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An explanation of POPULAR photography trends and styles

In the ever-evolving world of the wedding photography industry, different trends and styles have emerged over the years, each having its moment in the spotlight. What fascinates me about wedding photography, is the ability to seamlessly blend multiple genres of photography at weddings. I often find myself gravitating towards a particular style based on the couple’s style for their wedding day. But I also have a unique approach blending some of my favourite styles.

Popular wedding photography trends and styles:

  1. Fine Art Wedding Photography: This draws inspiration from Fine Art Photographers or paintings. This style employs soft pastel hues and a lot of shallow depth of field to create moody images.
  2. Cinematic Wedding Photography: Influenced by cinematography, it mirrors the composition and color grading seen in movie scenes. This is one of my favorite styles and the foundation on which my photography style is built on.
  3. Documentary/Photojournalism Wedding Photography: Borrowing from Documentary or Street Photography, it aims to present an authentic depiction of the scenario.
  4. Editorial Wedding Photography: Inspired by fashion magazine spreads, it incorporates posing and lighting techniques akin to celebrity photography.

While some photographers often navigate through various styles during a wedding day given the nature of a typical wedding day, many have a dominant style they favour in their overall body of work and approach.

So What’s Currently on trend?

Distinguishing Editorial from Photojournalistic Styles

Editorial Wedding Photography:

Outside the wedding photography industry and in its purest form, editorial photography is photography intended for print or online publications. This is created to help tell a story with a focus on creating a specific tone for the story piece. Editorial photography is rooted in journalism and fashion. As I’ve mentioned, a current trend is to incorporate this style into wedding photography.

black and white editorial photo

While editorial and photojournalistic photography might appear similar at first glance, there are significant creative distinctions, especially in the context of wedding photography. When we talk about editorial photography, we’re referring to images carefully curated to be “magazine-worthy.” Imagine a photo that seamlessly blends into the pages of Vogue or The Lane. It’s all about achieving that high-end, luxurious look.

black and white editorial photo
details of an bride shoes and perfume
table decorations at a wedding

Editorial photos used in the wedding industry tend to be more:

  • Deliberately posed, directed, and dramatic
  • Focuses and showcases the fashion aspect of the couple and the wedding
  • Tends to be quite elegant and classic. Often the use of black and white emphasises this 
  • You can also expect to see aesthetically pleasing details like the bride’s dress, wedding stationery, rings, jewellery, flower arrangements, etc. All of these images elicit a high-end, luxurious feel.

Photojournalistic/Documentary Wedding Photography:

I use those two words interchangeably because in wedding photography they are essentially trying to convey the same meaning. Although these two photography styles outside of wedding photography do have their unique differences. Adobe shared a great article on the key differences.

Photojournalistic or Documentary photography gives you more room to be yourself, with less direction. Like a “fly on the wall” approach, which helps capture the personality and uniqueness of the people in the images. If you’re quite camera-shy, you’ll surely love this photography style.

photojournalistic style photo
photojournalistic style photo
documentary style photo

Some of the main features of photojournalistic images are:

  • Completely unposed and undirected (aka, “You just be you!”)
  • Unobtrusive and informal, with no agenda or intention
  • Full of candid moments to evoke a wide spectrum of feelings and raw emotions

Consideration for Couples

It’s so important for you to choose your photographer based on the style you love and also one that will complement the overall aesthetics of your wedding. If you want a more editorial style for your wedding photos but you’re also wanting solely candid images then this is a clash of styles. It is possible to have both, but just know that the editorial style is very posed in nature so expect to have posed images throughout your photo album. Also, if your wedding is a DIY bush wedding, and you want the aesthetics of editorial images, then these two styles may clash. The nature of the current “editorial” wedding trend leans heavily on modern, and luxurious, and focuses a lot on fashion.

While trends come and go, I believe a documentary/photojournalistic style often stands the test of time, fitting seamlessly into luxury city, DIY backyard weddings, and everything in between. Most photographers nowadays claim to capture “candid” shots, but this is no longer a unique approach as it once was. When talking to most couples, they also express a desire for “candids,” meaning they are seeking a more documentary or photojournalistic approach for their wedding photos. Which is why it’s such a versatile style for most wedding styles.

My approach

My approach is a blend of documentary/photojournalistic style with a touch of editorial and cinematic style as its foundation. It leans into cinematic inspiration derived from films’ lighting and color grading, which is what shapes my creative process. I often find myself immersed in films, getting lost in the way scenes are shot (and occasionally needing to ask my wife about the storyline). I love creating print-worthy art while documenting the essential moments creatively.

Balancing both candid and carefully directed shots provides a timeless and versatile approach depending on the style of your wedding. Yes, while adapting to niche trends has its place, the ability to tailor my approach to a specific wedding day, and having a unique photographic approach as a core foundation, I believe it’s this individuality that distinguishes my craft from other photographers.

bride and groom in a romantic Sydney backdrop at sunset

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