Documentary, Fine Art, Traditional, or Just Confused?
Professional wedding photographers often talk about the style of photography they work with, but what does it mean?
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. 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.
Documentary Wedding Photography
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. 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.
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.
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.
Landscape photography is an established and popular photography style and is becoming popular 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.
You can read more about my approach to photographing your wedding here (https://timpaynephotography.com/experience/), but I like to capture elements of each style and will work with you, so I have a good understanding of the types of images you’re looking for. 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 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.