Before you hire a wedding photographer, you need to understand the differences in wedding photography styles! Not all editing styles are the same. However, if you don’t spend hours and hours looking at photos like we do or if you don’t know the variances, it can be hard to even tell there are differences in the first place. Slight nuances in light, shadow, and color can make a BIG impact in the way a moment and photograph is interpreted. In turn, this can determine how much (or how little) a photographer’s work resonates with you. That’s why understanding wedding photography styles BEFORE you hire a photographer is SO important! You don’t want to regret signing that contract, do you? Of course not! To make sure that doesn’t happen, we brought in an expert (read: one of the BEST Pittsburgh wedding photographers around) – Leeann Marie Photography is guest posting today to school you on the differences in wedding photography styles!
When it comes to planning your wedding, there are a million and one options to choose from (or so it seems, right?). You have to decide on a color scheme, design, centerpieces, dress – you name it! And in today’s wedding industry, it seems like there is a new option in your Pinterest/Instagram/Facebook feed every single day. So how do you make any decisions when all of the choices are so beautiful?
Not only are there lots of choices in style when it comes to the design of your wedding day, but there are lots of choices in style when it comes to your wedding day photography. As with any form of art, the creation of wedding photography is all subjective to the artist and the way that they see the world. Imagery that they create typically has a “style” that resonates with their artistic side – and then hopefully with you!
As a wedding photographer who has been in the industry for over ten years, I’ve seen a lot of styles develop, and – let me tell you! – a lot of them are really beautiful! I, as an artist myself, have a personal editing style that I am drawn to, and luckily my perfect couples love it as well! Currently, there are three big styles that are popular in the photography space.
But first, why is this important to understand?
As you begin to search for your perfect wedding photographer, it’s important to understand the exact editing style that you are seeking. You’ll want to make sure that you are comparing (at least somewhat) similar styles when researching wedding photographers. Otherwise, if you’re indecisive on style you could make a decision that comes back to haunt you after the wedding day is over! What will you do if you decide on someone with a “light and airy” style, and then after the wedding decide you would have liked a little more “moody and rich” edits?
There is nothing wrong with liking more than one style. In fact, I hire a photographer every year for family photos and choose a different style each time for the sake of variety. But with your wedding photography, you don’t (hopefully) get the chance to do it again every year. Study these styles and select an editing look that you are at peace with. Choose your look. Love your photographer.
Perfect for the couple who wants a rich, elegant look to their wedding gallery, a natural edit will showcase bold colors and both highlights and shadows in an image. This editing style will contain very true-to-life color in all areas of the image. The look and feel of the images will be very akin to what you would see with your bare eye on the wedding day. The editing will typically be neutral to warm, and the style leans itself towards a medium to high contrast image.
This is the style that is most similar to mine. I love that this look has the potential to reap images that will look authentic to the wedding day environment for years to come. Here are some examples of a “natural editing” style.
Light & Airy Editing
Perfect for adding a little gentle elegance or whimsy to your wedding photography gallery, a light and airy edit will showcase a soft palette beautifully, with less detail in the highlights and light shadows. This editing style will typically have a soft pink tone, and the look and feel of the images will be bright and light. The look will not be what you saw with your bare eye on the wedding day, and will be less contrasty, with light, pastel colors and greens that lean more towards a greenish/blue tint.
I love that this look features airy, outdoor weddings beautifully and is perfect for a hopeless romantic. Here are some examples of a “light & airy” style.
Perfect for the couples who wants to have more contrast and deep tones to their wedding images, a moody edit will showcase dark features and contrasting highlights and shadows wonderfully. This editing style will typically be more warm edits and contain lots of contrast and deep colors. The tones are typically not what you saw with your bare-eye on the wedding day, and will contain more distinction between the highlights and shadows of the image.
I love that this look is a modern style in wedding photography today, and pulls a lot of beautiful, rich tones into an image. Here are some examples of a “moody” style.
Which do you love?
Are you drawn to one particular style after reading more about them? Do you love them all? As I mentioned before, it’s important to truly understand your wedding photographer’s editing style and love it before, during, and after your wedding!
Another note: explaining these styles was hard!
They are all beautiful, but there are not just three looks to wedding photography. These groups are general, but even within a style, there will be variations. Look through here and decide which style you are most drawn to as a starting point. Ask your photographer about their editing style and how they would describe it, and also make sure that their galleries are consistent.
Then, when you are looking at wedding photographers you can at least do a Yes/No with them based on that initial decision. You’re now a more informed soonlywed, and this will allow you to consider photographers who are at least in the same variety.
2 thoughts on “Wedding Photography Styles: Understanding the Differences”
This was such a wonderful read! When hubs and I were picking photographers, we stocked the websites and instagrams of our potential picks. We both gravitated towards the “moody style – as described here” although I didn’t know that we honed in on a specific style until I read this. We chose a photographer whose portfolio resonated with us and are so pleased with our “moody/natural” photos. I absolutely love the light and airy look as well but it breaks my heart when pictures are a little “too light and airy” and appear washed out.
YES! I love this so much, Jessica! Most couples don’t even know there are different styles, let alone HOW to tell the differences between them. It’s much easier to find something that you gravitate towards and go with that!