When it comes to photography there are so many different genres– photojournalistic photography, portrait photography, fashion photography, landscape photography, food photography… the list goes on and on. What is interesting when it comes to wedding photography is that it is literally a melting pot of all these genres!
On the wedding day we are photographing your wedding dress and accessories, we are capturing scenic wide shots of your venue, we are capturing candid moments during your ceremony, we are posing groups for family formals and yes we are even photographing your food (because if you paid for it, I am going to shoot it!)
Although shooting a wedding encompasses all these different aspects, every photographer has a different method as to how they approach capturing your wedding day and a style in which they do it.
Some of the most popular ways that photographers describe their method & style includes: documentary or photojournalistic, lifestyle, and natural light.
It’s no surprise with all these buzzwords in the photography world that couples are totally confused about what ‘style’ of wedding photography to look for! So let’s do a quick and dirty breakdown of these 3 common styles and what each of them means so that you can determine what style works best for you.
This style of wedding photography is what I like to call “fly on the wall” photography. Documentary style photographers stand back and quietly document spontaneous moments, people and things with no interference. This results in really authentic and genuine imagery. The challenge is that this style of shooting takes an experienced photographer that is especially skilled in capturing moments and seeing angles that will showcase the moments in the best way.
This style is ideal for couples looking for a hands off approach, but is not ideal for couples that are concerned with small details, want posing advice and direction, or are looking for a more polished look in their images.
A ‘natural light’ wedding photographer is one that is using only the available light, namely the sun instead of using flash. After hours they will typically use other sources of ambient light such as overhead lights, dance floor lights and uplighting. The outcome is typically a natural and soft, airy look.
The downside is that “pretty light” doesn’t always exist, especially on a wedding day. Dimly lit hotel rooms, and super dark reception rooms are pretty common and unless they are super skilled, natural light photographers can struggle to create beautiful images when they are only working with the available light. Not to mention if the timeline runs behind and sunset portraits turn into nighttime photos, they’re going to run into issues shooting in the dark.
(The opposite of this a natural light style would be a dramatic style where flashes or studio lighting is used throughout the wedding day producing more contrasty photos and images with bold, vibrant backgrounds.)
In case you’re wondering, this is the category that I would put myself in! Lifestyle photography is about capturing genuine moments to tell a story, but doing so in an artful way. It’s really a hybrid between photojournalism and traditional portraiture. As a lifestyle photographer I want to allow genuine moments to shine through, but I am going to interject as needed to create the most beautiful photo I can.
On the wedding day this means clearing out clutter in the space, opening windows or turning off lights to setup a shot in advance. It also means giving posing direction such as what to do and where to stand, but doing so in a way that produces natural, relaxed moments as well as knowing when to stand back and just let things happen without over-directing. As a lifestyle photographer I also choose to use flash, but in a way that still looks natural to help me to better tell the story of the day.
No one style is better or worse than another! It all depends on you and your preferences and personal taste as well as the experience that you want on your wedding day. The Orlando wedding photographer scene is extremely diverse and expansive. Finding a photographer can quickly get overwhelming so deciding on the style you want will really help you narrow down your options.
Author: Elle Baez, Orlando wedding photographer and curator of eclectic Spotify playlists