With so many skilled wedding photographers in your area, what distinguishes one from another? Furthermore, how do you know which wedding photography style is for you? It all comes down to photography style and each individual photographer’s distinct flair. There are a lot of different buzz words being used to describe photography styles. Let’s break down the two most popular editing and direction styles so you can know which one best suits you in the search for your perfect wedding photographer.
I could just describe each of these style categories to you, but in classic photographer fashion I wanted to show you visual examples! All photos in this post are my own work and are the perfect example of how truly customizable your experience can be. Okay, enough talk. Let’s jump right in!
The most popular of photography styles, light and airy is taking the photographer’s world by storm. It’s characterized by a lightness to the images and typically looks like it’s out of a magazine (or a fairytale!). Like all styles, this category is heavily impacted by time of day and color pallet. In other words, it’s hard to get light and airy on a rainy day bridesmaids in dark navy dresses!
Since this style is very dependent on the environment, you’ll typically see it used for May – July weddings. However, even if you have your heart set on a winter wedding this style is still achievable! Knowing that light and airy is your goal, it’s easy to find a photographer who excels at this style regardless of the season.
Consideration: When considering a photographer with this style in mind, be sure to review a variety of their images. Take note to ensure that they’re not just over-brightening images in the editing phase to get a knock-off light and airy effect. This will result in images looking over-exposed or “blown out”.
Ahhh dark and moody, you beautiful style you. In my opinion, dark and moody photographs are so under appreciated. They’re kind of like that girl at the party who looks so cool that you’re too scared to talk to her even though she’s actually super nice. Like the photography version of April Ludgate. She could probaaaaably beat you up, but also loves animals, has a great sense of humor, and an the perfect wife to Andy.
This style of photography communicates so much emotion and has a cinematic tone. It’s not the crystal clear images that light and airy offers, but you really feel the image. Like light and airy, this photography style is also dependent on time of day and season. Nevertheless, with a photographer who specializes in dark and moody, the effect can be achieved all year round.
Up until this point, we have focused solely on editing style and the image feel. While these two categories are important when it comes to emotional tone, it’s also important to consider a photographer’s directive style. Do you wanna look like Elizabeth and Philip in The Crown or do you wanna look like Rachel McAdams in the latest rom-com?
When you show up to a session with this style of photographer you can expect things to feel casual and relaxed. This type of photographer doesn’t offer a ton of structured direction and will primarily use phrases like:
Images in this style look cute, candid, and effortless. Like you were on a date and someone just happened to snap a photo for you. In my experience, this directive style can be a bit awkward for people who are camera shy or who tend to not like their appearance in photos. When hiring a photographer who doesn’t give direction, you feel like there are no guarantees. That being said, this style is perfect for couple who aren’t camera shy and prefer perfectly imperfect photos.
When you show up for a session with this style of photographer, you can expect to things to feel structured and efficient. This type of photographer will come prepared with a few classic poses and will happily give you some directions. You might hear phrases like:
This direction style is much less risky when it comes to the end result. You know that the photos will look great and you two will be looking your very best! It’s perfect for people who feel they “don’t know how to be cute” in front of a camera.
Consideration: When reviewing a photographer’s portfolio, you’ll probably see some posing themes. While this is normal, be on the lookout to ensure that not every. single. one. of their sessions looks exactly the same. Your experience should be uniquely you with your own personality! Otherwise you run the risk of looking like a Sears photographer took your photos.
When it comes to my editing style, I like to rely on the natural lighting of your day as much as possible. Like a “no-makeup makeup” look. In other words, my photos are definitely edited and adjusted, but they don’t look they have a filter slapped on top. I believe that your day should be captured in a way that is natural and best showcases it’s own unique beauty. If it’s an indoor November wedding with all jewel tones, the photos will be a little bit moodier. For an outdoor May wedding with all blush tones, it will look lighter and airier!
As for my directive style, I know that not everyone knows exactly what to do in front of a camera. I also know that even people who consider themselves to be “photogenic” often get extremely nervous during their engagement and wedding session. There is a lot of internalized pressure for these photos to look perfect and sometimes people freeze up from stress. So while I don’t consciously “pose” you, I do come prepared with a variety of posing techniques. I don’t want you to feel stiff, I do want you to feel confident and like your best selves. I also want you to have fun! Typically, my photo sessions are half candid and half directed to make sure that you get the best of both words!
It’s important to note that none of these styles are inherently better than another nor are the photographers who use them. Beautiful, skilled, breathtaking images can be achieved through any style. What makes your photos truly stunning is the fact that you’re in them! That being said, these photos will capture one of the most monumental days of your life. They’re important, meaningful, and you should be able to get the style you want.
So, don’t be afraid to ask questions from the photographers you are considering! Some sample questions to determine editing and directive style are:
You got this, girl! You are a wedding planning queeeen and your photos are going to look amazing regardless of what photographer you choose.
Hopefully this post gave you deeper insight into what style you’re looking for on your big day and left you feeling confident and capable! Looking for more wedding planning tips? Check out the following blog posts for more!