Which Style?

Wikipedia defines three main styles of photography: traditional, photojournalistic and fashion – based.

“There are two primary approaches to wedding photography that are recognized today: Traditional and Photojournalistic. Traditional wedding photography provides for more classically posed images and a great deal of photographer control and interaction on the day of the wedding. Photojournalistic wedding photography takes its cue from editorial reporting styles and focuses more on candid and unposed images with little photographer interaction. These are two extremes and many of today's photographers will fall somewhere in the middle of these two styles.

A third style that is becoming more popular is a fashion-based approach. In contemporary/fashion-based wedding photography, photojournalistic images of the events of the day are combined with posed images that are inspired by editorial fashion photography as would be found in magazines like Vogue or Vanity Fair. This style often involves more innovative and dramatic post-processing of images.

The term contemporary wedding photography is used to describe wedding photography that is not of a traditional nature. The emphasis in contemporary photography is to capture the story and atmosphere from the day, so the viewer has an appreciation of what the wedding was like, rather than a series of pre-determined poses. This term can be mistaken for meaning any photograph that is not posed or formal. The advent and advancement of digital cameras (and increased use of the internet) means that many people can offer their services as a wedding photographer, but contemporary wedding photography is more than taking informal photographs and involves the use of composition, lighting, and timing to capture photographs that have a strong visual appeal.

A contemporary wedding photographer will usually provide some or all of the following:

  • Indoor photography at a church, temple, or other private venue during the ceremony and reception.
  • Outdoor photography (often at a park, beach, or scenic location on the day of the wedding and/or for engagement photos).
  • Both posed and candid (photojournalistic) shots of the wedding couple and their guests at the religious or civil ceremony, and the reception that follows.
  • Formal portraiture in the studio (for either the wedding and/or the engagement photos).
  • Digital services, such as digital prints or slides shows.
  • Albums (either traditional or the more contemporary flush mount type of album).

The range of deliverables that a wedding photographer presents is varied. There is no standard as to what is included in a wedding coverage or package, so products vary regionally and from across photographers, as do the number of images provided.

Most photographers provide a set of proofs (usually unretouched, edited images) for the clients to view. Photographers may provide hard copy proofs in the form of 4x5 or 4x6 prints, a "magazine" of images with thumbnail sized pictures on multiple pages, an online proof gallery, images on CD or DVD in the form of a gallery or a slideshow, or a combination of the above. Some photographers provide these proofs for the client to keep, and some photographers require the client to make final print choices from the proofs and then return them or purchase them at an additional cost.

There are a wide variety of albums and manufacturers available, and photographers may provide traditional matted albums, digitally designed "coffee table" albums, contemporary flush mount albums, hardbound books, scrapbook style albums, or a combination of any of the above. Albums may be included as part of a pre-purchased package, or they may be added as an after-wedding purchase. Not all photographers provide albums; some may prefer to provide prints and/or files and let clients make their own albums.

Most photographers allow clients to purchase additional prints for themselves or their families. Many photographers now provide online sales either through galleries located on their own websites or through partnerships with other vendors. Those vendors typically host the images and provide the back end sales mechanism for the photographer; the photographer sets his or her own prices and the vendor takes a commission or charges a flat fee.

Some photographers are also including high resolution files in their packages. These photographers allow their clients limited rights to reproduce the images for their personal use, while retaining the copyright. Not all photographers release files and those who do will most likely charge a premium for them, since releasing files means giving up any after wedding print or album sales for the most part.

Photographers who do not retain copyright of the images often charge more for their services. In these cases the photographer provides the client with the digital images as part of the wedding package. The client then has unrestricted use of the images and can print any that they may desire.

In some countries like Australia, copyright law dictates that the client owns the photographs if they are taken at a private function such as a wedding.

The wedding photography industry is home to some respected names within the photography industry, some of whom were listed in PopPhoto's Top 10 Wedding Photographers in the World. These figures represent the historical rise of wedding photojournalism, fashion, courure-style portraits, and all digital work-flow.

As a wedding is a one-time event, the photographer must be prepared for the unexpected. Shooting a wedding is both exhausting and invigorating as the photographer is constantly looking for good angles and opportunities for candid shots. Communication and planning time-lines before the event will alleviate many of the stresses associated with photographing a wedding. The ability to tactfully take charge also helps - particularly when photographing large groups or families - a common expectation after the ceremony. Having a run list with all of the expected shots is also a useful tool. A photographer may work with an assistant who can carry equipment, arrange guests, and assist with clothing adjustments.

Some wedding photographers have an office or studio which can double as a retail photography studio. In bigger cities, one might find dedicated wedding studios that only shoot weddings and may have large studios equipped with make-up, hair, and gowns ready for the bride to wear. Other wedding photographers work out of a home studio, preferring to photograph on location.”

Wedding photograph of a bride getting ready at Woodhall Manor
 

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