The Different Styles of Wedding Photography Available to the Couple Today

Typically, your wedding day is one of the most important milestones in your life. You spend a fortune on flowers, stationery, dresses, a makeup artist, hotels and so much more. Your personality and style goes into those details. Whoever you are and what ever you like there is a wedding photographer out there for you.

Photographers come in many different personalities, sizes and styles. Some shoot in only one specific style and there are photographers who shoot in a variety of different styles. Then we have the real innovators who create their own style.

The most popular styles of wedding photography in today’s market are as follows:

– Photojournalistic

– Traditional

– Illustrative

Lets take a look at each of these…

Photojournalistic

Wedding photojournalism is said to appeal to the bride and groom that require a series of unique photographs designed to “tell a story” or narrate their wedding day. Wedding photojournalism has become a very popular style of wedding photography and is the art of capturing moments unobtrusively. Normally you barely know that the photographer is there. Normally the photographer covers the wedding with a large telephoto lens (although not always) and tries not to get in the way of the story as it unfolds.

Wedding photojournalist’s respond to events as they unfold, they do not manipulate or create events. The resulting images therefore can be unpredictable (as is life unpredictable), some consider this unpredictability as a drawback with this particular style. Personally I feel its not a drawback it’s the beautiful aspect of this style, it really is a record of your day. The goal of Wedding Photojournalism is to tell the unique story of your wedding day. Wedding Photojournalism captures moments rather than poses, documenting the emotions and energy around the entire occasion. The images convey genuine emotion and capture the story of your day as it unfolds naturally.

Best in the world: Well for me its Jeff Ascough but many photographers will say Dennis Reggie. Dennis is the father of this style.

Traditional

Traditional wedding photography is a photographic style that is a series of contrived posed or ‘set up’ photographs, usually of the wedding party and the couples’ families. Traditional wedding photographers tend to follow a ‘shot list’. Lighting and backgrounds are tightly controlled by the photographer resulting in well exposed images. The disadvantages of Traditional wedding photography could be issues like, the amount of time the Bride and Groom spend getting their photograph taken. Images can look visually pleasing but stiff due to their static and contrived nature and predictable.

The upside of traditional photography is that you end up a set of professional photographs of your family and loved ones.

Although Traditional wedding photography still has it’s place in the modern photography world it is being pushed aside by more illustrative and photojournalist styles of shooting. You see more traditional photographers that are older and have been in the industry a long time and have not changed their ways or you will see it in the lower end beginners as it is any easy style of shooting that does not take much creative input. But be aware it still takes skill so don’t be thinking anyone can do it well.

You probably don’t want to rely too heavily on formal portraiture, however, or you will miss out on a lot of the energy, passion, and raw emotion surrounding your wedding. Most couples want to make sure to include some candid, photojournalistic photography in their wedding albums alongside the formal shots.

Best in the world: Well for me its Monte Zucker.

Illustrative

Wedding Photographers who shoot weddings in the Illustrative style, think in terms of design elements by placing their subjects in settings of interesting composition and backgrounds. This photography is usually a creative person who loves design and elements of color and texture. The photographer provides direction to their subject but they are also encouraged to interact. This results in a more spontaneous feel. Illustrative wedding photography is said to bring out the photographer’s ‘artistic’ creative and compositional skills rather than simply capturing a series of moments.

Its influenced by fashion, editorial and lifestyle photography.

Illustrative Wedding Photography is the newest style to break into the wedding scene. Its a modern and fun way to photograph a wedding resulting in artistic and edgy wedding images. Photographers who shoot in this style are skilled both artistically and technically.

If I was to pigeon-hole myself into one particular style it would be the category of photography best suited to me.

Best in the world: For me its, Australian photographer Yervant his website simply says “Fashion meets Wedding”.

OR

San Francisco based photographer Bambi Cantrell.

Wedding Photography Trends in America

Wedding photography in every market is constantly in a state of flux and change. Both people and society evolve constantly, causing evolution in every part of our daily lives.

Weddings have become highly personalized affairs with couples competing to set their even apart from the ones that have come before.

Marriage photography in general must evolve to stay relevant and in line with the other elements in these unusual weddings. Presented here is a look at the latest trends in certain key markets around the country.

The main trend in California marriage photography is photojournalism. Photojournalistic wedding photography allows the marriage day to unfold naturally. Rather than playing an active role in posing shots, the photographer captures events as they happen.

This style of photography results in more candid and natural looking photographs. The major drawback to this style is that an inexperienced photojournalist may miss certain shots or fail to capture the shots well in the ambient light.

If you choose to go with the photojournalistic one, be certain that your photographer is experienced in this style.

