Wedding Photography Styles Explained
When it comes to choosing a wedding photographer, style is if the first thing to decide, what sort of photos would you like, how would you like your day to be captured, and how do you want the story to be told.
Every wedding photographer will have their own style, from the way they capture the photo to the way it is edited and the feel and style you get from it.
Wedding Photography Styles
Although there are many styles they can be categorised into 3 main areas, Reportage/Documentary wedding photography, traditional and classic wedding photography, and finally contemporary, artistic and fashion styles.
With each category style there maybe other styles, just because a photographer may fall into one category doesn’t mean they are all the same. A photographer may be very quirky and have a distinct style of wedding they capture, they would probably fall into the contemporary wedding style, yet that certainly doesn’t mean they are the same all all the others.
Across these styles the photographer may also have their own distinct style or preference, they may love black and white photos, or a soft natural feel, or perhaps a vibrant colourful finish.
Reportage / Documentary / Candid
Most popular is reportage, you may have come across it or have heard it mentioned as journalistic, candid photography or more commonly documentary wedding photography.
What is documentary wedding photography?
Documentary wedding photography is just that, it is less about formal photos where you take group shots and strike a pose, it is about the photographer being in the background capturing candid moments in an unobtrusive manner. You enjoy the day and your photographer will capture moments without you knowing.
Compared to traditional classic posed or highly styled artistic photos, documentary photography captures candid or spontaneous pictures of people in the most natural way possible. These photos are great for capturing natural emotions.
This style is a great way to tell the story of your day through photos, capturing moments, expressions and the feeling of the day. The expressions on peoples faces, the tear rolling down your mothers cheek, the laughter from the best mans speech, the look of pride on your fathers face, or just the look of love between the bride and groom.
If you are not a fan of having your photo taken the reportage wedding photography is ideal as it captures natural photos that are relaxed and fun.
Traditional / Classic
This is more classic and posed wedding photography. Think group shots that are staged and posed, more formal and rigid. That being said it can be combined with a more relaxed style and feel as shown in the photo below, however the tradition classic style if focused around group shots.
The traditional wedding photography style is more formal, you tend to see lots of group photos with different members of the family all with the happy couple, from parents, grand parents and shots with the two families together. There are of course formal portrait photos of the two together as well.
As well as these photos you tend to get shots from key moments, walking down the aisle, cutting the cake and then lots of group and family photos.
Although family photos and group shots falls into the tradition wedding photography style category, that certainly doesn’t mean your reportage wedding photographer won’t do any, of course you will want some photos with your Mum and Dad, just let your photographer know. A documentary photographer will do a few of these shots, however a triton photographer will spend most of their time working through a list of these shots, and won’t capture other more natural moments like a documentary photographer would.
If you want a lot of family and group photos then this maybe the style for you, however the focus is on these types of photos and less about moments compared to a Reportage wedding photography style.
If there is a downside to this style it is that it is time consuming, if you want a lot of traditional shots it takes time to get the right people over for the photo and getting them positioned. If you have a list of photos you want speak to your photographer to ensure you allow plenty of time to get them all.
Contemporary / Artistic / Fashion
A contemporary style can cover a range of styles under this umbrella, from editorial style photos, to creative artistic shots or instagram lifestyle type photo shots.
These photos can be a cross between documentary and traditonal with the more formal posed shots with a splash of extra post-production editing to give them that sleek stylish finish. Photos will be taken with a relaxed pose, but in quirky or interesting spots, be it the background, the lighting or unusual angle of the shot.
This style can create for some striking photos that look stunning, the photographers style will certainly stand out.
Fine art photography is very soft and natural, each photo is beautiful and dream like, don’t expect bright and vibrant photos, they are soft, clean and natural.
Which Style for you?
Decide which style of photos you like, what would you like your wedding album to look like when you go through it? A story of the day that captures the emotions on peoples faces, from getting ready photos to that crazy first dance you planned with your partner!? Or would you like lots of family photos that you can share with your grand parents.
These are 3 distinct styles, and many photographers will fall into one of these styles more than others, that does not mean however they won’t do some classic traditional shots of you and your family, it may just be a little more relaxed and fun.
Some photographers will fall into one of these categories and have a style of photos once edited, they may love lack and white shots, or they may have a very soft and natural style of photo once it has been edited. Do you want bright vibrant photos, do you love black and white shots or do you like a soft focus, pastel colour palette?
There is not right or wrong answer here, it is all down to personal preference, the key is to think about what you want at the end, what will you do with your photos, how do you want your wedding album to look and what do you want to see when you look at it agin a few years later.