Documentary Wedding Iconic Photo from Ian Bursill | Fearless and Framed

Documentary Wedding Iconic Photo from Ian Bursill

Aside from photographing my children, it was photographing weddings where I really learned the backbone to documentary photography. Conversations, reactions, moments, and stolen looks are just a glance of what you can really find on a wedding day. Weddings are a perfect place to practice documentary photography, because as the photographer, we are observing and shooting what is happening rather than directing images into creation. We are merely a part of the crowd, which gives us the best advantage!

I found Ian through a blog he is a contributor at called Prime – a documentary wedding photography collective. The images over there from him and the others are worth visiting after you read this post!

Fearless and Framed has documentary photos of children and motherhood being submitted more than any other subject. This is wonderful, however we also want to represent so much more, because our memories are building constantly. Document your world around you or tell a story for someone else and share with us!

If you have done a wedding, couple’s session, or other type of documented session, we want to see. Send us a blog link or some sample images at and we may feature you also.

Here is what Ian Bursill said about his photo:
“Thanks to Fearless and Framed for approaching me to supply and write about an image that’s iconic to me. I’m going to go back 6 years to 2009 for a shot that won me first place in the reflection category of the WPJA’s Q4 contest. The points I gained helped me finish second runner-up overall in the annual international ‘photographer of the year’ contest and saw me finish as the top UK member that year.

Here’s a little more background info about the image and how it came about.

My couple had been out of the church at this point for about 20 minutes. In my own customary way, I’d let them mingle with friends and family outside the church. I never ever interfere and direct the day, I just want to let the day follow its own course and document it. After 15 minutes or so the bridal party headed out of the church grounds to get into the car which was taking them to the reception.

The car was a beautiful burgundy vintage model. I can’t for the life of me remember the model of the car, but I vividly remember the glossy, highly polished paint finish on the car.

After a little more mingling, the driver took out a bottle of champagne and a couple of flute glasses and started to pour the happy couple their first celebratory drink of the day. Having noted the reflective surface of the car previously, I positioned myself at the back of the vehicle in the hope that I might get a creative frame or two.
I focused on the back of the car with its mirror-like reflective surface crying out for something to happen in the frame. In between, I’m constantly switching viewpoints, to document the story of the champagne bottle being opened and its contents poured out.
I re-focused for the final time on the back of the car for what seemed like an eternity. All the while I’m muttering silently under my breath “Anna, turn around, please turn around!”. What must the guests have thought of this mad photographer, pointing a camera at the back end of a vintage vehicle while there were pictures to be taken of the happy couple in front of me?

Eventually, Anna turned around and started to take some steps forward towards me. I rattled off several frames. Anna is captured like the reflection of some heavenly vision and I’ve even managed to make sure a ‘Hitchcockian’ style self-portrait of me is included at the right-hand edge of the frame.”

iconic photo blog series

Camera Data: Nikon D3 24-70mm 2.8 lens, 1/60 f/5.6 ISO 200

Ian Bursill Photography | Website | Facebook |  Instagram

About Ian Bursill:

“I shoot weddings in a pure documentary style without giving direction, apart from a few group formals if requested and 10 minutes worth of lightly directed portraits of the Bride & Groom. This enables my clients and their guests to get on enjoy their day without worrying about the photography taking over and results in a narrative of natural, emotive and timeless images.” 

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