How to Choose Between the Different Wedding Photography Styles

Quite often brides-to-be are confused as to the style of wedding photography they'd like. To help remove that confusion, this article provides a simple guide to the different styles available; this will help you choose both the style of photography you would like – and also to choose your wedding photographer (a separate but related issue).


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    Traditional or classic wedding photography. This style of photography is characterized by a very formal approach. The images are usually highly posed and will require a good deal of intervention from the photographer (unless the bride and groom are experienced models and know how to pose). Be aware that this style will impact you in the following ways:
    • The photographer will work to a time line - often with specific shots being organized at a very specific time.
    • In some cases – the photographer will seem like a film director on a movie set, constantly organizing individuals into posed groups to produce a set of traditional wedding images.
    • Although considered out of date by many, traditional style images will still appeal to the older generation, so older relatives of the bride & groom are likely to be happier with this type of image.
    • The downside for many modern brides is that the resulting images can appear very stiff and rigid – and so fail to fully convey the air of happiness and fun that is part of many modern ceremonies.
    • However, many modern photographers pull in elements of classic wedding photography successfully. The classics were classic for a reason, and being able to modernize a classic pose rather than disregard it altogether can help retain a timeless feel and prevent photos from becoming dated too quickly.
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    Contemporary or modern wedding photography. This style is characterized by a far greater degree of informality and a more relaxed approach by the photographer. This can result in a greater level of spontaneity and is capable of capturing the spirit of fun, as well as some of the more formal elements – as the photographer will not be posing people to the same degree:
    • There is less need for the photographer to intervene – much less of the photographer as Director of the movie of your day.
    • This style is likely to produce a unique record of your day – no two weddings will look exactly the same. As a result, this style has gradually gained in popularity in comparison to the more traditional approach.
    • The photographer will seek out great backgrounds and settings which can result in a stylish set of images which may resemble to a degree the kind of images you may see in a fashion magazine.
    • If overdone, the modern wedding style can descend into cheesiness if the style is not refined. Be wary of photographers that chase the latest trends as they can quickly become dated.
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    Reportage or documentary style photography. This style is characterized by an extremely hands-off approach by the photographer who will record the events of your big day as they happen in the manner of a fly-on-the-wall documentary television crew. Much of the time – the photographer will essentially be in the background; you may not even be aware of his presence! There will be very little in the way of posing or organizing of individuals and groups. For this reason – this style is increasingly popular with brides today – as it does allow a lot of freedom of movement and the bride and groom are essentially left to enjoy their big day. This style of photography:
    • Is likely to produce a very candid record of your wedding with a high proportion of unusual shots that you probably would not expect from traditional or contemporary styles.
    • If you have been posed for all your photographs – then you essentially have already seen the images – and there will be none of the ‘wow’ factor that you may get from a reportage image of you and the groom in an unguarded kiss or embrace.
    • Reportage photography has a great deal to offer but inevitably – the drawback is that you simply cannot be sure what you may get in the end!
    • Being able to pull off this style arguably requires greater skill than any other style. Many unskilled photographers refer to themselves as documentary photographers because they don't know how to pose or light. It takes exceptional skill to be able to anticipate moments before they happen and be ready to capture them as quickly as they disappear.
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    Consider artistic wedding photography. This, as the name implies, is led by the individualism of the ‘Artist’ or photographer. This style is therefore characterized by its ability to produce a unique set of images from your big day. Depending on the photographer – there may be a great deal of intervention - or there may be none. The only way to assess if this style suits you is by checking out the portfolios of particular photographers to see if their style is going to appeal. This type of photography can produce cutting edge and stunning wedding photographs as a superb and individualized record of your big day. It may well be considered a little risky by some brides.


  • Choosing your wedding photographer is one of the key decisions you have to make.
  • Do your research - and check out portfolios.
  • Speak to the actual photographer - and ask questions about what style they are able to offer.


  • If you want professional images to showcase those magical memories then invest in a professional photographer! Photography is the only thing that remains once the cake has been eaten and the dress has been put in storage.

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Categories: Wedding Planning