Secrets In Choosing The Right Style Of Wedding Photography On Your Wedding Day

What is Wedding Photography?

For most couples, this may sound an odd question to ask, most would answer that wedding photography is the kind of photography done during weddings. That is partly correct. But that over simplifies the meaning of wedding photography. The art of wedding photography has change tremendously in the past twenty years. Today it may even have a different meaning for each couple.

In the past, wedding photographers are technicians behind a black box almost mystical that very few would even try to operate it. Back then, wedding couples are hiring wedding photographers to produce wedding pictures of their big day. It is to simply record the event. And the one they chose might be doing six weddings a day.

In 2010, almost all wedding guests have their own digital camera that could produce well-exposed pictures at very minimal cost. What it means is that the professional wedding photographers must have something more to offer to their wedding couples. At the same time, the digital revolution also allowed wedding photographers the new technologies to offer something different. This is one of the reasons why wedding photography has improved compared to what it was years ago. It also attracted people who would never venture into wedding photography if not for the new technology of digital photography. Wedding photographers who at their prime offer beautiful and stunning photos that record the wedding in an artistic and narrative, sometimes evocative and most of the time in a flattering manner.

But it also means that being a wedding photographer today; one has to be able to offer something not seen before. True to the complexities of wedding photography today, it would not be true anymore that all wedding photographers are the same and that all wedding couples desire the same kind of photography.

Here is a Guide to Photographic Methods

The good thing about the Internet is it makes it easy to research the work of a big number of wedding photographers. Check some photographers’ website and you will be amazed by the different photographic styles.

Reportage photography is also known as documentary or photojournalism photography; it is best described to have an approach which simply covers and document the event without directing the wedding couple or its guests. Instead it tries to capture the event as it happens in the most natural and creative way possible.

Traditional wedding photography is use to describe the old fashioned way of lining up the wedding couple, their guests and family for traditional photos.

Contemporary wedding photography can be described as glossy which can be trendier than traditional wedding photography.

My humble advice is to look beyond the labels of wedding photography. It can be more confusing than being helpful in deciding which kind of wedding photography suites you as a wedding couple. Another reason is that the style often times is a combination of several photography styles anyway. Third, it implies that wedding photographers offer just one style of photography during their wedding coverage.

In reality, weddings offer a chance for wedding photographers to show different photography styles. Wedding photographers sometimes just can’t ask the couple to move to a spot where there is a better light during the wedding ceremony. Also, it is quite often that couples expect to have formal photographs which show them at their best. Even the most modern weddings will require having traditional and formal family shots.

Many photographers excel in one style of wedding photography and emphasize their skill and it may even be part of their marketing strategy. Some would describe their kind of wedding photography as a mix of classical and modern. It may be a mix of reportage and contemporary. It is quite necessary to have a time with the wedding couple wherein they will be directed to be at their best. It will give them the kind of photographs that can be described as fine art. The limited time of weddings make it important for wedding photographer to be a good director.

Choosing Your Photographer

For couples, the best way would be to decide which wedding photographer is right for you is to decide together what kind of wedding pictures you expect You may want something traditional which means you like a professional account of the wedding day without having too much interruptions.

You may be a photography enthusiast as well, and desire to have a creative set of wedding pictures. You may be looking at high end and contemporary photography style.

Once you both as a couple decide on what type of wedding photographs you desire, you can start examining different galleries of photography for quality. Be warned that galleries represent the best work of photographers, so it is quite important to see a sample of a whole wedding to be sure of consistency.

Awards of excellence can help you decide which photographer could be best suited for your wedding. A membership to well know professional body is also something to consider.

It is of utmost importance that you as a wedding couple can communicate with the photographer and have the rapport to be able to share your wedding photography goals. As much as photography style is an important factor, you and your wedding guests would expect to have a high level of professionalism, organization and experience on your wedding day. Finally you need to consider the wedding packages being offered by the photographer.

Budgeting For Photography

There is no such thing as an appropriate budget for weddings. What can be more helpful is the percentage in terms of value to the total wedding cost.

