When it comes to wedding photographs, not all images are created equal. Different photographers offer different wedding photography styles that may (or may not) speak to your aesthetic preferences. As you work to nail down a photographer for your big day, it’s important you spend some time studying each photographer’s style to figure out if it’s right for you. Three distinct wedding photography styles to consider are traditional, photojournalistic, and fine-art photography.
Traditional photography is what you probably think of when picturing classic wedding photos, like the ones your parents have framed in their house. Typically posed and shot straight-on at eye level, traditional photography isn’t particularly creative, but its simplistic nature ensures your photos stand the test of time. All photographers will likely incorporate this style into your big day when shooting portraits of you, your family, and your wedding party.
Photojournalistic photography is all about telling a story with images, the same way a journalist would tell a story using words. A wedding photographer who specializes in this style will typically work to capture candid shots that weave together the narrative of your wedding day. This style is perfect for documenting the real, heartfelt moments that happen on your big day—you and your partner buckled over in laughter, your mother wiping a tear from her cheek during the ceremony, the flower girl raising her hands in joy on the dance floor.
Fine-art photography is less about creating an image that documents a moment and more about creating an image that stands alone as a piece of art. Often shot on film, this style takes an artistic approach as your photographer stages images that express the emotions swirling around your big day. Picture a striking, upclose silhouette of your hands, or a faraway landscape shot of you two standing on the edge of a cliff with a saturated sky overhead.
STETTEN WILSON PHOTOGRAPHY
Stetten Wilson is a boutique photography studio serving clients around the world. Devin and Skylar specialize in luxury destination weddings, interiors, and commercial photography. The studio was founded in 2007 and has been named one of the Top Wedding Photographers in America by BRIDES magazine. Follow them on Instagram @stettenwilson
Behind the Lens
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST
OF YOUR WEDDING DAY
There are many different ways to maximize what you get from your photographer. Some main points to start with are to share inspiration, create a plan together, and then just focus on being present and engaging with your guests. The following tips from Stetten Wilson Photography will help you get more from your photographer, and also enjoy your wedding and your photos more thoroughly.
SHARE THE LOVE
Part of what makes the best photographers excel at their craft is pulling inspiration from their clients. Because every couple is unique, if you share your story and what you love about photographs, the more in tune they’ll be with you. Some clients may love an editorial portrait more than a slow-shutter candid moment, and if your photographer understands that, then they’ll know what to pursue given the limited time they have with you and your event. Sharing inspiring images with your photographer (no matter who took the photos) can help them draw inspiration for your wedding day photography.
COMMUNICATE YOUR PRIORITIES Communicate your photo priorities to your photographer. To do this, think about what you’d like to see in your gallery. Do you value seeing the real, not-so-perfect candid moments that unfold naturally more than the perfectly posed and styled moments? Look through your wedding day timeline and ask yourself, if two things are happening at the same time, where would you prefer the photographer be? Whether your priorities are photos of the small décor details, guests at cocktail hour, your stationery suite, the signing of the marriage
license, or the cake cutting, make sure your photographer knows what you really want to be captured. Ask your photographer the price for hiring an additional shooter to cover a smaller portion of the day, so everything you want is reflected in your final photo gallery.
SCHEDULE A TIMELINE
Schedule a meeting with your photographer at least six weeks before your wedding date. Use this time to discuss the timeline, must-have photos from your shot list, different photography locations, etc. You can also discuss expectations for the deliverables from the day. Plan and coordinate a timeline that’s reasonable for the photos you want. Your photographer can help you understand what it takes to get certain shots while considering timeline and location. Being prepared in this way helps everyone stay calm and positive if something shifts on the wedding day.
COORDINATE MEAL TIMES
Make sure that you or your wedding planner have communicated to your caterer that you need to feed your photo (and potentially video) team at the same time that you and your partner eat dinner. This is important so that your creative team can be there during the most important moments of the day and also perform at their best. No one wants photos of them eating and no one wants something epic to happen while their photographer is breaking for dinner.
GATHER THE LITTLE DETAILS
If having photos of all the little details is important to you, we suggest pulling together your dress, shoes, rings, jewelry, stationery suite, custom favors, etc. and set them aside at the start of the day so that they can be photographed first. Having this kind of easy access will help the photographer be more efficient on the event day.
The photos you get will match the level of energy you bring to the day. Your photographer will be there to encourage you to take a quick moment, briefly step back, appreciate the love around you, and soak it all in—then get back onto the dance floor! Trust that the photographer will step in and provide guidance if something needs to happen. You’ve set yourself up for success, and now the one thing you can do that will have the biggest impact on your photos is to be present and enjoy the people around you.