From the Professionals...Bamboozled by photography styles?

13 / 03 / 19

Wedding blog bamboozled by photography styles photographers help bridal party

Each month we delve deeper into subjects to find out more and bring you useful snippets, advice and golden nuggets of information from our trusted Whitewed Professionals!

This month we are using the help of a few of our trusted wedding photographers to shed some light on the photographic styles available, what each style has to offer, and help you decide which may suit you best! Quite often couples are bamboozled by the terminology used and baffled as to the style of wedding photography they'd really like.

Do you know the difference between traditional, contemporary or documentary style? If the answer is no, don't fear as you are not in the minority! Keep reading as our professionals will break down the confusion for you, explain each style and help you decipher the right one for you...

Wedding blog bamboozled by photography styles photographers help fuschia pink bridesmaid dresses

*Photo credit to Barefoot Photography

Choosing your photographer is one of the most important decisions you'll make for your wedding day - this is likely to be the sole person who is going to capture your day for you - capturing memories for you that will last a lifetime - so it's never been more important to love what you've chosen, as this decision will be sticking with you for a very long time after!

Each photographer has their own style which is reflected in the images they produce and the portfolio's you view. Before starting your search for your perfect wedding photographer to capture your big day, it's important to understand the photographic style you prefer and find a photographer who's portfolio is reflective of this. There are vast amounts of photographic styles to choose from, but here are three of the most sought after styles trending at the moment...

  • Traditional or Classic Wedding Photography
  • Reportage or Documentary Wedding Photography
  • Contemporary or modern Wedding Photography

It's over to the professionals now to help you understand the styles available, simplify your thinking and help you make the decision of the style you love best, what it can offer you and then the fun of searching for your photographer can really begin! We ask three of our photographers a few quick questions about their styles, here's what they had to say....


Contemporary or Modern Style Photography

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*Photo credit to Barefoot Photography

Clare of Barefoot Photography describes herself as a contemporary photographer. This style of photography offers an enviable combination of traditional and documentary photographic styles to create a more relaxed and informal way of capturing the day, with the added bonus of a few posed shots where required. This style of photography is often used to capture the current photography trends.

Clare says...

What does Contemporary style photography mean to you?

Contemporary is a blend of styles that's perfect for the modern couple. It has the best elements of documentary and traditional photography. It allows couples to have beautiful group shots that please their parents but are not formal and stuffy - and don't take ages to arrange. It also includes lots of candid moments and unposed, natural photos PLUS a few of those beautiful (and oh so expensive) details that they have spent months agonising over and planning. And of course the couple photos can be styled or unposed - whichever they prefer.

Why do you love this style?

I love shooting contemporary because it really is the best of all worlds. It doesn't require hours of posed photo time allowing the couple to enjoy all of their day AND keeps all of the guests and family happy.

What kind of couple is best suited to your style?

Fun, easy going couples. Those that want to spend their wedding day enjoying the company of their friends and family - not disappearing with their photographer or standing in photo line ups for hours!

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*Photo credit to Barefoot Photography


Reportage or Documentary Style Photography

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*Photo credit to Copper & Blossom

Kate of Copper & Blossom describes herself as a documentary photographer with a dose of contemporary too! This style of photography offers a very hands-off approach, with the photographer often hiding in the background and capturing your wedding day from afar. This style offers a very unposed, natural and 'capture the moments as they unfold' tactic.

Kate says...

What does ‘Reportage or Documentary’ style photography mean to you?

To me, documentary photography is all about capturing the story of the day. That includes capturing the emotional moments that happen spontaneously throughout the day as well as capturing all of the small details that couples spend hours upon hours deciding on in the run-up to the wedding.

This style truly does provide couples with everlasting memories as it is a truthful representation of what is bound to be the happiest day of their lives!

It can be viewed as a fly-on-the-wall point of view. There is no pressure to pose for the camera. Couples can simply be themselves, safe in the knowledge that the photographer will document their special day for them as it unfolds.

Why do you love this style?

I love documentary wedding photography because it allows me to do what I do best, be a photographic ninja! By working discretely, guests feel comfortable to continue with their celebrations without worrying about posing or smiling for the camera. When everyone is relaxed and having fun, that's when the magical moments happen! I particularly love capturing the reaction on the Father-of-the-Bride's face when he first sees his daughter in her dress and also the speeches - they are a goldmine for unexpected, emotional and spontaneous moments!

What kind of couple is best suited to your style?

Documentary photography is suitable for any couple that want to have a truthful record of their happy day. It is particularly suitable for couples that don’t necessarily feel comfortable being the centre of attention. It also suits couples who realise the importance of photography but don’t want it to detract from their celebrations. I have lost count of the number of couples that book me after saying “I don’t really like being in front of the camera” as my discrete, story-telling approach which captures the entirety of the celebrations and isn’t focused just on the two of them is exactly what they want.

Wedding blog bamboozled by photography styles photographers help brides father

*Photo credit to Copper & Blossom



Traditional or Classic Wedding Photography

Wedding blog bamboozled by photography styles photographers help classic style photograph

Rosie of Rosie Cutbill Photography describes herself as a traditional photographer. This style of photography offers a more formal approach, often with posed photos, planned shots and group images staged. It is however timeless - classic is classic for a reason!

Rosie says...

What does ‘Traditional or Classic’ style photography mean to you?

I love creating images which tell the story of the day, but most of all I love capturing the traditional moments often known as the key shots. To add to this, I always encourage my couples to have some time away from their guests so that they can relax and we can capture some beautiful timeless images of them both.

What kind of couple is best suited to your style?

For me a major part of photography is connection, and so for me the couples I find most suited to my photography are the couples I 'click' with immediately. These are often couples who really appreciate photography and art (I started life as a portrait artist!) and are looking for creativity as much, if not more than just a record of the day. I also find some 'getting to know you' time before the big day is invaluable and so I always offer my couples a complimentary engagement shoot which has proved very popular, with wonderfully relaxed wedding photographs as a result.

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So... hopefully our professionals have taken away a little of the confusion and you now have more understanding of the terminology used and the styles available to choose from. When you've decided which style will best suit your wedding and your personal preference, it's time to start searching out the ideal photographer for this task! You need to love their style, feel comfortable in their presence and be happy that they offer consistency in their portfolio to deliver what you're after.

Elizabeth of Elizabeth Donovan Photography steps in to offer you this on-point advice when seeking out the right photographer for you...

Wedding blog bamboozled by photography styles photographers help just married

*Photo credit to Elizabeth Donovan Photography

"My advice would be to look at a photographer's gallery examples and get a feel for what they can offer. Do you like what they show you online? Then meet with them and ask to see whole weddings - shots from getting ready through to the first dance. What does a real wedding look like in it's entirety?

Then ask to look at some more weddings from start to finish! The more you see, the more you will know if they are what you are looking for or not. Also, by spending some one-on-one time with the photographer you get to ask all sorts of questions (wedding related or not!) and get a feel for who they are and what they would be like to have with you on the day. Are they your type of person? We all get a feeling when we meet someone new and it's always best to book someone who not only creates stunning shots that you love but that also has the type of personality you want to spend time with on your special day."

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*Photo credit to Elizabeth Donovan Photography


Which style of photography suits you best? The answer is entirely individual and only one you can answer.

For more information about the contributing photographers and to find out if they could be the perfect match for you, head over to their Whitewed pages by clicking on the links below!

Rosie Cutbill Photography

Copper & Blossom

Barefoot Photography

Elizabeth Donovan Photography

Happy planning!

Love Team Whitewed x

*Main image credit to Elizabeth Donovan Photography