Professional wedding photography will be what will define the memories of your wedding day. You are going to entrust a photographer to use his skills to document your wedding as if it was taken through your eyes. Discuss with your wedding planner what you think is the best budget for your wedding photography. A good wedding planner would be able to help you with the right budget and if you need to allocate more to get the kind of photography you desire.

The price of a good wedding photographer sometimes comes as a surprise to wedding couples. But quality wedding photography comes at a price. The better skilled a photographer is the higher the fees he can command. One should note that it is not a one day event for wedding photographers but it takes days to plan, shoot the wedding, and spend time on post processing the images and designing the wedding album Ultimately you as a couple must have to make the final decision on how important having a high quality of wedding photographer and if it the price is worth paying for.

Wedding Plans in 2015

It helps to visualize your desired wedding. Women have long planned their ideal wedding day, but with the strong influence of celebrity marriages the modern fashion for weddings has spread far and wide, and is no longer limited to the vastly rich. The choices you now have are amazing, and many old traditions are being ditched or refined for more modern day ones. So where do you start?

Well, there have been plenty of movies to watch for inspiration or ideas; The Knot, Love actually, My Best Friends Wedding, even TV hits like “Friends” had its share of weddings. These are great, but these weddings are about particular characters and personalities. They are fine to poach ideas that you can build on and refine, but ultimately…

Start it with YOU! That’s right, think ‘huge ego’, ‘no limits’ and start at the top! Pretend for a moment you have a bottomless pocket and go ahead and draw up your ideal wedding because you are about you!

So design it all on your pad, look and learn from the best weddings that inspire you- from the wedding dress to the ceremony and on to the reception(s). Yeah that’s right, you can have more than one and it does not even have to be one day either as some weddings go on all week. It’s a one-off special day for you and there will be no others to match it.

So now you have a rough ideal wedding planned right? Well, maybe your budget is a consideration, so time to start making your dream wedding work for your realistic wedding. Keep in mind your dream wedding though as it may be possible for to overlay some of it onto your realistic one. Hopefully, you have months until the big day so maybe think about starting with the easier stuff first; things you can go and find right now and work into your budget. In a wedding there are things you must have, things that should be there (but not essential) and things that you can easily afford to lose, especially if it does not work for you.

The wedding dress and the venue are the first to arrange. Put yourself in an imaginary white room and visualise your dream dress appearing on you. Next imagine the white of the room turning into your venue. So which one looks better, cheaper, and functional in your mind? A Church or a registry office… ?

WEDDING THEMES

Themed weddings are a current trend in 2014, and from what I am seeing as a photographer there are also popular colour and food themes. If a favourite colour is important to you then this could be start of your theme. Since the royal wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William, a new traditional style benchmark was set and also since the movie “The Great Gatsby” there has been a definite move towards the 1920’s look.

Now themes do come with a price tag, but will certainly stand out for years to come. For theme inspirations take a look online and see what catches your eye.

THE DRESS & THE SHOES

wedding shoes
The choices out there are more varied than ever before, and ultimately you your dress and shoes are going to be the centre of attraction and remembered. Your photographer bases the wedding images around you. Everyone else who brings their cameras are going to be pointing them at you as well. Therefore, one thing to keep in mind: place your dress and shoes at the top of the budget list.

So what’s current right now? Functional dresses that can be used again and again? Or something that sparkles glamour and taste?

“Less is More” 1855 poem “Andrea del Sarto

Wedding dresses in colours other than shades of white are certainly something different – creative and bold. They can be used again and again. Blush colours, like pink or peach are making a comeback. A stylish, pale, shimmering pink is certainly something to consider but in my opinion you cannot beat white. The classic white dress still sits at the top and has done for hundreds of years.

Wedding portraiture

Depending on where you have your ceremony, there are some considerations to keep in mind. A church wedding traditionally means hiring a special car to get you there. You should also think about the time you have in the day as well; how long will the journey be from A to B and then to C. If you’re having a professional photographer, make sure you plan with him/her where, how long and what type of photography you would like.

