What style of wedding photography are you looking for? I often get a look of puzzlement on the faces of couples when I ask this question. Most people know the syle of photography they like – but don’t know what it’s called. Here’s a quick list to help you find the right style and ultimately the right photographer for you.
We’ve all grown up on this style, as it’s probably the one our parents had – and definitely the style our grandparents had. This style is very formal – bride and groom in front of church doors, big group shots. This style was partly borne out of necessity as photographers shot on film, which only allowed a limited number of shots per wedding (film isn’t cheap!). If you look back at many old albums they are all very similar. There were a number of ‘classic’ shots that are so strong they still carry though to other styles today. Group shots are a wonderful record of an entire family at one moment in time.
These are definitely images that you will want to put on your wall. I’d argue that this artistic style is more about the environment that the couple themselves. Think big dramatic skies and sweeping landscapes. At first glance these probably won’t look like wedding photos at all. If you’re getting married in a dramatic setting this could be the style for you.
If your already reading though wedding magazines and blogs you’ll have already seen this style. This aim is to look very natural and not at all set up. To achieve this look though locations will have been pre-decided and situations will be set up to get the shot. The final result is very polished but it does take a bit of time on the day to get the shots – and they will mainly only feature the bride and groom.
Do you want real impact and wow from your images? This is the Lifestyle look with added punch, sugar and caffeine! Forget the light that’s there, photographers will often bring their own lighting – and really use it! Anything goes – the more dramatic the better.
In its truest form Documentary photography will let the wedding unfold with absolutely zero involvement from the photographer – ie. fly on the wall. To achieve this look, the photographer will need to be in the right place at the right time to witness all the special moments – which is a skill in itself as there is a degree of anticipation involved. Documentary photography should tell the story of your wedding day, capturing the true emotions of you and your guests.
In practice many photographers will have a foot in two (or three – if they have three feet) of these camps. Often Documentary style photographers will subtly change the scene – which could be as simple as asking a couple to move over to a window for better light. Most photographers will offer group shots and portraits – which falls into the Classic or Lifestyle areas.
I consider myself to be a Documentary style photographer – but I will often stray into the territory or the Lifestyle photographer. I do however believe a photographer is there to capture a couples wedding day – and it’s not meant to be some kind of fashion photo shoot. The bride and groom’s time is precious and the last thing they should be doing is spending a hours with the photographer.
I hope this list at least helps you identify what you like – and you can now ask for the style that suits you.