?

A.Your photos will be sent in the private digital gallery for you to download and share as you like. From there you can easily order beautiful photo books, wall art and prints.

How long do you need to edit and deliver the photos?

A.I like to say 2 weeks, just in case, but usually they are all edited and delivered within a few days.

Are you happy to photograph posed family groups?

A.Yes. My "thing" is natural documentary style photography but I am very happy to do family groups. Weddings are a rare chance for the whole family to join together so I actually think it's important to do a few groups. But don't worry, it will make sure the process is quick, easy and fun so you can get back to enjoying your day.

Do you have insurance?

A.Yes.My policy is with Hiscox Insurance Company Limited and includes an indemnity limit of £2,000,000

Have you won any awards?

A.I'm very fortunate to have had my work displayed in the Decode Gallery Arizona, The Art Square Gallery in New York, Cambridge University, The Glasgow Photography Gallery and the Trieste Photo Festival in Italy. My work has been officially selected for the International Photography Awards, published in the New York Times, printed in biographies, on tea towels and billboards!

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London based documentary photographer Gary Williams


If you're looking for more than just posed photographs, if you want your wedding day to be documented authentically, capturing real emotions and heartfelt connections – then you've found your photographer. Send me your details and and let's create memories together. If you want to know more about me, click here.