Having a wedding photographer is essential and so much fun to choose from. When else do you get to splash out on amazing snaps! To help you find what you’re looking for, let’s take this back to basics. There are three types of wedding photography: reportage photography, traditional photography and contemporary wedding photography. Whether you are looking for some budget photography, or you want to splurge, your wedding photographs will be one of the few solid mementos from W-Day, and you want them to be epic!
Each photographer has his or her distinct style, which is reflected in the photographer’s portfolio of work. Before you choose a photographer, consider the photographic style you prefer, and then seek out those photographers whose work reflects that style.
Table of Contents
- 1 Wedding Photography Styles
- 2 Traditional Wedding Photography
- 3 Reportage Photography
- 4 Night Wedding Photography
- 5 Photojournalistic Wedding Photography
- 6 Contemporary Photography
- 7 Editorial Wedding Photography
- 8 Illustrative Wedding Photography
- 9 Portrait Wedding Photography
- 10 Natural Wedding Photography
- 11 Fine Art Wedding Photography
- 12 Destination Wedding Photography
- 13 Dramatic Wedding Photography
- 14 Commercial Wedding Photography
- 15 Fashion Wedding Photography
- 16 Black and White Wedding Photography
- 17 Vintage Wedding Photography
- 18 Light and Airy Wedding Photography
- 19 Artistic Wedding Photography
- 20 Dark and Moody Wedding Photography
- 21 Aerial Wedding Photography
- 22 Underwater Wedding Photography
Wedding Photography Styles
If you’re trying to get into wedding photography, you may want to try out these ten different wedding photography styles. Aside from allowing you to hone your talent and skills, these will help you discover your style along the way.
Traditional Wedding Photography
Traditional wedding photography, also known as posed, conventional or classic photography used to be the most popular category of wedding photography until the digital era, at which point, both photographers and newlywed couples stopped worrying about the costs of the film. The traditional style focuses on taking posed shots of the couple and the group at large and involves a lot of direction from the photographer and time from the wedding party. It may not necessarily capture the emotions of the day as a whole but will give you some beautiful traditional shots to keep forever.
If you look at wedding photo albums, they tend to include a lot of traditional shots. These are usually classic and posed, such as group shots of the couple with the entourage and their families, shots of the cake cutting and wine toasting, and the first kiss of the couple as husband and wife. Though photographers have been practising this style for decades, both shooters and clients find that it’s the best way to achieve “key shots” of the day and timeless photos of the couple’s friends and family together.
This style typically requires the photographer to get involved in guiding and directing and posing the wedding party for photos. Hence, the photographer needs to gain experience beforehand and be comfortable with taking charge. But to take more priceless photos, it also helps to capture real and unguarded moments.
Reportage, also known as documentary or journalistic photography is not a new approach altogether. Still, in the world of wedding photography, it has come into vogue in the last couple of years. This type of photographer aims to document your special day in an unobtrusive fashion, telling a narrative. Whilst this will provide stunning shots and genuine emotion, brought to life by the photographer’s artistic vision, this type of wedding photographer is usually more than happy to conduct some formal shots too. However, it is worth checking with your chosen photographer what their attitude towards traditional shots is.
This is one of the wedding photography styles based on capturing true emotions. Unlike many other genres, it does not involve posing. When working in this style, the photographer must become invisible to the guests and keep an eye out for all the important moments. This way, they can get incredibly lively and emotional photos.
In order to work in this direction, it is necessary to have extensive experience and good skills. A professional photographer should be able to focus on the most important things and capture the most touching moments very quickly. Also, a real expert should be able to change the camera settings fast to place the necessary accents properly.
Night Wedding Photography
Twilight photography is the best way to demonstrate your professionalism. Night shooting is a real challenge for many photographers because there are many difficult moments associated with lighting. In order to create good photography for weddings in such conditions, you need to have professional equipment. You could use a radio trigger and an off-camera flash.
