Wedding Photography Styles

What differentiates one wedding photographer from another?

Portfolio_DaynaAdam_Wedding_30Today’s blog post continues my “Wedding Photography” tips series. You can see the first blog post here where I talk about my e-mail course that helps engaged couples find the right photographer for them. My last blog post in this series is here where I talked about how the photographer him or herself is the most important part of the equation with regards to wedding photography.

It’s no surprise to say that wedding photography has evolved over the years. Gone are the days where a wedding photographer will super-impose your portrait into a wine glass (although if that’s something you still want, no offence intended). There are many labels that have been assigned to the styles of wedding photography, and it can be confusing for brides and grooms. Some of the labels mean the same thing as each other, while some of the labels may even mean different things to different photographers.


Here are a few of the labels with regards to wedding photography styles that you may come across in your research:

  • Wedding Photojournalism
  • Traditional Wedding Photography
  • Contemporary Wedding Photography
  • Reportage Wedding Photography
  • High Fashion Wedding Photography
  • Vintage Wedding Photography

Although a lot of them are fairly self-explanatory, I would ultimately suggest that you take them with a grain of salt and don’t put too much attention on these “buzz words”. Instead, I’d recommend that you simply identify the photographer’s style yourself and determine whether it’s something that you connect with.

Ultimately there are four factors that will define a photographer’s style, and they are direction, editing style, personality and use of light.

  • Use of Light: This has the biggest impact on mood and feeling. It is the technical ability of the photographer, how they photograph and their use of light and shadows.
  • Direction: This factor has the biggest impact on storytelling and emotion in a photographer’s style. Simply put, it dictates how much the photographer will be “visible” in your wedding photographs through direction, suggestion and posing. It ranges from very intentionally posed to very naturally candid, and everything in between.
  • Editing: This has the biggest impact on outward perception of a photographer’s style. It ranges from very heavy, artistic editing to simple, natural adjustments, and everything in between.
  • Personality: This has arguably the biggest impact on how much you will enjoy your wedding photographs, and we talked about this last week. You will be spending the entire day with your wedding photographer. They will be with you more than any other professional that you hire for the day, and probably even more than most of your wedding guests, family and wedding party. They will not only be present for some of the most intimate, personal and private moments on your wedding day, but it is their sole responsibility to capture it in an artistic and non-intrusive manner. You can see how much the personality of your wedding photographer can impact your wedding day, not to mention your images. You pick your best friends to stand beside you on your wedding day because you like them, you trust them, you get along with them and you know that they have your best interests at heart. Similarly, you should choose the photographer  that you like, trust, get along with, and who you know will have your best interests at heart. Simply put, if you don’t like your wedding photographer, you will not like your wedding photographs. If you enjoy their company and their presence, and are comfortable with and around them, then you will love your wedding photographs that much more.

A photographer’s unique blend of use of light, directing, editing style and their personality creates their own individual “brand” that you must connect with. These items are fairly clear to discover once you start reading more about the photographer and looking through their photography. I recommend that you be sure to connect all four of the photographer’s style contributors to ensure you will love your wedding images.

Lesson: Identify your comfort level in terms of how you want your wedding day to be directed by your photographer. Understand what style of editing/artistic finishing that you like and know what kind of personality you will connect well with. Find a photographer who will match your style.

To learn more tips about how to choose a wedding photographer, I’d love it if you joined my popular 4-week e-mail program designed here. In the meantime, enjoy this infographic that I created for you to show what goes into having a professional finished product.

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