A guide to wedding photography styles

Finding the perfect wedding photographer to capture your special day is no easy task. With so many different styles to choose from, it can be a tricky to decide what’s right for you.

So, to help you whittle down your choice, we’ve compiled a round up of the various wedding photography styles. Let’s begin..

Digital Vs Film

The first major decision to make about your photography style is whether to go for a digital or film photographer as they vary in terms of tone, style and cost.

Whilst there is no one format better than the other, they both have their pros and cons.

Film photography has a much richer, grainier texture than digital images. Photos shot on film tend to have a more ‘natural’ look and feel, especially for elements like skin tone and the sky. In fact, digital cameras have a hard time capturing pure white objects – which isn’t ideal when one of the most important subjects is in a wedding dress!

Digital cameras, on the other hand, perform much better in low-light conditions and have the advantage of being able to take thousands of images throughout the day, which is perfect for making sure that no moment goes uncaptured.

Photographer: Tanya van Otterloo

1. Traditional wedding photography

Classic images are perhaps the most common style of wedding photography. It’s the kind you see when you pull out the family photo albums and look at weddings through the ages.

This style of photography tends to be more posed and formal than other styles. The photographer will take a very central coordinating role in this setup, and will generally place a strong focus on portraits over other types of shots.

Great for: Couples who want classic, clean images that will stand the test of time.

Less good for: Couples who want something distinct or unique in style.

2. Documentary style wedding photography

This style of photography is also commonly referred to as wedding photojournalism. Essentially, a documentary style of photography focuses on capturing candid, unposed, authentic moments.

Due to the nature of this style of photography, photojournalistic photographers will tend to hang back silently in the background and capture the day as it happens. They’ll be much less hands on than traditional photographers, and will instead let their creative eye craft a narrative of the day’s events as they unfold.

Great for: Couples who don’t like posing and want an ‘in the moment’ reminder of the day as it happened.

Less good for: Couples who want creative portraits or heavily styled shots

Photographer: KT Langley

3. Artistic wedding photography

Artistic wedding photography (also known as fine-art photography) is often so unique and captivating that a single picture can stand alone as a work of art.

Because of that, wedding photographers work more as fine artists than photographers. Their work is aimed at creating something distinct – each image will have its own story to tell. This means that this style of photographer tends to work quite independently. Dare we say it, the shoot can sometimes be more about their process than yours. That’s not because they don’t intimately care that you have photos that you’ll cherish for a lifetime, but because their creative process doesn’t always leave a lot of room for collaboration with couples.

That being said, artistic wedding photography is dramatic and breathtaking, and will leave you will a work of art to enjoy for the rest of your days.

Great for: Couples who want totally unique photographs with abstract and creative composition.

Less good for: Couples who want an input into the creative direction of their wedding shots.

Photographer: Sarah Linda

4. Lifestyle wedding photography

This style of photography is somewhere in between classic and documentary style shots. The photographer will capture candid images from the day as a photojournalistic photographer would, but they’ll be much more hands on and directional as with a classic photographer.

Because of the blended nature of this style of photography, it’s perfect for couples looking for unique photos with a touch of classicism. The photographer will have a natural approach to the day and capture the candid, raw emotions of you and your guests, but they’ll also be more accommodating of formal shots if you want to include them in your album.

Great for: Couples who want relaxed photographs that are a blend of different styles.

Less good for: Couples who want a very distinctive style.

And there you have it, a round up of 4 major wedding photography styles to help you decide what’s right for your day. Remember, wedding photographers all have their own unique aesthetics, and will shoot your day according to their signature style. It’s super important that you pick someone who aligns with your tastes, so deciding on a style upfront will help to make sure you find the perfect photographer to document your magical moments.

Written by:
Dirty Boots & Messy Hair Team

Connection is what it’s all about. Feel free to reach out to us with any comments or questions you might have, even if it’s only to say hello. If it wasn’t for our beautiful community, this place just wouldn’t feel the same.

Wedding Planning
03 Sep 2018


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