Choosing a wedding photographer can be really, really fun! It can also be a really overwhelming decision. Just recently, I had a newly engaged couple ask me, after discussing some initial wedding planning ‘to-do’s, when booking a wedding photographer, where do we even start?
It’s rarely the case that I’m working with a couple that hasn’t already chosen their wedding photographer. So, with this newly engaged couple, I decided to start from scratch. What kind of photography style do you like? After receiving more blank stares from them, I decided to educate my clients. Knowledge is power, right?
For almost a decade now, I’ve worked with many different photographers and their different styles of photography. Through those experiences, I’ve narrowed down the four most common styles of wedding photography.
Of course, there are varying names for everything, so I’ve listed the two most common style association names that I’ve heard thrown around. This is just a little introduction to wedding photography styles; an important jumping off point when hiring your wedding photographer.
Traditional (or classical)
Let’s start with traditional. Traditional photographers are generally comfortable with setting up poses, and taking many portraits. This doesn’t mean that all of the images in their galleries are forced, posed photos. They just have more of an eye for capturing perfect moments; excellent, professional, and a bit formulaic.
Candid (or lifestyle)
You guessed it. Candid photography is centered on catching the ‘real’ candid moments. This photographer isn’t spending a ton of time coaching or posing, but following their intuition and capturing the energetic moments taking place (i.e. dad wiping a tear from his cheek, the bride covering her mouth in shock, etc.). The energy that permeates off this style of photography is palpable.
Most weddings require a certain number of traditional posed photos, of course, for families and larger groups. However, candid wedding photographers, even during large group poses, manage to catch little in-between moments taking place. These photographers anticipate moments from cues they pick up on.
Fine art (or artistic)
As you'd suspect, this photography style is all about art. Instead of the entire composition of images being the focus, fine art photographers capture a piece of art in every snap. Often times, these are creative shots with unconventional angles. Or, details that are super focused.
Fine art photographers might dive into their creativity by setting up lighting or backdrops. This style of photography is beautifully moving. They’re photos that take your breath away. Super non-traditional, though. For example, my adorable, Italian, 80 year-old Nana does not like fine art photography. Or candid photography.
Photojournalism (or documentary)
These photographers are storytellers. There’s a huge parallel here – as you'd read a novel someone wrote about his or her wedding day. Photojournalistic wedding photos tell a lovely, little story. This photographer is catching candid shots, but pulling them together in a narrative. Typically, the photographer is snapping the couple and their wedding guests simply living in the moment. A documentary wedding photographer will present your wedding day the way it happened, without altering real events.
Naturally, no photographer is limited to one style of photography. You might find a professional who considers himself or herself a fine art photographer. That is not to say this person can't/won’t shoot traditional family portraits, or snap some sweet candid moments. It’s all about balance. And I think if, after considering your wedding photography budget, you find a photographer’s style that most aligns with your personality as a couple, you can’t go wrong!