back to top

6 Wedding Photo Editing Trends You Need to Know in 2023

Last updated: September 21, 2023 - 9 min read
ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little money. Need more info? See how it all works here.
Subscribe Below to Download the Article Immediately

You can also select your interests for free access to our premium training:

Your privacy is safe! We will never share your information.

One way you can evolve as a photographer is with your wedding photo editing style.
We’ll show you the 6 most common wedding photography trends. By the end of this article you’ll see which editing style‘s for you.

eBooks and Courses for Everyone

The Impact of Your Wedding Photo Editing Style on Your Business

Your wedding photo editing style is one of the main ways you can stand out. And clients will pick a wedding photographer based on their photography style. This includes editing.
There are certainly many different styles of editing wedding photos. Trust me when I say that there is a clientele and market for almost any type of wedding photography.
Some styles are what I call evergreen. Natural looking wedding photos which feature bright and clean editing, for example.
Dark and moody, HDR processed, special effects and sepia tones are temporary trends.
The style of wedding photography you choose depends on what you want your work to show. And the type of clients you want to attract.
A smiling bride and groom outdoors against a backdrop of green leaves about to kiss - best wedding photo editing tips
When you are starting out, it is very tempting to pick a popular trend of wedding photo editing. It might seem like couples are gravitating towards that particular style.
You might think it’ll make potential clients more likely to book your services. I encourage you to think long term business goals for a moment.
Wedding photos last for generations. I still have my parents’ wedding photos in my study. And I love looking at old family wedding photos. They’re a way to connect with my family who are no longer around.
People want to be able to identify features and colors. They want images that offer a true depiction of the actual events. They don’t want editing influencing the mood or tone of an image.

Trend no. 1: Light, Bright and Airy Photos

I started out with wedding photography a few years ago. So I took a hard look at my editing style to find consistency in what kind of work I was producing.
I found that a majority of my images were bright and airy. And they gave a sense of clean natural editing.
I like bright and airy images with lots of light and emotion. This kind of images inspire me and make me happy. I want my wedding clients to feel the same way.
I want their images to be clean and as natural as possible. That’s why my style of wedding photo editing is somewhere between classic and airy.
To make this happen on a consistent basic, I look for good light and a clean, uncluttered background.
If I can only have one of these things, I will always pick good light above all else. I need that element for editing my photos in my style.

bright and airy photo of newly weds standing outdoors, their foreheads touching, with the trees behind them
Light and airy editing effect for wedding photos uses soft natural light to accentuate the portrait. The tones are even and the histogram is slightly to the right (over exposed by 1/2 to 1 stop in most cases).
bride with flower girl in yellow and bridesmaids in grey gowns standing in front of a lake smiling and holding their bouquets up
Use natural light to your advantage to create a clean bright effect to your wedding photos.
headshot of a redhead bride against a plain white background, holding a large bouquet of flowers - best wedding photo editing tips
This was taken in open shade even though we did bridal portraits at noon. The open shade created a nice even lighting on the bride’s face and skin. The pastel colors helped make the decision to go natural and bright for my wedding editing here.

I also like to have a consistent editing style between all the different types of photography that I create. It makes for a very efficient post-processing workflow.
To make things even easier, I create presets that represent my editing style. I can use these across all the different genres with minor adjustments.

2. Dark and Moody

Dark and moody images are a recent but popular editing trend. These photos can look very romantic and bring a very cinematic feel to a photo.
I have found that there tends to be a lot more saturation in some parts of the image. This means that certain skin tones look a little unnatural.
Sometimes the darker tones mean that the images tend to have an orangish/black look. This doesn’t always translate very well when printed.
Another thing is that this look does not translate well from an indoor to an outdoor setting and vice versa.
Images from a complete wedding do tend to look a bit disjointed. They also do not flow well in terms of look throughout the day.

darker photo of bride with flower girl in a yellow dress, and bridesmaids in grey gowns standing in front of a lake, smiling and holding bouquets up
As you compare the same image edited in two separate ways, you can see these two different editing styles. Dark and moody does affect the light and tone to some extent in these images.
view from atop the stairs of a bride lying down on her groom's lap, on a recliner, the room dimply lit by a vintage chandelier
I find dark and moody images work better in indoor artificial lighting where this style of wedding photography editing accentuates the element of drama artificial lighting provides.