The modern market is filled with the most efficient and powerful hardware. Therefore, the search for these devices will not be a problem. In addition, you need to have special knowledge and skills. First of all, you should be able to work with the light and look for right-angle views, as well as set the correct camera settings. However, when you master all these tricks, you can create amazing pictures.
Photojournalistic Wedding Photography
Another popular shooting style that many wedding photographers tend to follow, even as beginners, is wedding photojournalism. Often mixed with traditional wedding photography, this style resembles reportage and documentary shooting, in which the shooter takes on a more informal approach in telling the story of the day.
A lot of creativity is required for this wedding photography style, not to mention some great skill in quickly aiming, adjusting camera settings, framing, and shooting as moments unfold around the photographer. Aside from that, photographers will have to blend in, sometimes with a telephoto camera to capture candid moments from afar easily.
The results are real and natural images that will evoke a flood of emotions.
Contemporary, fashion, editorial or creative photography takes its inspiration from fashion photography. Contemporary wedding photography does have some posed shots, but they are slightly more relaxed, as the photographer will be looking for exciting lighting and angles. While stunning, these shots may be less about the mood of the day or the couple as characters, but instead the vision and artistic stance of the photographer – which might or might not be what you are after!
Film Wedding Photography
This may seem unbelievable, but film photographers continue to work in many areas very successfully. Photography for weddings is an ideal direction for film shooting. Natural sunlight helps create incredible shots with a film camera. Unlike digital photos, film pictures are distinguished by soft, muted tones, creating a special nostalgic atmosphere.
Outdoor film pics are especially impressive. Such photos are always relevant and original. It is worth noting that such a photo session is quite expensive and can take a lot of time, but it’s well worth it.
Editorial Wedding Photography
If you like to follow the creative trends of glossy magazines, you will definitely like this style. Such weddings photoshoots involve the creation of fashion-based pictures with high-quality backgrounds and interesting poses. To keep abreast of the freshest ideas, you need to look through popular magazines from time to time.
Illustrative Wedding Photography
Often used for pre-nuptial photoshoot sessions, illustrative wedding photography places emphasis on the composition, lighting, and background. The couple is asked to pose “candidly” in an often picturesque environment, which makes this style an interesting blend of traditional and photojournalistic wedding photography.
This popular approach is a mixture of wedding photojournalistic and traditional styles. It is often used for engagement photography. The main feature of this style is the emphasis on composition, background, and lighting. This type of shooting implies spontaneity and demonstration of sincere emotions.
There are also some elements of landscape photography, as much attention is paid to the background. It should be the artistic basis of the photo, together with the pure feelings of the newlyweds. In order to succeed in this genre, you need to master the basics of working in landscape photography.
More often than not, illustrative wedding photography requires some skill in landscape photography, as well as in the use of wide-angle lenses and sometimes even aerial photography. Once you’ve got these down pat, you’ll also need to learn how to help your subjects relax and direct them to create more spontaneous-looking moments for the camera.
Portrait Wedding Photography
The main purpose of this wedding photography style is to photograph portraits of people on their wedding day. This photography direction is characterized by a large number of beautiful images that demonstrate sincere emotions as well as an atmosphere of happiness and excitement. They can be staged or spontaneous. High-quality wedding portraits are usually the ones that couples admire the most.
Portraiture certainly yields some of the most beautiful images, more so when it’s of the blushing bride or the happy couple on their wedding day. This style is also considered formal wedding photography in the way that subjects are usually directed and posed for the camera. It’s not commonly recommended for solo shooters as it can limit your photographic results, but it’s a must to include when shooting a full wedding feature. After all, it’s these images that end up showing the most emotion, and they’re usually the ones that the couple end up framing and displaying in their home.
Key moments for portrait wedding photography are those meaningful moments after the bride finally has her makeup on, once the couple has gotten into their wedding gown and suit when they can privately pose for pictures with their parents, the first real moments after tying the knot—you get the picture.
