Perhaps the most important thing you can do before choosing a photographer is to determine your own photographic style. What types of pictures do you envision in your wedding album, in the frame on your dresser or hung on your wall, for your thank-you cards, to give to friends and family, to post on Facebook, to store digitally for your own enjoyment and memories…even the type of pictures you would want to store long term for your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren? Chances are not one style fits all of these categories. Luckily, most photographers don’t operate entirely in one category either. Most photographers today offer a collection of styles, but with a resounding emphasis on one particular style. Once you know your own collection of style preferences, it will be easier to find a photographer who matches your style.
Traditional photography is entirely portrait oriented. Many people compare a traditional photographer to a school photographer. The traditional photographer’s goal is to complete the pre-planned photography checklist – to show who was there and what they looked like. The pictures you receive are formal posed shots with you, your friends and family looking at the camera. Aside from the traditional ‘alter shots’, a traditional photographer focuses on the important elements of the day such as the exchange of rings, lighting of the unity candle, the first kiss, cutting the cake and your first dance.
In order to make sure none of these essential shots are missed, the traditional photographer often directs the wedding schedule and gives a lot of direction for posing, being careful to choreograph every shot for the perfect balance of sharpness, lighting, correct skin tone, and use of the background. Albums are typically traditional matted albums exhibiting and preserving your prints for years to come.
After the wedding, a traditional photographer will often provide you with printed proofs in order for you to put together your print order as well as the orders of your friends and family. They emphasize the quality of the professional prints they provide, as the pictures are meant to last for generations.
If you hate this style you may consider it to be old-fashioned, time consuming and impersonal. If you love this style you consider it classic, timeless, and dependable…it is what you want to have in a frame on your golden anniversary and to be passed down over generations.
True photojournalistic photography is exclusively candid. Much like a newspaper or documentary reporter, a photojournalist’s goal is to capture the essence of the wedding day – to tell the story of “what really happened” with photos. Your pictures will be candid images of you and your guests with nothing being posed with respect to any family portraits. A great photojournalist will capture all of those fleeting moments that convey the emotions of the day. Some images may even be blurry to show motion. They are meant to be presented unenhanced, without retouching, just as it occurred that day.
A true photojournalist blends in with the crowd, only interacting with you on an as needed basis. They do not operate off a checklist, so you will not know beforehand what photos will be captured. Instead, they wait for moments to unfold on their own…thriving on raw emotions, genuine expressions, and special family moments. Photographic opportunities are never staged or orchestrated, but produced during the natural course of events.
After the wedding a photojournalists will often present you with untouched digital copies of your images along with the full copyright release. Many also provide a storybook-style album full of collaged pages of the photos that best captured the events of the day.
If you hate this style you may consider it to be unattractive (true photojournalism isn’t always pretty), unpredictable, or even unprofessional (snapshot-ish). If you love this style you consider it modern, raw, realistic, natural and genuine.
Artistic photography is art oriented. Similar to a bridal magazine photographer, an artistic photographer’s goal is to create photographs that illustrate your wedding day, and particularly your relationship, in be best possible way. Your pictures will be a collection of creatively arranged people or objects that often have the feel of a photojournalistic image, but with the compositional beauty of a traditional one. Detail shots of the wedding dress, shoes, rings, flowers, reception hall and other special elements of the day also fall into this style, as do pre and post sessions such as a ‘Trash the Dress’ session.
An artistic photographer interacts highly with the bride and groom before the wedding and throughout the wedding day. In order to create artistic images that fit the couple’s personality, the photographer must first learn about each and every couple’s unique style. Then, as the images are created, the photographer offers guidance in order to get the shot. Artistic photographers love unique angles, dramatic lighting, stunning backdrops and beautiful architectural elements.
After the wedding an artistic photographer spends hours pouring over each and every image, choosing the best pictures and utilizing a variety of post-processing effects such as enhanced colors or black and white elements to achieve a desired look. They may provide printed and/or digital proofs with or without a copyright release…or perhaps a combination of both. Artistic albums are styled similar to a magazine with a combination of photos and graphic design.
If you hate this style you may consider it to be fake looking (posed), intrusive or too trendy. If you love this style you consider it personal, glamorous, creative, and contemporary.
So, which style are you?
Do you want someone to occasionally tell you how to stand, where to put your hands, and which direction to look? If so, you may be more traditional than you think.
Does the previous question make you nauseous because you want to enjoy your day uninterrupted by photography? If so, then you may want to consider a photojournalist.
Do you want someone to fix that stray hair, point out the hair tie on your bridesmaid’s wrist, or straighten your necklace? If so, then you may fall closer to the artistic style.
Which style are we?
As we talked about earlier, very few photographers fall exclusively in one category. We are artistic photographers with a soft spot for traditional photography and a flair for photojournalism. Because we always shoot together as a husband and wife team, we get a wide variety of each style. Our getting ready shots tend to be entirely photojournalistic, but may have some artistic elements. We love artistic shots of the dress, the rings and flowers, the shoes, etc., and we have time to do them while you’re getting ready because there are two of us. We do set aside some time during the day to make sure the ‘essential shots’ of the wedding are covered, but prefer to limit this time to about two hours (Annie is great at keeping us organized so this time goes smoothly and quickly). Our favorite pictures are typically outdoor with the bride and groom (and often the bridal party) just having fun. This is where we can really enjoy our artistic side. Once we’re at the reception we are sure to take fabulous pictures of the cake and decorations, but then we tend to return to photojournalism and capture all the special moments as they happen. We LOVE trash the dress photos and offer the session for free just because it is so much fun.
After your wedding your retouched proofs will be available online for viewing and downloading. Every wedding package also comes with a custom-designed wedding album. The albums we offer are all top-of-the-line professional Renaissance Albums and are made to last as it will become a cherished heirloom for years to come.
If you strongly dislike any interaction with or direction from your photographer, then we may not be right for you. But, if you want a photographer to help make you look your best on your wedding day, then we’d love to talk with you more about your vision for the day and how we can help you achieve it!