What’s hot right now is total coverage, and I find the most interesting photos are the pre-wedding ones: the bridal prepping photos of the make-up artist at work, the hair being styled, the wedding dress hanging up ready to be worn, the shoes, the brand new sparkling jewellery. As a society, we are now, more than ever interested in the who, how and what went into making a big event. Look at any popular movie on DVD and Blu-ray today and you will often find the making-of documentaries are actually longer than the movie.

Preparation
Preparation

We like seeing the leading actors in between takes, behaving naturally and offering a little insight into their real personalities. The same applies to you, your bridesmaids, the Groom and grooms men. You really are going to be a celeb for the day and seeing the bridesmaids having a little fun getting ready is exactly what you are going to want to look back on… no matter how old they are.

A ceremony in a hotel may mean no car is required, and you can relax a bit more because everything’s central; all roads point to one venue for everyone involved. Also guests can book rooms for the night so your reception does not have to have a set finish time.

Now let’s not forget some key details either, have you thought about how the ring gets presented during the ceremony? A favourite at the moment is a decorated pillow with pins on the rings, or the family dog carrying it down the aisle on call. Just be creative, it’s the little things that add that speciality.

Some churches and registrars have rules you need to be aware of and this is made clear when you are booking with them. They usually insist on only one official photographer being allowed to photograph the event. This is not intended to be mean or too controlling but it is a data protection issue and in some cases a copyright issue as well with regards to the venue. For example, when it comes to the signing of the official register no photography is allowed – full stop. This is a policy all officials will follow. But once this formality is completed the photographer is free to capture the happy couple signing a fake book instead.

Respect and Social Media

Something to consider is the release of guest photos onto social media on the night of the wedding. You may or may not have an opinion on this, but some couples ask their guests to hold back their photos and not post them straight to social sites till the official ones are released to in order maintain their ‘exclusive’ quality. What I suggest is to ask everyone on their invites to send their photos to the bride and groom afterwards, and let them be the first to see their own wedding.

Now I must point out a few facts here: amateur photographers are everywhere and most people own some pretty good cameras that can rival the photographers own equipment. Does this mean that uncle David is going to get the same photos as your hired photographer? Do you really need a photographer at all?

I can honestly say I have never been wowed by these snaps. People do get lucky sometimes with maybe 1 in 50. I have however seen most of them end up online in social media sites with titles like; top 100 worst wedding photos though.

The point is, you need a professional for quality and peace of mind. Like Jamie Oliver cooking a Wedding Breakfast or Maggie Sottero designing a special dress, professionals in their field have the correct equipment and skills to deliver. A professional photographer knows what to look for and where to be. You cannot expect a family member or friend to take on such a responsibility. The professional brings back-up facilities so no image is lost. He/she has the skills to process your images and store them properly afterwards. Your hired photographer will have be versed in adjusting your images, sharpening and cropping them to fit industrial print standards ready for printing.

DETAILS OF THE RECEPTION

Hunger – After a ceremony, most guests are hungry and thirsty. When planning your wedding reception it might be wise to offer canap├ęs/appetisers with any reception drinks. These will revive any flagging guests, and potentially prevent any early inebriation.

Wedding reception

Cake – The wedding cake is a tradition that people seem to be re-vamping and modernising. Recent weddings I have attended have seen the cutting of the traditional iced fruit cake take a backseat and sometimes just not appear at all! This can be seasonal choice, for example, winter tastes veer towards chocolate and rich flavours, whereas in summer I have seen light sponges, lemon cake or even just a good old cheesecake. Wedding fairs are currently promoting ice-cream cakes that double as a dessert for the Wedding Breakfast, or layered tiers of frosted cupcakes that can be distributed on the big day without the need to cut the cake.

Messages – The traditional way is a guest signing book, it’s a great keep sake to take home. But there are already new ideas out there. How about a wishing well that guests can put little notes into? Once you’re finished with it after the wedding, stick it in the garden and let nature grow around it.

