Photography Styles: Ideas to Explore Fine Art and Creativity in Your Wedding Photography
Apart from being one of the most exciting, momentous, and elegant days of your life, a wedding day is also a very symbolic event. It exemplifies a celebration of love, a declaration of commitment, and a collection of emotions.
Before hiring the services of a wedding day photographer, you need to understand that good photographers tend to have an array of specific “styles” contingent on their intended purpose.
And much like every other celebrated photography niche, traditional wedding photography enables the shooters to explore a realm of artistic freedoms that allow them to deliver outstanding wedding shots to show off the love story on your big day.
This comprehensive guide breaks down wedding photography styles, and equally, details simple ideas that support wedding day photographers documenting your special event.
"If you’re yet to make an assured wedding day photography decision, we’ve got you covered."
From finding the ideal photography style to booking a perfect wedding day photographer, this guide can help you avoid disappointments and grant you the most memorable wedding day photos you really want.
Fine Art Wedding Photography
As one of the most laudable creative wedding photography styles, fine art wedding photography demands sublime skills. It blends an artistic approach to wedding photography that focuses on capturing even the simplest attributes and turns them into something elegant.
Fine art photography intertwines artistic angles, creative lighting, unique compositions, location, pose, and cutting-edge post-production techniques.
This enables a photographer to create wedding day photos with an enhanced artistic flare; one perhaps you’re likely to see in the journals of Bridal or Maharani Wedding magazines.
Additionally, a wedding photographer can use objects such as rings, bouquets, or outfits to assemble the composition, and thus give the photos a profound meaning along with an artistic look.
This ingenious approach factors in usage of special off-camera lighting, fashion poses plus expressions—to go with dramatic backgrounds and every so often props. Due to these unique attributes, a couple, therefore, gets a chance to be models for a day.
Traditional or Classic
At the core of this timeless style, a wedding photographer focuses on producing posed wedding shots to display in your wedding album.
From the beginning, the wedding photographer earnestly works from a “shot list,” setting out to cover all the nuance the newlyweds request.
But for the photographers to secure a perfect wedding shot, they may routinely have to adjust their equipment, the background, and the subject’s body alignment.
Besides relying on the time-tested poses and settings, an experienced photographer will also photograph the couple in their natural element at the wedding venue or wedding reception.
Group photos of the bridesmaids and groomsmen tend to be some of the more popular wedding photo ideas. A romantic wedding ceremony, wedding dresses, wedding shoes, and family photos can all be turned into creative wedding photo ideas as well.
Success of this style depends to a large extent on preparation. During the wedding planning stage, the photographer should take you through a gallery of unique wedding photos to create a “shot list.” This preliminary list serves as a mood-board and equally draws up inspiration and references.
Aerial Wedding Photography
According to The Knot, a significant number of couples opt to have drone photos taken during their weddings.
Bearing this in mind, an adept wedding photographer can go the extra mile to add a unique angle and capture traditional wedding day poses from an aerial perspective.
Aerial shots are an excellent option for showcasing destination wedding locations or a couple in a remote setting with beautiful scenes.
Although this style sometimes compromises composition, a bird’s-eye view shot more than makes up for it—delivering exciting shots as long as the photographer excludes elements that look unseemly.
Even when photographers’ are limited to indoor shots, they can still take images effectively from a staircase, and yet yield exemplary results.
Formerly a preserve of the news media, “this fly in the wall,” reality-based approach is a highly regarded wedding photography style.
Rather than spend time doing stiff, traditional poses, a skilled photographer innocuously takes wedding day photos—with their movement and activities discrete, flowing seamlessly like a gentle breeze.
As such, you will barely notice them as they blend into the group and fervently scour authentic moments or interactions as they unfold, keenly documenting tear-jerking moments within the wedding party.
Notably, this documentary-style wedding photography demands a flawless photographer adept at fading into the background, becoming “invisible” to the crowd, and thus capturing candid or unposed shots.
You’ll be able to look back at the wedding shots in years to come and reminisce on the moments as they naturally occurred—including the incredible stories’ you probably missed—and not the scenarios a photographer may have set up.
Also, a photojournalist will take your ideas and wishes into consideration as far as the content of pictures, and the design you desire for the wedding photo album is concerned.
