Photography styles. Wait… there’s more than one?

Mar 16, 2024 | Uncategorized

If you’re embarking on the wedding planning process, you might be feeling overwhelmed by all the photography jargon floating around. Professional wedding photographers often talk about the style of photography they work with as this helps to give you an idea of how your final wedding album will look. By now, in your search for a Hertfordshire wedding photographer, you’ve probably come across the terms “documentary”, “traditional” and “fine art” which might have left you feeling anything but fine. Never fear, betrothed and bewildered, for I’m here to guide you through the subtle differences and help you find the style that’s right for you.

Traditional Wedding Photography

Classic and traditional wedding photographers are generally focused on giving you straightforward images – often these aren’t very creative and can include a lot of posed shots. This can lead to photos that look a little stiff, especially if you or your guests aren’t at ease in front of the camera. Most photographers will incorporate some traditional photography on your wedding day, particularly when it comes to group photos (family and friends) and photos of the two of you, but a traditional photographer will place heavier emphasis on these types of arrangements. 

Documentary wedding photographers like to let your wedding day unfold and capture things as they happen. This style is all about capturing your magical moments spontaneously with little or no intervention. Generally speaking, true documentary wedding photographers will have a minimal appetite for posed shots – perfect for couples (and guests) who are less comfortable being photographed. This style can produce beautifully candid, romantic, and often funny images from your wedding because often the subjects aren’t really aware they’re being photographed. If you want your wedding album to really give a fly-on-the-wall view of your wedding day, and tell a story from beginning to end, this is the style for you. 

Documentary Wedding Photography

Natural Wedding Photography 

Natural wedding photographers have a similar approach to documentary photographers when capturing the story of your wedding day. This style is very observational. A natural wedding photographer also lets your day unfold and captures things as they happen, with minimal intervention or posing. Although the technique is similar to the documentary style, there are subtle differences in terms of technique. For example, a documentary wedding photographer will be comfortable working with artificial light sources, particularly to capture dramatic images from your dance floor, whereas a natural wedding photographer will be more inclined to work with the natural light that’s available. If you’re looking for plenty of outdoorsy shots or planning a beautiful al fresco ceremony, then this could be the style for you.

Fine Art Wedding Photography

Fine art wedding photography is closely associated with traditional film photography, primarily because this style incorporates light, bright, and airy editing techniques with very low levels of contrast.  This gives a softer and more delicate finish to the images. Fine art photographers often include a set of images taken with a traditional film camera to support and enhance the bulk of their digital shots. 

Black and White Images

Black and white wedding images are more about how your wedding photographer likes to edit their work as opposed to being a photography style, although some photographers do provide solely black and white images. Most wedding photographers will provide you with a number of images in black and white – particularly if the image appears more emotionally powerful in black and white. If you know that this is the style that you want then enjoy your marvellously monochromatic photographs – I’m sure they’ll be stunning. However, if you so much as suspect that you might want some colour then this style is best avoided. You can always edit the shots yourself later!

Landscape Photography

Landscape photography is an established and popular photography style and is becoming more common with some wedding photographers, particularly those lucky enough to work in beautifully scenic locations. In these scenarios, the wedding photographer will capture a stunning natural scene, for example a mountain view or stunning beach, and use the two of you to reflect the scale and beauty of the scene.  This style can also make the most of negative, or empty space to create images that capture moments of your day in a unique way, giving a sense of artistic proportion to the image. Consider your venue (whether it be in Hertfordshire or beyond): open fields, seascapes, castles or other historical buildings all lend themselves well to this dramatic style.

So, Tim… What Is Your Style?

You can read more about my approach to photographing your wedding here (, but I like to capture elements of each style. From my experience, it’s usual for couples to ask for a selection of posed group shots, couple shots, and candid or documentary-style images as their wedding day progresses. Some couples will include a venue that has special meaning for them to have their couple shots taken, this is often between the ceremony and the celebration. For example, Melissa and Barry (pictured above) went from their church to an ancient castle and we shot some fantastic couple shots there before they joined the rest of their guests for the wedding breakfast and evening reception. I was able to work with them closely beforehand to understand exactly what type of shots they were looking for and meet their individual photography needs, leaving them with a breathtaking wedding album full of beautiful memories.

So, if you’re excited by the prospect of mixing various photography styles and would like to cherry pick the best of each, you’ve fallen in love with my Hertfordshire wedding photography portfolio or you just want a bit more guidance around what style is right for you then please get in touch at now. Let’s look at how we can make your dream wedding album a reality.

Happy wedding planning, and hope to hear from you soon!





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