Presents – A great way to make the speeches more interesting is giving out presents to those that have helped and been there for you, you could even try a fun raffle or give out lottery tickets.

Kids – If there are children present, you can be sure that they will be bored and ready to start running around, having fun and generally getting under your feet. You can plan for this too, by having bubble blowing bottles available to hand out. It looks good on the photos too and is such fun even the adults join in!

Staff – If you’re having a large themed wedding, it’s worth checking with the caterers if they have some form of uniform. A suggestion here is request staff wear white gloves, they just look classy and clean.

Food – The modern take on the Wedding Breakfast is less traditional with more spicy cuisine on the menu. Styles vary but, over the years peoples tastes have certainly changed. The more creative your food the more memorable your day will be, and depending on how much time and money you have, how about trying an 8 course meal? It’s all about the taste.

Music while you eat – If you go to any wedding fair you will find some great musicians to choose from. They can accompany your meal playing the piano or harp and will often play anything you request. At one wedding I covered recently the theme was rock, so the pianist was playing hits from ACDC, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Queen, Slip Knot and many, many more. It was different and cool!

Up lighting effects – Hiring some lights for the evening is a great way to completely change the mood of your event and give it an amazing look. Up lights point at the walls and ceilings and can be set to a colour to match your theme. White fairy lights can create a pretty background on your night photo’s and are particularly effective after dark.

Night Music – Cover bands are popular at the moment and there are some great groups out there that specialize in weddings. They will play your favourite tracks on request. Disco’s, well do you need a disco? Technology is good enough now for you to pretty much create your own custom playlist that blends into each track from a laptop or iPod/iPad. Just plug that into the band’s amplifier and click play. You can alternate your own music with the band to give them a break. By the way… don’t forget to feed the band!

Flowers – Real or Fake? its a tough one to decide upon, and it can be quite nice to have flowers to hide parts of hired halls. For others its something to maybe forgo and forget altogether. It really matters on how much importance it has for you.

By James McConnachie
(c) 2015

Choosing Your Wedding Photographer – Wedding Photography Styles Explained

You’ve chosen your date, booked your venue and started shopping for dresses. Now you’re looking for a wedding photographer. There are a lot of styles of wedding photography out there, and while people in the industry might know these styles inside out they be confusing for couples. Remember as well that not only are you picking a style of photography, but different types of wedding photography can make different demands on your time on your wedding day.

Picking the style of photography you want at your wedding boils down to three things. What style of images you want, how long you want to spend with a photographer on your wedding day, and most importantly of all your own personality and comfort in front of the camera.

There are plenty of different photography buzzwords out there. Vintage, editorial, artistic or contemporary are just a few. Perhaps more confusingly they are used by different photographers in different ways. Ultimately it is up to couples to ask plenty of questions and do plenty of research before picking a photographer, and to rely on seeing full set of photos from completed weddings Do not rely on the best five or six shots from several weddings to make a choice.

Wedding photography styles are a compromise between producing fantastic work and keeping to a timetable. A photographer might produce brilliant photos, but if he takes too long to produce them you probably won’t enjoy the experience.

Traditional (or Posed) Wedding Photography

A lot of people think of traditional wedding photography as endless stuffy group photos where everyone looks stiff as a board. Worse still, the different collections of people seem to go on forever. I think there is a fashion to be down on traditional wedding photography, but the actual working framework is still the same for most wedding photographers. The photographs may be more stylish but the actual experience on the day for the bride and groom is very similar.

There is always a trade off between the type of work a photographer does and the time it takes to shoot it. More formal posed photographs will take longer to set up and achieve. Any photographer who produces artistic posed work will need a certain amount of time to produce his best work. It is important that you find out how much time he will need, and work out how it will fit into your day. There are photographers who spend a couple of hours on formal shots. Make sure you are happy with giving over that amount of time on your wedding day. If you are not that comfortable in front of the camera you may find this type of photography more difficult. A good photographer should be able to help you and put you at your ease but for many individuals it can still seem a bit daunting.

