Wedding photography styles explained
Picking your wedding photographer can seem daunting. There is a lot of choice, various photographic styles, different packages and pricing options. It’s really important to choose a style of photography that you love. Read on to have all the main wedding photography styles explained for you.
Natural, documentary and reportage
These terms all mean pretty much the same thing. Photography will be ‘moment’ focused. Meaning that your photographer will let the day flow naturally and steer away from posed shots. A lot of wedding photographers will have this style for the most part but still take some posed portraits and group shots. Be sure to ask when meeting a natural/documentary/reportage wedding photographer to what extent they stick to this style. Some will not pose anything. If you want portraits of you two together, make sure you discuss this with your photographer.
Think magazine covers, the likes of Harpers Bazaar and Vogue. Very fashion forward images, often using a lot of editing to create filter style images. These pictures would make fantastic stand out pieces to hang on the wall of your home. Usually quite traditional images with heavy use of black and white. Or much brighter images with an airy feel.
If you choose a contemporary photographer you should expect images with a modern twist. Set piece photo opportunities loved by traditional photographers – e.g. couple clinking glasses, cutting the cake and signing the register – aren’t likely to feature. Images are usually more colourful than black and white. The focus is on the story of the day and capturing emotion.
Photographers will experiment with new techniques like shooting through light prisms for stunning effects or using tilt shift lenses. Often this is teamed with natural, documentary and reportage photography too.
From a creative photographer you should expect the unexpected. Use of interesting techniques and angles to create one off photos. Each image will be quirky and interesting to look at. Not focused on traditional photo opportunities. Don’t expect a selection of images which will tell the story of the day in the same fluid way as you get with documentary photography.
Few photographers will shoot weddings using film because it’s tricky to work with. The risk of not getting the right images is so much higher than with the amazing digital equipment available now. The aesthetic is niche and some couples love it. Usually photographers will shoot some of the day on film but the majority on an SLR camera, to make sure they capture the important moments perfectly. Fine art or creative photographers are your go to for this kind of work.
This kind of photography hasn’t changed much over the last 20 or so years. Most traditional photographers will have worked in the industry for a long time and are very experienced. Images centre around formal shots e.g. cake cutting and are frequently set-up. If traditional is your thing be sure to choose a photographer who is using good equipment and proficient with the latest editing techniques. If you book a traditional photographer, expect to spend 1-2 hours raking posed photographs.
Your choice of wedding photography is very personal and down to individual taste. At Shane Webber Photography we love natural and contemporary wedding photography. Whatever style speaks to you we would advise steering clear of anything that will age, wacky editing and Instagram filters. We want to make sure your wedding photos never go out of style.
More advice from Shane: Tips for choosing your wedding photographer