Storytelling in Wedding Photography

Documentary Ottawa Wedding Photographer Sara

I am Sara, ‘Ottawa Wedding Photographer’. I love all kinds of storytelling and in any photographic work I create, I make it my goal to honestly and gracefully tell the story of my clients. The above image shows the bride in the foreground with her mother reflected in the mirror behind her. She is looking at herself in the mirror, but from my perspective, I see her mother in the mirror. It was taken after the ceremony in a little room to the side of the altar in a local Church building just before the papers were signed. It’s a mother-daughter moment in a sacred space – reflections of each other. Quiet and without grand gestures amongst the ordinary things in the room. Sometimes visual stories only need one image and are less factual and more poetic, which I like to think this one is.

Tea ceremony by Ottawa Wedding Photographer Sara

Time to Reflect

In a social media age, a time where brief statements, sound bites, video ‘shorts’, and single images are shared across the globe and consumed with feverish gluttony, storytelling is a respite. Reading a novel or hearing a long tale told by a friend, allows time to think about the people in that story, the characters, their motives, desires, and purpose. A visual story told in multiple photographs can do the same. It gives time to reflect. Sometimes to weep or laugh, to trigger a fond or profound memory. The way images are placed next to each other can tell the viewer different sequences in a story or play against each other to contrast, contradict, or highlight a detail missed in one image.

The following series of images tells the story of the tea ceremony in a poky hotel room. The space was small but the emotions were big. The sisters of the bride were preparing tea cups and organizing the ceremony with delight. Their mother was holding back, but I could sense how she was feeling.

The first image above illustrates this scene by itself, but the other images bring more context and detail. You see the future son-in-law, handing the tea cup to his future mother-in-law. She delicately receives the small vessel with both hands. In the next image, the mother closes her eyes after drinking from the cup – holding back tears. A hint of a smile shows on her husband’s face. The images that follow are wider and show more context. You can now clearly see that the parents are seated and the bride and groom are standing opposite them.


What follows is the handing over of much gold and red envelopes. It’s a significant and intimate moment that took place before the larger ceremony with all friends and family.

Having single images on a wall is amazing, but having these small stories inside an album, where you notice details differently as you get older is invaluable. Looking back at an album in years to come as people grew older, showing children who were never there to pass on the story of your history and spend time with each other even perhaps as many years pass and those in the photographs are no longer around to talk to.

Bride and Groom in Tea Ceremony and gift exchange by Ottawa Wedding Photographer Sara

Ottawa Wedding Photographer

As an Ottawa Wedding Photographer based in the capital of Canada, I would absolutely love to document your stories. All the details of the celebration of your union. Contact me to book a consultation for your wedding today.


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