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wedding photography styles

Wedding Photography Style Guide

Picking a wedding photographer can be tricky, especially if you don’t know much about photography yourself. You want the perfect pictures to hold onto memories from your wedding, but have you considered what style of photography you like best?

Learn different wedding photography styles so that you can make an informed decision when it comes time to hire a photographer and plan photo shoots.

Types of Wedding Photography

On your big day, you’ll want the perfect photographer to capture each precious moment. Aside from hiring a photographer, you also need to select the style of your wedding photos.

Unfamiliar with wedding photography? There are several major styles of wedding photography, so do your research on them to pick the one that suits your needs. 

Once you have a sense of which wedding photography style you like, you may want a combination of photos. In fact, some styles alone don’t work as well to document each wedding moment, so take the time to communicate with your photographer about a range of styles and photos. Most photographers use a range of styles and can work with your preferences.

Before you book a photographer, make sure that you’re on the same page about style. Ask questions about what styles of photography they typically shoot in so that your wedding photos turn out how you imagine them. 

Here’s a quick rundown of popular styles of wedding photography to get you started. 

 

Traditional Wedding Photography

traditional wedding photo

When you imagine wedding photos, you’re probably thinking of traditional wedding photography. This wedding photography style involves posing and large group photos of the bride and groom with their family and bridal party.

Traditional photography also captures key wedding moments, like the first kiss, first dance, and cutting the cake. Of course, a photographer can snap a photo of these moments in other styles as well. 

This is a good place to start with your photos, and traditional photography can help you build a photo album with your loved ones. However, don’t let tradition limit you from dabbling in other emerging styles.

In addition to traditional photography, ask your photographer about what other types of photos would look best for your venue and wedding.

 

Film Photography

film photography wedding

Wedding photos can be shot in either digital or film. For the most part, digital is the more common method of taking pictures, but there are benefits to film. Make sure to ask what type of photography your photographer specializes in. 

Film photography has a wider range of colors, and the photos look dreamy and timeless, which is a wonderful aesthetic for a wedding. While digital photography is faster, film photography takes more time and deliberation, leading to strong photos.

So what’s the downside? Film photography is more expensive than digital, especially because you need to pay for each roll of film.

Luckily, some photographers can shoot with a combination of film and digital. If you’re drawn to the film photography style but are deterred by the price, ask your photographer what the prices are like with a mix of film and digital photos.

 

Photojournalistic Wedding Photography

documentary style wedding photo

Also known as documentary photography, photojournalistic photography is about taking pictures of the wedding as a whole. This style of candid wedding photography is becoming increasingly popular.

What sets photojournalistic photography apart? Photographers take more candid photos, which is where the subject is doing something without realizing a photo is being taken. 

In photojournalistic photography, there’s less posing for images and more pictures taken spontaneously. As a result, you’ll find yourself with photos of more authentic and genuine moments.

Since there’s less planning for poses, you might be surprised with what magical parts of your wedding your photographer snaps a picture of you when you get your photos back.

Many wedding photographers brand themselves as photojournalistic wedding photographers, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find someone with expertise in this style. 

 

Portrait Photography

portrait of bride

Portrait photography focuses on people and close-ups. This is perfect for pictures of the bride and groom, and this style works well for engagement photos. On the day of the wedding, portrait photography will capture fine details, like the bride’s makeup and dress.

Portrait photography does a great job of conveying emotions, but it’s not the only style you want for your wedding day. Take your portraits before the ceremony and reception. During the ceremony and reception, a photographer should be taking wider pictures to get a sense of the entire wedding.

Sometimes, you need more than just tight shots. You’ll want wide shots of your first dance, your happy guests, and the atmosphere of your venue.

 

Natural Light Photography

natural light bride and groom

Since natural light photography doesn’t use artificial lights or flash photography, this style fits outdoor weddings. Using natural light can be tricky, so you’ll want to catch the golden hour, which is just after sunrise or before sunset.

If you’re planning to use natural light, set your ceremony or reception for late afternoon for the best light. If your wedding lasts until the evening, take advantage of the blue hour, which is just after sunset. This time of day is when blues and oranges really pop. 

Although it can be difficult to avoid shadows, natural light photography will give your wedding photos a warm, glowing look. Finding the right photographer and setting the right time of day for your wedding are both key for excellent natural light wedding photos.

 

Fine Art Photography

fine art wedding

If you’re the artistic type, fine art photography might be the right fit for you. Fine art photography, or editorial photography, is about more than just people.

It’s about using creative angles, lighting, and framing to create inventive and stylish compositions. Some wedding photographers might try to achieve a cohesive aesthetic with a set of photos.

When shooting with artistic wedding photography in mind, your photographer might focus on specific objects and small details to take pictures of every part of your big day. For example, a close-up of the details of your wedding dress or a simple photo with your wedding rings might be part of a fine art album. 

bride and groom

Worried that your wedding pictures will only focus on design? Don’t worry, even with fine art photography, photographers can still get lovely pictures of the bride and groom. An editorial, artsy photographer will still work with you to capture the full picture of your big day. 

Combine traditional and fine art photography for a set of pictures that includes the whole family and aesthetic details.

 

Black and White Photography

black and white wedding

Black and white photography is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of color, the photos will be in black and white. Since these types of photos have a classic and artistic look, they can bring more attention to the emotional aspects of your special day. 

A monochromatic photo album will look stylish and romantic, but before you choose black and white photography, think about your venue and decor. If your wedding has a colorful theme or bright flowers, you’ll want to see your stunning decorations in your photos.

Still, if you have your heart set on this style, you can ask your photographer to edit some photos or specific moments in black and white. Extra editing comes with more charges, but it’s worth it to have beautiful pictures to remember your wedding day.

 

Aerial Wedding Photography

aerial wedding photography

Modern technology has made aerial photography much more accessible for photographers and a more popular wedding photography style for engaged couples everywhere. Aerial photography is shot from above, so you get a birds eye view of special moments at your wedding.

Many photographers use drones to fly above a wedding and shoot amazing aerial shots from overhead. You can get images of your wedding ceremony from up above, dramatic shots of the newlyweds, larger landscapes of your outdoor venue, and much more.

Aerial photography won’t work as your only style of photography for your big day; you wouldn’t want all of your photos to be taken far away, overhead. It can add some interesting pictures to your wedding scrapbook, however. Ask if your photographer can offer aerial photography along with your other styles of choice.

 

Plan Your Wedding Photography and More

Booking your photographer is an exciting step in the wedding planning process. Discuss styles of photography and even specific shots that you want taken before you hire your wedding photographer, and use our wedding photography style guide to find your favorites!

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Sophia Lo

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