Types of wedding photography

Deciphering the jargon

As a bride to be when you start looking around at wedding photographers you may find many photographers websites written in some strange foreign language. Suddenly its about an investment to secure the creative services of your award winning reportage specialist.

DISCLAIMER: I have to admit that I myself as a wedding photographer have and do use some of these terms on my website. That said I hope this helps give couples a better understanding of what the hell all us wedding photographers are banging on about. In an industry where there is a lot of BS and inflated ego’s I think its fitting that sometimes you try and maintain a sense of humor.


Documentary/reportage/ photojournalist

Group photographs?…..*forget it!

All of these terms mean a photographer who observes the action as it unfolds and without interfering or influencing the situation shoots it as it is. These types of images are traditionally displayed in black and white. Certain parts of a wedding dictate the necessity of this type of working. For example during the ceremony and exchanging of vows it is impossible to shoot in any other manor than to observe and shoot. All wedding photographers regardless of style have to employ these techniques at certain stages.

If you are particularly interested in this style of photography one of the best and original documentary wedding photographers would be this English gent, named Jeff. Check him here:       http://www.jeffascough.com



“I’m an artist, DAHLING…..!”

This is a vague term and one which doesn’t really have much meaning. All photographers regardless of style should be “artistic.” Other similar terms you might see include “fine art wedding photographer” “creative wedding photographer” or “modern wedding photographer.”

Editorial Wedding Photographer

Editorial means features/pages inside a magazines or newspaper that is not advertising. Again, a rather a vague term that doesn’t really have a great meaning and give a clear indication of the type of images you could expect. You may also see photographers refer to themselves as “featured” or “published” Where have they been featured and what have they been published in?


Vintage Wedding Photographer

Vintage is a huge buzz term in wedding photography. With ninety nine percent of photographers working with digital equipment this relates only to the post processing (editing) of your images. Vintage photographs are often “photoshopped” to give the appearance that they were shot on an old film camera. The colours are muted or de-saturated and the images are tinted to give a certain colour cast. This is also sometimes described as “film emulation.” Whilst this look is very trendy at the moment it may be worth bearing in mind that your images are going to last you a lifetime and I would argue that it would be worth requesting that the photographer also offers you all of the images as a modern colourful versions as well as the vintage style. This way you can have the best of both worlds and if the vintage style loses appeal or stops being trendy you still have an alternative. (check out my post trendy v timeless to read more on this subject)


Other similar terms boho, beachy, rustic etc all actually relate more to the styling of the wedding than the particular shooting style of the photographer. Chances are the photographer is simply trying to align him/herself with couples having these particular types of weddings and has created a portfolio/website mainly featuring these types of images.


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Natural Light

Natural light means the light from the sun. A photographer who shoots only natural light means they do not employ flash or additional lighting. Some photographers prefer to work in this way and do so very deliberately but there also many wedding photographers who promote the fact they shoot only natural light images simply because they are unfamiliar with using flash in images. This is the type I would recommend you avoid. Whilst there are many situations where the natural light is all you need to create beautiful images there are an equal number of situations where the addition of flash would add to the images.



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Award winning Photographer

I’ve been winning awards since I was about five years old. *This was one of my first. When I doggy paddled across the local swimming pool for 5m.

Nowadays nearly all wedding photographers seem to be able to describe themselves as being “award winning.” Whilst there are many great competitions out there for photographers to enter there are so many that unless it is a high profile competition with which you are familiar then I would pay little attention to this.

I would also exercise similar caution to photographers who put letters after their name. There are many societies you can join as a photographer simply by paying an annual subscription and these allow you to advertise yourself with various letters or say you are accredited by such and such organisation. Again tread with caution.




Destination Photographer


A photographer who travels for weddings. Often overseas or locations anywhere in the country. There are very few true destination wedding photographers who can say that the majority of their work all involves extensive travel to the far flung corners of the planet.

Given the opportunity nearly all photographers are going to be happy to let you fly them to Hawaii to shot your beach wedding. Again generally another example of a photographer trying to sound exotic. Got a mate who lives interstate, photograph their wedding and you to can call yourself a “destination wedding photographer.”


Whats important to you?

Nearly all of the terms above really are just marketing tricks wedding photographers employ to try and differentiate themselves from their competitors. Unless you know you want a very specific approach for your wedding photography when looking for photographers, I wouldn’t pay much attention to much of this information at all. Instead start by narrowing down your choices based on the images you see and whether you like them, it really is that simple!