Frequently used for pre-wedding photoshoots, this style pleasantly blends a traditional and photojournalistic approach. Yet, emphasizes composition, lighting, and background.
Conversely, a seasoned photographer assembles the subjects in a riveting environment and urges them to relax and interact.
An illustrative style will not only capture part of the spontaneity of candids but will also offer the unmatched technical control analogous with posed wedding photoshoots.
Traditional photographers generally excel at the precision demands of portraiture. Primarily, these are formal, posed wedding shots that draw attention to one or more people (with either the bride and groom or family members).
Else, if you’re interested in a more edgy outcome, you can opt for Fine Art Portraiture, with its dynamic lighting, unique angles, in addition to European flavor.
For a photographer, the critical moment when capturing wedding portrait images comes after the bride has her make up on. During this time, the couple can exclusively pose for photos with their parents.
Besides, another ideal opportunity presents itself after the couple ties the knot—these are the primary intervals for a photographer to get the wedding portraits.
Other moments will include classic photos of the couple’s first dance, or a couple’s first kiss as husband and wife.
For an experienced photographer conversant with the ins and outs, bringing out the dynamics among the wedding party perhaps can make for hilarious, emotional, and memorable wedding images.
To a greater extent, wedding portrait photos focus on a couple’s family and friends for that moment. Accordingly, they should mirror the wedding day emotions because they’re often the images couples’ frame and showcase in their home.
Here, a deft photographer excels at creating remarkable photographs that accentuate the subject, more so, the clothes! While this fashion photography style is not commonly used as a style of wedding photography, choosing a photographer with an eye for fashion can add some glamourous styling to your wedding day shots.
With formal photos, photographers will focus on the couple and close family members to ensure they capture natural-looking shots. Frequently, this may entail the photographer giving the couple cues that prompt specific poses or actions.
Engaging the couple in a conversation creates a more relaxed atmosphere, helping the couple forget the action of the photographers. Subsequently, this approach allows the photographer to document real emotions.
For instance, a photographer may ask the couple to walk up or down a staircase just to give them an activity rather than openly providing specific instructions.
This style is quite similar to portrait photography, and owing to the significant limitations in results, it’s not common for photographers to rely on this style as the only approach for wedding day photography needs.
Color or Black & White
Documentary-style photography is commonly linked with the tranquility of back-and-white film, while contemporary wedding photography is associated with a relatively more vibrant palette.
Depending on the color theme you pick for your wedding party photography, a photographer should, subsequently, be able to accommodate your choice.
However, for a significant proportion of photos that skilled photographers end up delivering as black & whites, the decision to convert them is often intuitive.
Indeed, there’s a rationale for how the photographer arrives at that deduction. Quite often, after the photographers’ have taken the shots, they’ll be able to instinctively figure out where an image belongs.
So, based on the presence of beautiful light, or emotions the photographer deems worth highlighting—in that instance, perhaps black & white will be the best photography edit option.
Intense emotion and beautiful light allow the viewer to accentuate the moment in the image. Similarly, if the background is particularly distracting, black-and-whites can help focus on the subjects.
This attribute details how your wedding photographer chooses to edit your images. Either through altering the exposure (darkness or brightness), varying the tone (warm or cool), or changing the saturation of colors.
Similarly, a wedding day photographer may also opt to change the general appearance of the wedding photos.
Let’s look at the leading photography editing styles:
• Dark and Moody—this style tends to result in images with a darker and heavily shadowed outlook. Often, the photographer may also desaturate particular colors such as greens to create a moderately muted look.
• Light and Airy—these bring about brighter images, fittingly shot in daylight, and may typically have softer tones.
• Black & Whites—photos result in black, white, or greyscale hues only.
• Desaturated/Matte—the photographer reduces the aggregate brightness and saturation of color, hence creating a flat, almost vintage look.
• Vintage (Film)—even though shot digitally, these images tend to recreate the film look, and may also even feature an overall heavy-grain. A great look with DIY wedding ideas.
• Raw & Realistic—these include images the photographer either leaves entirely unedited (RAW) or usually featuring minimal edits to appear as natural as possible.
• HDR (High Dynamic Range)—apart from featuring very saturated, bright colors, these images also make provisions for relatively high contrast. As such, this editing style is the polar opposite of realistic editing.
