Wedding Photography Styles 2023
If you’re looking for a wedding photographer, you’ve probably noticed there are an overwhelming number of styles and choices. When searching through blogs, magazines, and directories, you’ll find some that recommend photographers who take lovely photos of details that sell their editorial. Some will be all about the documentary style that focuses on moments. While others will put forward only contemporary trends with colored filters and the latest lighting techniques. So what is a couple to do? Find the photography style that fits your aesthetic and make your decision be all about you.
Today we’ll walk you through some of the artistic styles you have to choose from to give you a better idea of how to choose yours. The photos below are all wonderful examples from our member photographers who use a blend of styles to create their own distinctive voice.
Every photographer needs to know how to capture important moments, and artists that excel at photojournalism focus on that skill. Telling your story through emotion and composition, their aim is to take you on a journey from your arrival to your fabulous farewell. Their portfolios are full of big smiles, heartfelt tears, and crazy moments from the dance floor. Keep in mind that photographers who identify as documentary may also take portraits and some set up shots at your request.
Perfect for the pages of magazines and blogs, editorial wedding photography shows off your wedding and the planning that went into it. That includes all the detail shots from your invitations, cake, and bouquets to wide shots of your full reception. The emphasis here is on pretty pictures and beautiful portraits that people want to see while they are planning their weddings. If you put a ton of work into the look of your wedding day, this may be the style that suits you best.
Ideal for couples who want to look en vogue, fashion focused wedding photographers bring a fresh approach to their work. Expect striking shots of you in your attire and group portraits that show off your look. Artists from this genre will still capture the moments and details of your wedding day, and in addition you’ll end up looking like a supermodel.
This type of photography is all the rage right now as people embrace their love of the outdoors and opt for smaller, more intimate weddings. Plus the photos are a hit on social media which makes them particularly desirable for people who love TikTok, Instagram, and other visual based apps.
Timeless and elegant, classic wedding photography style is for all the generations in your family. Forgoing the trends, these photographers will bring you formal group shots and stunning portraits of the two of you that you, your mom and your grandma will love.
Dark and Moody
Characterized by its use of deep shadows, low lighting, and desaturated color palettes, the dark and moody style has a touch of mystery and drama. To achieve the look, photographers focus on making the subject the lightest part of the photograph and letting the background recede. By adjusting their exposure to damp down the light to their lens and using post-processing techniques, their work looks similar to the painting styles of Caravaggio and Raphael.
Light and Airy
Using natural light, photographers in the light and airy style adjust their exposure to take in more light and create an ethereal feel. A favorite of printed magazines, the photos look great against white pages and are frequently taken with film.
Back in the limelight, photographers in 2023 are using on-camera flash and slightly tilted angles to make couples look like celebrities who just got caught in the moment. The lighting is a bit harsh, and the contrast is often intense. The final result frequently has a retro feel that reminds us of photography from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Film or Looks Like Film
Film photography never went away and in recent years it has made quite a comeback. And photography enthusiasts like us think it has a magical quality. It may be light and airy, dark and moody or any other style the photographer chooses. And you may see the grainy quality to the photos that creates a nostalgic look depending on the photographer's choice of film speed.The higher the speed, the more grain becomes visible. When you choose a film photographer you will likely get digital files in addition to the prints.
With the advent of drone photography in the late 2010’s, getting a bird’s eye view of a wedding scene or portrait became possible and photographers eagerly jumped on board. The new perspective gives them more than just a top down outlook, and allows them to trick the viewer into seeing things in a whole new way. If you are looking for drone photographs for your wedding, be sure your photographer is experienced, licensed and insured.
While film photographers often use this term to describe their work, we think it applies to any photograph that stands out as truly extraordinary. These photos have composition and lighting that is striking and stops the viewer to take a second look. Not every photo from any artist can truly be called fine art, but some photographers excel at creating stand alone photographs that cry out to be framed and admired.
The truth is that most wedding photographers will use a blend of the styles above to express their own distinctive voice, so you don’t have to choose based on one style alone. The main thing is that you find the style you love and that you choose someone who has extensive experience and skill. Do not be fooled by a few great shots on Instagram or a website that shows just a few weddings. Dive deep to be sure that your photographer knows what to do under any lighting or circumstance and that their customer service is professional through and through.
To help you navigate through all the noise and feel confident about your final decision, we recommend only the most highly-experienced photographers from every genre who are well respected and uniquely talented. Take a look at our carefully curated directory, or use our photo gallery to favorite the styles you love best. Then, reach out to one of our recommended artists to get the wedding photos you'll fall in love with over and over again.