Natural Wedding Photography
Many wedding photographers prefer to work with natural light instead of using a flash. This technique is perfect for outdoor weddings. As a rule, the bulk of such modern wedding photographs are created in the so-called Golden Hour, when the lighting is optimal for creating high-quality images with a predominance of soft and warm colours. In order to start working in this genre, you need to learn the basic rules of working with light, shadows, and white balance settings.
Often mixed with other styles, natural wedding photography basically involves taking photos using natural light rather than with your camera flash or other artificial light sources. The result is obviously more natural, although it’s usually best for outdoor weddings after sunrise and before sunset, or anytime in the day wherein the sun isn’t too harsh so as to avoid unflattering shadows on the subjects’ faces. However, the photographer will have to be very skilled in dealing with shadows and other lighting difficulties.
For this photography style, it’s usually best to use a bright lens with a wide aperture that allows more light in to achieve more well-exposed images. As long as you’re using the right white balance setting, the colour temperature of sunlight will naturally result in warm photos and nice skin tones.
Fine Art Wedding Photography
Another style that often gets mixed with other styles is fine art wedding photography. This one usually involves creative framing, lighting, composition, and post-production techniques. Photographers who do artistic wedding photography are always anticipating moments where they can use fine art techniques and capture unique images. There’s no real posing involved, although it’s become common for shooters to slightly change the posture of their subjects and the placement of items—particularly wedding paraphernalia like rings, bouquets, and the outfits—to achieve their desired composition.
This style is similar to portrait wedding photography in the way that it’s not commonly preferred to be the only approach used for a wedding as it can greatly limit your results. However, if you’re going to be a secondary or tertiary shooter in a wedding photo team, you can execute this style with confidence that there will be others taking care of securing other key shots of the day, particularly traditional and photojournalistic ones.
Destination Wedding Photography
Based on the name of this wedding photo style, it becomes clear that its main purpose is to photograph people in places remote from their place of residence. Most often, such photoshoots take place in other countries. This direction includes several styles. First of all, special attention to the background is paid here, which means that elements of landscape photography are present in it.
In addition, there are many artistic details, as well as elements of the photojournalistic genre. Also, the features of the editorial style photo are present here, where each photo is processed similarly to images created for magazines, focusing on architectural and cultural features.
Dramatic Wedding Photography
This is one of the most glamorous, theatrical, and posed photography styles wedding. Lighting plays a significant role here. You need to learn how to work with it correctly in order to get beautiful shadows and silhouettes. Dramatic backlit images characterize this style. You can create unusual portraits with their help. Keep in mind, and you have to spend quite a lot of time on mastering the technique of working with additional off-camera flashes.
Commercial Wedding Photography
This is a wedding photography style, where the main focus is on various objects like a cake, decorations, flowers. Commercial wedding photography is rather formal. Experts working in this genre can create great magazine-quality photos.
Fashion Wedding Photography
Do you like to photograph fashionable looks? Use a style that places accents on the bridal outfits. This style is called wedding fashion photography. It is ideal for weddings and engagements, allowing you to create romantic and elegant images with a focus on the wedding clothes of the bride and groom. A photographer working in this direction must be very meticulous. Also, this style is very posed.
Also considered a genre in itself, this wedding photography style focuses on showing off bridal fashion for commercial purposes. However, we’ve seen this style cross over to a lot of actual wedding and engagement photos in the past few years. With the use of lighting setups, fashionable poses and expressions, and beautiful backgrounds, this style gives photographers a chance to be creative with their posed shots and for couples to be “models” for a day.
Even without experience in commercial photography, it’s pretty easy to try out. Look for inspiration in fashion magazines and find ways to dramatize your subject and the clothes. It’s always a plus for couples if you can make them look extra stylish and glamorous on their wedding day!
Black and White Wedding Photography
Black and white wedding photography is a good way to capture classic and timeless images. Some clients prefer coloured images while others greatly appreciate how lack of colour can enhance the mood of their photos—it’s all a matter of preference. Monochrome imagery may not be appealing to some people, but it can actually yield vastly more compelling photos as it allows the subject and the composition to shine.
