Wedding Photography Styles – Picking the Right One for Your Wedding

Photographer taking photo of bride and groom

As Wedding Know How editors, we write about things that we love and we think you'll like too. We have affiliate partnerships and sponsorship and may generate some revenue from these at no cost to you.

If you have already started looking around for a photographer, you have likely realized that there are many photographers out there to choose from, each with their own preferences and styles of photography.

Picking the right photography style for your wedding will complement the entire wedding, including the overall theme, the dress and decorations. Not every photography style suits every wedding – a high fashion wedding photo shoot would be a mismatch for a bohemian themed wedding.

Here’s a look at the most popular types of wedding photography styles and how to choose the right one for you.

Wedding Photography Styles

Traditional Photography

Bride and groom + bridesmaids + groomsmen being photographed

This is the kind of wedding photography that many people think of when they are first contemplating hiring a wedding photographer.  A traditional photographer will take staged photos of the bridal party, the bride and groom and any other group of wedding participants that the bride and groom would like photographed. They might even add in some staged “action shots” to spice up the photos. While you are missing out on candid moments, this style of photography generates beautiful, high-quality images that are perfectly lit and perfectly composed. Many traditional wedding photographers will shoot using film instead of digital images, creating a softer, more classic look that is appealing and timeless.

Photojournalistic Style

ouple in photojournalistic style for weddings

This is the type of photographer who is there is there to record the day without getting too involved. This is a great option if you love candid shots and you don’t want to break up the rhythm of the day with posing and organizing large groups of people.  There is something more casual and scenic about this type of photography and it can suit many different types of wedding style.  A truly good photographer of this style will know how to capture close-up, intimate moments without you ever knowing they were there.

Commercial Style

Couple in a commercial wedding photography

If you have planned an extravagant wedding with a beautiful venue and a lot of stylized elements, a commercial photography style might suit you perfectly. This is a photographer who knows how to take beautiful pictures of the setting of the wedding itself as well as the people involved.  The images that are generated will be good enough to be put into a magazine and you will get high-quality, glossy, touched up photos that commemorate all aspects of the day like a high-fashion magazine article. This may not be a spontaneous style of photography, but it will make for a lovely album of photos after the wedding.

Artistic Style

  • classical brides and groom photography style
  • Bride and groom in an artistic photo graphical pose

An artistic photographer will be willing to experiment with many styles of photography and many different types of poses.  They will take candid shots as well as staged shots and will do so with a verve and flair that is uniquely their own. This type of photographers often take intimate, stunning photos that are different than other photographers and they can be great at getting to the heart of the emotion of a moment in a way that a more traditional photographer might not be able to do.  Expect lovely black and white and sepia prints as well as full color shots.  This is the right choice for a lighthearted wedding, an intimate wedding or a destination wedding.

Classical Photography

Couple in a classical wedding photograph kissing

If you really enjoy high-quality images that look like high-fashion shots, you will want to pick someone who is a classical photographer. They will often be less involved than a traditional photographer might be, but they will nevertheless know how to stage a perfect shot for each moment.  Expect candid shots that feel like glossy images from a magazine and well-lit, expertly shot portrait style images. This is a great choice for a smaller wedding or for a wedding that offers a lovely venue as a backdrop.

Illustrative Photography

Bride and groom in illustrative wedding photography style in sunset

This is the style most often associated with engagement sessions, but it can be used for your wedding as well. The style involves the use of staged poses in ideal locations that allow for excellent lighting or unusual scenery to really make the photos pop.  If you are having a destination wedding or have picked a really unusual venue with lovely scenery, this is probably the perfect choice for you.   These photographers know all about landscape and will make gorgeous panoramic prints that will be stunning and moving.

Natural Photography Style

Bride and groom

This is the most common style of photography employed at weddings as most brides want a mix of candid shots alongside some posed photos.  It pairs best with an outdoor wedding due to the lighting, but if you really don’t want heavily re-touched photos or a significant amount of drama in your pictures, this is the style for you.  This is a great way to take quality photos of your wedding day that don’t feel forced and seem as lighthearted as the day itself.

Fashion Wedding Photography

Fashion wedding photograph

While this style of photography is its own genre and is heavily associated with the bridal industry, this can be the type of photography that you choose for your wedding. The focus for this style will be on the bride’s dress, on her preparation to walk down the aisle, on her bridesmaids helping her prepare and will also include posed shots of the fashion and decoration of the wedding.  These will be dramatic and glossy photos that will make lovely memories that can be hung on the wall or put together into a beautiful book after the wedding. Some photographers of this style will offer to compile the photos into a fashion-style book after the wedding as well.

Fine Art Wedding Photography

Bride sitting on a chair in the forest

This style is often a part of some of the other wedding photography styles already listed here, but it can be a stand-alone style choice. This style offers creative and unique angles, lighting and composition of photos.  The base of the style is a fine art sensibility that makes for unique, beautiful prints that cannot be duplicated.  There is often a focus on wedding rings, table settings, outfits and other composite shots which show the day as well as the backdrop itself.   This can be a great way to take unusual photos that will look gorgeous after the wedding day hanging on the wall or in a memory book.

How Much Should I Expect to Pay?

It is important to remember that you will likely be hiring a wedding photographer to be at your wedding for at least 6 hours minimum. The average quote for a wedding photographer will allow for about 8 hours of work.  You should also remember that they will need to clean up, edit and produce the photos that you have selected after the wedding is over.  In addition to this, the style of the photography that you select will also affect the overall price.

A lower-end photographer booking will run you about $2,000 while something more extravagant will cost you upwards of $10,000.  It is important to ask what’s included in the package from the start and whether the photographer is going to be working alone or with a team.  Their photography package may limit the number of images that you can buy without additional fees and you might also need to be prepared to pay extra for things like memory books and other products delivered after the wedding.

While it might seem like an unnecessary expense when you are budgeting for your wedding, a photographer can take the burden of capturing the best moments of your special day off the shoulders of family and friends and there is no way that you will get the kind of well-crafted and memorable shots from someone helping you out for free that you would definitely get from a professional.

How to Choose Your Wedding Photography Style?

If you are still stumped about what style of photographer to choose, do some research into the styles in our list and see which ones speak to you. If you find a style that you prefer, think about whether your dress, venue and the theme of your wedding will pair well with the style that you are drawn to.

The next step is to look around at sample photos of local photographers who work with the style you have chosen.  You can always reach out to the photographer and ask questions about their preferences and their style of work to make sure that you will both be a good fit for one another.  Your photographer is an integral part of your wedding day and you will be happiest if you pick someone you click with who produces work that speaks to you.