October 31, 2018
Wedding Photography Styles: The Difference Between Traditional & Photojournalistic
Weddings are one of the most documented events ever—and deservedly so. The whole event, from the pre-nuptial shoot to the reception, offers many opportunities to capture timeless moments. On the wedding day itself, there are numerous special moments that deserve to be documented and preserved forever.
From the groom’s anxious moments preparing in his room, to the bride captivating everyone as she walks down the aisle; to the bride and bridegroom’s first kiss as a married couple and the heartfelt speeches at the reception dinner, the photographer’s lenses can capture all of these special moments.
While some couples prefer a more traditional approach to their wedding photos, others opt for a more modern, photojournalistic approach to their wedding photography. But what is the difference between traditional wedding photography and photojournalistic wedding photography? Read on to find out.
Traditional Wedding Photography
The formal or traditional style of wedding photography emphasizes posed portraits, leaving little room for candid moments. The quality of traditional wedding photography is usually judged by technical sophistication, including sharpness, correct skin tones, lighting, and the proper use of backgrounds. Most traditional wedding photos are instantly recognizable, as many poses are rigid and conventional.
What’s more, poses tend to be frontal, with the subjects looking straight at the camera or to the side. Like a photoshoot, a traditional wedding photo shoot is characterized by lots of direction and control from the wedding photographer. The result is often “magazine-style” images that are, in many ways, the modern day equivalent of traditional studio photography.
Photojournalistic-style Wedding Photography
The photojournalistic approach to wedding photography is candid-oriented and repudiates posed shots. Also known by other names, including fine art wedding photography, documentary, and modern, the photojournalistic approach results in wedding albums that look more like storybooks rather than a series of posed portraits.
Wedding photojournalists avoid intruding on, or giving directions to, the subjects. The result, when executed by highly skilled professional wedding photographers, are often shots that demonstrate spontaneity, as well as genuine moments and expressions.
Due to the candid nature of such shots, there will be less photography gear installed in the wedding venue. What’s more, the bride and bridegroom, as well as their guests, are free to focus on the wedding while the photographer unobtrusively captures all the notable moments in the background.
Which Wedding Photography Style Works for You?
This would depend on a number of factors. Most contemporary wedding photography falls somewhere between pure documentary-style photojournalism and posed wedding photography. Many couples ideally want a mixture of the two, with a percentage of the shots being formal and posed, and the remaining percentage being candid and spontaneous.
Brides are more likely to prefer the traditional style of wedding photography if they want to spend a lot of time posing with their bridal party. Both the bride and groom would also prefer the traditional approach if they want to pose with family and friends.
On the other hand, photojournalistic shots would suit you if you want many candid shots of yourself and your guests, or if formal portraits annoy you and you’d rather focus on getting on with the wedding.
To help you make up your mind, talk to a number of reputable wedding photographers and ask them what their wedding styles are. If they specialize in photojournalism, ask them technical questions, like how they plan to light the venue and subjects. Don’t forget to look at their portfolio work to help you grasp their artistic vision and technical skill.