It’s a great technique that all photographers are encouraged to practice, but many shooters often use it to salvage images taken under mixed and difficult lighting conditions. In many cases, the photos actually end up looking even better. Take the photo above, for example. By taking out the colour, the photo becomes less distracting, and the viewers’ attention instantly goes to the couple.
Some people like colour photos, while others appreciate the simplicity of black and white shots. Many photographers often turn their colour pictures into black and white to hide some flaws associated with lighting. This is one of the wedding photography styles, where the main focus is on the objects.
Vintage Wedding Photography
Vintage wedding photography style is all the rage today. People like the feeling of nostalgia, evoked with such photos. Besides, modern retouchers use different photo filters that can turn any image into a retro shot. Many newly-weds hold their wedding ceremonies in a rustic style, which indicates the relevance of this direction.
Thanks to the popularity of vintage photo filters, there’s a huge market for couples who prefer vintage wedding photography. There’s just something about old and timeless images that appeal to people—perhaps due to the feelings of nostalgia that they can evoke. This kind of photo treatment using colour distortion filters instantly turns mundane images into artistic works of art, which is why people keep on using them even for daily snapshots.
Many weddings of today are incorporating rustic themes, further proving that there’s a pretty huge market for retro-loving clients. This is a good wedding photography style to learn aside from others at the top of this list.
Light and Airy Wedding Photography
Unlike the previous example, this style is characterized by light and warm colours. Many wedding photographers use it in their work every day. Thanks to the pastel palette, you can achieve a light, romantic mood. If you want to get gentle and elegant photos, you need to try to shoot in this marriage photography style. The background plays a special role here. It should be perfectly white and clean, without much contrast. Use low aperture values to get a blurry look.
Artistic Wedding Photography
Special emphasis on creative details distinguishes artistic wedding photography. Its main purpose is not only to capture important events. A professional photographer working in this genre seeks to create an image similar to a work of art. In order to achieve this effect, it is necessary to pay special attention to lighting and composition. In addition, such photos require careful and long preparation and image editing. The work definitely pays off, as such creative pictures will never go out of style.
Dark and Moody Wedding Photography
This is one of the newest wedding photography styles. It is distinguished by unusual contrast and saturation of dark colours. It is worth noting that this type of photos is not for everyone. However, it has its own special atmosphere. Dark colours and contrasting combination of light and shadows create a dramatic mood. You cannot find pure white here. Shades of other colours complement light tones. This modern style is something fresh and untrivial.
Aerial Wedding Photography
If you want to follow all the latest photo trends and create unique weddings photography, you definitely need to master aerial photography style. It is worth noting that work in this genre requires special professional equipment. First, you need to have a good drone with installed HD camera. You will be able to capture the beautiful landscapes from the bird’ s-eye view. The composition is not a key element in this style, as any photo typically looks great from a high perspective. If the wedding ceremony takes place mainly indoors, you can also find a lot of good angles for aerial photography in such conditions.
If you’re aspiring to be a modern wedding photographer, it helps to keep up with the latest trends. One photography style you may want to learn is aerial wedding photography. This one will obviously require more equipment, particularly an aerial drone with a pretty decent HD camera mounted on it.
Aerial shots are great for showing outdoor wedding locations and the couple in a remote area with beautiful sceneries. Image composition is not that crucial as bird’s eye view shots are usually always very interesting, as long as you exclude elements that look out of place.
Underwater Wedding Photography
This style cannot be called traditional wedding photography. Despite this, it has a large number of fans around the world. A lot of couples dream to make unusual photos underwater. Such pictures are filled with mystical and romantic images created by the underwater world. The process of mastering this type of shooting is quite complicated. Besides, it requires special equipment. However, the results will be very original and impressive.
Whichever type you choose will give you beautiful photographs to keep forever, so have a look at some inspiration and get booking!