A couple’s first step in hiring a photographer is deciding what on their favorite wedding photography style; The Knot, WeddingWire and thousands of other wedding resources have created glossaries and quizzes to help brides find their preferred styles. Let me explain my approach to wedding photography using the vocabulary you’ve probably encountered elsewhere.
But first, know this: my guiding principle is that YOU look great.
Now, the easy bits in describing my wedding photography style: I work in digital photography and am primarily a natural light photography.
Film photographers deserve a lot of respect, and the end results are often gorgeous, but I love being able to show my couples how amazing they look in the moment just by showing them the back of my camera. This builds their confidence and turns a photo session into more of a collaboration rather than just having me direct them.
Natural Light Photography
Natural light photography means I love to use sunlight, and golden hour is my favorite! Using natural light is my preference because I think flatters all skin tones and creates a soft, dreamy, romantic look.
When there isn’t a lot of natural light (Hello, every wedding reception ever) or there’s an opportunity to do something creative that reflects the moment (think: pictures in the rain), I do work in flash photography.
Again, my guiding principle: YOU will look great. Maybe that means we need some fill flash, or a reflector or some other photo equipment. I won’t bore you with the details, but my goal is to flatter YOU as best I can.
Wedding Photography Style
Now let’s talk about style. My wedding photography style is adaptive, combining elements of fine art, editorial, documentary and traditional wedding photography depending on the moment. Why can’t I pick just one? Wedding days are long, involving different venues, groups of people and so many special moments. While documentary photography is totally appropriate for the ceremony and reception, I just don’t think it’s the most flattering approach for portraits or the bride’s getting-ready time. Let me break down how I’m using each term and when I usually rely on each approach.
Fine Art Wedding Photography
The term “fine art wedding photography” is used a lot to describe a wide spectrum of photographs. I really like Junebug’s definition: “Fine art wedding photographers are actively creating art while capturing the story of your day. Every moment has the potential to turn into a photograph that could be a stand alone piece in an art gallery.” Yes. Ring and flower shots, other detail shots, and bridal and couple portraits really speak to my creative heart. I make intimate images that capture the essence of these moments.
Editorial Wedding Photography
Editorial photography is also called Illustrative Photography by Here Comes the Guide. The best definition is rather long but worth reading. By editorial, I basically mean the final image looks like it could appear in a magazine. These photographs are somewhat stylized (certainly more so than in documentary photography) and posed but not overly so. I pose people just enough to ensure they look great on camera and then let them interact naturally. This editorial approach is great during a bride’s getting-ready time with her attendants as well as during couples portraits. Time for bridesmaids to toast the bride? Let’s make sure everyone is wearing their pretty robes and standing in good light, then pop that cork! An engagement session might be entirely editorial; I’ll pose the two of your but then just let you canoodle (yes, I just wrote canoodle) to get natural-looking images that reflect YOU.
Documentary Wedding Photography
All ceremony coverage is documentary photography, sometimes also known as a photojournalistic approach. I certainly have never met a photographer who would interrupt the ceremony in order to put the couple in better light or re-pose them! Recently a priest complimented me after a ceremony: “I can tell you got a lot of great pictures but you were very discreet about it.” That’s high praise from someone officiating a religious rite. I do respect the solemnity of a wedding ceremony and endeavor to blend into the background while capturing key moments. My years as an actual journalist definitely taught me how to quietly observe!
For different reasons, documentary photography is also my usual approach during the reception. A bride and groom have just spent hours with me during getting-ready time and portraits. Now they just want to hang out with their friends. I know who their most important people are (parents, siblings, close friends) and can keep an eye on those people and wait for organic moments to capture. This is when I get pictures of dancing flower girls, groomsmen playing cornhole and Bride’s father having a beer with Groom’s father.
Traditional wedding photography
Traditional wedding photography is often described as the posed shots. Of course I take whatever group shots the bride and groom want; I have a draft shot list we discuss ahead of time so I know how much time to allocate. These family pictures are such an integral part of wedding photography I don’t think they require a special explanation. I will try to make sure everyone looks happy!
Do you like what you’ve read about my approach to wedding day photography? Get in touch and let’s chat about capturing your day!