The typical Seattle marriage photographer will blend the new trend of photojournalism with a more timeless traditional style. The Seattle trend seems to be creating a marriage album that highlights the best of all worlds, thus offering the most complete account of your special day.

Florida wedding photography has begun to move in the direction of candid photography, which is very similar to the photojournalistic one. The main difference between the candid and photojournalistic styles is that in photojournalism, the shots combine to create a dramatic storyline. Candid photography is more laid back in style, reflecting the general feel of a Florida marriage.

The trend in Toronto marriage photography appears to be “creative candid” photography. This style is a sort of offshoot of both the laid back candid photography popular in Florida and the dramatic photojournalism of the California market.

Rather than simply sitting passively and letting the events unfold, the creative candid photographer works to set up good candid shots, but without the posing required by the timeless style.

No matter which market we talk about, one common thread binds them all. People are trying to get away from pictures that look posed. Couples want their shots to look as natural and as candid as possible.

Natural compositions in photos lend overall warmth to the marriage album, something that was lacking in wedding photography in earlier days.

The style of wedding photography that you choose should match the style of your special day. A traditional ceremony is best documented through traditional photography.

A relaxed destination ceremony calls for equally relaxed candid photography, while a creative themed marriage would be best matched by a dramatic photojournalistic approach.

Despite local trends, wedding photography in most markets have a number of photographers from which to choose, all of whom offer their own personalized approach.

Shop around carefully to find the photographer whose personal style best matches yours, then work together to design the perfect wedding photography package.

Starting A Wedding Photography Business – A Six Step Plan

It takes a special person to carve a successful career in photography. You need to be artistic, good with people, and have a good business sense. If you keep your company small you need to be able to turn your hand to everything in regards to running a business and being a photographer. To become a wedding photographer you also need to enjoy working under pressure; as a wedding generally costs a lot of money, you will be expected to produce stunning work, people will be running round (often stressed) trying to organise everyone, putting you under time pressure- whilst others will be heading for the bar as fast as possible, making it very difficult to get everyone to participate in the group shot! Unfortunately this is often seen as your fault if you don’t get the shots that the Bride and Groom wanted, even worse if you actually don’t get ‘Uncle Phil’ in any shot as he couldn’t be prized away from the said bar!

However, the prospect of an exciting and lucrative career still calls. So where do you start from here?

Step One – Training.

This should, without doubt be your first port of call when even considering a career in Wedding Photography. The initial investment in a good Wedding Photography Course will pay for itself a thousand times over by giving you the tools to succeed and most importantly to point out the common (often costly) pitfalls to avoid. A good course will spend time shooting on location, so you can start to learn how to see a good shot and learn how to work with tricky lighting conditions, you should also spend time on the business side of being a wedding photographer, covering the set up, sales and marketing, album design etc… Finally you also want instruction in cataloguing and keywording all them images you are going to have, in RAW file workflow and post production of images. This will give you a thorough grounding in all matters relating to your Wedding Photography Business.

Step Two – Business Planning and Setting Up

Once your training is completed you will then have a very clear idea in mind of the target market you are aiming for. With this knowledge you will now be able to make a start on your business plan. A business plan is the most important thing you can do when setting up a business and I recommend doing one at least each year during the lifetime of the business. I really cannot stress the importance of a good, thorough and well thought out business plan; not only will it further strengthen in your mind what you want your business to be, it will also identify any potential problems early on and enable you to act upon your findings.

You will then need to sort out your company formation (sole trader, LLP or LTD) and also your trading name, then set up your bank accounts, insurances, business stationery, your contracts of engagement / terms and conditions etc… There is a lot that goes into the actual set up, but take your time and do it properly and it will save you the time in trying to do all or some of it later on, when you are busy with Weddings.

Step Three – Equipment Acquisition

It is now I would suggest any equipment acquisition you had in mind to be done. The reason I would suggest waiting until this point is thus; for one, you will have completed your training course and had plenty of chance to ask your tutor what equipment they would suggest you need based on your aspirations and budget and for two, you will now have a much clearer idea of the budget you have available now after you have completed your business plan. If your budget has altered dramatically and now you feel unsure what equipment you should buy now with the new budget in mind, go back to your tutor and ask. A good training company will offer advice after the course event, so make the most of it! If at this point you really don’t need the equipment, I suggest you wait until you have got bookings coming in and buy the equipment from your profits. It is best not to spend too much money if you don’t have to in the early days.

