Wedding Photography 101

One area where the professional you choose will make a huge difference in how you remember your wedding, is your photographer.  I’ve been talking to local photographers lately, and one of the questions I ask them is to describe their style.  I realized though, that many of our clients may not know the difference between “Traditional” and “Photojournalistic”.  I was even unclear until I attended a workshop by Scott Patrick at the 2009 ABC-WI spring retreat!    Here are the three main families of styles you’ll find in wedding photography.

wedding-0232-053108b1.jpg (600×535) Photojournalism: You don’t pose for these photos; the photographer takes candid shots of the guests and events as they happen throughout the day.  Much like a photojournalist for a newspaper, a wedding photojournalist will not direct events, but will capture images of the events as they happen.
Pros: A photojournalistic photographer will tend to be fairly unobtrusive. They will capture the feel of your celebration, and aim to capture “real” moments rather than choreographed scenes.
Cons: Like I said, they will capture “real” moments rather than choreographed scenes. Their goal is not to make you look beautiful, their goal is to capture how you look!  Many of us need a little more coaching to look good in front of the camera.

Traditional: You provide a list of everyone you’d like included in the photographs. The photographer stages the shot and gives direction to get the best shot possible.   These are the photographs many of us have in the family album with the  traditional family groupings. 

Pros: Traditional Photography is really good for creating a “Who’s Who” of your wedding day. Thirty years from now when you’re looking for a photograph of Uncle Edward, he’ll be right there next to Aunt Louise in the family photo. The images will make a lovely addition to a montage of family photos that have been accumulated through the generations. 
Cons: These staged shots look a lot like everyone else’s staged shots. The style was really developed in the era when people had to be still for a  long time while their photograph was being taken, so the poses can seem a bit stiff.  It may or may not capture the artistry of your celebration.

Editorial: This is the style high-fashion photographer’s use. The photographer will give direction to help you get the best photographs, and you’ll get pictures with an artistic flair.  The photographer’s goal is to create images that are works of art.

 Pros: The photographer will work with you and become an integral part of your celebration. The photographer will show you how to pose to look your most beautiful. 
Cons: The photographer will be an integral part of your celebration.  This is not the unobtrusive style of the photojournalist.
Most if not all wedding photographers will blend these styles. Any wedding photographer will be prepared to photograph specific traditional groupings you request.  They will all do their best to capture candid moments as well as to try to make you look your best in your photos. When you’re looking at photographers though, it’s helpful to know the vocabulary.
It’s all about deciding what’s most important to you – do you want your photographer to give you direction and set up poses and action shots with artistic flair, or do you want them to stay in the background, unobtrusively documenting your celebration?

There are a myriad of different photographers at various price points, so make sure to look at the photographer’s portfolio and choose the one whose style and values fit yours. The professionals at Planned Spontaneity partner with a variety of photographers that can deliver beautiful products with many different styles. Contact us today at or by calling
608-446-0346 to schedule your free consultation now!  
3 Responses to Wedding Photography 101
  1. Rebecca of Studio Noveau
    March 24, 2010 | 5:08 am

    Great post, Marilee! I get many, many questions asking about my style, and I think you've hit the nail on the head with this article!

  2. Marilee
    March 24, 2010 | 1:22 pm

    Thanks Rebecca! It's great to hear I'm on the right track with photographers. :)

  3. […] to capture the spirit of fun that happens between people. While her photographic style is primarily photojournalistic, she’s not a purist. She gives enough direction to bring out the joy & encourage […]