Wedding Photography: Terms and Techniques

Wedding photography techniques are constantly advancing, with professional photographers consistently enhancing ways to capture amazing pictures. The importance of properly lit, sharply detailed and meaningful photographs cannot be overemphasized.

Your wedding day will be over and gone in an instant — the flood of emotions, romance and stress, assures that. One lasting reminder will be your photographs. That’s why it’s important to find a qualified, professional photographer who understands the various wedding photography techniques and can meet and surpass your expectations.

Wedding Photography Technique: Formal Portraiture

Formal wedding photography techniques have long played a leading role in the wedding industry. Family members were grouped, posed and shot. Brides and grooms smiled directly into camera. Formal photography is easier because the photographer is in control. Formal photographs should also have a classic quality so they won’t be dated.

The lighting a photographer uses affects whether the photographs will appear three dimensional or flat. Using natural lighting provides many possibilities. If you thought only a sunny, so-called perfect day was ideal for outdoor photographs, professionals will disagree. Some wedding photography techniques require sunset and night weddings, which allow dramatic formal photography.

Wedding Photography Technique: Photojournalism

Traditional portraiture is no longer your only option. Formal portraits are only the beginning of modern wedding photography techniques. While essential, formal portraits must be staged, often maing them contrived, artificial or even forced.

But photojournalism broadens the picture. It captures those unexpected, unplanned actions that transform your album from dry images into a series of heartwarming moments.
Photojournalism tells the complete story of a wedding in a fun, candid way. It is the ruling trend in wedding photography. Using a hands-off, “fly on the wall” approach, the photographer awaits those expressive moments. It takes more film than other approaches and can be more expensive. Photojournalism isn’t for everyone.

Minimal direction has its place, even in photojournalism. Photographers often simply group people and await moments that communicate to the heart.

Don’t confuse photojournalism with “candids.” The latter is more a generalized shot. While it’s also unposed, candids don’t focus on detail.

Many professionals encourage a mixture of styles. If no traditional photos are taken, the bride often regrets she didn’t get a full-length portrait of her and her groom or a formal picture with her family members.

Wedding Photography Technique: Aged Photographs

Black and white photography has enjoyed a revival in its popularity, and almost every wedding album now contains some black & white pictures.

Sepia-toned pictures are photographs with a light brown tint. This creates a timeless feeling to photographs. In the 1930s and ‘40s, photographers tinted black & white photographs to add a bit of color. The same tinting is now added by hand or via computer to create subtle color in such items as the bride’s bouquet. These wedding photography techniques are now able to be applied to any picture, giving you a wide range of choices.

Wedding Photography Technique: Mixing Styles

Because of demand, wedding photographers now offer a blend of traditional and photojournalistic styles. The photojournalism approach can even include events like the gown fitting, shower and ceremony rehearsal.

Many wedding photographers will cover your wedding both ways, sometimes using two or more photographers to assure they get the best combination of images.

There are many options on how to mix these wedding photography techiniques. They include:
  • Put both black and white and color photographs into a single album.
  • Spotlight color photos in a primary album and black & white images in a secondary one.
  • shoot all the photojournalistic pictures in black & white, while reserving color for traditional photographs.
To enhance wedding photos—whether traditional or photojournalistic—photographers can use digital technology. This computer-assisted manipulation can eliminate undesirable details like a spot of your gown. Your photographer also can turn a color photograph into a black & white photo, or tint your black & white photos with various shades of color.

Understanding these differing wedding photography techniques will help you make the right choices for your individual wedding memories.