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So you have begun your search for a wedding photographer. One of the first decision you need to make when selecting a wedding photographer is, which wedding photography styles best suit you as a couple. I say ‘styles’ rather than ‘style’ because most photographers will tend to use a combination of styles throughout a wedding day. While some wedding photography styles can be somewhat similar, others can be worlds apart. When selecting a wedding photographer, it’s important to get a good understanding of the different styles on offer. Doing this due diligence will ensure that there are no unexpected surprises either on your wedding day or when it comes time to receive your photos.
Wedding photography used to be solely shot on film. However, after digital entered the photography market it turned the photography industry on its head. For the last decade, the majority of photographers have used digital to capture their wedding images. However, in recent years the idea of shooting on film has made a resurgence. This is due to it now being viewed as more artsy and hands-on than digital. While most photographers will only shoot on one or the other, there are photographers out there now which may offer the combination of both.
Digital photography is exactly that – digital. It is the process of capturing editing and delivering your wedding photography electronically. The benefit to digital is that the wedding photographer isn’t limited by the number of images they can take like on a roll of film. This means your photographer can shoot a much larger number of images and while ensuring the moments aren’t missed. Digital is also considered far less risky than film. This is due to the photographer’s ability to preview images immediately on the back of their camera. When it comes to receiving your images, the turn around time can often be much quicker when using digital.
Both film and digital will achieve very similar results in terms of image quality. However, film is considered to be a much more, artistic, hands-on way of shooting. It is the exact opposite of what digital represents. It will cause your wedding photographer to really slow the process of taking a picture down. This is because there is a lot more thought regarding lighting and composure which needs to go into each and every image.
When it comes to wedding photography styles, the type of lighting a photographer uses can be very important. The vast majority of wedding photographers will use a combination of both. That being natural light photography during the day and flash photography at night. However, some wedding photographers will prefer to use flash throughout the entire day, even when there is enough available ambient light (sunlight). This would make them a flash photographer. On the other hand, some natural light wedding photographers will forgo the use of flash altogether, even at night. This is what makes them a natural light photographer. But which lighting style is best suited to you, you might ask?
Flash photography is the process of using flash to overpower the sun or available natural light in a room. A photographer may use this method so that they have complete control over the lighting in any given scenario. It also gives the photographer the ability to control ambient light without blowing out the highlights in the background of an image. Photographers who shoot with flash during the day will tend to produce wedding images which look more artificial. If you can’t manage to tell the difference between a photographer who uses flash during the day or a natural light photographer than it pays to ask them directly. Another worthwhile question would be to ask at what time of day or in what scenario would they use flash.
A photographer who only shoots with natural light can have both positive and negatives attached to it. The big positive is that during the day, a natural light photographers images will tend to look more natural than a photographer who uses flash. On the other, while a natural light photographers images can look just as good at night as they do in the day, they will have a lot more grain within the image. The images may also not appear as sharp as the images from a photographer who uses flash at night. The images from a natural light photographer when shot at night will also have a very shallow depth of field. This is the difference between what’s in focus and what isn’t.
Equally as important is the overall style your photographer will use throughout the entire day to capture your wedding images. Most couples will have somewhat of an idea as to which wedding photography styles are right for them. That’s a good thing. But if you’re still a little unsure or are looking for a little extra clarification based on some particular wedding photography styles, then we have broken the main styles down for you below.
Classic and traditional wedding photography tends to be quite formal rather than informal. Shooting this way will mean that a photographer will tend to take control and leave nothing to chance. The photographer will organise and pose the bridal party so that everything looks as good and clean in the image as humanly possible. You will notice this photography style being used during some of the traditional moments of a wedding day. These can include formal photos, during the portrait session and cake cutting etc
One of the most frequently used wedding photography styles is that of a photojournalistic approach. This style of wedding photography could also be referred to as reportage or documentary photography. These photography terms are all party of the same family and generally mean the same thing. A photographer who shoots this way will usually try to blend in. They will wait for the moments to happen around them without interfering. All photographers applying this style will need to use creativity and shoot in a quick manner while always being aware of their surroundings. The idea behind this photography style is to make the images look as natural as possible.
Illustrative photography will tend to take place during the portrait or location shoot. It is the process of giving equal importance to both your subjects (the bride and groom) and the landscape/setting. The aim is to use the landscape within the photography to help tell the story of a wedding day. Usually, the photographer will provide the bride and groom with some guidance but still aim to photograph them as candidly as possible. A wedding photographer with past landscape experience will tend to excel here as natural lighting and composition come into play. The qualities an elopement photographer should process would also be highly regarded when it comes to illustrative wedding photography.
If you have already flipped through some bridal magazines when searching for inspiration for your wedding day, then you may have already seen this style of wedding photography in action. A photographer using this style will take inspiration from commercial bridal shoots and magazines. It will usually involve clean shots where the bridal party is easily identifiable, beautiful backgrounds and fashionable poses.
A photographer who takes an artistic approach to shooting can produce some incredible results. This style of shooting will only be used by the photographer for a handful of images rather than in the entire collection. These photographs can involve creativity with lighting, composition and editing to achieve the final result. When a photographer says “I have an idea for a shot” there is a likely chance they are about to shoot artistically with the end result already in mind. Combining this style of photography with some of the others mentioned can mean a well rounded and interesting collection of wedding images.
We hope that you now that you have a better understanding of all the different wedding photography styles a photographer could potentially use. If you do not wish to leave anything to chance and want to know exactly what your desired photographers style is, then it’s best to have a chat with them. At Lonely Hunter Weddings, we shoot on digital cameras. We use both natural light photography during the day and flash photography at night. We use a combination of photojournalistic, illustrative and artistic photography to achieve the results seen in the images above.