For many, many years, wedding photography was limited to a number of set formal poses that documented who was part of the wedding party and what they wore.
The photographer had tight control over the shoot and generally chose the poses to favor technical considerations like light and composition.
This traditional style of wedding photography said very little about what actually happened during the wedding or even what kind of people the bride and groom were.
The photographs made good formal keepsakes that were never embarrassing and always fit to display on the mantelpiece. But today’s more informal and story-driven culture requires a lot more of wedding photography.
Around the 1970’s, wedding photography relaxed a bit and opened up a new avenue with the advent of the journalistic style; this meant that a wedding was photographed like an event, with the photographer being on the premises to record things as they happened, rather than capturing a series of set poses.
The wonderful thing about this style was that it was spontaneous and allowed the bride and grooms to relive the event in the years to come. It meant that funny, memorable and downright embarrassing shots found their way into the wedding album. The only problem was that the bridal couple were never quite sure about what kind of pictures they’d get in the end.
Today, the usual approach is to combine the photo journalistic and traditional approaches. Some photographers even up the ante by using the very popular “fashion editorial” style.
With this approach, the wedding is photographed much like a spread in a glamor magazine. That is, there are contrived and well-lighted beauty poses, but there’s also a particular narrative holding them together.
The theme a couple chooses for the wedding plays a big role in this style, which is why many couples today prefer to use it. It’s allows them to express themselves and provides the viewers with a look into the kind of relationship that they enjoy. The bridal couple might be photographed on tandem bicycles, in a butterfly garden or on the beach if they wish. Prenuptial photos are usually part of the deal as well.
Closely allied to this approach is the one that’s called “artistic.” With this method, the photographer’s own aesthetics are allied to those of his clients for a more serious vision than the Facebook-friendly fashion editorial style. He might choose to use all black-and-white or use a consistently retro or vintage approach.
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