Reportage Wedding Photography (Wedding Photojournalism)

If traditional is all about posed photographs, then reportage wedding photography is the opposite. It relies on capturing moments as they happen, and is more like a fly on the wall documentary. This form of wedding photography means that the photographer spends most of his time in the background, and so has become increasingly popular with couples. Weddings are also increasingly less formal than they used to be. Documentary wedding photography demands a different skill set from traditional wedding photography so you have to make sure that your photographer has the correct photographic background and can show you full weddings to back this up. Wedding photojournalism is more about a complete set of pictures from the whole day than a set of a dozen highlights. There are photographers out there who will jump on the latest bandwagon to gain business, but still use the same old style they always have. Wedding photojournalism is all about anticipation and being in the right place at the right time. It is not about closely directing people, so it puts many traditional wedding photographers outside of their skill set. There are some less ethical photographers who will use the latest buzzwords to improve their search engine presence, but still shoot the same tired old pictures.

If you are reticent about having your photo taken, wedding photojournalism is probably your best choice. The photography happens without you really realizing and you’ll look your natural best.

Although these two approaches might appear polar opposites, in reality most wedding photographers will offer a blend of these two styles. There are not many wedding photojournalists who don’t shoot at least some formal photographs and traditional wedding photographers will shoot informal pictures as well. Find out what proportion of each a photographer likes to shoot, and better still ask them what they like to shoot the most – chances are this is what they are best at.

Vintage Wedding Photography

Vintage wedding photography is a style that has been coming into vogue recently, but in lots of ways its a hard one one to quantify. Vintage can mean anything from using old film cameras during some of the wedding to just a different approach to post production to produce ‘vintage’ looking digital files. There are some great photographers out there, but bear in mind that if you are receiving files that are heavily edited in a certain style, you run the risk of your photos looking rather dated a few years later. If I was hiring a vintage style photographer, I personally would want at least some of the wedding shot on film, I’m not a huge fan of faking things. As always ask questions, see examples and make an informed decision.

Editorial Wedding Photography

This wedding genre is inspired by the fashion editorials of glossy magazines, at it’s best it can produce fantastic high-end images. To produce this successfully on a wedding day the photographer needs to be highly organised, and would probably need an assistant to help set up some of the shots in advance, although that would depend on his or her style. Do your research to make sure that the time requirements for this type of shoot fit in with your plans. If you really like this type of photography but don’t want to devote too much time to it on your wedding day, consider booking a separate photo session after the wedding. Often describes as a trash or cherish the dress shoot, a separate photo session might be the best way to get the wedding day you want and the photographs you’ll love without losing a huge chunk of your wedding day. It also means that you and your photographer can pick the ideal time of day for the right light and you have scope for rescheduling if it’s pouring with rain. In many countries, particularly the US, high end wedding photography is evolving towards three shoots: the engagement shoot, the wedding day, and an editorial session. Don’t necessarily think that it all has to be done in one day.

Artistic or Fine Art Wedding Photography

Essentially an evolution of traditional wedding photography, this type of photography offers a contemporary take on the traditional set of posed photographs, although these are both terms that have been somewhat over used by the photographic community, so again do your research. At its best this genre can produce moving romantic images, but some photographers can over use the same poses, so it can feel a bit impersonal. Ask to see lots of shoots and don’t be afraid to input your own ideas at your pre-wedding meeting.

Conclusions

There are lot of styles of photographer out there, but the main thing is to look beyond the catchy buzzwords and look long and hard at portfolios. Ultimately it is the competence of the photographer you are hiring that really matters. Experience, personal service and professionalism are what ensure a consistent standard of photography from wedding to wedding, and the consistency and ability to deal with the different shooting conditions that present themselves throughout a wedding day. Their portfolio should show a good balance of shots from bridal preparations to the first dance. Ask questions about how much time they will need to complete those all important formal and couples shots, and work out how much time you are happy to give. Even with more observational styles, planning and communication before the wedding is vital to get the best results and to get them efficiently. Keep to the guidelines and you are sure to have a memorable wedding day with photos to match.