Wedding Photography Styles Explained

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Classic / Traditional / Formal
This is a timeless style that has developed since the first weddings were photographed. (Back in the 1840s if you're curious!)
Things have moved on significantly but the essence of the style remains the same. The photographer will usually work their way through a scripted 'shot list' to ensure they have everything covered that the couple have requested, including all the key events of the day and the details. Plus posed images of the couple on their own and with their families.
They will give plenty of direction to set up the shots and position people.

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Documentary / Photojournalistic / Reportage / Candid
These terms are all interchangeable and mean pretty much the same thing. The photographer will follow you around and capture all the events of the day as they unfold, not just the planned moments. They give no direction and don't pose people, preferring an informal approach. A good documentary photographer will blend into the background and photograph without you really knowing they're there, generally focusing on authentic, emotional moments.
True documentary photographers don't edit their images, but this can vary so be sure to ask if you're considering this style and having smudged mascara cleaned up in Photoshop is important to you!

 

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Artistic / Fine Art
This is a style that is quite difficult to define as exactly what is considered fine art is subjective. However, it generally means that the photographer has a specific 'look' that they want to achieve before taking the photo, which might be achieved with posing, angles, lighting or editing. Sometimes these techniques can be employed without the couple noticing and sometimes the shot will need to be set up in advance. It really depends on what the photographer's artistic vision is for the shot.

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Editorial / Contemporary / Modern / Dramatic
These are very stylised and posed with the intention of producing dramatic, high-impact pictures. These images require a lot of direction from the photographer and use many lighting techniques from the fashion industry. 
You're unlikely to get an entire wedding shot in this way but some couples love this style for their portraits and group shots.

Lifestyle
Lifestyle combines a little bit of all of the above. I think it's best described as 'refined documentary with a little artistic direction.' A lifestyle photographer will tell the story of your day, providing lots of reportage style candid images. They will anticipate 'moments' and get themselves in the right position to capture these moments in an artistic and considered way, taking advantage of the lighting, or features of the venue for example. They generally have a 'hands-off' approach but might offer a little direction if they can see it would turn a great shot into an amazing shot, or be much more flattering for the subjects.
Photos of the details (flowers, table settings, decorations, shoes, rings etc...) are also photographed with the same thought process, as well as any posed 'formal group' images the couple have requested although these generally won't be included unless specified. However, when these are requested, the aim of a lifestyle photographer is to make them look as natural as possible. This is also true of couple's portraits - they will give some direction, usually just to get a natural reaction from the couple and introduce some movement while shooting a series of images in quick succession.

For me, lifestyle provides me with the flexibility to easily adapt to my couples' requirements and provide beautiful images that show everything they've invested their time and money on, at it's very best. My couples receive a curated gallery telling their wedding day story with all the details, and images of themselves and their guests looking relaxed and fabulous but without the photography dominating the day or getting in the way of the celebrations. 

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Guest Post - How to style your wedding with unusual décor for a quirky unique twist

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. Whether you want something small, with only family and friends, or whether you’ve invited everyone in your address book, all the important people in your life will be there to see you tie the knot.

To create a wedding that the in-laws, out-laws and that fourth cousin twice removed will be talking about for months, why not shake it up a little? Swap out the usual flowers, linens and bows for bicycle wheels, colourful garlands and family photos. Here are The Wedding Secrets top tips for quirky décor.

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Vintage

Throwing a vintage styled wedding has become increasingly popular in the last few years. With almost everyone you know getting in on the action you may be stuck on ways to bring a unique twist to your vintage wedding. Well don’t worry; there are still tons of ways to make sure that your vintage wedding will be the one that everyone is talking about.

Firstly, mix, match and make charity shops your best friend. Not only are they a cheaper way to source vintage furniture and crockery but the eclectic collection will be completely unique, chosen by your own hands.

Also, while pearls, birdcages and old-timey lanterns are all well-known staples of a vintage wedding, you can add a twist by adding a few fun extras for your guests – Victorian-style fair games, an old sweet shop table, complete with paper bags and metal scales, or even a fully functional typewriter for a unique spin on the usual guest book.

Vintage Typewriter Detail at Lains Barn Wedding

Themed

If you’re a history buff, a fantasy enthusiast or a Sci-fi nut, why not have a themed wedding? If you and your partner both have an intense love for a particular book, film or T.V. show, why not make it the focus of your wedding? It’ll be fun, unique and totally you.

