Wedding Photography Styles: Learning which one is right for you.

photography styles coverChoosing a wedding photographer is daunting process.  There are so many to choose from and in so many different styles.  You may be instantly drawn to some photographer’s work but not know why, or how to search for other photographers with a similar style. To make the process a bit easier this article will break down the 3 types of wedding photography you are most likely to see so you can decide which one fits you and your wedding best.

It should be noted that most photographers, if not all, will not fit squarely into one of these categories but will be a mix.  These definitions will just help you come at your search from a more informed place and understand more of the style qualities you want from your photographer.   What it comes down to in the end, is how the photographer themselves and their work make you feel.

Ask yourself,  do you like their work? Does it make you happy? Do you like them? Do they make you happy? We will talk later about the importance of actually meeting your photographer face to face, and some questions you can ask them to make sure they will make you happy.  For now, here is some info and pros and cons of photojournalistic, classic, and fine art wedding photography.


wedding-dcMost wedding photographers these days shoot at least part of the day in a photojournalistic style.  This style is all about shooting candid moments unobtrusively. True wedding photojournalists are not interested in posed portraits or group shots.  They are focused on just documenting the day and events as they unfold, like a fly on the wall.   They will will not step in to alter the scene to get the best light, backgrounds, angle possible to create the best image.

Benefits: A photographer who approaches your wedding as a photojournalist will give you pure documentary coverage.  They will be completely unobtrusive, you may not even notice they are there at all, but you will end up with candid accurate documentation of your big day.  If you want your wedding to be documented truly, but don’t want posed portraits, this could be the style for you.

Drawbacks: While most photojournalists will do some portraits, a true photojournalist will place minimal emphasis on posed portraits, arranged details, or other staged elements of the wedding.  Some images may not be as good as they could be because the lighting is bad and the background is cluttered and the photographer will not take steps to change that.


wedding-courthouse017Classic/traditional wedding photography puts a lot of focus on traditional posed portraits.  This will not be exactly the same classic style as your parents and grandparents wedding photos, because photojournalism changed wedding photography so completely, but it may not be far off.  It is an updated approach to the classic/traditional style.  You can expect the photographer to be very involved in creating the shot, and frequent use of flash and other lighting is to be expected.

Benefits: Your parents wedding photos, only updated.  If classic clean imagery and a focus on portraits and details appeals to you than this may be a style to look for.

Drawbacks:  A classic style promises constancy so your images may end up looking like everyone else’s.  Don’t expect anything especially creative or unique.

Fine Art

styled-wedding027Fine art wedding photography aims at creating art with the capture of your wedding.  As Jose Villa, the father of fine art wedding photography says, “the fine art approach is about creating a cohesive collection of artistic images.  It’s more than documentation. It’s more than candid imagery. It’s about integrating the personalities of the subjects with the setting to craft distinctive images that illustrate the unique appeal of each event.”  Fine art photographers often exclusively shoot in natural light and often with film instead of digital.  They approach the day with a mix of photojournalism and more posed/directed shots.  A fine art wedding photographer is focused on making the most beautiful images possible, so when necessary, especially in the getting ready and portrait part of the day, they will move things and people around to get the best light, background and overall shot possible.  The fine art look is characterized by warm tones, a soft glow, and colors that are almost pastel.  Backgrounds are usually in soft focus, separating the subject from the background.  A fine art wedding photographer will look at a scene more creatively and see how they could try something slightly different to tell your unique story better.

Benefits:  Your photos will be beautiful works of art, they will look like they came out of a wedding magazine.  You will end up with a cohesive visual story of you wedding perfect for a wedding album.

Drawbacks: Some directing and intrusion by the photographer is to be expected.


Think I might be the right photographer for you…contact me here to learn more about how I shoot and my fine art approach.