5 Wedding Photography Styles Explained - Grand Lens Photography

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5 Wedding Photography Styles Explained

When you are searching for a wedding photographer, there are a variety of factors that influence your decision, including whether or not you like their photography style. If you unsure of what that involves, do not panic. Grand Lens Photography broke down popular wedding photography styles and included examples of each. It is important to note that numerous photographers consider themselves to hold a mix of multiple styles, but this guide will provide you with a solid idea of what you prefer.


1) Classic or Traditional

Traditional wedding photography typically involves the wedding photographer quite a bit. The wedding photographer appears almost as a type of coordinator, and thus, assists in guiding and directing the wedding. If you and your partner simply love the photos in your parents or grandparents' photo albums, traditional wedding photography style may suit you best. This style is on the formal side and while photographers utilizing the style aim to capture moments in a documentary-like fashion, they do apply creativity as well. The main advantage of the classic approach is that you can rest assured that your photos will withstand the test of time.

Expect plenty of posing, a detailed shot list, and a very time-line oriented process. 

Pros: You will receive all the photographs that make mom and your grandparents happy.

Cons: You will miss all the magical moments that happen in between the formals.

2) Documentary or Photojournalistic

Wedding Photojournalism is a story telling the style of wedding photography that involves minimal involvement on the part of the photographer. A photojournalistic wedding photographer allows all of the moments of the day to unfold while they just naturally use their creative eye to capture and interpret those moments through their photography. While few couples lean toward a highly stylized approach, the documentary approach is about relinquishing style for spontaneity. Instead of capturing posed photos of the bride, the groom, and their wedding party, photographers shooting in this style aim to capture candid moments, whether it’s of the wedding couple, their guests, the decor, etc. So, if you and your partner want your wedding photo album to be full of unexpected emotional or humorous moments rather than unnatural poses, the documentary style may be the style for you.

Expect a ninja-like photographer you will hardly notice.

Pros: You will get candids and beautiful moments you may not have even noticed.

Cons: You will miss creative shots of just the two of you posted artfully in a beautiful location.

3) Modern

While the classic stylistic approach is all about keeping the photographs formal and the poses stiff, modern wedding photography is a relaxed and casual method. Like the documentary style, the modern method is about capturing a certain amount of spontaneity in unexpected and pleasant moments, yet it is also about capturing formal elements. Photographers employing this style search for interesting and aesthetically pleasing backgrounds for pictures, but be careful not to choose a photography company that jumps on every modern trend bandwagon will date your photos in years to come.

Expect a Pinterest wedding feel, with lots of haze and lens flare.

Pros: Super romantic and will probably get you a lot of likes on Facebook

Cons: Becomes dated and boring quickly if it is the only tool in the photographer’s arsenal.

4) Artistic

Whereas the documentary or photojournalistic style option is all about spontaneity, the artistic option is all about capturing moments with creativity and vision. Wedding photographers taking the artistic approach infuse traditional shots with a certain level of added creativity and beauty, whether via interesting angles, unique compositions, post-production stylistic effects, etc. You will see dramatic and improbable lighting with creative angles to generate visual interest. Poses are generally similar to what you would see in magazines and if done properly the photos achieve a very high-end feel to them. The point is, with this style, you can receive the traditional moments you want, yet have them captured with originality so that they do not appear too conventional.

Expect bold, dramatic images, with high contract and creative lighting.

Pros: Your images will have you feeling like you were on the cover of a magazine

Cons: You might miss out on images of your friends and family.


5) All 4 in 1

We believe this is where the best style lies. A photographer takes the best of each wedding photography style and makes it their own. The aim is to produce timeless wedding images that are never cheesy, while capturing the essence of the day with beautiful moments that you will cherish forever. It is a lofty goal and it does not come easy. Here is how the day usually goes:

Getting ready - We focus on documentary style shooting, with some rearrangements of details.

First Look - Heavily planned, we travel to the perfect location, let everyone know where we expect them to be, and once the scene is set, we ask the groom to turn around and let the rest unfold naturally. 

Ceremony: With the documentary style, we will stay out of the way, quickly moving in and out of the aisle to get the shots we need with a long lens so we are not disturbing the guests or the officiant.

Formals - We will briefly transform to the classics to get the photographs the parents and grandparents require. 

Creatives - We sweep the bride & groom and their wedding party away to a location for a few modern & editorial photos that will blow everyone away.

ReceptionBack to the documentary style, we let everyone relax and they have mostly forgotten that we exist. Here we capture those beautiful little moments during the evening that go largely unnoticed by everyone else.

Expect a little bit of everything to give you the greatest variety of shots and styles.

Pros: Enough to keep everyone happy, you will come out looking like a star, and grandma will still have her traditional photo she can frame.

Cons: Too many photos to choose from, you may need a bigger album…

Your photos need to last forever. So, as you can now understand, there are several alternatives in terms of the photographic style you can choose from for your wedding, all of which present certain advantages and disadvantages. While your decision should depend on your and your partner’s personalities, preferences, your wedding theme, etc., you have a real advantage of having a firm understanding of each style before making any declarations. Remember, your wedding photography is one of the elements of your special day that will last you a lifetime. Unlike the food or floral arrangements, your photos need to be able to have an impact long after your wedding day is over. So make sure you choose the right style for your celebration.

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