About My Photography style
I specialize in Kentucky wedding photography around Lexington & Louisville. But what kind of wedding photography?
I like to joke that on a wedding day, as your photographer, I wear many hats like a jack of all trades. From a product photographer while shooting details, to a photojournalist while getting drinks spilled on me in the middle of a dance floor, every part of the day requires something different from me.
But there are different categories boxes wedding photographers like to put themselves in to make it easier for a couple to decide on choosing a photographer. My "style" as a little bit of each of these, and each will influence my work through the course of the wedding day. I thought it would be easiest to explain the types of wedding photography styles there are and how I approach each style during the wedding day.
Wedding Photojournalism vs. Lifestyle Photography
Wedding photojournalism is the documentation of the wedding day moments without manipulation by the photographer. A wedding photojournalist will take a backseat on the day and be an observer and will capture the scene and memories as they naturally occur without directing or staging anything.
There are different variations of wedding photojournalism, to the strict no interference policy, to the faux photojournalist. A strict photojournalist will not intervene at all during the day, like a news journalist. They won't rearrange items in the room, don't pose couples for portraits, won't move couples in to flattering light, and don't really rearrange details items for photos.
The faux photojournalist will set up the scene to "look candid". this isn't wedding photojournalism, but another style that appears to look journalistic. This faux photojournalist, which I like to call a lifestyle photographer, will set up scenes like they're natural, but they aren't. The moments are staged, sometimes to amazing results, but they are manufactured.
The main difference between a wedding photojournalist and a lifestyle photographer is the approach is different, but it often results in similar images.
I admire a photojournalist. In fact, I got my start and foundation of photography in photojournalism while attending the University of Kentucky as a journalism major and editor of the Kentucky Kernel. I don't believe, however, that weddings should be shot this way. For example:
Let's say the bride is in a hotel room, getting ready for the ceremony. When you walk in to the bridal room to photograph the day, and the makeup artist has situated the bride in the bathroom at the sink with florescent lights overhead, what do you do? A true photojournalist would simply document the situation how it was, even if the lighting was horrible and all the photos has a toilet in the background. A lifestyle photographer would kindly ask the makeup artist to move the bride to the window in the hotel room and rearrange some of the furniture, so the bride was bathed in gorgeous light and the background was clean.
Which one am I?
My style is definitely closer to a lifestyle approach, but it's not completely manipulated. If I were in the situation above, I would ask the bride to move to the window, and move some chairs around. However, after that, I let the moment be. If she laughs, plays on her phone, gets watery eyes from the eyeliner? The moments are true.
Traditional Wedding Photography
Traditional wedding photography is on the other end of the spectrum of wedding photojournalism. While wedding photojournalism is unposed and natural, traditional wedding photography relies on a more hands-on approach. Lifestyle wedding photography is somewhere in-between.
Traditional wedding photography is about being camera aware, with the people looking at the camera more often that not (aware posing) or looking at other people and things in the frame (unaware posing). A lot of attention is devoted to posing and setting up each shot. Many traditional wedding photographers work from a shot list at a wedding, delivering products that are consistent in quality but also content.
While I understand the place traditional wedding photography has in wedding photography, in fact it is almost entirely what our ancestor's family photos consist of, I do not think such a direct approach results in the natural looking images most couples look for in wedding photography.
Typically on a wedding day, a wedding photography will photograph the couple together for the portrait session. A traditional wedding photography will pose each and every photograph, making sure every pinky is in place and every expression is perfect. Many of these images will involve the subjects smiling at the camera, in what I like to call the "Grandma shot" because older family members like these images.
Am I a traditional photographer?
While my style is mostly photojournalist, I admire the technical artistry of the traditional approach. When I am shooting couple's portraits or wedding party and family photos, we do a mix of lifestyle images of the couple walking and interacting naturally, and traditional aware and unaware posed images- including the Vanity Fair styled grouped shots I think add both poise and personality to photos.
I find that mixing and matching different styles through the day creates a well rounded wedding gallery for my couples. Most of the moments are photojournalistic in nature and lifestyle in approach. I round all that out with some beautiful traditional portraits to create a deeper collection of images for your wedding day.
Take a look through my galleries and maybe even browse my Instagram account. If you see a laugh or a tear in someone's eye, that's a real moment. If you see an interaction, those are all real.
Wedding Photography Editing Styles
Many clients have looked at a lot of wedding images from a lot of different photographers before choosing a wedding photographer. Part of that is so you, as a wedding client, have to decide what style of photography you are most drawn to. Do you want to be posed during your portraits? Do you want to smile at the camera for a lot of your wedding photos? Do you want a wedding photographer who captures the moments as they happen? Do you want a combination of it all?
Once you've decided on a style, you realize that it is a lot more confusing than that. Even taking in account photojournalistic, lifestyle or traditional wedding photography styles, wedding photographs will still look very different on each photographer's site you visit.
Some might look soft and pastel. Some might be dark and moody. Some have soft edges and dreamy shapes, some will look grainy and like old film.
It is important to understand how wedding photographer's will have unique editing styles just as much as having unique photographing styles. It's easy to assume the two go hand in hand, but often times that don't.
You might have a wedding photographer whose images are edited in a super light and airy way. You might find a wedding photographer whose images are all presented in gritty black and whites. You will probably find a photographer who edits in a dark and moody way with a trend towards warm browns. The last example is the most trendy look right now. Google "PNW wedding photography" for examples, as this trend started in the Pacific North West.
Where do I fit in?
I strive for authenticity and timelessness is my editing. I don't rely on presents and the look of my wedding images are not due to post-processing. My images frequently look very similar in the camera as the do after I deliver them. You will not see me applying a vintage film present to my images. What you will see is the day precisely as it unfolded, with the color and tone true to life. I want you to look back on your wedding photographs in the years to come and have them be timeless.
If you have any questions about my style (or anything else!) please don't hesitate to contact me through email, text, or phone call. I'd love to talk to you about your day and answer any question you have.