In the last ten or so year, wedding photography has definitely changed. Some absolutely brilliant changes, others more concerning. Going back to the late 90s, early 00’s, film was still considered the best way to photograph a wedding. But along came digital which would completely redefine photography. Instead of having to wait for your negatives to develop, you could instantly look at the pictures you took. Digital opened up the world to Photoshop and new ways of post-processing your images. Couples wouldn’t have to wait weeks for albums to come back from being produced when they can have their images delivered on a disc or memory stick within a week of the wedding.
One thing I’ve noticed not only being a photographer but analysing and admiring other people’s work is the shift in wedding photography styles. The Knot Magazine (A bridal magazine from the USA) produced an article and narrowed photography styles down to 5 categories and defined them as such:
- Classic – Imagine your parents or grandparents wedding album from 20 years ago. They reflect reality, slightly formal and traditional with pictures that will stand the test of time.
- Artistic – Taking capturing the moment to the next level. Photographers that look at the bigger picture, instead of the couple being the full frame if the image, using wider lenses to gather a more grand and artistic feel.
- Lifestyle – Candid and realistic images with some direction and styling. Lifestyle photographers will scope out a venue to find the best light and spots and work the day around that. Looking for the best moments but also setting the scene. Photojournalism redefined.
- Dramatic – Lighting and off camera flashes are dramatic photographer’s best friends. Mastering the art of using dynamic light to create beautiful images.
- Documentary – Spontaneous and candid pictures that are in the moment, not defined or styled. Just what happens at that particular time and being able to capture interactions and emotions whilst standing back.
A lot of the time, you can associate styles with time periods. You look at your grandparent’s formal pictures and even your parents from 20 years ago. They are definitely taken by a classic photographer. Dramatic and Artistic photography became really popular about 10 years ago and everyone wanted pictures with the “WOW” factor but nowadays documentary and lifestyle photographers are popular as everyone wants this romantic and realistic view of their wedding day.
The outlook on wedding photography has also changed. The rise of smartphones has meant that most people take photos at weddings on their phone and some photographers would go as far to say that smartphones are killing off the popularity and need for wedding photographers. I wouldn’t’ 100% agree with that as I have yet to come across someone who has or wanted to have a wedding photographed on a smartphone.
We all know the recession hit everyone hard. People aren’t willing to part with their well-earned money as much anymore. Everyone is trying to find the cheapest way of doing everything. But weddings aren’t getting cheaper, with the average wedding in the UK costing around £20,000. Wedding photographers, like anyone know that you want to make the best out of the money you have, which for some people getting married, isn’t a lot at all. And sometimes, when money is tight, photography is seen as a luxury as everyone can photograph a wedding.. If you want this explained in greater detail, please refer to Part 1 of this series; Why Wedding Photography Is So Important?
With the rise of technology and in particular social media, wedding photos can be shared with so much ease. Couples can, instead of showing their printed album to their close family and friends, share all the pictures on Facebook so everyone can see and their beautiful wedding day. As a photographer, this is pretty awesome because hundreds if not thousands of people are seeing your work and you are gaining more recognition and credibility. I have lost count of the amount of jobs I’ve had because people have seen my work on social media. It’s such a brilliant tool. This also means brides have never had so much choice. Wedding Photographers have had to change the style of marketing and promotion as there are so many photographers trying to make it in the business. Are brides are putting down the wedding magazines and looking on Facebook and Pinterest?