Wedding photography styles and finding a photographer who’s a good fit!
It’s really important when booking a wedding photographer that you find someone whose wedding photography style and approach is a good fit for you. Their approach should work seamlessly with the way you want to remember your wedding day.
Knowing where to start when identifying wedding photography styles can be confusing, though, so keep reading! I’ll be talking a little bit about my work, my style and how my approach can fit into your wedding plans. If you’re in the very early stages of planning, you might want to check out this post about choosing a wedding photographer. You could also read this very dry article about the history of wedding photography. Or skip that, and keep reading!
Creative inspiration and wedding photography styles
As a creative person so many factors influence you; films you’ve seen, exhibitions you’ve been to, places you’ve visited, the relationship between your subjects and even your relationship with yourself can have an impact on your creative output. You can choose to experiment push your style in different directions, or you can choose to really hone it, and focus on consistency. The image below is a good example of my wedding photography style: quirky, documentary, colourful, telling a story and a little bit messy and chaotic. It’s one of my favourite images ever.
Creative documentary wedding photography with a touch of all the other styles!
I’d probably describe myself as a creative documentary wedding photographer but I am definitely influenced by other styles. I love artistic, editorial style portraits, and also think those traditional family group shots are some of the most important pictures we’ll take all day. You can probably tell that I especially love colourful images full of joy and real, authentic moments. I don’t believe in presenting everything in a way that makes it seem perfect. I’d much rather search out authenticity.
Clear as mud, right? Well to make things a little less complicated here’s a break down of the different approaches I use over the course of a wedding day.
Creative Documentary Wedding Photography
I shoot in a documentary style 90% of the time. Documentary wedding photography is all about taking a storytelling approach to photographing your wedding day. Photographing the day as it unfolds, with a focus on narrative. Everything from the moments that happen between people, to the mood.
I always say I am just as likely to photograph what you had for breakfast as I am your first kiss because, for me, all of these things come together to create the story of your wedding day. Focussing on the details that make your wedding personal really anchors your photography to your real life.
When I am working in a documentary style I shoot everything as it happens. From crying as you say your vows, to sweaty shape pulling on the dance floor, and laughing so hard you snort Champagne out of your nose during the speeches.
Fine Art and Editorial Wedding Photography
I love to work with you to create some editorial style portraits. My style definitely isn’t fine-art. The fine-art style tends to be light, airy and features pastel-colours, whereas I love natural and vibrant colours, and shoot with a candid feel. I love your portraits to be really authentic, rather than posed. My focus is on you interacting with each other naturally.
An editorial approach means presenting elements of the day in a way that makes them look beautiful, rather than focussing on realism. I aim for an authentic editorial style, which focusses on capturing you, just as you are, in a beautiful or interesting setting.
Editorial style wedding detail shots
Details shots include things like outfits, decor and cake (mmmm cake!). For a lot of my couples, detail shots aren’t the most important part of the day. That said they do still want a beautiful record of their details.
My shots of details are usually editorial in style but it all depends on the couple and the feel of their wedding. I also only allocate a small amount of time for detail shots, as my couples would usually rather have more coverage of their friends and family having an awesome time.
Alternative Wedding Photography
I’m not sure about the alternative wedding photographer label. When the term was first coined, I think it meant an alternative to the mainstream approaches that were available at the time. It’s come to mean wedding photography for couples who are doing things a little differently and a lot of alternative wedding shooters cover quite non-traditional weddings.
For me, this particular label means taking the same creative approach whether your wedding is in a castle or on the side of a mountain and working with you to create an artistic record of your day that focusses on you as an individual.
More than anything it’s about the way I use my experience and skill to interpret you as a couple, whether you’re having a rocker wedding or getting married in a stately home, whether you’re heavily tattooed with blue hair or more classic in your style, whether you’re an indie kid or an opera singer. I guess it’s also about taking a different approach to things like portraits and detail shots too. Presenting things in a fresh and unique way, with a focus on the couple and the details of their day.
However non-traditional the wedding, there are always some traditional elements. My couples almost always have group shots / family formals and while they’re usually not the most enjoyable part of the day, they are one of the most important.
My aim with this part of the day is always to work quickly, painlessly and to get you back to your party as soon as possible. This article about stress free group shots explains my approach in a bit more detail.
We can also spend some time taking a more creative shot with your bridesmaids and ushers. As far as your family shots go though, the “everyone standing in a line looking happy” will always result in the shortest amount of time away from your drinks reception.
Contemporary Wedding Photography
While this wasn’t in my initial list, I feel this is worth a mention. Contemporary Wedding Photography often employs highly stylised portraits, utilising hard light and interesting angles and compositions. Again I do take this approach sometimes, instead of more natural portraits. Although increasingly less and less. I do like experimenting but I am also drawn to natural images that show you at your most authentic.
Again this depends on factors like the couple, their style and my reaction to my environment on the day.
A flexible wedding photography style that adapts to you and your wedding day
If you made it this far, well done. I hope you’ll agree that my style is influenced by a lot of different factors. That’s just the way I like it. I work with a really diverse client base and I see the above style choices as a toolbox. It lets me react to my environment and create something that suits each individual couple and their personalities.
If I had to pick just one style, I’d call myself a documentary wedding photographer. That’s what I do for most of the day. I think that is the reality for most photographers today. We use a mixture of approaches and techniques to deliver a comprehensive set of images to our couples.