What's Your Style? Choosing Your Photographer by their Style
I am asked all the time “ What's your photography style?” The short answer is “ I am a lifestyle photojournalist”. That answer is often met with a confused look and a hesitant head nod. There are a lot of terms used when it comes to photography, especially wedding photography. They are typically very confusing to brides and grooms trying to determine what “type” of photographer to hire for their special day.
The best way to determine what photography style you want to use for your big day is to hire your photographer based on your personality and your own personal style. Trends in photography are just like fashion trends—they are temporary. Dark, moody photo shoots might be the hottest trend right now...but in 50 years do you really want ALL your wedding photos to look like a storm is a-coming?
To help weed through some of the photography styles, here are some ( brief) explanations of the main wedding photography styles to keep in mind while choosing your photographer:
This is the pearls and Chanel jacket of wedding photography. It's timeless, understated and classic. Traditional photographers are not as prominent as they were a few decades ago as the emphasis on wedding photography has moved more towards candid, organic photojournalism. Don't worry though, it's certainly not impossible to find a traditional photographer who will deliver your wedding album in a book similar to that of your parent's or grandparent's. The type of album that will stand up to the test of time, and always be en vogue.
The nitty gritty: This style is for the couple who prefer posed portraits or an emphasis on small details. Of course, any photographer worth his or her salt will pay attention to the small details of your big day, but the traditional photographer will likely take a picture of your wedding bands on your finger instead of on a glistening tree branch.
Clues a photographer is Traditional: His or her portfolio will likely consist of family portraits and there will be a consistent end result from each wedding shot.
This is my personal favorite ( because it's how I most identify as a photographer!). Photojournalism or Lifestyle photography is a candid style that emphasizes capturing your big day as organically as possible. Sometimes this style is also known as a variation of “documentary” photography style, which focuses on moments as they happen. Your brother breaking out his best moon walk or your flower girl kissing the ring bearer as they walk down the aisle are moments you don't plan but would like to remember on film. If only for the awesome blackmail later.
The nitty gritty: Photojournalism is more on the creative side; flirting with both traditional photography and fine art photography ( more on that below). This style is the perfect fit for the couple who isn't into posing for portraits and wants their day captured in a way that tells a story from beginning to end. Details of your wedding dress or the look in your groom's eyes during your “first look” are some of the shots you can expect from a photojournalist.
Clues a photographer is a Photojournalist: His or her portfolio will likely have a lot of unique takes on traditional moments throughout a couple's wedding.
Fine Art or “Epic”:
This style is a newer one that's been made popular through bridal magazines and the wondrous world of social media. Essentially, fine art photography is taking traditional wedding photos and making them into grand expressions of art. Fine art wedding photographs are generally staged to be more dramatic or are taken from an unexpected angle. Typically, fine art wedding photographs are what you may expect to see hanging in an art gallery ( hence the name) or used in an editorial piece. While these photos are often stunning and most definitely unique, they are sometimes subjective-- Grandma might not understand why her wedding garter was used to tie your hands together.
The nitty-gritty: This style of photography is dramatic and very modern. The unique elements of this style is very appealing to the couple who wants to stand out in a big way or use their wedding photography as large pieces of art for their home.
Clues a photographer is a Fine Art photographer: His or her portfolio will have over -the-top, sometimes moody or sexy work that might make you question how comfortable you'd be with Grandma seeing your album.
These summaries are basic explanations of some of the most prominent photography styles. Most photographers (myself included) have an aesthetic that incorporates a little bit of each style. Traditional photographers have the ability to be very creative and fine art photographers can also shoot formal family portraits. The important thing to remember is that photography is an art like any other art form. It's often subjective, personal and beautiful ( or not) to the individual looking at it. The best piece of advice when hiring your wedding photographer based on his or her style, is to determine what is YOUR style and hire someone who suits it. If you are moved by their work and want your big day captured similarly, that's all that matters. And, one last thing-- keep in mind that, like artists or writers, each photographer has developed his or her style over a period of time and it is what sets them apart. Their uniqueness is what you hire them for, it's what makes you fall in love with their storytelling. Besides, no amount of Photoshop can make you look like Gisele Bunchin flawlessly dancing in a rain storm.
Thanks for stopping by!