From full-on fancy dress, to customisable aisle runners, there are loads of ways to create a dramatic themed wedding, but if you don’t quite have room in the budget to get married in a full-sized replica of the Starfleet Command Bridge, here are some other ways you can include your favourite book or show:

·         If your theme is fantasy, why not name each table after a country or town from the world? Harry Potter enthusiasts could name the tables after houses and decorate them in the appropriate colours.

·         For the Sci-fi couple, why not include glistening fairy lights, blue lighting and planet centrepieces to make the room sparkle like a galaxy?

·          Comic book fans could create incredible paper flower bouquets for the centrepieces, made from the pages of your favourite scenes.

Friends themed wedding table at The Elvetham

DIY

Why not make sure that your wedding is at the top of your guest’s minds by getting them involved in the decorating process? You could bring out the old arts and crafts box at the hen night and make colourful flower garlands to string across the room on the big day (though you might want to lay off the booze ‘til you’re done).

Or, why not send your save the dates with a couple of slips of paper and some origami instructions? They can use them to R.S.V.P. and have fun at the reception trying to find the one they made. Make sure to stick to a simple design and add in a couple of extra sheets of paper that match your colour scheme so your guests have a chance to practice.  

Homemade confetti cones at a Lains Barn wedding

Personalise             

Your wedding is a celebration of you and your love for your new partner but also for your family and friends, so why not include a few personal touches? You can display framed photographs of family weddings, going back as far as you are able, keeping your loved ones close on your special day.

You might want to create table features based around your favourite quote, or a picture you love. Or even make the centrepiece a game. Add a chalkboard with a fun fact about each person on the table and have them break the ice by attempting to figure out who’s who.

Fashion themed wedding centrepiece at Lains Barn

Fairy-tale

Every girl wants to feel special on her big day. Why not go all out and decorate your venue in a way that would make any Disney princess green with envy?

If you’ve chosen to risk the British weather and opt for an outdoor venue, why not switch out the typical ribbons and flower aisle decorations for small lanterns and strings of metal bells? Not only will they look fantastic but the bells will sound beautiful during the ceremony.

For those of you having a winter or autumn weather you can add an ethereal touch to your venue using ice sculptures. Freeze a red rose (or whichever flower you’d prefer) in ice and create a standing sculpture straight out of Beauty and the Beast.

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Modernise

Quirky doesn’t have to mean old fashioned. There are tons of ways to incorporate modern technology into your wedding to create a stunning and unique twist.

Much as we may want it to, the transition between the wedding and reception doesn’t always run as smoothly as we’d like. If the venue’s not ready for your guests to go inside or you don’t want to force them to hang around (in British weather) while you’re having the family photos – why not set up a reception area? You can set up a slideshow of favourite couple pictures or funniest family candids as some pre-reception entertainment.

Spice up the reception with bright, light-up signs – making a perfect backdrop for the party photos. You can even use projections for an effortless and elaborate room decoration.  Create stunning projections of woodland scenes and sophisticated patterns or light up your dancefloor with a delicate monogram, and dance the night away.

There are all sorts of fantastic ways to style your wedding in an unusual and quirky fashion and at The Wedding Secret we have plenty of suppliers who can help you create the perfect venue decoration. For plenty of wedding inspiration have a browse through the fantastic suppliers and venues to help create the perfect wedding.  

Wedding Supplier Recommendations

I exhibited at The Luxury Wedding Show at Sopwell House in St. Albans, Hertfordshire this month and I met some truly lovely and talented suppliers. I wouldn't hesitate in hiring them myself if I needed to and as I'm often ask to recommend wedding suppliers I thought I'd spread the love...

For The Love Of Dance

Based in London and serving the most of the South, these guys will choreograph and teach you your first dance, or if the choreographed thing isn't your style, they will teach you a few moves for a confident and stylish first dance.
Personally, I LOVE choreographed first dances as they always produce amazing photographs.

Ali Kynoch Make-Up Artist

I adore Ali's style - natural, pretty and very classy. Her brides look flawless but also as if they aren't really wearing foundation and this looks perfect on camera. Ali is really experienced and super-lovely and if she can't make you feel calm on your wedding day, no one can! She's based in Bedfordshire and also covers Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Northamptonshire.

Siobhan Adcock-Kersting - Flautist

Hertfordshire based Siobhan is brand new to the wedding industry and plays beautifully. Harps have been very popular at weddings over the last few years but the flute is a little bit different and definitely worth considering if your looking for a professional musician.

Just Smile

Just Smile can provide ALL the tech you might need for your reception. From dance floors, DJs and lighting to selfie mirrors and confetti canons - they can do the whole lot which sounds like a stress-free option to me! They're based in Hemel Hempstead and cover Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and London.