Discreet wedding photography

The fine art of taking wedding photos without making people cross

You want everyone to have a great day without being distracted by the photography. So ‘discreet’ is top of the qualities you’re looking for in a wedding photographer. *sticks hand in the air* I’m proud to tick that box. But this doesn’t mean you won’t see me. Come behind-the-scenes to find out more about how I capture magical but unobtrusive photos.

You don’t want:

An obnoxious photographer who’ll detract from your day, spoil everyone’s fun – and become a bitter memory when you look at your photos. 

You do want:

To immerse yourself in your day while your photographer subtly captures the true essence of your wedding and everyone there.

Which means your wedding photographer must be…


Yep. We’ve all heard horror stories about photographers climbing on altars, laying in the middle of the aisle, swearing during group photos…

Urgh. Nope. That’s not for me. It’s certainly not for you. And tbh, it isn’t for many couples.

Which is why documentary wedding photographers’ websites (mine included) are full of words and phrases like being invisible, blending into the background, taking your picture without you realising it… 

And that’s great.

But it’s also bad.

Because it’s led to an industry misconception that a photographer can capture photos without being noticed.

Which is true.

But it’s also false.

Confused much? Let me explain.

Sure, I can be the master of disguise (sans wig and fake moustache), work so stealthily that even my own shadow wonders where I’ve disappeared to, and capture natural pictures of people without them knowing … until they see the photo and they’re all “How on earth?!” 

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“We barely even noticed Sarah & Tom throughout the day despite the ton of beautiful photos we received!” Bethany & Adam

But here’s the thing: 

Even if the subject of a photo isn’t aware of me, there are others who are.

So I thought it’d be useful to spill the tea on the experience you can expect from me on your wedding day.

What being a discreet wedding photographer is really about

I’ll be honest: You absolutely will see me on your wedding day. Even – and especially – at key moments. Take your ceremony… I’ll probably be just a few feet away from you and in your direct eye line. There’ll be no missing me.

But that’s okay. 

Because seeing me isn’t the same as being distracted by me. 

See, discretion isn’t about disappearing into the shadows. It’s about how you are with people. Even if you do spot me, my intention is for you to feel so at ease with me being there you’ll ignore my camera and stay immersed in whatever you’re doing. 

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“Sarah made us feel so comfortable we barely knew she was there!” Maria & Tom

So let’s explore what that looks like. 

How I photograph weddings discreetly 

I’m here to make your wedding photography experience easy, effortless, and fuss-free. (At least, on your part!)

And it all comes down to how I can be in your space and capture your day without anyone paying attention to me. 

Luckily, I have a secret weapon in my camera kit…


I’m naturally empathetic so this is at the heart of every decision I make on your wedding day. Like which photos I take, where I position myself, how long I linger, when I speak, when I’m quiet, when I step in to help, when I take a step back… 

Being sensitive to other peoples’ feelings and needs helps me fit gently into the day and puts other people at ease – which gives me a backstage pass to capture unique, meaningful, and relaxed photos.

Want more detail? Coming up!

To help people feel comfortable with me and my camera – and capture your day discreetly – I will do these things…

Work quietly

This is your party, not mine. And I want to capture you being you, the truth of your day, your authentic story. Because that’s your legacy. So the last thing I want to do is draw attention to myself and change the natural order of things. 

Luckily, I’m a calm-under-pressure type who just gets on with it – sans fuss. So (if you weren’t busy having the time of your life and you looked) you’d find me soaking up your day and clicking quietly away. No sticking out, interrupting the moment, or putting people off what they’re doing. You might even see me sneak a slice of cake – just to keep up appearances.

This makes it easy for others to relax and just get on with it too. Which means genuine natural photos for you.

