Wedding photography is a huge topic, so many styles and names for things. It must be a tough time for couples planning a wedding to cut through the terms and understand what it all means, so I thought I’d write a little guide from a wedding photographers perspective on what all the buzz words and names for styles actually mean.
Documentary Wedding Photography is about capturing things as they happen, but framing them in a way that is beautiful. It’s often used interchangeably with terms such as Reportage, Photojournalism and Storytelling. It’s a great solution for people who are a bit apprehensive or nervous about the idea of being in front of the camera and it really suits laid-back, relaxed couples.
Reportage, is very much about being unobtrusive and waiting for moments to occur, then capturing them as they do. Capturing fleeting moments before they’re gone. This image was actually featured in our recent article looking at the stories behind our favourite images.
Storytelling is about building a story through curation and selection of images. Sometimes images that don’t work on their own can become a strong link in a chain to tell a bigger story. Storytelling usually blends details, establishing photos and portraits to bring together a narrative of the day. Similar in a way to how a film may set a scene, before introducing us to the characters – a storytelling approach will aim to do this.
Photojournalism is usually quite a hard-nosed approach, less concerned with making things look ‘pretty’ more with authenticity and real representations of events. That’s not to say a photojournalist won’t take pretty pictures – it’s just often a term reserved for a more realistic and factual representation of how things looked.
Candid photography is a little more run and gun than traditional documentary photography – Candid photography may focus more on moments and capturing things spontaneously. Often the priority of this style of photography is emotion – rather than composition and can come across as very real – albeit not always flattering.
Fine art is usually heavily focused on portraiture. Often soft dreamy images like the ones you’ll see on the cover of magazines. Brides standing in fields or forests. Lots of florals and Usually heavily styled and considered imagery with a focus on how things look and are perceived. Often fine art photographers will either use film or edit their images in a way that emulates film photography.
Editorial photographers often shoot as if they are being featured in a magazine, with a heavy focus on details and portraits – and often using a portrait orientation to their images. If you look through any high-end lifestyle magazines or things like Conde Nast Traveller – you’ll see exactly what this is – pitch-perfect details and styling all the way,
Creative photography looks to push the boundaries, its about making images rather than taking them. Creative photographers will usually look to exploit the more interesting compositions from a scene, rather than the most realistic. They may also rely on more equipment, flashes etc. to create something conceptual or explore a theme with their imagery.
Experimental photographers want to break the rules and make something truly unique. It’s about doing things that haven’t been done and being ok with the fact it may not always work out – but when it does its amazing.
Lots of photographers will draw inspiration from Experimental photographers, but it’s not an approach that appeals to every couple.
What do you like?
Whatever the type of photography you’re drawn to, there are plenty of choices out there!
One of the things we love the most about being wedding photographers is that across the length of a day we can switch it up and try new things, cover certain parts of the day in a certain style and experiment with styles depending on the situation. Whilst we capture the majority of the day in a documentary style, there is always room for a little fine art with the portraits, editorial for the details or getting experimental on the dancefloor.
We hope this has been useful – but do give us a shout if you had any questions.
If you’re looking for a wedding photographer and our Documentary approach sounds good to you – do drop us a message. We usually book up a few years in advance, so once you have a date in mind get in touch and check our availability.