As one of Kent’s leading wedding photographers, I often come across couples who are confused about the different styles of wedding photography, or who haven’t really given much thought to exactly what style they want – or even realise that there are different styles at all! So I thought I’d give an insight into the different styles around at the moment and describe my style in a bit more detail.
Not all wedding photography is the same. The switch from film to digital has meant that wedding photographers can now afford to be more creative – instant review allows for tweaking of lighting and composition that just wasn’t ‘worth the risk’ back in the film days.
So how do you find the right style of wedding photography for you? My main advice is to decide on the style you like first, and then find a photographer who does that style well. Don’t book a photographer and then try to make them replicate the style you want – you would have been in for a nasty shock if you wanted a classical portrait painted, but then booked Salvador Dali to paint it for you!
A wide variety of different styles are now available – here’s a rundown of the most popular today:
(1) Traditional Wedding Photography
Broadly speaking, traditional photographers often concern themselves with lots of group photographs (all beautifully done) and may suggest shots to you – ‘lets have one with your mum’. Most traditional photographers tend to be older and have transitioned over from film, so perhaps still carry over some of the elements of working with film (meticulous but time consuming preparation of each shot with a safety-first approach).
Historically, group shots were taken for two reasons – firstly, it wasn’t uncommon for a wedding photographer just to attend the service and then leave after some formals in the church ground, so a record needed to be taken of who was at the wedding. Secondly, in the days of film you paid by the roll, so each frame counted and had to be meticulously posed, lit and shot. Friends of mine had a film photographer for their wedding – he was there for 8 hours, and they got 72 pictures!
(2) Photojournalism (PJ) / Reportage wedding photography
‘Reportage’ is a word bandied around often – it just means candid coverage where the photographer tries to tell the story of your day. All wedding photographers will photograph in this style for at least some part of your day, but you need to decide how much photojournalism you want. This can range from a few candid portraits to the whole day covered candidly, with minimal groups and no posed shots whatsoever – which is a very difficult skill and is only truly achieved by a select few professional wedding photographers in the UK today.
(3) Modern/Quirky Wedding Photography
This style of photography has come over from the States in the last few years – ‘anti posing’ shots of the couple square-on to camera, holding hands, often with their heads chopped off; holding signs or boards with messages; Framed in the corner or bottom of a huge panaramic shot.
You either love this style or hate it and it’s probably not best if you’re at all worried about getting your dress dirty or ruining your bridal hairdo, but great if you have an alternative view on most things!
(4) Fashion-based Wedding Photography
This style puts lots of emphasis on capturing stunning bride and groom images, often using fashion photography techniques including multiple lights. These ‘wow’ images take time to create and setup, and to do them properly you will need to allow at least an hour with your photographer, with no interruptions. This style may even involve the couple leaving the reception to go on location for their shoot (around London for example).
(5) Contemporary Wedding Photography
Contemporary photography is really a mixture of styles of the above – some group shots (I recommend no more than 8) and some photojournalism coverage, plus bride and groom portraits (as creative as time, the venue and the couple allows). The key here is getting someone with the correct balance of these elements to suit your needs.
What’s my wedding photography style? I describe myself to couples as a contemporary photographer, whose two main goals on a wedding day are to take stunning bride and groom portraits and capture the moments you may not even see in a photojournalistic way, letting events unfold around me and not directing or interrupting.
If you want to discuss my style, check availability or talk about wedding photography in general (I’m always happy to help!), please contact me. I’m based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, but photograph weddings across Kent, Essex, East and West Sussex, Surrey, London and the whole UK.
All content Kent Wedding Photographer David Burke 2016