3. Matte Look

Matte images tend to appear as if you placed a slight hazy filter over the image. Sometimes, the image seems a bit soft and not quite tack sharp.
These types of images also don’t translate very well onto a printed format.

photo of newly weds standing outdoors, their foreheads touching, with the trees behind them, matte effect - wedding photo editing trends
In some cases, a little matte effect looks great. I find that they work better on images taken outdoors as opposed to indoor portraits.
smiling brunette bride holding a large bouquet with a yellow wall behind her - wedding photo editing trends
Here there was directional light on my lovely bride. A matte effect on these wedding photos darkened the dark areas and brightened the light area a bit too much for my taste. I prefer seeing her face clearly and the natural color of the flowers.

There are many different ways to add a matte effect to your images. One of the easiest ways is to adjust the Tone Curve in the Develop Module in Lightroom.
Then adjust the individual points so that they form a ‘S’ shaped curve. You can always change the shape to fine tune the matte effect.
the tone curve diagram tool in Lightroom

4. Desaturated Elements

A desaturated editing style means that all the colors in the image are very muted. Bright colors like red roses, or bright greens from outdoor foliage are all toned down. They appear less bright.
Overall desaturation also tends to make the skin look muted and washed out.
This style seems to be quite popular lately. It’s especially common for greenery (i.e. trees and brushes) to be toned down.

desaturated photo of newly weds standing outdoors, their foreheads touching, with the trees behind them
When the overall image is desaturated, it affects all the colors in the image. Instead, using selective coloring sliders to increase and decrease certain colors isolated the effect to specific colors.

desaturated photo of bride, groom, and bridesmaids in pale pink standing against a backdrop of trees.
A better option would be to tone down only certain colors. Not desaturate the entire image.
This could be the bright green foliage, which would give a normal appearance to the image.

5. HDR Editing

HDR editing takes some getting used to. By definition, it means a high dynamic range of tones. This particular style tends to work well with landscapes and nature images. It helps bring out the colors and make landscape images pop.
It does not work well in all forms of photography. With wedding photos, I find HDR editing very jarring and super saturated. Colors, particularly skin tones, look off.
Now this is not to say that this will never work.
If you like a more saturated and contrasty type of image, check out HDR editing. But keep in mind that you might have to tone down the colors and contrast to suit your style.

wedding family, bride, groom, and 3 children, standing in a path with bushes and trees behind them, HDR wedding photo editing
This type of wedding photography editing might seem a bit more dramatic. Chances are you will not give these images as is to your clients. If you want to saturate or add drama to the images, you are better off adjusting vibrance or saturation on specific colors than the whole image.
HDR photo of wedding entourage outdoors against bright trees, bride, groom, and bridesmaids in pale pink
Notice how the HDR effect impacts the entire photo. The greens appear super saturated and even the skin tones look unnatural.

6. Black and White Wedding Photo Editing

Some photographers only work in black and white editing format for weddings.
But I do feel like weddings have a lot of color and style elements. These do not always translate well to black and white.
Oftentimes brides and grooms choose wedding colors to match their own personal style. If I were to convert every photo to a monochrome color scheme, a lot of those details would disappear.
On the flip side, a black and white image is so classic when done right. Think about how iconic old black and white images of your grandparents are. There is almost no need for any explanation about dates, eras or even styles.
But the wedding industry these days is so much more detail oriented. It’s styled to suit every color palette out there.
It would be a shame to not showcase all that beauty in wedding photos.
That being said, I always mix a few black and white wedding images into my client’s wedding portfolio. Those are often the ones they print and hang on their walls.

black and white photo of newly weds standing outdoors, gazing into each others eyes, foreheads touching
I love the timeless appeal of black and white wedding photos. They add an element of authenticity to the images because the only thing that matters here are the subjects a.k.a the bride and the groom.
black and white photo of newly weds bride and groom holding hands, laughing, walking across a lawn
I always experiment with black and white images with my wedding photos. Some images like this one outdoors have a very vogue-type look.


As you can see there are many different ways to edit your client’s wedding photos. At the end of the day it all boils down to personal preference and the kind of clients you want to attract.
When picking a style think about the longevity of photos and potential printing issues. Also keep in mind that your images will be easy to date if you choose a current trend over a classic one.
Classic wedding images will also never go out of style. There is always a need for and a recognition of their beauty.
If you’re looking for some more great tips, we have great posts on essential wedding accessories,  free wedding photography presets or photo editing apps you should check out too!

eBooks and Courses for Everyone