It's understandable that for most couples, their wedding photographer sits high on the priorities list. Your wedding photos and video are the only things you'll have that will allow you to relive the day, so you want to choose a photographer who's going to capture it exactly how you want to remember it. But where do you start when it comes to selecting the right syle and photographer for you? In this blog I'll explain the most common wedding photography styles, so that you can make an informed decision knowing all the facts...
It's likely that when you look through your parents wedding album, you'll see lots of posed photos of them as a couple, and group shots of them with friends and family. These are often taken at the church, outside the church, and outside the reception venue for example. This is what we call 'traditional' wedding photography.
It involves a lot of direction from the photographer, and can take up quite a considerable amount of time, particularly for the main wedding party. The photographer will likely ask the couple to compile a list called a 'shot list', of guest groups they would like photos with, for example, "bride, groom, mother of the groom, father of the groom. Bride, groom, best man, maid of honour" and so on.
You won't necessarily come out with photos encompassing a shed load of emotion and character, but you will be sure to capture nice, professional photos of you and your favourite people.
Fine art is a very popular style of photography today. It's soft and romantic and focuses on beauty. Often the photos are light and airy, using more pastel and neutral tones. There is much more use of natural lighting as opposed to artificial.
It's elegant, it's sophisticated, it's timeless, and it tends to hold a lot of emotion in it's images. As it highlights in the title, 'fine art' photography is artistic! Unlike traditional photography, the posing in this style is more romantic and stylised. The photographers aim is to tell the story of the day through beautifully soft images.
Photojournalistic photography, otherwise known as documentary or reportage, is all about capturing candid moments. The photographer will be much more in the background, often taking photos without guests realising. Their job is to fade into the background and capture the day as it happens, documenting all of the authentic moments. There is typically no direction or posing in this style of photography. It is the most true-to-life way of capturing your wedding day.
There isn't neccessarily a specific aesthetic to look out for in terms of colour and lighting, what defines documentary photography, is it's natural, genuine contents.
Dark and Moody
In contrast, this style of photography is all about the aesthetic. As described, the colours are often described as 'dark and moody', using more warm and muted tones. It is less vibrant and colourful than other styles of wedding photography. Quite often, this style is associated with Boho themes, which has become increasingly popular in recent years. Another theme it works well with is vintage.
You'll generally find that dark and moody photos are more artistic than tradtional and photojournalistic, and can look like they've been taken straight out of a movie. There is a lot of emphasis on shadowing, and they are generally more dramatic than other styles. When selecting your colour scheme, colours that work particularly well with this theme include deep reds, burnt orange, creams and browns. Anything too bright will look a little out of place in the finished photos.
Lastly, editorial wedding photography - think vogue magazine. This style of photography is much more edgy and contemporary. It has a real feel of glamour and luxury. There is also quite an emphasis on the storytelling of the day.
If you were hoping to avoid too much posing, then this isn't the style for you! Couples are directed to pose as though they are serious models, and generally look as if they are ready to walk the runway.
There is quite a heavy use of artificial lighting, and there is also a lot of work put in to post-production (editing) to get that perfect editorial look. The colouring of this style can often be dark and moody or black and white.
Although these styles are all unique from one another, they will regularly cross over and couples will ask for elements of more than one. For example, the vast majority of couples will want some traditional photos taken regardless of what style they've chosen. Generally, most wedding photographers will expect this and be happy to schedule in time to take photos of the newlyweds with key guests. It's also common to have an element of photojournalistic photography in most styles. Any good photographer will recognise a worthy photo opportunity, and often they will be the off-the-cuff, moving or funny moments that weren't planned.
I hope this blog was useful in your search for a wedding photographer. It can be a daunting task to pull a large scale event together with no previous experience, so for any help with choosing the right suppliers for you, or understanding the different choices that are out there, feel free to reach out using the contact form on my website!