Updated: Apr 13
If someone asked you what style of wedding photography do you like....would you know?
The Three Main Styles of Wedding Photography
The terminology around wedding photography can be baffling, especially what the different styles of wedding photography mean. Regardless of your budget, you’ll be able to find photographers offering each of the three most common types of wedding photography for every budget. We’ve got a complete explanation of wedding photography styles and jargon that can help you too.
Reportage photography is also known as photojournalistic or documentary photography. Your photographer will stand among and around you and your guests capturing candid and spontaneous shots. Reportage style is all about reactions and emotions so expect your photos to tell the real story of your day. It can feel like the most authentic form of photography as there’s no posing.
Reportage is the common name in the UK for what you might see described as photojournalistic or documentary photography elsewhere. It’s also one of the most popular wedding photography styles, characterised by natural-looking, non-posed photography that follows the day as it unfolds. Your photographer will capture the emotions and story of the day, while being unobtrusively part of the action. If you want candid, authentic shots of your day, this is the style to opt for.
This is a style more suited to those who don’t like posing endlessly for the camera. Reportage can capture moments as they happen in a style that leaves couples to enjoy their day and still receive amazing images, often more pleasing as the
expressions are natural and real.
Images: Lizzie and Mark #wolverhamptonweddings
”Pros: Captures story and emotions while being relaxed and unobtrusive Cons: No posed group photos unless you ask for them
Traditional or formal wedding photography is the classic posed look you see in conventional group shots of the couple and the wedding party. This used to be the most popular style and involves plenty of direction from the photographer, but it also takes time and you might miss some of the action of the day. Your photos are likely to be a bit formulaic, but will be beautifully shot and well-lit.
Traditional photography captures formal, posed photographs of your day. This used to be the most common type, but now even most traditional photographers will capture candid, reportage-style photos too. A traditional photographer will shoot a standard, almost formulaic set of key points in the day – like signing the register and cutting the cake – as well as taking staged shots of you and your guests. A traditional photographer will spend time directing you, so it’s worth considering how much time you want to spend away from your guests.
Wedding Photography has changed so much over the last 50 years, but formal photographs still have their place. As well as being the best way to present the important guests in their best dress, it’s also a great opportunity to get lasting pictures of family and friends together.
Images: Hannah and David at the #CurradineBarns
Pros: Lasting pictures of family and friends in a timeless, beautiful style Cons: Takes time and staging so you can miss the emotion of the day
Contemporary photography will feel more like fashion or editorial photography combined with reportage. It’s ideal if you want fashion-led couple photos and an artistic approach to other shots. You’ll need to find a photographer with the same creative vision as you, whether that’s street style, portraits, conceptual or nature-focused.
Contemporary photography is one of the three main styles of photography, alongside traditional and reportage. What it means is the photographer has a trend-led style which often looks more like a magazine editorial shoot than wedding photography. The style is artistic and creative, using dramatic backdrops, unusual angle and lighting, or focusing on more abstract shots.
If you’re looking for a quirky, creative style of wedding photography, this is ideal. It’s recommended you look through several full wedding albums to make sure you like and understand the photographer’s vision and
discuss what you need. Sometimes you’ll be required to travel away from your venue to a location like a ruin or industrial estate and this can take a lot of time out of your day. While you’ll be left with incredible photos, you need to weigh up how much time you want to spend away from the action of the day.
Pros: Dramatic, beautiful, unique shots Cons: Sometimes the vision comes ahead of capturing the personality of the couples