What are the Different Wedding Photography Styles?

All the different wedding photography styles explained to help you choose the photography style that is right for you and your wedding!

Wedding Photography Styles Photojournalistic

What are different wedding photography styles?

As a wedding photographer, with more than ten years of experience photographing weddings, I hear the confusion between all the different types of wedding photography. Between wedding blogs with lists that range from 5 – 11 types of wedding photography to photographers listing editing styles as wedding photography. But what does this all mean to YOU, the bride or groom looking to document the most important day of your life?

What is Wedding Photojournalistic vs. Candid Wedding Photography vs. Documentary Style Wedding Photography?

You may have heard of one or all three of these terms in your search for a more natural style of wedding photography that goes with the flow of the day. They all seem very similar (and they are!), and the images are hard to tell apart, but there are some key differences between the three terms that you’ll want to note, and ask your photographer about when interviewing, and most of it lies in the approach to capturing the moments.

Wedding photojournalistic style photography aims to capture the moments of the wedding day as they happen, without any intervention or direction from the photographer (similar to the way a newspaper photographer would capture an assignment). The photographer works in the background, capturing the natural and spontaneous moments of the day, such as the couple’s first kiss or the laughter shared during the speeches. This approach focuses on storytelling, and the photographer will often look for details that help to tell the story of the day combined with human interactions.

Candid wedding photography is similar to photojournalistic style, but with more interaction and direction from the photographer. The photographer will work to capture the natural moments of the day but will also provide some guidance to ensure that the photos are visually appealing (such as suggesting you move towards a window while you put your dress on for better light). This approach allows for a bit more creativity, as the photographer may suggest poses or angles to get the best shots, better lighting opportunities, etc.

Finally, documentary style wedding photography aims to tell the story of the wedding day in a chronological and comprehensive way. The photographer will capture the big moments of the day but also the small details that help to create a complete picture of the event. This style often includes formal portraits and group shots, as well as candid moments throughout the day.

Wedding Photography Styles Candid Documentary
documentary wedding image in black and white of jewish wedding bedeken event
Wedding Photography Styles Candid 2
unposed candid wedding photography moment of bride and groom showing off their new wedding rings on a facetime call
documentary style wedding photograph of jewish wedding traditions
lightly guided candid engagement photo of couple crossing the street in NYC

Pop Quiz: Were you able to tell the difference between the photos? Ultimately, each of these approaches offers a unique perspective on wedding photography, and the choice of which style to use will depend on the preferences of the couple and the photographer’s expertise. Many times, it is common to see photographers employing a variety of styles to suit the needs of the moment, so don’t be afraid to ask your photographer how they approach a moment!

Here are some great resources to learn more about the documentary wedding photography approach:



What is Editorial Style Wedding Photography vs. Fine Art Wedding Photography?

For the more creative couple, editorial style wedding photography and fine art wedding photography are two additional approaches to capturing the moments of a wedding day, each with their own distinct characteristics. Keep reading to learn about their key differences!

Editorial style wedding photography is inspired by the editorial shoots found in fashion magazines. It aims to create a story or narrative through the images captured on the wedding day. The photographer will often use creative lighting, unique angles, and a mix of posed and candid shots to create a cohesive and visually stunning series of images. This approach often includes stylized shots of the wedding details, such as the dress, shoes, and jewelry, and the images are usually edited to match a specific aesthetic or theme. Photographers typically have no problem directing a particular scene to match the aesthetic they are going for – in this case, the priority lies in the aesthetic as opposed to the moment as it is unfolding naturally – and guide their clients for optimal results.

editorial wedding image of bride and groom in dramatic pose in front of an urban setting
dramatic photo of wedding couple in an editorial style pose with moody dramatic editing style
editorial style image of 2 grooms sitting by fireplace in an elegant setting
editorial style bridal party photo with dramatic posing

Fine art wedding photography, on the other hand, focuses on creating images that are works of art in themselves. The photographer will use creative and unique compositions, lighting, and editing techniques to create images that are visually stunning and thought-provoking. This approach often includes a mix of candid and posed shots, and the images are often edited in a way that gives them a painterly or cinematic feel. Fine art wedding photography emphasizes the artistic vision of the photographer, and the images are often created with the intention of being displayed as large prints or pieces of wall art.

image of bride and groom walking together in the woods holding hands
fine art style wedding photo of bride in foreground overlooking eiffel tower in paris

To sum it up, editorial style wedding photography and fine art wedding photography both prioritize creativity and artistic expression in capturing the moments of a wedding day. While editorial style photography aims to tell a cohesive narrative and create visually stunning images through the use of lighting, composition, and editing, fine art photography focuses on creating images that are works of art in themselves, using unique and creative techniques to create images that are visually striking and thought-provoking.

