Wedding Photography Styles – your essential guide

Wedding Photography Styles – your essential guide

On your wedding day it’s important to be in the moment.  At the same time, however, you need to be aware you are making memories.  You and your guests will look back and each of you will have your own set of images, recollections and stories.  Alongside these personal reminiscences there’s the official record of the day – your wedding album.  This begs a question – what kind of story do you want to create with your wedding pictures?  There are many different wedding photography styles to choose from and you need to decide in advance which one you prefer and find a photographer who can provide it. 

Formal and traditional

This style of wedding photography produces a series of posed wedding pictures covering the key moments of the day – portraits of you and your partner, signing the register, cutting the cake and a number of staged family groups.  Although this approach is formulaic and slightly unimaginative, it is important to get these shots for posterity.  However, you might want to consider some others as well (and find a photographer that can mix formal with another approach).

Documentary and reportage

This is a more relaxed, candid and spontaneous style.  Wedding shots are not posed but catch fleeting moments - people talking and laughing, champagne corks popping and glasses being raised, tears being brushed away and confetti being tossed into the air.  This approach is more akin to photojournalism and you’ll rarely see people staring directly into the camera. It’s about telling the story of your wedding day as it happened, with all the emotion and energy, laughter and fun, that made the occasion so magical.

Fine Art

This style of wedding photography gives the photographer greater artistic licence to use their own creativity.  They may use filters, effects or different colour tones to heighten the sense of drama or mood.  People or objects in the foreground may be in sharp focus, while those in the background are not (or vice versa).  They may use motion blur to catch the sense of movement as people dance, children run about or glasses are raised.  Wedding photographers who take this more artistic approach may still shoot on film, and possibly favour black and white pictures.  If you go down this route be aware that formal portraits may not be included – so if you really want some of those (or your parents do!) be sure to get someone who can do both, or hire a separate person to provide those shots.

Edgy and Brave

This photography style is fine art photography where the boundaries are being pushed to the limit.  You’ll get unusual compositions, tilted angles (called Dutch angles) and unconventional framing.  The shots will be very dramatic and surprising – but your granny probably won’t like them!

Contemporary style

This style sits somewhere between reportage and fine art, with the photographer taking their cues from the style of current magazine editorials. The approach to wedding photography is quite artistic and imaginative, using dramatic backdrops, unusual angles and lighting, or focusing on more abstract shots.  If you’re looking for a quirky and creative, but in line with current trends, then this style is for you. 

Fun photography

The photographer sets up light-hearted, comical or slightly cheesy shots. These may range from the bridal party jumping in the air to a staged shot of the groomsmen and bridesmaids in a tug of war to pull the happy couple apart.

Decide your direction!

You should be absolutely clear about what shots you want to end up with, and the style or styles you’d like.  It’s your day, your life, so you decide then find a photographer who can do exactly what you want! 

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