One of the most common questions I get asked from new couples when they’re first contacting me for their wedding is what my photography “style” is. I thought it might be a good idea, then, to create a post to help explain it for all future couples.
If you’ve found yourself scrolling through endless instagram hashtags trying to pinpoint what it is you like or dislike about certain wedding photos, this might help you put a language to it, so you might narrow it down easier.
First, I should mention that this question is really best broken into two parts: What is your coloring/editing style? And what is your personality/documenting style?
Over the past few years as digital photography and the powers of Lightroom and Photoshop have evolved, three different coloring/editing styles have emerged. One is often called “Light and Airy” or you might hear it called “Whimsical” or “Pastel.” In this style, you will find predominantly whites and other lighter colors, lower contrast and often desaturated colors. A quick Google search will show you plenty of examples.
The next, on the opposite end of the spectrum, is often called “dark and moody” or “romantic” or “film style.” In this, you will see predominantly blacks and darker colors, heavy contrast, and an effort to mimic the look of film. Similarly, a quick Google search will make the comparison between these two quite clear.
The third, a category I would consider myself to fall into, is often harder to name, but I would say it falls in between the former two. You might hear it called “True to Life” or “Bright and Bold” or “Natural.” A google search here, brings up such a vast array of images, it’s not worth the screen shot, but you can see my own interpretation of the style here and decide for yourself your preferences between the three:
Next we have something a little harder to pinpoint as every photographer will interpret the style differently, and for the most part, I would say every photographer does a little bit of all four styles, as you’ll see with my own images below.
These are going to be photos you would expect to see at every wedding. They are standard bridal portraits, the couple looking at the camera, formal wedding party, family formals, the bouquet, the cake, the exit etc. Most of these you will find in your grandparents and parents wedding albums as well.
These are going to tell the story a bit more. The candids. These will be full of laughter and/or tears. All the emotions of the day, the moving parts. They may not be “perfect” images because a car drove through the background or the kiddo ran in and insisted on a photo with daddy while something “more important” was happening, but they are the moments you remember the most.
These are probably what you’ll find the least across my site, not because I don’t take them, but because I don’t find them quite as valuable for telling the story. These are what you’re going to find in a magazine. They are often from “styled shoots” that have been set up in advance with all the details fashioned just right, and all the lighting perfect, and the couple are usually models. That said, some of these can and do get taken on the wedding day as details are shot and a few extra moments with the couple are taken after all the other more important shots that do tell the story have happened.
This is completely open to interpretation, as is all art, of course. These are the shots often taken by the second shooter, from a different angle, or during a portion of the day that is not on a time crunch. You have more freedom to play and do things a little different.
As you can see, I can do a little bit of everything. So I wouldn’t say I am strictly one style or another, but if I had to put them in order, I would say I lean Photojournalistic first, then Classic, then Creative, then Editorial.
At the end of the day, more important than price, style or other preferences, I would say your connection to your photographer’s personality will make or break your photography experience on the wedding day. If you’re looking for someone carefree and relaxed and they end up being strict to schedule and demanding of specific poses, it’s going to stress you out, no matter how beautiful the images are. Similarly, if you’re looking for someone to keep you on a tight schedule and pose your every move and they end up joking around with the wedding party and not telling you exactly what to do and when, you’re going to feel unprepared, again, no matter how beautiful the images turn out. (For the record, I definitely lean carefree/relaxed, but I can usually keep us on schedule or at least roll with it if it needs to change).
I’m not sure if this answers everything you might want to know about a photographer’s style, and mine in particular, but hopefully this will at least point you in the right direction and help you know what questions to ask. Happy planning!