Film vs. Digital vs. Hybrid
Wedding day photographers can also distinguish themselves according to the type of camera or format they employ when saving, processing, and developing the images.
Here’s a simplified explanation of each category:
• Film — a photographer captures images on traditional film rolls. Overall, such photos are generally less sharp and may have a noticeable grainy look. Since their processing demands the use of a lab, film photographers are typically more expensive, besides also having a slower turnaround time.
• Digital — rather than utilizing films, the photographer at this moment captures the images on digital memory cards. Accordingly, the photos don’t need any subsequent development. Depending on the wedding day photographer’s skill set and shooting style, these shots are often sharp and clear. What’s more, because the images do not require developing time, they, therefore, become available in a relatively shorter time.
• Hybrid — images are captured both in film and digital formats.
Lighting at a wedding is somewhat tricky, more so because it’s darker inside than outside. Bearing that in mind, how does a photographer get the optimal exposure?
Top drawer photographers will scout the location beforehand, looking for scenes with distinguishable light conditions—then, acquaint themselves to the settings, enabling them to capture compelling images.
1. Natural Light—instead of using a camera flash, a refined photographer can utilize natural lighting in a specific setting. Daylight gives warmth, and of course, a natural look. Even so, the wedding photographer must have experience dealing with shadows, among other challenges.
2. Playing with shadows— do you desire dramatic wedding day images? Shadows may look particularly good in your wedding day photo albums. Here, it’s essential to take your time and sample the photographers’ wedding portfolio to familiarize yourself with their proficiency in this specific skill.
How a Photographer Deals with Lighting Challenges
For photographers to capture stunning and, well, natural images, they must be highly skilled in dealing with shadows among other lighting setbacks.
Additionally, the photographer should have the ability to handle unexpected inconveniences such as weather elements that can change abruptly and drastically impinge on lighting.
Instructing the subject to pose, adjusting the situation, and altering the lighting to capture the best images are critical traits that distinguish great traditional wedding photographers.
Also, it’s not uncommon for mishaps in lighting to result in the photographer having to manipulate exposure and white balance afterward—often, RAW helps with this considerably.
Every photographer has a unique approach to lighting, with infinite possibilities and options available to control and maneuver around with light in a scene—and often, nature provides some of these solutions.
A Photographers’ Ability to Flow with the Elements
A vital part of a wedding day photographer’s job entails anticipating the fleeting moments and extraordinary expressions that are conceivably bound to happen during the wedding.
Owing to the nuances associated with a wedding—more so reflecting on the pinnacle moment in a couple’s dating journey—a photographer should focus on capturing the thrilling impressions for the subjects to enjoy for years to come.
Because a wedding day is full of emotions and raw joy, a photographer will have ample opportunities to latch on to and document the many special moments.
A good strategy for a fun-filled wedding occasion is for the photographers to blend in and become a part of the reveling—and in the excitement, the photographer will be able to take great shots.
Contingent upon the traditions, and also the size of the wedding, the most motion-filled moments have the potential to take many different forms.
It’s, therefore, imperative that wedding day photographers be aware of these impulsive moments, for there will be no chance to reshoot; basically, the photographer either gets the snap, or they don’t.
Qualities to Look for in a Fine Art Wedding Day Photographer
Simply put, singling out a fine art wedding photographer can be a daunting task—and irrefutably so because this is the one person to capture your wedding day in exquisite detail.
Hence, a couple must get to understand specific photography styles before proceeding to interview wedding day photographer(s).
After skimming through a collection of wedding photography portfolios, certain traits emerge that define an immensely skilled photographer.
Among these will be; attention to detail, unique ability to capture exciting moments, creativity in the wedding photography shoots, and more. More so, with each quality intent on satisfying the couple’s creative spirit and meet the desires of the wedding party.
Sometimes, the light, airy, whimsical style, fine art finish of wedding pictures in a photographer’s profile, or magazine may sweep you off your feet. But before arriving on a decision, you must choose a fine art photographer based on the style you really like.
Ask for samples of their preferred work during the interview—and if you find that they can deftly switch between varying wedding photography styles, you can then start the process of booking the photographer and drawing up a contract.
So, look out for photographers availing an extensive range of wedding photography ideas and shots in their portfolio—this will make it relatively more manageable for you to assess their creative and expressive proficiency.