Step Four – Building Up Your Portfolio of Images

I am frequently asked “Can I use the images taken on courses for my portfolio, website and for advertising?” I always advise against this. You need your own images to advertise your own business otherwise you could run yourself into trouble with trading standards by using images created on courses. A much better way is to offer your services to a more established photographer as their assistant for the day. You maybe able to get your camera out and take some shots yourself- however even if you don’t it will be a great insight to the real workings of wedding photography and it will increase your confidence even more. You may have to travel a bit, as a photographer local to you most likely will not let you through their door; as after all you intend to operate in the same area, you are a potential threat to their business. So be prepared to travel for the experience. Another good way and guaranteed to get you images you need is to go back to your training company, as many offer ‘Portfolio Building Days’. Here they will book locations and models for you and make available to you lighting equipment should you need it. You then get to create the shots you need, without them being set up by someone else. It is a more costly option, but can help you to get established in the early days until you can replace these images with your own on the job shots.

Step Five – Your Website

Great care must be taken over your website design as this is undoubtedly your biggest selling tool. You don’t want it to look too homemade and above all it needs to have lots of beautiful images on it. It amazes me when I see photographers’ websites with very few pictures, as after all it is the stunning array of pictures that will ultimately get you the booking! You need to make your website easy to navigate, with your contact details or a email form so that potential clients find it easy to get in touch with you. You also need to tell people why they should book you on your website; if you cannot find a single reason, how are your potential clients going to? You should have identified your unique selling points during the creation of your business plan which will help you to write a stunning sales pitch and convince potential clients why they should book you and your services.

Step Six – Advertising Your Services

You will have identified where your competitors are advertising whilst you were doing your research for your business plan. There are so many advertising mediums today that it can be a minefield knowing where to advertise and getting it wrong can be very costly. As ever the good old local Bridal Fayre is a captive audience, so is often worthwhile attending. You will need a brochure or a flyer at least so that people visiting your stand have something to take away and remember you by. Don’t forget the importance of creating a mailing list- often a timely reminder can secure you that booking. Also get your business onto the social networks, such as a Facebook page and Google places. Try and get on as many online directories as time allows. There after your campaign needs to be built around your target clientele, as to whether you advertise locally, nationally or in newspapers or the glossy magazines, whether you leave flyers with local businesses or details with hotel venues. This is where your early research will pay dividends.

Then it is a case of continuing to work hard until your efforts starts to reap in the rewards with numerous bookings and a good and healthy profit. Good luck and enjoy the ride!

Starting a Wedding Photography Business

Creating a successful wedding photography business can be more of a challenge than one would think. Just because you can take a picture doesn’t mean that starting your own wedding photography business will be smooth sailing. However there are certain building blocks one can take that will assist in creating yourself a successful start to your wedding photography business. First and most important building block is to build an efficient and thorough business/creative plan. This is the foundation and should include your objectives, your mission, and your keys to success.

Your foundation objectives will cover what it takes to produce the same outstanding quality results time after time, and what it will take to become recognized as a top wedding photographer. You mission should describe what you want to achieve and how you are going to do that. Your keys to success should include how you will fulfill your client’s expectations and how you will accomplish this. How will you be competitive with your services offered? What kind of profits do you need to become successful competition?

Before you start you’re first step is to find your identity. Have you figured it out? Be true to yourself and know your strengths and weaknesses as a photographer. Are you ready to start this financially and technically? Do you know your style and identity, and do you do it well? You should know how to describe your photography and vision. Are you more of a photo journalistic photographer who relies on natural available light and candid moments? Do you pre-plan and pose portraits and incorporate technical lighting skills giving a classic look. Or, do you mix it up with both, showing a full range of capabilities that give you your own modern contemporary style?

If you know what you want your photography and identity to look like but haven’t achieved the look yet, maybe you need more work on your photography before you can establish your business.

Take a look at your photography and decide what level of talent you have and what potential you possess. Be critical of your work, but also have others critique your work for you. Learn how to use constructive criticism to improve your photography. If your identity isn’t where you want it, ask yourself, what needs to be improved? Do you know your equipment (camera, lighting, etc) well enough? Do you know how to read and meter your exposures? Do you have the right equipment, i.e.: hi resolution digital camera and Photoshop? You need a digital camera to stay up with your competition. It is also of great importance to be proficient in Photoshop and Lightroom and your digital workflow. It is up to you to overcome any weakness with proper education and practice before you take on photographing a wedding.

Photographing a wedding is a big responsibility. Someone has paid a large amount of money and trust in you to document this special and personal day. This is why it is so important to be confident enough to step into any wedding that comes your way and do a solid job photographing it. Having your skills fine-tuned are just part of what it takes to build that foundation of confidence. The other huge part to building confidence is experience.

