Wedding Photography Styles: Which is the best for me?

Updated: Aug 24, 2018



There are many different types of wedding photography style and when you are spending all that money on a professional photographer for the day, you want to be certain that you are happy with their style. So how do you know which is what? And what is the difference between them all? It can be very confusing when one photographer states that they have a contemporary style while another says they follow a fashion style. Surely the photographer isn't only going to be taking photos of the clothes people are wearing, that's not what you want at all?! Well, never fear, the #andothermemories blog is here to lay it out so you know exactly what you are looking at (or will be looking at once the photos have been taken!)


Traditional/Classic/

Formal

Let's start with the traditional style, a format that has developed over the many, many (about 178 for those of you who are interested) years of wedding photography. This style involves working through a shot list to make that sure all the relevant photos of the day are taken as per the couple's wish list, from capturing particular moments such as the giving of rings and signing the register, to portraits of the couple and family group images. Photos are formal, set-up shots that have been directed and styled by the photographer.




Contemporary/Modern/Dramatic/Fashion

These photos are highly stylised images, that will often involve the use of lighting to create that special high-impact effect. It is probably impossible to shoot an entire wedding in this way, but is a great style for the #portrait and group shots. And to answer the question above, when referred too as fashion - no, it doesn't actually have anything to do with clothing!


Photojournalistic style - the dancer isn't aware of the camera.

Photojournalistic/

Documentary/Reportage/Candid

This style involves a good photographer blending into the background so that you forget that they are there. They will then take #photos as they happen, not just capturing the planned moments but truthful and emotive moments as they take place. No direction is given, and no posing of people so all the images are truly authentic and heartfelt. They capture the atmosphere and emotions of the day in a way that formal photography can not. Of course the #photographer will be mindful of the shots that you want so there can still be some portraiture and family shots, but they tend to be a lot more natural. Some photographers in this style won't edit the images, so be sure to ask about this if you want to make sure there aren't any images of you with mascara running down your face etc.


Artistic

Artistic photo styles are possibly the least popular for weddings, partially because they are very individualistic and can be hard to define. The photographer knows the 'look' they want to capture and may use lighting, poses, specific angles etc but this is all down to the photographer in question, so you would have to know exactly what their 'look' is and whether you like it.




Lifestyle

This is possibly the most popular style for #wedding photography as it combines a little of each type. A lifestyle photographer will tell the story of your day by anticipating all the little moments you may want captured and making sure they are there to get them, making the most of every situation, such as the lighting or some feature of the location to create thoughtful and artistic images. There may be a little direction, but only too get the couple acting naturally or turn a shot into a more amazing one by capturing a more flattering angle etc. All the little details are captured with the same considerate approach so that you end up with a number of images that combine a documentary with an artistic style.


AN ASIDE:

Two other aspects are also worth considering when choosing your photographer.


Colour/Black & White/Sepia

These are often confused as photography styles, where I would label them as formats. A photographer will always bear in mind if they are shooting in colour or black and white but these are things that tend to contribute to the overall style rather than being a style in itself. You can of course request just colour, or just black and white images, but it is likely the photographers images will fit one of the above styles as well.


Digital/Film

Something to be mindful of is whether the photographer is shooting in a digital or film format, or a mix of both. This may not matter to most people but to some it does, and it may effect the images that can be taken on the day. For example digital cameras can shoot in low light, an advantage if your wedding is running into the evening. However, images shot on film will have a softer quality too them and can help photographers push the creative boundaries.


Whatever the style you prefer, remember to choose a photographer who is interested in telling your story as well as capturing the images from the day. Remember to look at examples of photos from entire weddings and not just a chosen few on a website so that you get a real feel for how your images will turn out and you can be sure you are happy with your photographer's style. You only get one chance at capturing this day so it is important to make the right choice for you. No pressure ;-)