Wedding Photography Styles: Which One Suits You Best?
Not sure which type of photography you’d like for your big day? To help you decide, we explain some of the main styles and how they’re achieved.
Traditional wedding photography will feature posed shots of the couple standing together, and the family gathered as a group. It will generally include the significant moments of the day such as signing the register, cutting the cake and the first dance – and perhaps the first kiss.
These may be staged photographs, but they can still look relaxed. With this style, the photographer will direct events and ensure each key stage of the day is captured.
Photojournalistic and Documentary
In this style, the photographer will record events as they happen without any intervention to set up a scene. This will include taking informal and spontaneous shots.
Rather than posed pictures, a photojournalistic approach tells the story of the day in a series of images. The result will be a mixture of wide-angle shots of groups and detailed close-ups. The photographer needs to constantly adjust settings and framings as they capture the action as it happens.
If you don’t like posing for the camera, this could be the option for you – but only if you don’t mind the camera discreetly tracking your movements.
Black and white
Black and white photographs have a timeless quality. This style is great for creating an evocative atmosphere. Black and white also helps to focus attention on the subject rather than what’s around it.
However, not everyone will want entirely monochrome images of the whole event. Usually, there’s a mixture of both colour and black and white photos in a wedding album.
Portrait style wedding photography includes plenty of close-ups and full-length photos of the couple together and apart. For instance, the bride getting ready, the couple signing the register.
These images can be quite traditional, as they’re usually presented with a focus on the newly married couple. The photographer will concentrate on composition and staging.
Nearly all wedding albums will include portraits. The photographer may want to take their time with these images. After all, these are the pictures that are often sent as gifts and take centre stage in the wedding album.
An illustrative style focuses on composition, lighting and background. Using a wide-angle lens, the photographer will take posed shots of the couple or group in a picturesque environment.
The trick is to make the photograph look spontaneous and the couple or group of people relaxed – even though they are effectively taking part in a staged scene.
This style of wedding photography uses as much natural light as possible rather than relying on the camera’s flash or artificial sources of light.
If you’re having an outdoor wedding, this is a great option. Your photographer will need to be prepared to capture the evolving conditions throughout the day. This means changing lenses to deal with rapidly changing light, shadows and direct sun.
The photographer will often use a bright lens with a wide aperture to allow more light in to give a natural feel to the images.
Fine art wedding photography means being creative with framing, lighting and composition. The photographer will often use post-production techniques as well.
This style of photography is frequently used for commercial purposes. Think of fashion magazines with pictures of the bride in a dramatic or flamboyant pose. The photographer is likely to look for moments in the day when they can capture an image that can be stylised. For example, placing the two wedding bands together or focussing on a particular section of the wedding dress.
Often, a wedding photographer will choose to include a few fine art shots in their collection of images from the day.
Usually, fashion wedding photography is purely for commercial use. However, it’s a style that couples sometimes choose for their big day.
The photographer will need to be accomplished with lighting and the bride and/or groom happy to strike a pose as well as commit time from their wedding day. The happy couple can then feel like models for the day.
Vintage wedding photography uses colour distortion filters to change contemporary photos into retro images. The result is old-time, classic pictures that evoke feelings of nostalgia.
This style is entirely down to personal taste. If you’re planning an old fashioned or country-style wedding, this may be an option for you.
The trend for aerial photography has grown in recent years. This method obviously requires specialist equipment and sometimes the use of a drone with a camera attached. Aerial photography is great for showing outdoor wedding locations.
You would need to discuss this with your photographer in advance to see if they’re equipped for this type of scenario. Alternatively, a simple but effective overhead shot can usually be taken from the top of a staircase.