We all start out somewhere. So once you have your photography skills and workflow down, it is now time to test yourself and your identity. The first step is to know your value. Do you think you’re up to shooting a wedding solo for $2000.00? Wait, you don’t have any wedding pictures for a portfolio. How are you going to sell yourself as a wedding photographer? Well either you get lucky with someone who trusts and likes your photography regardless that you have never photographed a wedding. Or you decide to build your portfolio through being a second or third shooter for a more established wedding photographer. This is a great way to get exposure and experience in the wedding photography scene. A great way to approach this route is to call all of the local wedding photographers in your area and ask if anyone is in need of a second or third shooter. Once you find some work ask questions and pay close attention to how they run their business and how they photograph weddings. Everyone has a system. How they shoot the wedding ceremony, portraits, reception, etc. Use this position to your advantage and build relationships within the wedding industry. The more you learn, the faster you will be on your way to becoming competition. Remember to save money for when you make your transition out on your own.

Once you have some weddings under your belt your confidence will lead you at the right time to separate and become that competition that you have been working for. When you do choose, it should be all or nothing. Either stay on as a second shooter or take the risk and become competition.

After you have taken the jump into the unknown and exciting world of being your own boss. Your confidence as a photographer has grown and you now possess an identity as a wedding photographer. You can now start your wedding photography business wherever and whenever.

Hopefully you have invested in your own digital camera, backup camera, lenses, computer, Photoshop, etc. Your investment needs to have insurance. You cannot afford to have it stolen or broken; otherwise all your hard work will be for nothing. Also you should have liability insurance to C.Y.A. You can get photographers insurance through PPA.

Before you place yourself as competition in the wedding photography market you should know your competition. They are your best models to help get started. Take notice of what they charge for packages and what they include with their services. Where and how do they advertise? What niche do they fill and where can you fit in as a new business.

To establish your business you need an address. You can choose a PO Box or another mailbox service such as Mail Boxes ETC. I prefer MBE because you can choose a mailbox with a real street address. Not to mention they have many other services. Next get a separate phone number for your business. To legitimately create your business you should either have a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a sole proprietorship. You can learn about this through an accountant or through websites like legalzoom.

With the rest of the money you saved you will have to determine how much is to be used for marketing and other expenses. Marketing is going to be the most essential thing for your business to get off the ground. Without marketing you don’t have a business. Your marketing essentials are: to have your identity, your portfolio, and your line of communication.

Through the image library that you have created, pick your best images to use for your portfolio, website and all promotional and marketing materials. Your portfolio can be made w/ inkjet prints that you put in an album of choice such as albums provided by Topflight, photoalbumshop, or you can choose to have one printed by Asuka albums, or other online print labs such as Snapfish or Shutterfly. Your image identity is now established, and will grow over time. However you now need your business identity. What will your promotional materials look like? What font will you use? What colors will be incorporated? Will you use a logo? It may be a good idea to find a graphic designer to help you out with this. Once you figure out your business identity and incorporate it with your promotional materials you should create and print them all at once to distribute them all year. Make sure you have the basics like your business cards, postcards, brochure, contract, 8×10’s and any other promotional materials you can think of. These materials can be ordered through gotprint.com and vistaprint.com.

After your promotional materials are finished and the portfolio is printed, you are ready to create your website. View other sites to get an idea of what style of site you want and how it will look. Search for someone else to create a website for you if you aren’t educated in web development but having a professional do this can get a bit pricey. Some great alternatives are to use Craigslist or look into finding a student at a local college to do it. Make sure you work with your web developer in creating your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for the site. This is most important and is the best way to insure that you can create a web presence that is optimized for search engines. The template DIY websites don’t work well for SEO. SEO will concentrate on key wording, alt tags, one-way links, and proper site submissions.

You now have a business ready to start seeing some return. People are ready to see your business and it’s your job to reach out and find them. It is your job to know your market and tap it with your presence. I suggest that it is priority to get a creative ad on Craigslist. Why not it’s free? Now that you have all of your promotional materials printed out, where are you going to distribute them? Research all local, state, or nationwide wedding industry businesses, and create a directory of them for your advertising. Create your promotional packets with cover letter, brochure, postcards, and a mini portfolio or something that shows your style in more depth. This is a lot of work and may take a while. Get help from friends, family or again posting an ad on Craigslist for some temporary help. After you have mailed everything, follow up with phone calls to let them know who you are. This will help provide a personal connection to your materials and help start future relationships. Building relationships is very important and will help bring work your way through word of mouth. Another great way to build relationships and get your work out is to participate in any bridal shows that come to your area.

Knowing your business and what you offer to your clients and the industry is the most important thing. Just as it is important to know your self-identity as a person, so is it important to know your business identity. When the phone starts ringing people want to see confidence in you and your images. Just remember that images speak louder than words and that the cream always rises to the top.

Good Luck!