Wales-based photographer Tony Fanning debunks the myths of wedding photographyLook through ten wedding photographers’ websites and you’ll most likely see they all describe their style differently:
Modern, fresh, contemporary, photojournalistic (PJ), lifestyle, documentary, fashion, reportage, magazine-style, artistic, story-telling, or some other made-up word for wedding photography.
Inevitably, you may be left feeling completely confused. “What do we want?” “What should we have?” “Arrgghhhh!”
You want photos of your guests laughing, crying, hugging, dancing and relaxed images of you and your husband looking amazing, but pretty much unposed? You need a PJ wedding photographer.
You want photos of you and your parents together, plus Auntie Mildred and Uncle John with your Mum? Oh, and that photo of you on the stairs with your dress laid out beautifully? You’ll definitely need a traditional wedding photographer then.
What about that photo on Pinterest of a bride and groom lit with flashes behind them on a bridge with traffic driving past that was all blurred and looked sooooo cooool?! And what about that picture of a couple climbing a mountain at sunset with wispy clouds forming the most amazing scene? You’ll really need that fine art wedding photographer.
You see where this could all get a bit confusing. Will the PJ photographer do the family formal photographs? Will the traditional photographer do anything cool or will it all be staged and formal?
The true PJ wedding photographers will not step in and organise/arrange anything. They’ll flit about capturing real moments and emotions. This probably means no formal portraits.
The old school traditional photographer will want to stage pretty much everything, with lots of direction and posed photos, which may feel a bit overwhelming.
If you’re starting to worry that neither of these styles is right for you, don’t. Many wedding photographers these days kind of do all these styles rolled into one.
Most photographers go into a wedding as an observer. A PJ will probably be happy to shoot a few family groups. The fine art photographer will most likely capture those details you spent months worrying over.
Many full-time wedding photographers like myself photograph weddings from the point of all these ‘styles’. I like to capture the little moments and details that tend to get overlooked by the traditional photographer. I will always photograph the family groups (although I do recommend keeping that list of groups as short as possible so you can get on and enjoy your wedding). I live for those epic bride and groom portraits – whether they are subtle and romantic or the ones that make you look like rock stars. I love them all.
You can have the best of all things.
There is the right photographer for you out there, shooting exactly in the right style for you. You need to look carefully though their websites to see what they offer. Do the photos make you happy? Are they light, colourful and airy? Dark and moody?
And, most importantly, can you see yourself in those photos?
If the answer is yes, then just like you knew your partner was ‘the one’ you’ll know that the photographer could be ‘the one’ too.
All photos by Tony Fanning Photography.