If you want to be a wedding photographer, you need to know what wedding photography style is best suited for you. To help you decide, here are the characteristics of 5 of the most important and common wedding photography styles today.
Do You Need to Choose a Wedding Photography Style?
No doubt, all the photographers on that list would be really talented, so who would they choose?
It is in those moments where having a defined wedding photography style could be important. And it might give you an advantage over other photographers.
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. And then you can develop your own style over time as you gain more experience.
There are many styles of photography that could be applied in weddings. Some are meticulous and instructional, others are free-spirited and open to opportunities. Whichever style is more to your liking, I want to make one thing clear. All styles require the photographer to be prepared.
Know what the clients are looking for, know what the lighting would be like and other environmental conditions. Do not let yourself miss crucial shots because you weren’t prepared.
5. Wedding Photojournalism
Capturing the emotional part of the wedding as natural and raw as possible is the most important in this wedding photography style. The photographer doesn’t manipulate the scenes or pose people 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 don’t like posing and/or prefer not to be preoccupied with the photos during the event.
The images may seem spontaneous. But this photography style needs a lot of preparations before the wedding. It is important to anticipate any significant moment in order to capture it.
Before the Big Day, there are usually a couple of meetings between the couple and the photographer. You can ask a lot of questions about the wedding. These can include who is who, the detailed timeline or any possible surprises.
As in any other wedding photography style, equipment should allow the photographer to shoot in a wide variety of light conditions. These should include dark rooms or at night. For that reason, it is great to have a full sensor camera with fast lenses.
The equipment should also be light and easy to move around. This will allow the photographer to hunt for moments everywhere.
Wedding photojournalists usually have a natural editing style. They don’t use Photoshop to delete objects or to soften skin. But they will might give you Black & White versions of some of the images to emphasize the emotion of the moment.
4. Fine Art Wedding Photography
With fine art photography, in general, the aim of the photo is not so much to document what the photographer sees. Rather, it is to express an idea or emotion from the mind of the photographer. In this style, the photographer tries to get the viewer to see the photo and find deeper meaning. They do this through details, composition, connection to other photos, etc.
Fine art fits well with wedding photography. Especially if you want to convey more of the day’s story than what you capture in the moment.
Taking fine art wedding photos usually requires anticipating the moments and planning the photos beforehand. This includes considering the placement of details and paraphernalia like the flower arrangement in the background. Or the rings, the lighting, composition and camera settings.
The photographer needs to have a pretty good idea of what the photo is going to look like even before taking it. 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.
This type of wedding photography can be a bit limiting. If you have a team of photographers, having one of them dedicated to fine art can work great.
If you are working alone, it is better to consider mixing this style with others.
3. Traditional/Classic Wedding Photography
Traditional wedding photography styles are usually quite formal. The wedding photographers tend to take control, organize the subjects and the scene and give detailed instructions.
In these wedding photography styles nothing is left to chance, the photos are clean, elegant and well planned.
This style has been around for decades and yet it is still considered relevant today. Both clients and photographers enjoy it because it yields elegant shots and timeless photos. These can commemorate the couple’s important day in a style relatable to future generations too.
Another advantage of the classic wedding photography style is that the subjects usually know what is expected of them. They are prepared to receive instructions from the wedding photographer. Even a request to repeat a certain act (such as a kiss, or raising a glass) is acceptable.
The downsides of the traditional style are that it requires a lot of directing and posing. This can tire the subjects. It’s important to have good communication and understanding of the subjects.
It is also important to let people feel comfortable enough so they express true emotions. For that, the photographer has to be efficient and experienced.
2. Editorial Wedding Photography
In editorial wedding photography, the photographer’s goal is to take photos that would look like they’ve been taken out of 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 in the photos are meant to look like models. They stand and pose in such a perfect way but still look genuine and relevant.
Editorial style wedding photos try to give the viewers a taste of as many aspects of the wedding as possible. These include the emotions, the style, the place, the food, etc.
To achieve that, the wedding photographer takes a variety of photos. You can photograph details of the clothes of the bride and groom, close-ups on the flowers and table arrangements, wide-angle photos of the wedding venue and of course couple portraits. Include photos of the important wedding moments here too. Thes can be the first kiss of the married couple, the toast, first dance, etc.
Very often the photographer will 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 in post-editing as well.
The editorial wedding photography style requires preparation and a good idea of what you want to achieve and how to achieve it. The photographer needs to know how to instruct the subjects clearly. And how to make them feel confident and relaxed.
1. Adventure Elopement Photography
There are photographers specialized in elopements. It is not a photography style per se. But it is still worth talking about it. Becoming an elopement photographer is more popular nowadays.
An elopement is a wedding type where the couple marries suddenly and in secret. Sometimes it is just the couple, the officiant and a witness.
Elopements can be celebrated in familiar places. But the couple often wants to do something more adventurous and they travel somewhere to get married.
As an elopement photographer, you must like traveling and you need to be ready to climb mountains, hike in the desert or get into the water.
You will follow the couple on their trip. You’ll document the ceremony and organise a romantic couple photo-session in an amazing place. So it is not just being their photographer, you will also be their guide.
Planning an elopement requires investing time, thorough and detailed research about the place where the ceremony 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.
As you spend so much time alone with the couple, it is important to have a likable and friendly character. This will make the couple feel comfortable at any time.
Keep in mind that the photographer becomes a really important part of the elopement. This is because of the small number of people involved in the ceremony.
Sometimes the photographer is also the witness!
Finding your wedding photography style will help you to develop your career and get clients. Couples will identify you with a certain look.
Choosing a style does not mean you should not experiment with more than one style of photography. In fact, 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.
As you work and gain experience you will find what styles best suit you and when to apply each of them. You will even take some elements from several and create a wedding photography style that is unique to you.