When I was training to become a pro wedding photographer I did a huge amount of research to try to figure out what kind of photographer I wanted to be. I loved the soft, romantic, backlit shots so I thought I might like to be a vintage photographer, but I also loved the grainy, natural shots showing granddad reading the newspaper amidst the chaos of 7 girls getting ready, so perhaps reportage photography was more my thing, and then again I really loved the classic photos showing the bridal party and proud parents outside the church, so maybe I was a more traditional kind of wedding photographer? I have to admit, it was somewhat confusing until I actually started photographing real life weddings on my own, and then I realised that not only is it preferable to combine different styles of photography when photographing a wedding, in my eyes it is absolutely essential!
As an example, I do appreciate that coverage of the bridal preparations isn’t for everybody, and that some brides prefer to appear looking fabuIous at the ceremony, which is absolutely fine with me, but the following illustrates how I sometimes use different photographic styles, and this applies to all other parts of the day too.
I might arrive with the bride on the morning of the wedding and capture the preparations with a photojournalistic approach…..which is essentially me saying hello then leaving her to get ready whilst I snap away! However, there is so much more to it than that; I am balancing different light situations and adjusting my camera settings constantly to capture the atmosphere. I am situating myself so that I am close to the action but not in the way, whilst constantly creating the most flattering images possible, and I am reading and predicting what is going to happen next, so that whilst the bride is busy getting ready or closing her eyes having her make-up done, I am there, quietly capturing the events for you both to see and keep forever. There will be times when I might ask people to look towards me briefly, or stand by a dress or a window etc, if I have a creative idea in mind, and these kind of photos will look really natural as I know exactly what I am looking for, plus I work really quickly so there are no fake smiles or silly poses involved. When I am capturing the accessories….dress, shoes, jewellery etc . I will be looking to create beautiful, artistic images showing all the details that have been pored over for months, and when everybody is ready I will be using more of a magazine/ fashion, style of photography to show just how incredible everybody looks.
As you can see, I have mentioned four different styles of photography just in this brief description of a small part of the day, and within each of these types, there are sub-categories of different styles: contemporary, landscape, vintage, quirky, family, beauty, nature, black & white, etc. I won’t continue to explain how and where I might employ all of these different techniques at certain points of a wedding day, I’m sure you get the idea, and I hope that you can see how important I think it is for your wedding photographer to be able to capture your wedding day using a variety of styles, because when I photograph a wedding, the images aren’t just taken by me….they are created by me.