Traditional Wedding Photography or Classic Wedding Photography

Traditional or classic wedding photography is a style that has been popular for many years and is often characterized by a formal and posed approach to capturing the moments of a wedding day.

In traditional wedding photography, the photographer will often direct and pose the subjects, including the bride and groom, their families, and the wedding party, to create classic and timeless images that are reminiscent of the traditional wedding photos that have been taken for generations. These images often include formal portraits, such as the bride and groom standing together, the couple with their parents, and the wedding party lined up in a row.

The lighting used in traditional wedding photography is usually very soft and even, with little or no use of creative lighting techniques. The images are often edited to have a classic and timeless look, with colors that are true to life and a focus on sharpness and clarity.

traditional style bridal portrait of bride and groom with family
classic wedding party portrait of bridesmaids in a row

Overall, traditional wedding photography prioritizes capturing the formal and posed moments of the wedding day, creating images that are classic and timeless, and that will be cherished for generations to come.

Although I consider myself more of a documentary and fine art wedding photographer, I still incorporate traditional wedding photography in my portraiture of the families to ensure a more classic look for this portion of the day.

What are some types of wedding photography editing styles?

While a photographer might have a specific approach (or a mix of approaches) to capturing a wedding day, the style of their editing might vary as well, and this is something that as a bride or groom, you’ll want to feel comfortable with in the end product of the images you are receiving. While I edit my own work towards a more darker and moodier style of creative wedding edits, there are many styles to consider (and sometimes I mix in a few different approaches as well in my own work). Here is a break down of the common wedding photography editing styles:

Dark and Moody Wedding Photography

This style of photography is characterized by its use of dramatic lighting, deep shadows, and muted colors to create a moody and atmospheric look. It is often favored by couples who are looking for something different from the traditional, light and airy style of wedding photography.

moody photo of bride and groom posed in dramatic lighting and grungy setting
black and white film image of bride covered by veil during wedding ceremony

Film-like Wedding Photography

Film is making a comeback in the wedding photography world, and while not all photographers shoot film due to the complications and cost of film itself, many still embrace the film-like photography style of editing their images. Film-like editing styles are characterized by the use of grain, muted or soft color palettes and greyish-black tones in black and white images, and a softer overall image quality as opposed to its sharpened digital counterpart.

Warm Wedding Photography

A warm wedding photography editing style is just what it sounds like – it is characterized by warmer tones in the general image, lots of browns, and a sometimes subdued skin tone, with brighter colors a bit more desaturated, such as greens and reds.

Wedding Photography Styles Candid Film Like

Light and airy wedding photography

The light and airy wedding photography style has become a trend in the wedding industry that is fairly sought after. Many brides and grooms want a style of editing that is bright, playful, and elicits happiness, and this style is very much that. It is often used by photographers with a more editorial, or traditional style of photography, with more direction and attention to the aesthetic of the moment.

Classic Wedding Photography

The classic wedding photography style of editing is often used by traditional wedding photographers and sometimes documentary or photojournalistic wedding photographers. Their approach is a clean style of editing, with true to life colors, and minimal processing of images.

classic and playful photo of bridesmaids posing together on bed in robes and edited in a brighter light and airy style

Vintage Wedding Photography

Vintage wedding photography is characterized in its editing by a more rustic style of editing, with warmer tones, similar to warm wedding photography above, and reminiscent of the older vintage wedding photos your grandparents used to have. The black and whites are more washed out, less contrasty and less crisp and contrasty. Colors are typically lower in contrast, warm and have a vintage feel.

Wedding Photography Styles Vintage Fine Art

Choosing a wedding photography style for your big day is an important decision, as it will dictate the way your images are produced and seen. How do you want your wedding story told to your future generations?