If you want to be a wedding photographer, you need to know what respective photography style is best suited for you. To help you decide, here are the characteristics of the 7 most common wedding photography styles.
Do I Need to Choose a Style of Wedding Photography?
There are a lot of wedding photographers all over the world. When a couple looks for theirs, they will compare a list of potential candidates. It is in those moments where a defined wedding photography style is important.
Your style will tell your clients a lot about you. How the photos of their wedding would look like, your way of working and even a glimpse of who you are as a person!
If you are new in the industry, it might be overwhelming to create your own style from scratch. You can start by placing yourself inside one of the big wedding photography styles. You can then can develop your own as you gain more experience.
1. Traditional Wedding Photography
The structure of the photography timeline, editing style, compositions, and poses make the classic style. The photos are clean, elegant, and well planned.
Traditional wedding photography is often used during the more ceremonial parts of the wedding day. These can include formal family photos, cutting the cake, etc.
Both clients and photographers enjoy this style because it yields elegant shots and timeless photos. These can commemorate the couple’s momentous day in a style relatable to future generations too. Another advantage is the subjects’ usually know what to expect.
The downside of the traditional style is it requires a lot of directing and posing.
2. Editorial Wedding Photography
In editorial wedding photography, the goal is to take photos that look like they have been taken from a magazine. The photos taken in this style are clean and well-planned—the lighting, composition, and framing all thought of in advance.
The subjects are meant to look like models. They stand and pose in such a perfect way but still look genuine and relevant. To achieve this, the photographer takes a variety of photos. They will often try to take some memorable bigger-than-life photos of the bride and groom as well. These might or might not be taken in a different location. They could also involve embellishments and retouching in post-editing as well.
Capturing the emotional part of the wedding as natural and raw as possible is most important in this documentary style. The photographer does not manipulate the scenes or poses during the shots. Instead, it consists of capturing moments.
This style is perfect for couples who want to keep their wedding memories as stories full of emotions. Perhaps they do not like posing and/or prefer not to be preoccupied with the photos during their wedding.
Before the big day, you should ask questions about the wedding. These can include who is who, the detailed timeline, or any possible surprises. You, as a photographer, should act like a ghost. The best candid moments happen when you can behave like you are not even there.
4. Fine Art Wedding Photography
With fine art photography in general, the aim is not to document what the photographer sees. Instead, it is to express a concept or emotion. In this style, the photographer tries to get the viewer to see the photo and find a deeper meaning.
Some photos taken in this style have to be completely staged. Some can be more natural with the photographer knowing what they are looking for and waiting for the right moment.
The creative pictures before or after the wedding are important because they are completely staged. You have great freedom for composing the images, figure out poses, scenery, and styling.
This type of wedding photography can be a bit limiting. If you are working alone, it is better to consider mixing this style with others.
5. Adventure Elopement
Some photographers specialised in elopements. It is not a photography style per se, but it is still worth talking about it.
An elopement is a wedding type where the couple marries suddenly and in secret. Elopements can be celebrated in familiar places. But the couple often wants to do something more adventurous, and they travel somewhere to get married.
You will follow the couple on their trip. You will document the ceremony and organise a romantic couple photo session in a fantastic place. So it is not just their photographer. You might also be their guide.
Planning an elopement requires investing time and detailed research about the place where it will happen. Trails, off-road locations, local culture, etc., should all be researched. You need to be able to improvise and ready with solutions for any problems wherever you are. You also have to plan these photoshoots weather-wise.
Keep in mind that the photographer becomes a vital part of the elopement. This is because of the small number of people involved in the ceremony.
6. Black & White Wedding Photography
Black and white images never get old. Many people want to achieve a vintage look, but not at the price of film photography.
Digital photography allows us to have the same images in colour and black and white. But using only the monochrome images in your portfolio, you can give clients a sense of why it’s working.
Black and white photography can also fit other wedding photography styles. All kinds of photographers are going to use it in their wedding images but it can still mark your style.
7. Film Wedding Photography
There is a growing need for film photography at weddings. You can use film photography at a wedding by shooting with an analogue camera. You can also make the guests taking photos of each other.
The first solution is nice as you can give the printed images and the developed negative to the couple as a memory. The second solution can mean the usage of an instant camera. You can also even give them a cheaper analogue camera to play with, and then you develop the results.
When shooting film, you can leave all the filters and presets behind. In this way, you can limit the amount of time you spend on post-processing.
This niche is entertaining and also raises the amount you can ask for. But be aware, as it requires a high skill set to perform with medium format or 35mm film photography.
Finding your wedding photography style will help develop your career and get clients. Couples will identify you with a specific look.
Not all moments in a wedding call for the same type of photos. It is common to see wedding photographers using more than one style during the same event.
For example, for great group photos, it is common to use a classic wedding style. For wedding details, most photographers would prefer to take fine art images. You can even create a wedding photography style that is unique to you.
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