“I’ve seen a lot of wedding photographers grandstanding while doing their job, however, Sarah’s style was subtle; quietly and efficiently taking photos throughout the whole day.” Mijin & David

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“I’ve seen a lot of wedding photographers grandstanding while doing their job, however, Sarah’s style was subtle; quietly and efficiently taking photos throughout the whole day.” Mijin & David

That said, It’s a fun day, and fun will be had. Which brings me onto…

Build rapport 

I’m not a silent fly on the wall all the time. I’ll engage, chat, and laugh with you and your guests – when it feels appropriate (empathy, see). There’ll be no loud antics, cheesy one-liners, or lightsaber battles … just some lighthearted chitchat.

A friendly atmosphere will help everyone feel comfortable having me around and relax enough to wear their hearts on their sleeves. Which helps me capture the genuine characters and emotions of your day. 

When it comes to your portraits and family photos, we’ll interact more. I know how to manage a crowd and will firmly lead these parts of your day, but I’ll be polite and won’t overpower your experience. I’ll give you enough space to interact with each other and allow precious ‘in-between’ moments with your VIPs to unfold.

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“Sarah fitted so naturally into the day’s proceedings. She had such a calm and gentle demeanour which made us both feel comfortable, and she could equally take charge of the situation with the family photos!” Isabella & Joe 

Even when I try to be an invisibility-cloak-wearing-lesser-spotted-photographer, I inevitably get spotted. So when I do, I’ll respond gracefully based on the reaction I get. Sometimes I stop, sometimes I carry on as if nobody saw me, sometimes I continue but move on quickly, and sometimes we all just giggle… 

Allow space

For important moments, like your ceremony or confetti run, I need to be right in the action to capture the best possible photos. But it isn’t always possible without blocking someone’s view. I totally get your guests have come to see you, not me, though and I don’t want to spoil anyone’s enjoyment of the day. So I try to make standing in front of people an exception.

This looks like:

  • Standing as far back as possible during the ceremony and using a zoom lens to get in close
  • Activating my camera’s quiet mode and not using flash
  • Continually moving during the reception to give people a break from the camera
  • Shooting from a low angle between tables during your speeches
  • Capturing portraits from a distance so you can have quality time together 

And under no circumstances will I sing. That’d definitely draw attention – and shatter the stained glass windows.

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“Many of our friends’ wedding photographers have quite frankly been rude, overbearing, and in the way of guests. But Sarah was respectful, you barely knew she was there but she was still able to keep the photos flowing.” Sam & Pete

Wait in the wings

Most of the time I capture things exactly as they happen – and of course, I’m ready to pop up right when you need me for your group photos and portraits. But there’s usually an element of tradition to the day – like cutting the cake. And whilst my job is to capture moments like this naturally, my couples often look for advice like “What do we do?”, “Where do we stand?” and “Where should we put the knife in?” 

This is all about knowing when to step forward and when to step back. Sometimes you’ll ask me directly. Other times I’ll just sense you need me.

Either way, if I can help your day run smoothly with anything behind the scenes, I’m all in. 

Read the room

Every wedding is different so I adapt to the wedding, personalities and atmosphere in front of me. With some couples, I’m more formal or informal, more or less chatty, more or less supportive. I’ve photographed all types of events from formal aristocratic weddings to casual glitter-filled days on a festival site. So you could say I’m a bit of a chameleon when it comes to fitting in.

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“Sarah fitted into our day like she’d known us and our guests for years.” Wendy & Adam

So, when I talk about being a discreet wedding photographer? I’ll blend in, be a friendly presence, and calmly capture your memories – while you enjoy your day, mingle with your guests, and have the time of your life. I’ll step in with guidance when you want it, but I won’t change the vibe of your day. Think of me as a ‘neutral energy’. 

The only thing I want to leave behind at the end of the day is a good impression (because I love happy couples who recommend me to others) and a trail of stunning photos for you to cherish for years to come.

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“You spend a good chunk of your wedding day with your photographer, which is why you have to have Sarah! I would have happily cut into the cake, grabbed a cup of tea, and sat down with Sarah for the afternoon!” Katie & Tom