Don’t really know what style of wedding photography is right for you? Read on!
Wedding photography has become very popular these past two decades, and newcomers on the market really shook the industry. While you didn’t have many options in terms of styles back in the early 2000’s, you now have a plethora of them to chose from and the choice might become overwhelming.
To help you set the ground for your decision-making process, here’s a comprehensive list of the most common wedding photography styles, with a few venue ideas most commonly associated with them.
This is the oldest, most classic style of wedding photography, and lots of couples are still very into it. Traditional wedding photography includes more posing than other styles with a strong focus on portraiture. Photos are more staged and take more time to set up. Pictures are crisp, bright, and colors are true to tone. If you like to be in full control of your look on your wedding day and if you like to have lots of quality family group shots and portraits of yourself and your loved ones, traditional wedding photography might be the best option for you. This style tends to stand the test of time better than other styles that follow trends and hypes, but it might be a little too simple for you if you are looking to let loose and explore things creatively on your wedding day.
Candid wedding photography, or photo-journalistic wedding photography, is more fitted for couples who are interested in having the story of their wedding day told through authentic, organic images. The focus will be less on the details of your dress and more on your grandpa and your little cousin having a fun dance off. There will also be less images of people looking straight into the camera but there will be more real emotions on the pictures, and that includes those big laughs with all your smile lines showing. But if your heart tightens and your eyes water when you see photos jam-packed with emotion, then documentary wedding photography is for you. It tells your story like it is, with its pretty things and, sometimes, its funny things too.
This one is trending. You will probably see it everywhere you look, even without searching for it. Moody wedding photography consists of darker, dramatic, intimate imagery. There might be some epic cliffs involved, or a small cabin in the woods. There will be more passionate kisses, more “serious” emotions, and maybe less smiles. This style of photography merges with documentary photography, since your photographer will want to pull real emotions out of you. If you want a good idea of what moody wedding photography actually looks like, you can search for “Dirty Boots and Messy Hair” on Google Image.
Although moody wedding photography is very in right now, it doesn’t mean it will fade away. Some photographers will always tend to look for pockets of light and interesting shadows and edit their photos in a darker manner than others. It’s up to you to decide whether you are into this style because it is really what you like, not just because your favorite wedding website is into it.
Bright and Airy
We take a huge leap on the spectrum here, because bright and airy photography is the polar opposite of moody photography. No more drama, no more shadows. Pictures are bright, soft, ethereal. They are light-hearted (do pictures have a heart??) and sweet, but not cheesy. Bright and airy photography works better outdoors, but it can be successfully used anywhere with the right photographer. Just like traditional wedding photography, the bright and airy style has a classic feel to it with colors that stay true to tone, although they will be brighter. It is perfect for couples who are having a sweet, romantic weddings but make sure you are really into this style, because the photos might feel overexposed to experienced eyes.
If you are into making your wedding photos an experiment, artistic/alternative wedding photography will be a really fun option for you, and film (analog) photography will take things even further. With this style of photography, some technical rules might be broken in order to give cool and weird effect to your pictures. This could mean a lot of things: motion blur, light leaks, or grainy images. In fact, these images are gaining in popularity and lots of companies and apps such as Looks Like Film and Huji Cam are now offering image filters or presets to mimick alternative styles often associated with film photography. These photos might not fit on your family home’s mantle, but they will be one of a kind. This style is perfect for people who gravitate towards photo-journalistic photography with a twist.
There are more types of wedding photography styles out there, but this should help you figure out what you are into in a general sense. And of course, these styles are not mutually exclusive; you might find photographers who love still portraits (traditional) and edit with darker vibes (moody), or photographers who shoot film (artistic) with a photo documentary feel (candid).
Your venue can be a factor in your choice of wedding photography style
I am really not a fan of putting things in boxes (although that’s all I’ve been doing so far in this article), and I am a fervent supporter of CHOICE. Your wedding is your choice, and you can pick any photo style you want for any venue. There are a million ways to do things and I really want you to understand that point. It’s your day, nobody else’s. That being said, some venues might influence your photography choice. And if you want to make sure your venue matches your photography choice, here is a non-exhaustive and subjective list of venues types for each photography style.
Traditional wedding photography might work better in a chateau, a country club, a private estate, or any venue that has a grand feel to it.
Candid wedding photography can really work anywhere but might be a good fit for slightly less formal affairs such as backyards, outdoor weddings, or City Hall elopements. But this style is very adaptable and has more to do with its subjects than its surroundings.
Moody wedding photography works well for elopements in nature, or in industrial settings such as old factories. The city can also be a great background for some moody shots full of cool shadows, so City Hall elopements are a good venue for this style.
Bright and Airy wedding photography is a good fit for any outdoor venue in nature, such as barns or lakeside estates but can also work well in country clubs or chateaux.
Artistic/alternative wedding photography will work for industrial or quirky venues such as art galleries, old factories, or any sort of elopement.
And hat’s it for today! I hope this article helped you figure out a general route you want to take before picking your wedding photographer. All you have to do now is research each style on Pinterest, Instagram or Google Image, and save a few images for reference. Once you know what you want, you will be able to make an informed decision on which photographer to pick. I am currently working on an article about that, so stay tuned, and I’ll post the link here when I am done.
Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions or input about wedding photography styles, I am always happy to guide you in any way that I can!