An understanding of different photography styles and types of wedding photography.
I love both natural and highly directed photography and my style of wedding photography encompasses both, here is a little explanation to help you decide for your own wedding photographs with many couples also choose to pick and mix their favourite elements…
The different styles of wedding photography
In full credit to photography, what makes it an outstanding medium is how each individual photographer can interpret, compose and capture an image so uniquely. Different photographers bring different style options and personalities to how they work and you should try and take great care to select a photographer whose style, service and personality suit you and what you are after. I am so lucky, I get to work with the best, funniest, kindest couples and it is important to me to ensure that I am the right style/fit for you and can provide the photography that you love. To help, I thought it would be useful to broadly explain my approach to the three main ‘types’ of photography at weddings and how they shape my style of wedding photography.
Directed Natural Groups
AKA: stylised/fashion/dramatic – We make it happen
This is a contemporary take on what was a more traditional practice; portrait sessions with the couple on their wedding day. It can be as simple as a gentle direction to going for a little walk together whilst I shoot, and it is about ensuring that all of the elements of the image look their best. Deliberate decisions on posing, lighting and background are what create a great directed photograph and is a key element my style of wedding photography. These shots require a different skill to the more natural images more readily available from photographers.
This direction is usually so gentle, having the pictures taken still feels very natural. My couples often let me know that they appreciate a little direction, especially if we have done a pre-wedding shoot as they know that I can help them to look their best, stand in the best light and get the best final images by directing a little. It’s usually outrageously funny in between the pauses for the shot, so don’t let any serious expressions fool you!
For certain couples who really love the WOW shots, I salute you. I think everybody deserves a little self-indulgence now and then, and to have something a bit special. Imagine having that one magical shot to look back on in decades time, something timeless to pass on.This type of photograph can require an elaborate set up, but don’t worry, you stay in comfort whilst we do the set up! Our full directed gallery is available here to see if its for you.
AKA: documentary/reportage/story-telling – It just happens
This is the art of capturing real moments, the things that happen, the smiles and the tears. I love how fast-paced a wedding can be and being in the right place at the right time for each moment is one of the biggest challenges. These are the images which help you to remember your wedding day; the people, their relationships and a true record of events retells the story of your day for posterity and for pleasure.
During informal moments of the day, for me, it is about reading the scene and placing myself at a vantage point combining light, composition and the best view of the people. Sometimes it can feel frantic, especially the fast paced moments such as the end of the ceremony when all the guests are excited to congratulate the couple. At other times, it is more about patience and observation, I might use my vantage point to help predict when an anecdote is nearing completion, focus on the people and capture the groups falling about laughing as the punchline is revealed.
At other times, it is all about finding the best angles to catch those really important moments without being intrusive; the first kiss as a married’s couple or the laughter during the speeches. I love it when our couples say “you were everywhere and nowhere” after the wedding day, that we were discreet, yet captured everything they wanted! It is a huge buzz to catch that perfect shot at the perfect time. Natural photography is an honest way to shoot your wedding and I love to do it, even when my couples love the directed styles, natural photography is still an essential element.
They are less polished, more honest and are more about the moment than the beauty. I love to do both. Most of my couples choose a mixture of styles (to keep me on my toes), some prefer only natural shots which I love and it works great with festival style weddings. You can see more of our natural weddings here or check out the blog for more real weddings.
AKA: Traditional/family/formal – those you love in photos for posterity
Picture with me the idea of group photos at a wedding – The big family groups, the beating sun, the want to enjoy canapés and drinks with family and friends and a bossy photographer marching about taking hours getting the job done – right?
Short answer no, of course not. I discuss group photos with you at the pre-wedding meet, you choose how many, although I am happy to help guide. I take the most important names and will often work with a member of the wedding party on the day itself. The shots are put into the most time efficient order (prioritising your elderly and less mobile guests) and captured as politely and succinctly (and with as much humour) as possible!
Modern couples sometimes choose to skip the group due to these concerns. It is of course up to you, however I would caution you to have a few, even just to capture the most important people at your wedding. Natural shots are wonderful, but rarely (never) does a family group all stand in a pleasing way showing their faces to the camera naturally, its needs be brought together. If these record-keeping photographs are important to you, please feel free to discuss any concerns when you get in touch and we’ll work it out.
They can be formal, or informal and made more fun and creative – we usually do a bit of a mix!
Detail and establishing shots
The choices that you make; your venue, colours used and favours to name a few are all what ultimately make up your wedding day. These are your choices, that you’ve made (hopefully!) together and these are make your wedding your own. These details, again, just help to bring back your memories of the day, capture the atmosphere and if you are doing something special, also help to generate lots of fabulous natural shots of your guests having fun!
AKA: quirky: novelty: silly
When my couples ask for ‘fun’ shots, I always show them examples for clarification, one couples idea of fun, is another’s idea of gimmicky! They dont necessarily go hand in hand with my style of wedding photography, but I will not judge, I am there for you! If you want the wonderfully clichéd images of brides being held up by groomsmen or weird and whacky poses, then all the more fun for me! These shots are always a ton of fun (and a little carnage) whilst we try to wrangle people into position, the antics also always generate a lot of natural moments of hilarity around the main shot.
My style of wedding photography has been nurtured and developed over many years doing different types of photography work, everything has been a lesson, it is a combination of different elements from these major styles. I choose to see my passion for both natural and directed photography to be a strength, it allows my couples a chance to talk through what they are after from their own photographs. I use all of this to focus my attention and time spent on your wedding day, to take more of the images that you love.
Get in touch HERE