Documentary Style Photo Walk in London

London Documentary Style Photo Walk

It was cold and threatening rain, as is common in this part of the world during the fall season. Nonetheless, we gladly traipsed around Green Park’s environs to capture a few good photographs of team Love & Lavender on location in London, England.


Let’s start by asking:

“With a camera lens staring you down at a special event like a birthday, anniversary, or wedding, are you tired of striking a pose?”

Smiling on command, eyebrows quivering, all the while struggling to keep both eyes wide open for just the right moment doesn’t sound enticing. Plus, neither of us has ever been super comfortable as the star performer of a photo session.

Nonetheless, forced moments are the way photographs seem to be captured. Bright lights, angles to capture tones and expressions, and lots of poses…

Which is why we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with a UK based photographer highlighted later in this article. If you live in (or plan to visit) London anytime in the near future, checkout both the photographer and makeup artist we had the pleasure of working with this past November.

Time to Get Organically Made-up

meredith-makeup-closeupOur day began promptly at 9:00 a.m. in Bermondsey, London. Makeup artist Sylwia Kunysz welcomed us into her neat and tidy home and put on the kettle for an obligatory cup of tea. We chatted and got to know about her Polish roots as well as training as a beautician.

Her knowledge and passion for makeup artistry became evident the longer we stayed. We appreciated her deep insight into the fashion/makeup world of London, as well as her focus on wanting to use as many organic products as possible in her craft.

A large part of Sylwia’s service is occasion and bridal makeup. Click to see her portfolio of wedding related work.


Why Organic Makeup?

While Sylwia admits that it is nearly impossible to operate 100% green and organic for a makeup business, she strives to operate as green as possible. Often times this means using more expensive products that are certified organic, chemical free, and not tested on animals.

Good for you Sylwia!

makeup-by-sylwia-kunyszWe don’t often weigh in on political matters here on the wedding blog, but feel this is an appropriate issue. Preventing animal cruelty and preserving animal rights are something that we feel strongly about. So, when Sylwia mentioned that it is actually ‘mandatory’ to test makeup products on animals in China, we thought we misheard.

Sure enough, do a quick Google search to get a quick overview – China does require testing of certain cosmetic products on animals. And while positive changes in the law have been made over the last year or two, there is still a long way to go against products being tested on animals in China and around the world.

It isn’t simply a clever and compassionate marketing angle. She truly believes in green/organic makeup artistry as a mantra.

Our timeline was tight, but Sylwia’s talent with a makeup brush, eyeliner, and other tools of the trade won out.


What is Documentary Style Photography?

Our understanding about this style of photography is that the photographer tries to be invisible in order to capture the pure emotion and beauty of a moment. In essence, it’s not about posing and smiling while you wait three seconds for the shutter to snap. Instead, its really about connecting with the photographer first, in order to feel comfortable enough to let him into your inner bubble; drop your guard and feel at ease with him capturing true intimacy, happiness, or surprise.

Or perhaps a seemingly giant crow that makes an artistic statement! πŸ˜€


In terms of a wedding, it is also about an unscripted and natural flow of events. Context is king. Traditionally, the photographer takes on a much greater role at a wedding, directing the show in many cases by adhering to a time line, choreographing a photo session, and ensuring maximum opportunities to pose participants.

Our first experience with Wayne La’s documentary style photography service proved to be a great success.

How do I ‘Not Pose’ for a Professional Photographer?

Good question.

It takes getting used to a mindset shift, knowing a photographer is taking your picture while not necessarily physically standing right in front of you. As well, you must be very comfortable with the photographer you’re dealing with.

Fortunately, Wayne La picked the right profession. His easy going demeanor and approach quickly becomes evident upon meeting him. Over an hour long coffee session, we trade stories about travel, business, and family in order to get to know one another better. Key to Wayne’s success in his approach is first choosing the right clients, and then ensuring the client understands his approach and working methodology.

Yes, you heard right. Wayne does ultimately get to choose his clients. He knows what to look for in a client, and doesn’t want simply anyone to photograph.

As Wayne explained, β€œI want the 5% of clients who truly understand photography as an art form, who see the value in capturing emotion and expression in a raw unadulterated format.”


The more Wayne talked about how and why he prefers this documentary style of photography, the more we connected with him and his approach. Soon, he had us hooked and we couldn’t wait to start our photo walk.

documentary style photo shoot in London parkin-front-of-buckingham-palacesitting-on-step


The Photo Walk

As we walked around Green Park, Trafalgar Square, and other landmarks in London, we continued to chat, laugh, and learn about Wayne.

At one point Wayne turned to us and said, β€œHey, want to sneak into a cool building I know?”

Interest piqued – most definitely!

black and white photo in London private club

We stealthily made our way into a private members only area and an elaborate and ornate ballroom, snapping a few pics along the way. A brunch event was happening and we looked the part – dressed smartly and with a photographer in tow! Anyone could have told us to leave, but they didn’t. It was fun to pretend for a short while.

Braving the classic late November cold and rain in London while getting to know Wayne for a few hours was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


Why Hire Wayne La

Wayne obviously enjoys both his photography work and connecting with people. They go hand-in-hand with his unpretentious, unabashed style. His talent is derived from many hours spent as a street photographer, honing his craft of documentary style photographs around London.

Besides weddings, Wayne has correctly identified a need and tapped into the tourist market in London. His services are reasonably priced and provide a true keepsake of your moments as a couple (or solo traveler!) in one of the most iconic cities in the world.

Take a look at Wayne’s portfolio on his website. You’ll know pretty quick if you should hire him for your London photo shoot.


Shoutout to KYMA

Alternatively, check out KYMA – a new search platform to book photographers from around the world. In part, we have Pierre over at KYMA to thank, as we used his website to book our photo walk with Wayne La.

A big thank you to Wayne, Sylwia, and Pierre!!

If you’ve never quite understood the quote, β€œA picture speaks a thousand words,” the meaning may become more evident after taking part in a documentary photo session and enjoying the finished product.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and make a purchase I will receive a small commission. I may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my bride and groom readers.
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