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Monday, February 4, 2013

Photography Styles

Today you have more choices then ever before for "types" of photographers... how do you chose? So many times I have brides approach me and simply want to book for their wedding or event... and I have to slow them down and really make sure they know "my style".

It's really hard with people pinning ideas for photography images, and then expecting any photographer to recreate that moment. Let's forget the differences in equipment, knowlage, location, and everything else... just the difference in shooting style can dramatically effect how your images turn out.

So how do you know what "style" of photographer you should be looking for? Let's look at some of the popular words photographers use to describe themselves and then you can sort by what style your eye is most drawn to!

Traditional Portrait: (Classic style) This typically referrals to a more formal and posed images. Straight forward, well composed, beautifully exposed, and simple images with a focus on the people. This can refer to any location and is common with many  photographers. This photographer is typically on top of posing, adjusting hair, placing hands... very much at the forefront of the action directing each shot. While older generations will be more comfortable with this style, some modern brides feel it makes them look stiff and uninteresting. The trick is to find a photographer that you enjoy so you will remain relaxed even in a "posed" session.. this will lead to great traditional images!

Contemporary Portraiture: Much more relaxed and lends towards less formal images, this style can result in more spontaneous images. Capturing the spirit of fun, while still incorporating formal elements. The photographer may be less involved in every moment, allowing your personalities and interactions to shine, however they may still set up some shots, or adjust details as needed to improve the overall image. This photographer will tend to seek out unique locations, or angles in which to set apart your wedding from others. 

Documentary / Journalistic Style: In the classical sense, this style is completely hands off. It is a direct record of your day, typically without any posed images, or real input from your  photographer. A sort of fly-on-the-wall approach, where the photographer blends into the crowd and simply records the events.  

This can also be described as candid photography... but candid simply means informal, un-posed and most photographers utilize candid images for reception shots, so be sure to clarify if "candid photography" is mentioned!

This style can also be referred to when people think of images that take great care to take advantage of aperture controls to blur backgrounds, and add interest to images by having greater control over the camera. You will need to see the photographer's work to know WHICH he is really describing,  with this term, as they can produce drastically different results. 

Artistic: I am not personally a fan of this description, it seems to be used as a "catch all" however, when used "properly" this term implies individualism of the artist or photographer. Depending on photographer this may require a great deal of intervention, or none. It may be heavily altered images by Photoshop, or it could be entirely produced by camera, filters etc. You simply wont know what this term is implying without viewing the portfolio of this photographer. Please do your research here!

Glamour or Fashion Photography: This is more of a type of photography then a description of a style, but we are seeing it used more and more often as a description for  modern wedding images where the images have the look of a fashion magazine or what you would think of as a model being posed. Typically a lot of attention to detail, along with lighting is given priority to comfort

Many photographers will describe themselves somewhere along these lines, or within combinations of these.... some come up with their own "labels", but for the most part everyone will fall in one of these categories or a combination of them.

Professional wedding photographers views their work as art, and the only way to know if you enjoy that style is to read the descriptions and view the portfolios. Keep in mind a portfolio is representative of "the best of" from that photographer, not "every shot".  It is perfectly acceptable to ask a photographer to show you a sample wedding, cover to cover so to speak so you can see their style from start to finish of the same day.

Regardless of if you are looking for a commercial photographer, Wedding photographer, or family photographer... I hope understanding these basic descriptions helps you weed through some of the multitudes of choices you have! 

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